Sunday, February 27, 2011

Finished! Long Regency Stays!

They are done.

I'm happy with them. Quite so, indeed. Every time I make a corset, I think it is the most comfortable one I have made yet. I do think so about this one. I like it a lot. True, it is hard to get into without help and David finds some sort of twisted, hysterical amusement in me crying out to him "Help! I'm stuck!" when, several times after the last few days, I have become so firmly wedged into the stays as I struggle to put them on, that I need his help in tugging them down into place. Two options here; get a ladies maid, or use longer laces so I can unlace them more widely in order to put them on over my head with ease.

I think I'll go with the longer laces.

I'm wearing the stays over my medieval shift, since I don't currently have an accurate regency shift. The last one I made was way too full and the drawstrings kept breaking, so a new one is being planned. For now, this one will work (at least with long sleeved gowns). The construction is almost the same anyway. Funny how little things can change within 500 of years of fashion.



  1. Dear Sarah,
    So beautifully made! They fit so well. You go!

    Very best,


  2. Beautiful work! I hope to make something like this someday. :)

    I don't know if I've introduced myself before, but I read your blog often and I absolutely love it! Once money gets a bit more flush around these parts, we hope to do some reenacting. Thanks for being so inspiring!

  3. Beautiful! And thank you for the insight into self-lacing...

    I find the clothing progress, interesting, too. I think it's actually even more fascinating how much more has changed with the arrival of mass production. In terms of patterns and construction. Not always to the better. (Which kind of corresponds to the idea of "progress" expressed in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Book.)

  4. Fabulous! An inspiration, to be sure!

  5. Hi Sarah,
    Oh, this project turned out fabulous. I like the lace in the back. It's probably easier than having a lady's maid to help ;) Have a lovely week. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  6. They look lovely, Sarah, and give you such a nice shape.I'm glad hey came out so comfortable, too. It's no fun wearing something lovely if you feel awful in it.

  7. I can't believe you made them so fast! That is such an inspiration, they turned out wonderful.
    I was about to say, I like your chemise, I should make one with long sleeves! (I guess you could be a trendsetter?) ;)
    -Julia <3

  8. These are beautiful (like everything you make). I've been following your blog for a while, but haven't commented much before. If you are still having trouble getting in and out of the stays, you might try spiral lacing. I've discovered it was in use up through the 1850s, and it's supposed to make it easier to get in and out of stays without an opening busk. I don't know if it really does help 1850s stays have to be relaced every time I put them on! :-)

  9. Haha, I know the feeling of getting stuck when trying to put stays on.....

    They are lovely, and the pictures are pretty :)

  10. I ADORE this stays! They are great. I especially like the cording and the shape of the bust <3

  11. Wow, seriously beautiful! It fits you like a gorgeous little glove! I am inspired!

  12. Those are beautifully made - and they fit you so well! The cording is exquisite!

  13. Sarah, I found your blog via the s&S forum. I'm a bit older than you, but we are much alike. I homeschool my four kids (all daughters!) and sew when I can..

    I made Jennie CHancey's short stays, but she was right; they're not sufficient for my figure. I don't want to wait for a paper pattern to ship from MM or wherever, so I found a similar pattern (or, jpg of the pieces, anyhow) that I think I've enlarged appropriately to fit, and have been studying your photos for ideas. I have a lining, interlining, and outer sewn up, but before I go farther, is there anything I should be aware of? I don't have instructions per se, and only the short stays' experience to go on. I'll be constructing it in the same manner, unless you have any additional advice! You may email me at [my above user name] @hotmail if you like. THank you so much for any tips!

  14. Hello Sarah:

    I have a question. I am making a Ladies 1780's Portrait Dress from the Sense and Sensibilty Pattern and I need two boning pieces for the front of the dress. I have nothing available right now. These need to be 1/4" wide and about 13 1/2 inches long.
    What do you use, or what would you use, if you do not have actual 'boning'? I know something can be substituted. Looking for some stiffness at the ends of the front, where the hooks and eyes will be sewn on. Thank you for any help.


  15. Lisa, what I use and have had good success with is heavy duty cable or zip ties from the hardware store. In fact, I just used a bunch tonight for an 1860's era swiss waist I'm making...they really work well for me! You can get them in various widths but the widest ones work best for me. I think mine are about 3/8" wide, and you can cut them to whatever length you need with a sharp pair of scissors. Melt the cut ends a bit in the flame of a candle to get rid of the sharp edges and there ya go! A nice bone. :) If you need extra durability at the front, you can double up the cable ties to make a more substantial edge. I used one thickness of zip tie for the front edges of my swiss waist (it will lace closed) and so far it seems to be holding up really well. Hope this helps! How did you like the Portrait Dress pattern? That is one I've been wanting to get but haven't bought yet. . .it is such a lovely design!

  16. I am a singer and am doing a Masters essay on the experience of singing for young women in the Regency period. Can I ask, when wearing your stays, how does it affect your breathing? Can you take nice big breaths from the diaphragm? When I breathe for singing I imagine I am inflating a rubber ring around the bottom of my rib cage - can you expand that part of your lungs when wearing Regency stays??? Any practical advice would be awesome!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!