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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Elizabethan-Costume's Stay Diary: Part 1

As Bianca from Closet Historian suggested, the Elizabethan Costume website has a stay pattern generator and tutorial that's great for adapting to 18th Century wear. Today I made up the pattern from the customize-able measurements (exciting!), cut the fabric, did some basic basting stitches, and bought the supplies I'll need next!
I'm not making an Elizabethan costume just yet, as the Georgian era clothing has captured my heart, and I'm not adapting it to another style as that would be to hard for me without a guide, so it may seem not historically accurate... But if it does the job of giving me a flatter, conical-shaped torso, then it's done its job.

Making up the pattern was a pretty fun and easy experience, as I had that big pattern paper that you can get from craft shops. The instructions are very clear and concise from this website, so I'll recommend it.
For my fabric I used whatever I had available, as I was at a loss for something to do today and the sewing shop over the road is closed on Sundays. So I found some light grey velvet-like material (left over from my bonnet) which is quite textured, and some darker grey light suede, which I'll use for the lining, or vice versa. Typically, linen would be used for stays, but I have none available for the time being. Maybe next time.
As for the steel spiral boning and busk, I got them from the Sew Curvy online store, which has a lovely catalog of other stays, some from the Victorian and Edwardian eras! If this corset turns out at least 50% okay I think I'll have a go at an Edwardian corset.

Update: Here's where I'm up to so far... As you can see, I have a long way to go, and some of my lines are incredibly wonky - but still, progress!

For now we'll see how it goes, as I'm also making a slouchy knit cardigan for my Mum and learning how to knit - so it may take a while!


  1. I think it actually looks pretty good! And the colour you have chosen is lovely. What is the colour of the dress you are planning to make to wear over this?
    Btw, I'm trying to reply you on Livejournal, but because of your privacy settings it somehow doesn't let me... should I friend you first?

    1. Thanks! The dress I'm planning is a robe à la francaise, though I may change it to an anglaise instead, depending on how much fabric I have. I'm using some blue curtains that used to be in my Dad's office, haha, and am adding black accents and petticoats.

      I've added you as a friend, so see if you can send it now.

  2. I am so glad the generator pattern is working well for you! Everything looks great so far! I have definitely worn my stays from this pattern for Elizabethan costumes as well, the general conical shape is rather versatile. Congrats on learning to knit too!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Bianca! The pattern generator is great, but I actually need to start again with my actual sewing, as I sewed the channels too narrow before my boning arrived - that's what I get for being too eager! ;) I'm still waiting to go to the fabric shop to stock up on taffeta and linen.

      Thank you! I'm still rather rubbish-y, though I'm trying to practice every day. If I can get that one basic stitch right, I'll be happy.