|They fit! The transition stays fit nicely!|
I may look serious, but inside am smiling :}
Yes, there's a reason for the angled front lacing.
Way back in 2011 I spent many weeks hand-sewing a pair of 1790s heavily boned transitional stays, using the Past Patterns (PA-030) kit. The directions, which produced a reproduction of an extant garment, were excellent and the kit materials high quality. Among the kit contents: a strong, fairly coarse linen as close a match as possible to the original, handsome corded blue silk embroidery thread to stitch the channels, white linen thread for the rest of the stitching, and quality reed.
I recall the process going smoothly; however, the written record states differently: "...those who prefer to examine the needles on the trees, even more than the trees themselves, should beware of the forest. Small, even stitching isn't worth a pile of pins when part of the stays have been assembled upside down." Ha! I rather like that analogy; especially apt since I have been examining a lot of fir trees lately (see the bottom of the post). Seems I always have had costume construction troubles.
Anyhow, the stays design bears more relationship to earlier 18th century stays than it does to later Regency ones. There are no bust cups, the waistline is shorter and there are no tabs (what POF5 calls skirts), and the opening is front only. This makes for the conservative silhouette I prefer. Finally, the front is fully boned but the back is partially boned, and all the bones are straight up and down. These stays were made in America, by the way, so stylistically they vary quite a bit from other transitional stays I have seen.
The stays were comfortable to wear and I wore them plenty, but like several garments made during that period, I didn't write up the process. In this case, partly because it would not have been good to infringe upon the work the pattern company had done researching and creating the pattern.
|A good fit under the gown to start with, circa 2011.|
After 2017, when I tried them on, they no longer fit, producing a truly uncomfortable hotdog-encased-in-a-barrel effect. I toyed with enlarging them for years. In the end, I tackled the project in late June this year...and it was straightforward and resulted in stays I like even better. Their fit is more to my liking even than the original version, and the visible additions only adds to the authentic feeling.
So, do you have stays that no longer fit but aren't so small that that the pieces sit nowhere on your body near where they should? You can enlarge the stays without pain or hair-tearing, if you don't mind new unboned narrow panels inserts in a seam to each side. Or, add them with boning. Your choice. It's far less difficult than I thought it would be.
Patterns of Fashions 5 gives the example of stays enlarged by adding unboned panels. See stays No. 27, circa 1780-90: Half-boned Stitched Stays in Natural Linen for Horse Riding. P. 109. The stays pieces include "[a]n unboned panel, made of the same layers as the rest of the stays, was probably added after a fitting, as the stays must have been too tight."
Here's How To Do It
First, take out a side seam. In this case, the seam between the front and side piece. You will want to take out a seam that allows you to enlarge the sides of the stays, rather than the front or back.
My stays had room for a bent metal bar to be inserted at the bust to help shape the front, but I never liked the effect, accurate or not, so left the bars out. However, I sewed the bar pocket in place again just in case I decide to add another kind of bowed bar in the future.
Below, a shot of the completed inside of the stays, with that bar pocket. Whoopsie! The image is upside down... The binding is a little heavy, but I was trying to complete the stays and a redo of the cream 1790s silk gown before an event, so didn't redo it.
In Other News
|A first view of a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. It looks like something out of a myth, doesn't it? Couldn't you imaging the ring about it in standing stones, like a henge?|
|The Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone, steaming on a chilly morning, its colors only guessed. Most of them are caused by thermophiles, heat-loving microorganisms.|