Friday, October 16, 2009

1820's Stays and Mechanics Cap

This week we have all been afflicted by a sickness, which, if not the flu, comes quite close to it. Big David came down with it on Monday and it has trickled down to the rest of us, bit by bit. That, with the dreary cold weather we've been having has kept us all indoors a good deal.

I've been working this week on my 1820's stays, which I have to finish before I can fit a dress bodice over them. I have four new dress lengths of fabric just waiting to be made into 20's style dresses and I can't wait to cut into them and make some pretty new frocks.
The First Day (Tuesday) I cut them out and sewed all the main pieces together. The Second Day I attached the gussets together and sewed the boning channels and inserted the boning. The Third Day I bound all the edges with homemade bias made from the lining fabric and today I finally finished up all the hand made lacing holes. So they are done, laying out on the bed and waiting for laces. They are of two layers; the outer layer is cotton twill and the inner layer white striped cotton.
I haven't tried them on since the mock up stage so I hope they fit well and don't need any alterations. I decided to just bone them instead of doing cording since I need the extra support and it is so much quicker to sew a boning channel and slip a bone in than to laboriously sew rows and rows of cords which would, probably, have to be done by hand to look nice. For my historically-inspired clothing I have decided that if it can be seen from the outside I will sew it by hand but if not, I will do it with a straight stitch on the machine. Probably Historically Sinful, I know, but it works for me for these every day wear sort of clothes. (A living history event would be totally different). Stays are underwear and thusly will not be viewable by the majority of humankind. Exceptions are my own family, but they don't care or even notice hand stitched seams vs. machine stitched seams. (In passing, it is a very prideful thing when your 2 year old son correctly indentifies and names "eyelets" "bones" and "stays" and takes great interest in "helping" poke eyelet holes in fabric with a knitting needle.)

David has asked a few times lately for a mechanics cap so today I finally made one for him. Where he works it is often cold and the guys he works with wear those stretchy knitted "beanie" type caps. David doesn't like that look and so has been wearing a leather slouch hat but it is bulky and gets in his way. He wanted something warm, practical and washable. This one is made from an outer layer of lightweight navy blue cotton twill that matches his work uniforms, the twill is flatlined with thick flannel and the whole cap is lined with black cotton sateen. The brim is stiffened with a layer of cotton batting and bound around the edge, for stability. Here a pumpkin David got from our garden models it - it just happened to be the right size!
And an inside view:
Not much else is note worthy, except for the fact that today Malachi is nine months old, he is starting to wean (*weeps*) and as of yesterday he has begun to stand by himself for quite lengthy amounts of time. No steps yet, though! But he is *extremely* proud of himself for standing alone. And for drinking out of a "real" cup (he tried a sippy once and hated it but does well with a certain little tin cup that is just his size) from which he partakes of milk, juice and water with habit and regulation.



  1. I'm glad that you're almost done with the stays so you can get onto the fun stuff! I'm eager to see your gowns, I'm sure they'll be lovely. :-) David's cap looks nice and comfy.


  2. I am so sorry that you are sick!! Not fun! Can't wait to see pictures of the finished corset and gowns. I like the caps. :)

    Fiddlin Girl

  3. Good grief woman, you do work fast :) Will you post a picture with the stays on?? I really like the look of 1820-30s stays. I haven't got round to beginning on my own yet, but I'm starting to feel inspired now...

  4. Yes, I can't wait to see the corset on you! I've long attempted to master the corset-making, but the fitting stage always trips me up.

  5. I'm sorry to hear you are all ill. I hope you're better soon.

    As usual, you awe me with the speed at which you produce new projects. I just got my Past Patterns corded stay pattern, and I can tell you no one will be seeing pictures of them soon. It's going to take me forever.

    I like the cap; you did a lovely job.

    Malachi is growing up! It's scaring me because I know Maria is not far behind, though no signs of weaning yet. The girl nurses all night long. She is not very into 'real' food-she just wants to live on Cheerios and cheese.

  6. Oooh! I'm excited to see the completed corset. It's so bitter sweat to watch little ones grow up.

  7. Okay Sarah, at the risk of sounding ignorant, are you actually making the corset for wearing every day? I immediately think heat/humidity of a mid-west summer, and that's when I turn into a big baby! All my historical/period longings, all my Amish-ish inclinations, all my attempts at the simple life can easily go out the window. Really? You wear them all summer?
    Wanting to know more :)

  8. Well, the idea is to make 3 or so corsets/stays to wear for everyday. So far I have this 1820's style one and I have my pink mid-19th century gored one that I have been wearing as well for every day. Up til now, no, I don't wear corsets on an everyday basis but I find them much more comfortable than bras and I am such a weird size, it's hard to find a nice bra that fits me. So the plan is to wear chemises/stays instead, since they not only support better they also give a smooth line and a waist, since I am so short waisted otherwise.

    But I have worn corsets in the blazing heat of summer, high humidity, everything, and they aren't any more uncomfortable or hot than a bra. 1 layer of cotton twill, or even 2 layers, breathes very well and your chemise wicks away your sweat so it is actually cooler than having a cotton/spandex bra or something else synthetic.

    I'll try to get some pictures of the stays up this week. I tried them Friday night and they fit perfectly! I am thrilled! I like the shape they give even better than my pink CW corset, although I think I need to re position the straps a little. Otherwise, I'm happy with them!

  9. What pattern did you use for this cap for your husband? I would love to make one a little smaller for my son-he loves trains and I think this is a good train cap:)


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!