Saturday, 21 August 2010

Stays (part the 3rd and FINAL)

So yes, this is the last post about my stays as today, after 2 months, 2 weeks and 1 day, I've completed my entirely hand sewn stays! I am soooooooo very happy!

To continue from my last post, once all the channels were sewn, it was time to insert the boning. I used synthetic whalebone for this apart from the channels either side of where the eyelets were to go on the back panel, I used steel for these as it would require strength when laced.

When the bones were all inserted, it was time to bind the edges, which took some time and was quite tedious when going round the tabs (which I had cut at this point) so it took me a while to get this part done.

After that I decided to make the straps. My friend and I measured for these when we first made the pattern - 12" plus an inch for sewing into the stays. All I did for these was measure and cut out in the silk, canvas and cotton (for lining) 13" in length and just over an inch wide. I curved the end that was to be tied to the stays before pinning the binding to the silk and canvas (leaving the other end raw) and sewing down. I then lined using the cotton.

At this point I made a cotton case for my busk which sits in the centre front and is ever so slightly shorter than the stays. I sewed this to the top and bottom and added a few stiches in the middle to keep the stays flatter.

Next I started to line the stays. The tabs were individually lined with squares of cotton before the main body of the stays were lined with 3 pieces of cotton (the middle bit being one piece, and 2 side pieces), this was quite fiddly getting it to sit properly (not forgetting to snip the curves!), but quite quick and easy to sew down. I attached the straps at this point too so that they are between the canvas and lining of the stays.

After this, I started on the eyelets. There were 4 eyelets for the straps. I made the holes with what I think is a kilt pin (looks a bit like a safety pin, but much longer and thicker) and then used varying sized knitting needles to make a suitable hole. After those eyelets, it was time for the lacing eyelets at the back! My stays are spiral laced and so the eyelets were set out for this - there were 30 altogether and took several hours to complete!

Once this was done, all I had to do now was was sew on some ribbon along the seam lines on the front of the stays, commonly found on extant stays. You can see this on my collection of final photos in the following post.

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