Monday, March 30, 2015

1776 stays FINALLY DONE!!

Whew!! I spent every spare minute of the last two weeks sewing, alternating between Melissa's costume and mine. I finally finished binding my stays last Thursday, just in time for Sherwood Forest on Saturday. It was so much fun. I had a glass of mead, a shredded troll sandwich, and frozen chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick. I really wanted another glass of mead, but my allergies and sinuses were really bad, which often triggers my migraines. I already had a slight headache, and it was a super windy day with loads of dust and pollen in the air. I learned the hard way not to drink too much mead when my sinuses are acting up.

We got tons of compliments. In the previous two years, we've gotten precisely two compliments (one per year). Actually, those compliments were directed at Melissa, even though our costumes were the same (except made from different fabric) because I made them. But Melissa is beautiful and carries herself with confidence whereas I feel like a shy little mouse.

So I counted at least seven compliments this year, and many of them were from ladies who said they were experienced seamstresses. Many of them asked questions about the boning and a couple of them even called them stays, which is when you know someone knows their stuff. Others called them bodices or corsets, but I didn't care. It made all that hard, tedious work so worthwhile.

Here are a few pics.

I hate my face. Why couldn't God have blessed me with a nice jawline?
My stays...
Melissa's stays...

I love the lacing on these.
Look at that pattern matching!

A few construction notes... For each pair of stays, I used 3/16" half-oval basketry reed for the boning, and just put two in each boning channel, flat sides together. Boning channels were 1/2" wide. For the front lacing strips, I used 1/4" heavy duty steel boning. For the back lacing strips, I used regular 1/4" spring steel boning.

I bound my stays using very thin, soft, flexible leather. Melissa used narrow bias tape, but I can't remember if it was single- or double-fold. I made Melissa's stays but she did the binding on them and did a great job! She's never even done it before!

I know the edges aren't supposed to touch.

I shaved a little off the side back seam for Melissa's stays and she loved how snug they were. I accidentally cut the armholes of her stays too big. Mine felt snug but I could breath in them easily, and I wished I could have laced them tighter.

They were extremely comfortable, the reed boning held up beautifully, and the style is just gorgeous. Only two pattern pieces (okay, three if you could the shoulder strap), but I couldn't imagine achieving a better fit with a pattern that has more pieces. They can really cinch in your waist, and they make your bust area look amazing. I highly recommend the 1776 stays pattern from Corsets and Crinolines.

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