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18th Century Half-Boned Stays (Part 1)

I have decided to make some 18th century stays, in preparation for making a chemise a la reine for April 2015, as part of the same group that have been 1830s Romantics and Gibson Girls!

I am using JP Ryan’s Half-Boned Stays pattern, and planning to bone with reed cane, both of which I purchased from Wm. Booth Draper.

stays0Currently I am past the mock-up phase and have cut out my pieces, and I’m getting ready to start sewing today (unless Costume ADD strikes! I admit I have been spending a lot of time online, looking at pictures of plaid dresses).

I have heard of people making mock-ups out of cardboard, which seemed like a nifty way to save fabric and avoid boning a mockup since the cardboard was so stiff. Plus taping is much easier than sewing, right?

It was a good experiment, but it didn’t work out too well for me. I did learn a few things though for the future, although I doubt I will be repeating this:

1. Don’t use masking tape. Try duct tape; it’ll hold better.

2. Don’t use super stiff cardboard. It won’t bend to fit you, even if you have a boyish figure.

3. Use cardboard pieces large enough that you can cut the pattern pieces out with the corrugated channels in the same direction as your boning.

4. Since you are taping, not sewing, don’t forget to take out the seam allowances in the pattern when cutting out the cardboard. I ended up having to cut the pieces down a bit, which negated some of the time savings I was counting on.

Here are my cardboard stays:

stays1I couldn’t get it to conform to my body well enough to be a proper mock-up, but it did give me enough of an idea that I felt comfortable cutting out the lining and putting it together like a second mock-up.

stays2The lining is made of linen scraps left over from my 1920s Daisy Dress.

I’ve cut out the interlining, which is white cotton duck, and the cover fabric, which is a cream-colored silk taffeta. The silk is thicker and stiffer than your usual taffeta, and was a remnant, so I decided it was perfect for this project. Here are a few pieces waiting to be sewn:

stays3This is my first foray into stays and corsetry. Wish me luck!

About freshfrippery

Blog @ freshfrippery.com. Instagram @freshfrippery. I believe costuming is about helping others so I post tutorials when I can. I am happy to provide all patterns and tutorials for for free on my blog. It is absolutely optional, but if you would like to donate towards my domain registration and the data costs of hosting the many photos on my site, consider buying me a “coffee”: https://ko-fi.com/freshfrippery. Thank you!

9 responses »

  1. I’m so excited to see how these go! I might have to make some too…

    Reply
  2. Huh! Never thought of using light cardboard for a mock up. I use it for making hat mock ups, but never for clothing…your half stays are going to be fabulous! Can’t wait to see them and your outfit that will go over them!
    Blessings!
    Gina

    Reply
  3. Pingback: 18th Century Half-Boned Stays (Part 3) | Fresh Frippery

  4. Pingback: 18th Century Half-Boned Stays (Part 4) | Fresh Frippery

  5. Pingback: 18th Century Half-Boned Stays (Part 5): How to Do Eyelets | Fresh Frippery

  6. I’ve just started to get my hands dirty with this same pattern, but the cardboard mockup is doing nothing for me, it won’t fit around me. Should I cut out the interfacing pieces and create a cloth mock up? Any advice would be great as I’ve not got much experience with this sort of pattern!

    Reply
    • Hi, I used the cardboard mockup to get a general idea of the sizing, but a cloth mockup is best for fit. Keep in mind that the panels will “shrink” once you put in the boning, so putting boning into your mockup is what will get you really close.

      Reply

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