Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of the Year Sewing ~ Regency Short Stays

I have been on a wild cleaning spree since David went back to work after his Christmas break. The tree is taken down and the ornaments and decorations packed away. Today I swept everything up downstairs and mopped everything and dusted everything. Two days ago I spent three hours cleaning our tiny closet of a bathroom. With great joy did I vehemently scrub away the soap-spots on the tub with a bristle brush and baking soda! I've reorganized the office and sewing room, hung new pictures, taken old ones down, rearranged furniture and cleaned all the mirrors and windows. The end of the year hustle to make things nice before the new year begins. Sigh. It is always like that around here.

So, therefore, I have not had much to post about. Unless you want to hear about and see pictures of the newly reorganized and decluttered office closet, which I really had to clean out to be able to put away the Christmas things.
I did find time to finish up a set of short stays from the Sense and Sensibility Regency Underthings pattern. I got the pattern a few weeks ago and had not yet used it til yesterday when I cut out the short stays. I don't really need a new set but I was curious to see how they went together and if the size I normally make would work for me. They went together very easily and quickly - I finished them today - but the size is absolutely enormous on me. I can usually wear a pattern size 18 from the S&S things but not with this. My underbust measurement is 30". The underbust measurement on the finished size 18 stays is 37". WAY big. And the cup size, cut with gussets in a D cup, barely goes a quarter of the way up to the midline of the bust. The width of the cup could work for me, with some amount of squishing, but the gussets need to be a lot longer for my particular size. So. They are now For Sale, and I posted them in my Etsy shop. Somewhere out in this great world there must be someone whom these will fit prettily. I corded these, instead of boning them. I wanted to get in some practice on cording so I can remake my 1820's/1830's stays with cording instead of boning. I was shocked at how easy and how quick the cording process went. I have no idea why I have thought that cording took so much time and was so hard to do. It's not, and I love how it looks and how it gives firm yet flexible and comfortable support. I can't wait to make a fully corded corset of my own now!I have so many projects I want to start on right away. There is a gorgeous 1790's gown in Costume in Detail that I long to copy as well as a drop front regency dress that I simply am dying to make up. For some reason, post-Christmas is always a very regency time for me. It may have something to do with the fact that several Christmas's ago I received the dvd of Pride and Prejudice and consequently, each year at that time I get into a regency mood again. Plus I have my 18th century stays to keep working on and I also want to make all of us a Tudor outfit (peasant) for a Ren Faire about six months from now (if we go. We'll have to give up a CW reenacmtent to go to it and David still isn't sure if he's willing to do that or not!)

So much to do! So hard to know where to begin. In the meantime, I clean. For one can think and plan quite easily while one cleans and it is always more pleasant to sit down to sewing work when the house is tidy and everything neatly put into its own place.

May you all have a very blessed end of the year!




  1. Your stays are so pretty, I love the lace! The first time I used this pattern it was too big for me. I didn't have a problem with the gussets though.

  2. I love your stays. I had the same problem when I made the pattern the first time. The stays just turned out gigantic. I hope you have a lovely New Year and I can't wait to see the rest of your creations!

    Love Lauren

  3. They look great! What lovely detail, too!

    My stays turned out huge the first time I made them, also. I think maybe that was because it was my first historical project and I didn't know how to compare my measurements with the right size. (I made them in a size 12 and I'm a size 8!) So I'm actually in the middle of making a new pair now. ;-)

  4. Your stays are nice! I am glad you had a nice Christmas! I did. We have everyone here except my brother who is in the Army and he was here for Thanksgiving!

    Faith G.

  5. Your stays are pretty. It's a shame they do not fit. I think I recognise that lace-Janice? I have been doing a lot of back and forth thinking about wearing stays/corsets for everyday wear. My 1830's stays are mostly very comfy to wear, though I despise trying to put them on. It takes me forever to lace them. It takes a long time to get them off, too. The other thing I do not like is, to nurse, I have to show EVERYthing off. No way around it. I am wondering if my dreams of wearing historical clothing every day are just not going to be practical long term unless I choose clothes that are okay over modern undergarments (which limits me a lot...)Anyway, I have been thinking about digging out my never used pattern and making up a set of these to see if I like a front opening stay better. I suspect I will.

    Happy New Year!

  6. Yes, the lace is from Janice! It is so lovely and I was so upset that my prettily lace-trimmed stays didn't fit. . .I didn't expect a perfect fit but thought if they were a tad big here or a tad small there, I could easily alter them. . .there is no way I can do that with these. :(

    I'm glad to know I am not the only one who has had a size issue with the stays. Another reason why a mock up is really the first step whether you draft your own pattern or use a boughten one. No two bodies are alike!

    Emily, I haven't had any problems nursing in my stays. I am not really exposed, except for the breast that is being fed off of, but that is in the baby's mouth. :) How do you go about it? I usually unfasten the top portion of my dress bodice, scootch it over to the side and lift the bust out of its gusset cup (or gored cup, if using a later period style) and flop it up over the top of the stays/corset. The baby finds it, nurses, it gets stuffed back in and process repeated on other side.

    Have you thougt about making a nursing corset? Amy (from A Day in 1862 blog) sent me some pics of a gorgeous nursing corset a few weeks ago that really intrigued me. The gusset cups button shut so you can easily unbutton them to allow much easier access to the food supply. I haven't tried this method but when/if I have another baby I think I will.

    I do like a front opening corset a lot better than a back one. My long stays take forever to get on and off too! I really like the shorter style ones since there are less eyelets to lace up and I do find they are easier to nurse in as well. I hope you can find a solution that works for you!

  7. Sarah, these are so pretty! I love the lace on them. When I made these (in size 18) I had to narrow the back pieces, lengthen the gussets, and I think I used the "B" cup gussets even thought I'm a C/almost D size. I think I had to raise the top edge just a little, and run a drawstring through it also in order to "contain" everything properly!

    Oh - and I'm impressed with your cleaning spree! You got a lot done... and it's so nice to have a clean, orderly house in which to begin a new year :-)

  8. This might be the first time I would be tempted to wish I was larger LOL! In any case, they are beautiful and we are marveling at your work (and your cleaning spree..."How can Sarah Jane get so much done with three little ones??")


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!