Saturday, January 5, 2013

I really couldn't wait

I wasn't planning to share this until they were finished but look, I'm peeing myself with excitement here. When I decided to make pinky a set of stays, I just knew it was going to be an ordeal. See, as you all know, I sew. What I don't do is jack with patterns or do a lot of fitting adjustment. I might lower a waistline, raise a hem, but by and large, I cut and sew a pattern as is out of the envelope. If it needs adjusting, that bad boy isn't going to be made. However, just you try finding a pattern for a set of little girls' stays. I can find some patterns for little girl corsets in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, but no regency stays. (And yes, they wore them.)

Click here for more info
on these late 18th century stays

I'd almost decided not to make them at all but, in keeping with my personal pledge to take more care with my sewing, I decided, hey, why not? I ordered the S&S regency underthings pattern while it was on sale at the end of the year. I'm sure there's some rational method of mathlike figuring that would tell you exactly how much you would need to size down a woman's pattern, but you know what? I don't do that. So I randomly decided 60% sounded like a good idea and carried on with my bad self.

Pattern in hand, I gave it a good stare down and decided the size 20 looked pinkyish. And it did. I copied the pieces onto quilter's grid, cut them out, and gave them a quick basting on the girl child. Other than the strap being too short and about half an inch off shape-wise, it was a near perfect fit.

As you can see, there's a gap between the strap and the back bodice piece.

I used a french curve, or rather what's left of my broken french curve, damned dog, to connect the shoulder strap and draw a new, almost as graceful line down to the back bodice pieces.  Then I pinned it back onto pinky to see how it turned out. If you notice, I pinned the stays on top of a tee shirt because unlike modern clothing, ladies of the era wore their support garments on top of a shift. The theory was that the cotton or linen of the chemise would absorb sweat and little girl stink so that mom could do less laundry.

The strap in this picture is still a bit long and doesn't quite match up but I fixed it and now have my pieces all ready to be cut out of muslin. If you'll look at the top picture again, you'll notice those two lines on the top. That's supposed to be where the gussets go. What are gussets you ask?

From the Oregon Regency Society
aka my current best friend

Yeah, the pinkster doesn't need any gussets.While pinky would probably love me for life if I allowed her to stuff her gussets as ladies were wont to do in the era, her father would kill us all dead. Plus, she's nine. What does she need with . . . gussets? And that's what I've been trying to tell her for months. That stinker.

Since we're talking about short stays, let's look at some pretty reproductions other bloggers have made.

from Sarah Jane at Romantic History

from Amber Brooks at Music, Corsets, and Star Wars


  1. But the real question is... Does Kirsten need... Gussets?

    1. I might allow Kirsten to stuff some kleenex in there.