Friday, October 30, 2009

The Busk

This week has gone by far too quickly. I feel that I have not been able to get much accomplished and at times feel guilty about that. Although the boys are now over their almost-three-week-long sickness, I still am fighting it and I am getting tired of being sick! David keeps urging me to go to the doctor but I do not want to; my mother recently sent me a list of herbs and vitamins and food recipes that are supposed to help cure and ward off sickness so I'm going to give several of those suggestions a try. I don't like doctors. I do not trust doctors. Tey are all urging for the H1NI vaccination and I am very much against the idea. I am not in a mood to be pressured.

Anyway, this week I've been obsessing about my 1820s stays. I thought I had them finished, but after a few days it began to bother me that I did not get the "lift and the seperate" look. Here is a fashion plate from 1823 - notice the very noticeable seperate look the bosom has:
I was not getting that look. I took the 3 bones out of the center of my stays and corded the sides of the "busk pocket" in the center front, although at the time I had no intention of ever using a busk. It supported me but did not give me a seperate look at all. I posted about my problem on the Sense and Sensibility message board and received several suggestions and encouragement to try a busk - so I did! The effect was immediate and happy. I got The Look. I also felt much more supported since the busk is very stiff and holds up the gusset "cup" in which each bust lies.

I used an old paint stick for my trial run and yesterday David made me a new one. This one was also a paint stick which he picked up at a hardware store yesterday. (He got several actually; they were free). The ones he got were much thicker than the one I used as a trial run. They were printed on one side with lettering and there was a curved in handle shape at the bottom. He carved it down so the width of the paint stick measured the width of the curved-in handle so the finished busk is all one width. He sanded the edges smooth and sanded off the lettering. He did a very nice job with it. It is just a tad too long but he has promised to cut it down to the proper length for me this evening. I love him so. :) A wife certainly knows she is loved when her husband is willing to make a busk for her!

I made an opening at the top of my stays so I can slip the busk in from the top. It does not go all the way down the front of the stays but stops about 2" or so short of the bottom edge. This is so it does not jab me between the legs when I sit down while wearing it. For a very good overview of busks, an excellent article was written by Jenny La Fleur.
In other sewing news, I've been lazy. But I did finish my pink 1820's dress by sewing on the hook and eyes this afternoon. I also made a cloak earlier this week, 18th century style. It is a trial run made of poly blend plaid but it is warm and I have been using it a lot in the rain and damp we have been having. I also drafted a pattern for a set of 1790's stays for use under my regency drawstring gowns. The short stays I made a few years ago no longer fit the way I want them to. I've always admired the 1790's stays that Katherine made, and when Lauren also made a similar set I decided I had to try this style too! So far I've just made one quick mock up and traced the pattern out but I hope to get a good chunk of work done on these next week, if not have them finished by then.
And finally, did I mention we have rain?! I glimpsed out the window today and realize we have a lake. Wild geese have been pausing here for rest and water all day long; as one flock goes out another comes in. They are now swimming the bean field that was harvested last week. It is very comfortable and cozy to hear their cries and bellows. What a busy little watering place we have right now!




  1. Did you know the beau's used to carve their sweethearts intricate busks? ;)

  2. Dear Sarah,
    So very sorry that you and the children have been so ill. May you be all better SOON.

    I had my regular flu shot and 2 weeks to the day, I was ill. I will not be getting the H1N1 shot. I have read alot of negative information about it. Also that when given to children it can cause neurological problems.

    God bless,

  3. Beautiful sewing work, as always. I've been thinking about stays all the more since you've started posting about them; I think after graduation in December I'll be trying my hand at a set for myself.

    We're flooded, too. They even closed some of the near-by streets. But! It stopped raining long enough to go to the Trick or Treat Alternative at the Lincoln's Home neighborhood. Sooo many beautiful dresses! And the hats! Oh my... maybe next year I'll try there, since New Salem didn't work out the right way.

    Feel better! The nurse at school said one of the best ways to protect yourself during flu season was to drink hot tea constantly, since it washes germs into the stomech where they die. Seems like a good reason to brew up a pot to me!

    Happy Weekend!

  4. Hello Sarah -- good to hear your babes are over their illnesses, but sad to hear you're still struggling with it. My prayers are with you.

    I love the projects you're working on. Can't wait to see the dress on you!

  5. Oh, my goodness! I pray you feel so much better soon ~ and that your boys recover fully!

  6. I'm so sorry you all have been sick Sarah! I pray that you will recover soon.

    I love to see all your sewing that you do and again, must say that I wish I had half your gumption! ;-)

    Lots of love,

  7. That's wonderful that the busk worked!
    We've had rain too but... not that much! Whew! :-D

  8. Oh Sarah, I will be praying for your speedy recovery.

    I would love to see before and after pics of you in your improved stays. I have made stays for myself and daughter and we did use a busk. I love the cording you did on yours. I have never used that technique before, though I am not an advanced seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. You do amazing work, Sarah. Your posts really do inspire me!

    Tracy L.
    Bonsall, CA

  9. Sorry you have been sick. I had something nasty last week and now Aaron seems to have it. As always, your work is amazing! I love reading your posts. God Bless!

    Love Lauren


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!