It's a very green evening here in Indiana, with the day's last evening sunshine following a deluge of rain and hail. Ever notice how much greener everything looks after a storm? Seems a perfect time to unveil the completed green linen stays!
The basics: Based on Norah Waugh's 1780s stays with some help from Butterick B4254 in getting a pattern together.
Materials: Two layers of cotton canvas-ish weight fabric inside, with green linen outside. Green cotton thread. Boning is cable ties. Metal eyelets covered in embroidery floss. Gold silk ribbon (will be replaced on back lacing with proper lacing materials, but this was pretty for a photo shoot!).
The things I did 18th century style:
The pattern is based on an extant (or multiple extants, but I can trace this one pretty precisely to one in the V&A museum). The construction was 18th century to the best of my limited knowledge, with each piece constructed and boned and then joined together.
The entire piece is bound with self-fabric, which you do find in extants, but the really 18th century thing about that choice was that I used a large fabric scrap for this project and was left with, no joke, a piece of fabric the size of two postage stamps. Waste not, want not.
Spiral back lacing--the 18th century way.
Things I did not do 18th century? No, these are not hand-sewn. I hand sew plenty of items, but stays channels by hand...well, not this time. Also, metal eyelets and cable ties were used. For the first time, I used metal eyelets and covered them with fabric-colored emroidery floss. This made the eyelet creation go more quickly and produced very even and uniform eyelets, which makes me happy. But even more important, they'll hold up for longer without repairs, which, since these aren't for me, is important--the recipient won't want to do eyelet touch-ups like she would need to do with my amateurish hand-done ones!
My favorite part of this style of stays is adding a cute little bow to the front of the strap tabs.
My other unauthentic move was using plastic cable ties. The best bet for authentic boning material, since coming by baleen is a little tricky, is reed boning, but...I confess. I didn't wanna. I don't particularly like how it ends up sort of three dimensional and sometimes knobbly-looking, for lack of a better word, and everyone I know who's used it says it's kind of a pain.
Cable ties are not a pain. They are awesome and a half. Cutting them to size? Easy. Just a little sanding on the edges to buff down the cut jagged bits. The flexibility to sturdiness ratio is perfect--unlike metal, they conform to the body, and unlike flimsy modern featherweight boning, they hold their shape. So I'm rather sold--unless I want to try whaling, I'll stick with cable ties.
Detail of eyelets--it may have been cheating, but seeing those perfect, uniform eyelets makes me happy.
My favorite angle on the stays--the part where the side piece joins the front, really the spot where the fashionable shape of the body is created.
What's next? Well, check out the Contest! post for your chance to win prizes while you guess my next move!