1780s stays, 18th century, projects

I Finally Ordered Boning

Lethargy (it’s winter!) and CADD!  They are distracting.

I finally ordered boning — thanks to everyone for your suggestions and input!  Unfortunately it looks like not many places carry the extra hard boning (I’ve only found it at Farthingale’s — not even Greenberg & Hammer!) — Corsetmaking.com has it, but they had fewer lengths in stock vs. Vogue Fabrics.  And nobody seems to have the German plastic boning readily available — from Vogue, you have to order 100 meter rolls, Corsetmaking.com has to special order it, Greenberg & Hammer has “European” boning but I’m not sure if that’s the Wissner/German stuff (and I’m sorry, but in this day and age I refuse to have to make a phone call to verify that kind of info and/or make an order.  I promise to start using them when they start doing online ordering).

Phew!  So I decided to order my steel from Vogue, and then I’m going to get some plastic boning (for the horizontal bones in this corset, and enough to do my next version of these stays, which will be the hand sewn/German plastic boned version) from Farthingale’s Canada (expensive, I know, but I can get it by the meter or 12 meter roll there!).

So the boning showed up, I sewed my pieces together, I fray checked my edges, and I got to put it on.  And WOW, do I LOVE this shape.  I put one of my 18th c. dresses on over it, and that confirmed what I had thought — I have a FAR more bowed bust vs. my old pair (which I think are the Diderot stays, or something close — the pattern came from a workshop at Costume College).  I feel like the prow of a ship (in the best possible way), and I don’t even have any of the horizontal boning in yet!  The hard steel is SO supportive, it’ll be a real change when I do the version with the plastic boning (and will be interesting to compare).

The one thing is they are feeling REALLY tight around the waist.  I measured the waist and compared with my recently made 16th c. corset, which is SUPER comfortable, and there’s only a .5″ difference.  So I’m debating whether I should let it out a bit at the waist, or wear them around the house for a few hours and see if things stretch & settle?  I haven’t yet cut my tabs, do you think that would make much difference?  One thing is I only did lacing holes to just past the waist, and you can see how it’s pulling open in back.  I think I will go back and make more lacing holes so that it goes the full length of the CB, and just sew over the offset spiral lace hole that I currently have in there.  I’m not sure if straightening the back out will make the waist even tighter or not, however!

Oh yes, and jeans and a t-shirt ARE the best possible things to wear when trying on your stays!  And at some point I really should pattern some straps, shouldn’t I?

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  • Reply Sarah Bellem January 25, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Cutting the tabs should help with the waist fit, I think. And dammit but I love that red damask! SEXAY.

  • Reply Melissa January 25, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Ditto on the tabs. It’s so very close already, and it looks as if there’s enough fabric in the waist but is pulling in an attempt to accommodate the hips.

  • Reply kendra January 25, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Sarah & Melissa — thanks! I don’t want to cut the tabs until I’m ready to bind, but what I’ll do a try on before I bind in case I need to let out the waist. But hopefully all will be well!

    And Sarah, it’s the tone on tone damasks that you used for Trystan & Loren’s effigy bodies that inspired me to hunt some down for this!

  • Reply Jenny-Rose January 25, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Oh the new shape sounds wonderful! What pattern did you use again? I would definitely recommend lacing all the way down the CB. I didn’t do it on my first pair of stays, then did it on my second and it made a surprisingly big difference in comfort and fit. I’m no expert but I’ll bet that between lacing all the way down and cutting the tabs you will solve the waist fitting issue.

  • Reply kendra January 25, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Jenny-Rose — cool, thanks to hear the voice of experience! The pattern is from a research article on stays — you can see the full citation here: http://demodecouture.com/1780s-stays/ . It’s the article by Lynn Sorge-English, “Eighteenth-Century Stays: Their Origins and Creators.”

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