June 24, 2013

Stays Pattern Modifications- Part 2

After making a quick mock-up of my first pattern using a thick fabric, my on hand lacing strips and masking taped on boning I could plainly see what needed to be fixed. Firstly the stays fit great across the top but were too small in the waist. I rectified this by squaring off the side front pattern along the side seam so that the side seam was then horizontal. 

The red line is the new side seam and the light blue line is the old one. This added in about 2 inches overall to my waist measurement and also made the side front pattern piece look more like the V&A pattern so it was a win win. At this point I also added length to the top of the two back pieces because the back was too short on my first mock-up. I then cut out a new mock-up to see how the new pattern fit.

The new mock up fit much better and the shape created was looking good but I then noticed the arm hole was way too big. There was too much space under the arm and also along the sides where skin was being pushed out from the stays. Though this extra space allowed for more arm mobility that isn't exactly historically accurate. Women in formal stays probably could raise their arms very far and indeed had no need to! i modified the pattern again to raise the arm hole on the side seam and smoothed this extra height into both the front and the back. 

After these modifications I felt happy with my pattern and decided since it was looking really messy with all those lines and modifications to trace it onto nice clean paper.

I next set about marking where the boning channels would go. I used the V&A pattern and stays again for reference. I will be using flat and spring steel boning for these stays as I obviously have no access to whalebone like the originals. I prefer to use the steel boning though it is anachronistic because it is thinner than plastic boning or zip-ties and therefore retains the look of the original stays better. I would rather have stiffer stays anyways seeing as these are only half boned.

The next step will be to cut out the stays from the real fabrics. I really can't decide weather I want to hand sew these stays or not! I have never hand sewed stays before, though that is the historically accurate way to make them. Sewing so many straight lined boning channels sound next to impossible but I may just take the plunge with these.

I know it will take longer and be altogether more difficult than just machine stitching these together but the challenge a accuracy are very tempting! I think I will do a little research on the types of thread and stitches used in sewing stays before I decide!

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