Beginning the Adjustable Stays

April 30, 2013

So, I got really excited about the adjustable 1760s stays, and I started doing some research. I needed to change the shape of the original stays slightly so they'd be more appropriate than the inspiration corset, which was from 1780-95, so more Transitional stays than anything else. I was looking at some original pieces in different museums, and the basic shape seemed pretty unchanged from country to country, so, when I found this free online pattern for a 1760s-70s corset, I was thrilled.

The pattern is part of the 6-pack of free historical corset patterns from Ralph Pink. I've used one of those patterns before with great results (the 1870s corset, which I made for my stripey Steampunk outfit), so I'm optimistic that this pattern will suit my needs. It also looks like It will be easy to modify for adjustable straps, but changing it to be front-lacing may need a bit more finagling. However, I came across this corset in the V&A from the 1770s:


It's not front-lacing, but could easily be made so. It has the same boning pattern as the drawing, so I can still stay pretty true to the pattern layout without having to change too much. I'm a little worried about the amount of support I'll get from half-boned stays as opposed to the fully-boned stays I'm used to wearing (I like to be encased in steel), but having fully-boned stays would greatly increase the amount of work involved and the expense, as well, so I think I'll stick with half-boned. The original stays are silk damask with a linen lining, so I'll probably stick with the same. I've never made a set of stays entirely by hand, but I'm willing to give it a shot considering how much time I have ahead of me. :) On with the research!

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