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18th Century Half-Boned Stays (Part 5): How to Do Eyelets

My old wrist injury is acting up, so I have to take a little break from hand-sewing, but since I have a few of the eyelets done, I thought this would be a good time to show how I do them.

This is not necessarily the historically correct way, but the method I find to be sturdy and aesthetically pleasing.

Punching a hole through the fabric weakens it, so I use an awl to poke a small hole, which I widen with a pointed chopstick. I then insert an eyelet through the widened hole, and then use a table-top eyelet/grommet press to set it in place. Finally, I sew over the eyelet with a button hole stitch to make it pretty.

The picture below, from right to left shows:

  1. Mark the hole with a pencil.
  2. Poke the hole with an awl.
  3. Widen the hole with a chopstick.
  4. Insert the eyelet from the wrong side (explained below).
  5. The eyelet set in by the eyelet press.IMG_4422

The eyelet is inserted from the lining side, with the flange remaining inside the stays. This results in the outside having a smaller surface area for you to wrap with thread. (If you are making a corset where the metal eyelets will show, you will insert the eyelet in the opposite direction, from the fashion fabric side).

Here is a view from the other side. From left to right you have the widened hole, the eyelet inserted, and the eyelet after being pressed. (There is some puckering in my fabric because I sewed the channels a little too tight for the double reed boning).

IMG_4424I use a Homepro eyelet setter with a size 6 die. It is quite heavy, and very easy to use. I have trouble applying enough pressure with hand-held eyelet pliers, and find using a hammer awkward, so this is a handy thing to have.

IMG_4426Use a tight blanket stitch over the eyelet to give it a finished appearance. You can use embroidery thread, or sewing thread. I used the latter, folding over a length of thread before threading the needle, resulting in a cluster of 4 threads each time. You can also just cast over with your thread, which is faster than using a blanket stitch, but I prefer the look of the latter.

IMG_4450See parts 1 and 2 and 3 and 4.

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18th Century Half-Boned Stays (Part 4)

This is a quick post to show I haven’t forgotten about the stays!

I finished altering the channel placement in the tabs and put in the boning. I had to redo the linen lining because the stays “shrank” once the boning was completed.

It is hard to get a good picture right now because the stays won’t lie flat anymore due to the curved fabric pieces and boning.

IMG_4414The lining is sewn in with some large stitches to hold it in place while I do the binding. IMG_4418I have some vintage rayon petersham to use as binding. It coordinates with the blue thread I used to stitch the channels. I plan to find some blue cord for lacing to make everything match!

IMG_4419See parts 1 and 2 and 3.

18th Century Half-Boned Stays (Part 3)

I took a break from my 18th century half-boned stays to work on my silk plaid Dickens dress, but I recently attended a sewing party where I made some more progress on the stays.

I put in the horizontal bones, and most of the long vertical bones, and the stays are starting to take shape!

IMG_3604However, I am going to have to make a modification to the boning in the tabs. The JP Ryan pattern has a lot of the vertical boning channels along seams, which is quite handy, but when they get to the tabs there is no room for binding. I will shorten the boning and sew additional short channels.

IMG_3605Some parts of the pattern already have shorter channels for boning in the tabs, but they are still on the edge. I have added an additional row of stitching nearby to move the boning channel. The white pin shows the original stitch line, and the red pin shows the one I added.

IMG_3610To give you an idea, here are some hasty crooked red pen markings on my pattern pieces:   IMG_3611See parts 1 and 2.

18th Century Half-Boned Stays (Part 2)

I’ve sewn together the silk cover and canvas interlining. Most of the boning channels are stitched, although the last two channels next to where the eyelets will be in the back are going to wait until I have a fitting.

image

Since contrast stitching was popular with stays I decided to go with blue thread, and later I will have blue binding to finish the edges. To save time I did machine stitching, but if I have the opportunity to make another pair of stays I would prefer to do hand-sewing or not do contrast stitching. The colored thread make the areas where I had to backstitch on the machine much more obvious, such as the short horizontal boning channels. It’s also harder to control exactly where the stitches end on a sewing machine, and there were places where I had to rip out stitches because I wasn’t entirely happy with the placement. Oh well, lesson learned! Still, for a first try at stays I’m satisfied with how it’s turning out.

The remaining steps are determining the placement of the eyelets and final channels, boning with reed, attaching the lining, slashing the tabs, and then binding all the edges.

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!