My last post is dated the 19th of March (at least the same year 2019). So much goes for my original plan to write lightweight small posts that would not burden me. A lot of things have been happening in my life and I am seriously considering renaming this blog to "Desperate Life" because "seams" part doesn't cover a [too] broad spectrum of projects I have been up to. I have spent a couple of months preparing and doing some actual work on my CO2 laser project (probably going to write about that too) and some other projects like refreshing my CAD skills in FreeCAD and applying them to a 3D printer I have acquired.

Anyway, let's return to the stays! They are done! And they are... not perfect! The less than perfect result has contributed to my procrastination on the post about them. Let's see what that means.

The Sacrificial Stays

I named them The Sacrificial Stays because they are mostly going to sit on a dress form and receive pins and soak in my pain! I guess for the first pair this is not the worst outcome. They do provide a good degree of shaping and overall look like something from the 18th century, at least in my mind.
I will list the problems with them and move on till I am sufficiently recovered from the experience to either make another pair from the same pattern or make a completely new pair. One of the two main problems is less than ideal shaping of the front side pieces. It can be seen in the photo above that there is not much going on right above the skirts. When I put them on I can press on my waist and there is a gap between my body and the stays. With that manual compression they look so much better, but alas, mistakes have been made :-)


The second major problem is the belly piece, I shaped it way too much, there is space between the piece and the stays that makes the front seam to buckle outwards. I have seen this keel-like look on some stays with a busk, that sweetens the pain a bit for me, but this is not the look I was going for. Speaking of the front seam, I have no curves and am mostly rectangular block of bones, so I did measure my bust line correctly but it doesn't make sense for stays that are supposed to be conical, so the upper edge of the front seam is too short and that makes it curve inside the stays. Not sure how I am going to address that problem in the future. Either I have to grow some boobs or remove a couple of lower ribs! :-D That, or I need a smart pattern cutting technique (help!)


At least I am somewhat staying true to my original intention of having this blog as a log of sorts. So, I am going to use this post in the future as a reminder to not make the same mistakes. To finish with the whining, the rest of the problems are not so grave and were mostly caused by my impatience to see the final result. They include:

  • Too rough binding of the skirts, partly caused by leather that is too thick.
  • Calligraphy ink I used to mark lines on the outer fabric :-| (mostly boning channels). The plan was that I'll stitch over them but my aim is not there yet. On top of that I didn't plan the boning topology beforehand and just marked them ad-hoc... and made mistakes in the process. A reminder for the future me - don't you dare!!! Plan boning beforehand as a part of the pattern making step.
  • Wrinkles on the buckram layers I didn't bother to iron out. Ironing glue impregnated buckram is not fun, so it should be laid as flat as possible while drying after glue/gum application.
  • Attaching the belly piece on the two upper edges was not the best idea. There are visible diagonal lines running on the front piece. Those are not caused by the thread itself, but by the pressure the piece exerts on the outer fabric.

And that's about it for now. Let's just add some construction pics for the people of some 31st century...

I thought that I am mostly done. Little I knew about the binding...
How NOT to attach a belly piece!
I am going to be done in a couple of weeks. Little did I know...

Even when my fingers were still sore from stitching through multiple layers of buckram, I knew this is not going to be the last pair. The next one is definitely going to be much better! A lot of time was spent figuring out the major steps that are necessary and in what order they should be executed. That made me run hastily though the last stages, especially when I approached the binding. Not to mention the pattern drafting process that also took months. I liked this post from ROCKIN' THE ROCOCO that made me feel more confident and also helped with outlining the overall plan.


Let me finish this post with the latest from my atelier :-) A caraco I have started a couple of days ago.

Based on POF1 p24 jacket

Actually, a couple of words can be said about the petticoat. That's a pretty intense colour, isn't it? :-) I have spent an evening running quick research on what was available in the 18th century in terms of fabric dyes. It turned out red linen was not a thing. Linen doesn't accept colour easily, especially red, it was too much work for a basic fabric. Other colours (indigo, browns, soft greens) tended to be not so intense on linen too as the fabric was not seen worthy of the extra work, unlike wool, silk or cotton (chintz). That's something I should study more in the near future.