Thursday, February 24, 2011

Long Regency Stays - Progress

So, long regency stays are one type of corset I have never done before. I've made several variations of short stays and I used the Mantua Maker regency corset pattern to make 1820's/1830's stays (see two posts below) but this is my first, real, long regency corset.

I don't know why I have been so afraid of making long stays. The cording always looked so time consuming and the style looked very critically fitted in order to perfectly get that "lift and seperate" look. Well, I washed my fabric two days ago and cut out the stays yesterday and guess what. It's not that hard.

I used the Mantua Maker pattern, the version I fitted to myself last fall. I had to take the pattern in one inch all the way around and then four inches more at the hips. I also shortened the bust gussets by one inch.

The pieces were easy to sew together. I've done corsets before, and that is no problem. The cording was different, for me. I have never really corded a corset before. I opted for cording only on the front panel and running down the side of the front hip gusset. I thought about putting more cording in the back panel, but decided it wasn't really necessary at this point. I used a blue marking pencil to pencil my cording lines - all straight, for ease of sewing - and sewed the channels and then threaded the cotton cord through with a bobby pin. I will have bones at the back opening, on either side of the lacing eyelets, and also one bone at each side panel. That's it - the wooden busk will do the rest. I personally think the cording is more for decorative reasons that true support, to be honest.

I've put about five hours of work into the stays so far. All that is left is working the eyelets and binding the thing - really - that's it! I was thinking this would take me at least a few weeks to complete and am shocked to realize that I will most likely have it finished this weekend. I suppose it would take me longer if I were hand sewing the whole thing, but I am sticking to my usual historic-clothing-construction philosophy: If it will be Seen, do it by hand. If it's on the inside, don't worry about using a straight machine stitch, for Pete's sake! ;)

I'm really hoping The Cut of Men's Clothes comes in to the library soon. I think I will be ready to start on David's regency things before too long!



  1. I cannot tell you how many times in the past 10 years I've attempted to make a pair of stays and have given up! I applaud you for your excellent work!

  2. I'm planning to make a pair of long stays before my next regency event - it's about time! I'll definitely come back to these posts when I'm working on my project.

    FYI, if you google The Cut of Men's Clothes PDF, you don't have to wait for the library version. Not legal and not as good as having the real thing, but you can get a jump on your project at least.

    Lastly, I did a blog about sewing a Regency tailcoat for my husband - maybe you'll find it helpful? (Shameless self-promotion) Only trying to share - I've enjoyed yours! :)

  3. This looks fabulous. You're probably right about the decortive aspect with the cording. I watched the BBC reality series called "Regency House Party", where a group of adults live in Regency time sto see if Regency romance would work today. One episode, they talked about all the cl othes the women had to wear. Everything was beautiful and with such detail!! I'm really amazed with all of your sewing skill :) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  4. Oh those are lovely! I just love the cording in the front!

  5. are making me feel guilty about my unfinished stays, shoved to the back of a shelf in my sewing room. *sigh* There will be a day when I get them back out....

    Your cording is perfect.

  6. You are an amazing seamstress! I can't believe you are so close to finishing those so soon. They are beautiful.

    I found the cording in my 1820's stays did help smooth things and contain bulges. Of course, it was there was a lot more of it than there is on your stays.

    We are sort of throwing around the idea of going to the JA festival. I am just not sure I want to tackle making clothes for Anthony, esp. as we'd spend the money and he'd probably never wear them again.

  7. It's turning out good! I love that you used a bobby pin for the cording - I did the same on my experimental wrap stays (they do not work properly, they need taking in, but I love the cording).

  8. Beth, I'd love to read about the tailcoat you made! I will definitely be checking your blog out. This is all brand new to me as I have never done anything regency for a man before. David wants "Lewis and Clark" era so would you recommend going with the 1790s coat in The Cut of Mens Clothes, or the 1820 coat? Both look easy to adapt from his currently well-fitting 1860's frock coat pattern. Just some tweaks and redrawing of some seams should do it. I just don't know which pattern to off of for a guideline.

    Emily, oh, I do *hope* you are able to come to the festival! I'd love to meet you! Do you plan on bringing the children if you do? I'm still debating whether I want to bring mine or leave them at home. I know I'd be able to enjoy the festival more if my children weren't there (I know that sounds horrible, but I know I'd spend most of my time taking care of them if they were there) but I hate leaving them for any amount of time; the longest I've been away from them is when I've been in the hospital having a new baby and Malachi has never been away from me overnight before.

    Thanks for the kind words ladies! I put in a few more rows of cording yesterday (just under the bust gussets) and may add a little more; I just am loving cording. :) It's so fun and looks so cool. :)

  9. I'm working on my regency stays now and came back to your posts to help me figure it out - and I realized you wrote me back and I never saw! oops. :)

    Not sure if you've settled on a tailcoat pattern for David yet, but my vote would be for the 1820's version - the 1790's version is similar but more extreme/flamboyant in its stying. The short front/bottom edge is a tough look to pull off unless you're extremely confident! And by the early 1800's I think those wild 1790's styles were already going out. But I'm still pretty new to all this, and I think you should just do whatever you like best! :)

    Okay, back to my stays!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!