I suppose I ought to actually post something. So, here are my first pair of TOTALLY FINISHED STAYS!!! I almost fainted with joy when I realised that I had finished the binding.
I used four layers of fabric: lining, two to make boning channels and one for the outside. What I quite like about them is that you can just about see the middle fabric’s pattern through the thinner outer fabric.
I was so nearly done when I realised that I probably wanted to sew the shoulder straps to the back and tie them to the body of the stays at the front. My regency stays (which I shall post pictures of when I have put binding on them) have back fastening shoulder straps. NIGHTMARE. Every single time you want to adjust something, unlace the stays, adjust, lace them back up again etc.
So I vowed not to do the same this time and sewed the straps on front fastening. Great. But then disaster struck. I had gotten so carried away watching ‘The Tale of Two Cities’ (great movie, 1980s version) that I sewed on one of the straps to the front and one of them the wrong way round. Damn
So out came the unpicking tool and I had to undo all of my handiwork. But anyways, I finished them and I am SO proud!
The finished stays laid out flat. My method of lacing isn’t spiral because when I tried doing that I realised that the top and bottom of the stays didn’t match up. Instead the lacing method is what I call the ‘V-lacing’. I researched pictures of period stays and I have seen some lace up like this. Well, it’s not the evil ‘X-lacing’ of the Victorian era, so I guess I’m in the clear.
You can see the point at which I ran out of one colour thread for my back eyelets. 46 hand sewn eyelets in total. Very boring.
To help with lacing and to stop the ribbon fraying, I held a lit matchstick just under the end and with incredible amounts of skill, rolled the ends.
My cheeky method of hiding the stitching where I sewed the straps onto the body.
My stays are actually very comfy to wear and I don’t feel too restricted. I don’t as yet have a shift to pose in, so please forgive the scandalous amount of bare skin.
These are a totally unorthodox pair of stays. They were made mostly by machine (I only recently found out that we have one and decided to make a pair of stays because I was too lazy to hand stitch a pair) and the boning is cable ties. Cable ties are great for boning because they’re easy to cut and shape and are cheap and readily available.
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