Tan Stays- Finished and Sold!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Every time I do a project, I tell myself, "This is the one that I'm going to take pictures of its whole process!" And then it never happens. Oh well. I've got some pictures of the finished stays though, not laced or on a person but finished nonetheless.

Here's the front view! I hadn't done the strap eyelets at this point, but they are otherwise finished.
All the boning channels are machine-sewn. On about 75% of them, I had to rip out one line of stitching and re-sew it, because I'd made them too small! It was really frustrating but I made it work. My advice here is, when you're drawing your boning channels, they've got to be a bit bigger than the boning itself! 

Here is the front again, laid out like they would be worn. 

And the back.

The inside with its muslin lining. I put in the lining after doing the boning channels and putting the panels together, but before doing eyelets and binding. Ashley will only be wearing this corset for a few reenactments a year, so I didn't think she'd need a removable lining.

I hand-sewed 23 eyelets. I actually like doing eyelets, they go fairly quickly (about 5 minutes each for me) and they're pretty satisfying when you do them well. I also got a nice awl out of the deal, so that's great!

Here's a close-up of my painstaking hand-sewn binding on the tabs! I kept track of my hours on this, and the binding took me almost as long as the entire rest of the corset. Pretty crazy, eh? I watched 3 different PBS programs, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Mean Girls in English and then in French! It was ridiculous. But it looks good! 

Here's a close-up of the front. For the binding on the top edge of the stays, I machine-sewed it to the front and did the inside by hand. My tip is do the bottom binding first because it makes the top binding seem to go so much faster! 

And guess what! This is my first and possibly only entry in the Dreamstress' Historical Sew Fortnightly!

The Challenge: #13 Lace and Lacings
Fabric: The outer fabric is some sort of cotton or linen, I'm not exactly sure, with a bit of a sheen. The inside layers are canvas, and the lining is unbleached muslin. The binding is commercially available bias tape.
Pattern:  The Diderot Stays pattern, which can be found in Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines but which I found on La Couturiere Parisienne. 
Year: This pattern is accurate to the 1760s/1770s.
Notions: LOTS of  tan Dual Duty thread, some heavy duty thread for eyelets, and cable ties for boning. 
How historically accurate is it? Let's see. The fabric is plausibly historical but not perfect; the bias tape has polyester in it so that's a no. Most of the stitching was done by machine with polyester thread. The binding was mostly hand-sewn, and the eyelets were hand-worked. I'm going to say maybe 70% then.
Hours to complete: 24. No joke. I kept track because it was for someone else and that's how I figure out what to charge them. 
First worn: Since this wasn't for me, I'm not sure, but I think she went to try it on right after she paid me, so... July 23 I would guess!
Total cost: I charged $225 for my work, but I actually didn't spend any money on this because Ashley bought the fabrics and notions for me. So I really don't know. 

This was quite an adventure and I'm glad I got to step away from the usual hemming and mending work people pay me for! 

-Madame Taylor


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