I fell in love with a gilt linen fabric, and thought it was the perfect excuse to make a pair of front and back lacing linen stays that were both practical and pretty.
The stays were very roughly based on the 1750s stay pattern from Jill Salen’s Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques. I altered the pattern pieces to suit a 1770s date, and used a 1770s half-boned boning layout with horizontal bust support bones, rather than the fully boned layout of the Salen stays.
Sewing the stays was a bit of a trial. Every small, silly thing that could go wrong, did. They were variously called ill-begotten, evil, and the Silver Stays of Doom.
Fabric and Materials:
Gilt linen outer, brown linen support fabric, blue cotton lining, kid leather binding, rayon ribbons, plastic whalebone (cable ties) to bone.
The Dress Diary:
Lynn, Eleri. Underwear: Fashion in Detail. V&A Publishing: London, 2010
Salen, Jill. Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques. Batsford: London, 2008
Waugh, Nora. Corsets & Crinolines. Theatre Arts Books: New York. 1954