Now, my dear friend Lidi came down to visit me for a couple of days and she did some wonderfuk work in helping me make a pattern and toile for my own set of stays and I cannot thank her enough! We took the initial pattern from my Elizabethan bodies and adapted it to make it into a stay pattern and then made up a toile, it looked a little like this:
The first attempt fitted well and only a few minor adjustments were needed so it didn't take long to reach the point of making up the final pattern pieces (drawing on bone channels) and then cutting it out in silk brocade and canvas (drawing bone channels onto the canvas):
It took 8 hours to get this far...so we went to bed!
The following day was the start of the sewing, yay! I had decided to hand-sew my stays as it would be more rewarding...and I have the time to! Some say I'm a glutton for punishment, others a masochist.
So, onto the seams. Lidi told me to start by doing tacking stitches along the seam line and then trim the seam allowance down a bit (I always use an inch for SA) and then hem it down. If the seam is to cover some of the boning channels, then I would sew them first using backstitch (this is where the drawn on channels come in handy!) Once the seams have been down on 2 of the stay pieces, then they can be sewn together. To do this I pinned them right sides together and (without tying a knot in the thread) stitched them together with the tiniest of whip stitches, only going through the silk as there are channels that run along the seams. This is the stage I am at now and it will take some time as there are 7 stay pieces to sew together and nearly 50 bone channels to sew too! Here are some photos of what I have just explained, plus a few extra: