Sunday, December 22, 2013

HSF #3: Under It All: A 1750-ish Stay

The Challenge: HSF #3: Under It All
Fabric: quilting cotton, cotton twill
Pattern: Reconstructing History 833 1740s-90s Stays, "red" view.
Year: 1750ish
Notions: vintage poly bias tape (from stash, given to me by my gramma), 11 heavy duty cable ties, ribbon
How historically accurate is it?: Perhaps 40% or so. Modern materials and machine stitching abound, but the bias tape is entirely hand-applied and the eyelets were all done by hand.
Hours to complete: I lost count. If I had to guess, around 20 hours?
First worn: For pictures only.
Total cost: Perhaps $30, max. Most of the items came from my stash, and the cable ties were purchased specifically to try out as alternative boning.


Shown here over an Elizabethan shift, I'm quite pleased that it's finished, even 10 months late :D Insert all the excuses not to work on it, up to and including moving and writing a novel in November. Then I debated for a time on whether or not I wanted to do hand eyelets or use two-part grommets, and finally decided that while grommets would undoubtedly be easier, it wouldn't be "correct" and darn it, if I was already putting all this effort into it, I might as well go the extra steps and do them by hand.

I initally started out with 5 eyelets on each side of the back and was thrilled that I even got to try it on properly for the first time. I decided it needed more eyelets in the back, but to work with the holes I'd already made, I needed to add 7 more per side. I sat down Saturday evening with a good show (Spartacus) and before I knew it, I'd done 10 eyelets in three hours.


Sunday afternoon I was fighting the urge to start a new project when all I had left to do was reinforce the straps, shorten and narrow them, finish the top binding and put eyelets on the straps and it would be done. So I watched a few more movies and made myself do it and I'm so glad I did, since I can now check this off my to-do list :) And start on the garments that go with it! It's been a year since I decided to finally venture into the 18th century, and now with a proper stay, I can start to build a wardrobe.

I'm not wholly sure on the fit, as this era is totally new to me. I'm reluctant to opine on how it fits around my back as I took a bad fall on the ice the other day (I bite my thumb at you, winter and freezing rain!) and really need to see my chiropractor. It's rather conical in shape, giving me a three-inch difference between bust and waist. My tummy resists shaping in any shaper I try to put it in, so it sticks out underneath the stomacher and pushes the bottom of it forward. I'm hoping this will even out visually in the full kit.

Since I've spent nearly half of the day hand-sewing and I finished a project, time to celebrate with a cup of tea :3

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