An Orange Brocade Dress – Making a 17th Century Costume, Part Two

Welcome to part two of making my Orange Brocade dress, if you missed part one it can be read here. That post ended with a fitting, and binding the arm openings of the bodice. This post will cover everything else – from the sleeves, to the skirt, chemise, and hat! It was originally going to be divided into three posts, but since I’ve been off my blogging game recently I thought you deserved them all at once.

Here is what I ended up with…

And here is how I did it!

Since my fitting was successful, it was time to move onto the sleeves. Like the bodice, I copied the pattern from Norah Waugh’s “The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930“*. The pattern is kind of ridiculous, with a bunch of marks that aren’t labeled (seen here). Some markings are for the paned portions, others for knife pleats, gathering, or cartridge pleats. It’s also a lot smaller than I would have expected, being less than 30″ wide.

But this totally worked in my favor since I had barely any material left. After a mock up and a few alterations I cut the sleeves out, and lightly gathered them.

The gathering is only where the paned portions will be. Then there are knife pleats at the lowest portion of the sleeve, which will sit under the arm.

Then I made the paned portion of the sleeves. These are strips of the same brocade, with the ‘wrong’ side facing outward so they appear darker. I turned the edges of these strips inward twice by hand, to prevent fraying. Then embroidered ribbon lace was stitched on by hand to both edges.

There are only 3 panes for each sleeve, which matches Waugh’s pattern. I planned on adding more, but lack of material got in my way once more.

These were sewn onto the sleeves, and completely cover the gathering.

Now it was time for cartridge pleats. You’ll see these on most sleeves from this period and they are glorious. But they usually require a lot of fabric, a thick fabric, or a combination of the two. Otherwise they can look pretty bad. And since my sleeves did not have a lot of material, and are made from a very thin brocade, I had to fake this.

So I cut out facings for the top and bottom edge of the sleeves, made from cotton. Then I marked a line half an inch away from the bottom edge of the facing to indicate seam allowances. And finally, I marked vertical lines every half inch all the way across the facing, except for where the paned detailing is.

Then I cut up pieces of cord (I used 1/4 cord made for upholstery piping that felt almost papery) and sewed a piece onto every. Single. Line.

I hemmed the bottom edge of the facings, then sewed them onto the sleeves with the right sides facing each other. I turned the facing inward and stitched a quarter inch away from the edge to secure it in place.

Then I got out my heavy duty thread and sewed through the facing and top layer of fabric, between each piece of cording. This created the appearance of full cartridge pleats, while only using 1/2″ of fabric and no stiffening!

There are two rows of stitching to secure these, approximately half an inch apart.

I sewed the back edge up with a french seam.

Then made cuffs out of strips of brocade that is backed with ribbon.

The cuffs were sewn on by hand, then covered with embroidered ribbon and the trim I used on the neckline of the bodice. For some reason the cuffs gaped outward at the hem, so I had to hand stitch tiny darts into them. I’m not thrilled with that, but it isn’t obvious unless you get really close up.

The sleeves were pinned in place.

And sewn on with lots of tiny whip stitches.

And that’s about it for the bodice! After another fitting I added a modesty panel, and it was finished.

I’m pretty ecstatic with how this turned out. The fit and the way the materials work together is even better than I had hoped. The skirt didn’t go quite as well, but it all evens out.

The skirt for this project was an adventure. Not because the patterning was difficult – it’s basically rectangles with a sloped top. It’s the waistline that had me stumped. But we’ll get to that later.

Step one was cutting out four 42″ wide panels for the skirt, then sewing them together. This was easier said than done, since I wasn’t sure what petticoats I would be wearing with this, or how much volume the cartridge pleats would provide. So I had to guess the length. But I couldn’t cut the panels too long, since then I wouldn’t have enough fabric for the sleeves. It was stressful!

Once I managed that I sewed the pieces together, with seams at the center front, center back, and sides. The skirt opens from the front, so 10″ of the center front seam was left open.

I also sewed the front seam with a 5″ seam allowance, and with the wrong sides facing each other. Then ironed it open. This causes the darker “wrong” side of the fabric to be visible, and added more contrast after sewing on the trim.

For some reason I don’t have photos of any of those steps, but hopefully you’re still with me!

Next up was the pleating. Much like with the sleeves, I created a “facing” for the top edge of the skirt, which had guidelines marked.

The skirt actually had enough fabric in it to do real cartridge pleats (unlike the sleeves, where I needed to fake it). But the brocade I’m using is very thin, so I would have had to back the fabric with something thicker. And I was worried that would make the pleats stick out too much, creating more of an Elizabethan effect.

So I used cord to pad the pleats. These were cut into one and a half inch lengths.

Then sewn onto the cotton facing, and pinned to the top edge of the skirt.

I turned the facing inward to hide the raw edge, and it was ready for pleating!

After doing half the skirt, it became very clear to me that the cords were wayy too close together. The skirt would have had a waist of 60″ if I kept going!

So I started over and used a seam ripper to remove every other piece of cord.

When I resewed it the pleats were a lot deeper, and the waistline was much smaller.

Now it was time to add the waistband…that seems easy, right?

For most skirts from most periods, it would be.  But 17th century waistbands are a mystery to me because they don’t seem to exist. 

It’s a known fact that most bodices from this period had tabs to prevent the heavily boned bodices from digging into the wearers waist. Which means to cover the tabs, the skirt needs to go over the bodice. Except the waistband for the skirt isn’t visible in any. Of. These. Paintings.

Also – the point at the front of these bodices are visible in every. Single. Painting. Which means the skirt is worn over the tabs, and under the front of the bodice.

You may be thinking that an easy solution is sewing the skirt to the bodice, and having it close down the back. But that interrupts the cartridge pleats and destroys the shape of the skirt.

In this extant garment a small waistband is shown, and after many hours of frustrated searching without finding a better alternative, I decided to go with it. So my waistband is made from strips of brocade that were reinforced with interfacing and folded like double fold bias tape. The skirt was sewn to it by hand, with upholstery thread.

I actually used upholstery thread to do the pleating too, since it’s less likely to break under strain.

Here it is!

And from the interior.

I left the front of the waistband un sewn, since unlike the majority of the skirt, the front ten inches are not gathered. Instead they are left flat, and help create the smooth front, large rump effect that was popular in the mid 1600s (and continued to grow in popularity in the 1700s!).

Here you can see it in it’s current state on my dress form.

I realized that the waistline needed to be lower at the front so it could tuck under the bodice, so I cut several inches off.

Then I tried the skirt on and marked the hem. The skirt is hemmed symmetrically, but not evenly, since it was longer in some places than others, and I couldn’t predict the correct length when cutting the panels since I wasn’t sure how much volume the cartridge pleats would provide.

(The more volume a skirt has, the farther it will flare out, and the longer it needs to be)

And now it was time for sewing on the trim. I used seven yards of embroidered mesh lace that I bought on etsy. This was hand sewn on with two rows of stitching – one on either edge.

As you can see, down the center front (where the interior fabric was turned outward) the trim stands out more.

And on the hem it’s a bit more subdued.

Annoyingly, I was 4″ short of trim. Which left this gap at the back. I didn’t want to buy more trim, since it was only sold in 7 yard lengths, and took several weeks to arrive (at this point I planned on finishing this costume much earlier). My fix for this was sewing the narrower trim down the center back, which covers where the wider trim ends. There is still a gap, but it looks more intentional.

Then I sewed the remaining bit of the waistband onto the skirt, treating it like double fold bias tape.

The final few things to do where redoing things I had already marked as being finished. These things weren’t difficult, but they definitely weren’t fun. So I put them off for two months and only revisited this project earlier in the week.

(oops)

Thing one was tacking down fusible interfacing I had ironed to the center of the skirt to keep it smooth. It had started to pull away from the fabric and refused to stick.

It went from this:

To this! Much better.

I also had a problem with the waistband gaping where the cartridge pleats started. This was fixed with a little knife pleat that I tacked down by hand.

As far as closures go, the waistband attaches to the bodice with a hook and bar on either side. The bar is placed just above where the tabs end.

The slit closes with snaps. Half the snaps are actually sewn to a modesty panel, so the front of the skirt doesn’t overlap.

And that’s IT! After many weeks of work, and a lot of procrastination, this dress is finished! And I love it so much.

The only fault I have with it (aside from the gab in the trim) is that it could have used an extra half inch in the waist, since it’s hard to get the back to close completely when lacing it myself. But it does lace all the way closed if I put the effort in (which I didn’t for these photos…)

This dress will be worn with two accessories. The first is the chemise, which shows slightly at the neckline and underneath the sleeves.

For this I used two yards of sequin mesh – which looks beautiful, but those sequins are like little knives once you have the pressure of the bodice overtop…so I regret that.

 I also didn’t have enough fabric to make this the way I wanted. Or any trim that matched it. I regret that too.

I used the dress pattern as a base for the arm openings and neckline, I just made the bodice much bigger and longer so I could get it over my head.

I also used the sleeve pattern as a base – I just cut it to be more narrow.

After gathering the sleeves I sewed them to a gathered strip of lace, which had more of the sequin mesh sewn onto the hem. I’d originally planned on doing all of this out of sequin mesh, before I realized I didn’t have enough fabric.

The body of the chemise was originally made from two pieces of fabric, but it was comically small. I ended up using what little fabric I had left to form a gusset at the front – this looks really funny, but made it wearable, which was nice!

The top edge is trimmed with the scalloped edge of the fabric.  I hand stitched the seam allowance down to form a channel.

Then I threaded two strands of ribbon through the channel to create a drawstring effect – allowing me to lower or raise the neckline so it matches the neckline of the dress.

I sewed the sleeves on, and it was done! It came together in a few hours and looks quite nice underneath the dress.

The final accessory is a hat. As I said in my first post about this project, the inspiration is this painting. I bought a yard of blue stretch velvet for the hat, along with some bright orange feathers.

I made the base out of felt weight interfacing, with wire sewn into the edges. The brim was lined with brocade, then covered in velvet. The top portion was covered with velvet, then lined with cotton and sewn together.

I bound the brim with gold brocade, and covered the stitching with orange and gold sequins.

I sewed the pieces together and covered the join point with some braided gold cord.

I trimmed it with a gold bow and the feathers. I originally wanted to add flowers, but it ended up looking messy.

With the hat done, this project as a whole is done!

Though there are things I would change if I could, I’m really pleased with this project. I love the dress and the trims and the hat – and even the chemise, with it’s mismatched lace. I’m already brainstorming another (slightly less elaborate) 17th century project. But I may hold off for a couple months.

Thanks for reading – I hope you enjoyed! And hopefully I will be able to photograph this soon.

 

Making a Yellow Striped 1790’s Round Robe, Part Two

This is the second (and final) post about making my 1790s Round Robe, based on a pattern from Norah Waugh’s The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930*. I posted about my struggles with making the bodice here, and today i’m writing about making the sleeves, skirt, and matching hat. Luckily those parts gave me way less trouble than the bodice!

The sleeves were kind of confusing. As mentioned in my previous post the pattern for these was weird. The lining pattern was a completely different shape and size, with much smaller cuffs than the sleeve pattern. Yet there was no gathering marked on the sleeve pattern that indicated they could be sewn together.

So I decided to ditch the lining pattern.  I cut the sleeve pattern from the striped yellow fabric and sewed them together with half inch seams. I “finished” the interior edges with fray check since I forgot to add enough room to do french seams (oops). Then I finished the cuffs off with bias tape.

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The top edges were also finished with bias tape, though I was a bit sloppier and attached this by machine since it won’t show.

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I pinned the sleeves to the underarm of the bodice first.

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Then I gathered the tops until the fit nicely in the sleeve cap.

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The sleeves were sewn on with slip stitches, and later reinforced with running stitches that were sewn a quarter inch away from the edge.

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Now it was time for the skirt! It was kind of unclear on the pattern whether the total width of the skirt was eighty inches, or if the back panels were eighty inches and the front panel/visible petticoat was an unmentioned width. I like full skirts so I chose to go with the latter…plus an extra twelve inches to make it more proportional to my height.

(and because I like full skirts)

I cut two forty six inch wide panels, then sewed them together with a single french seam. I cut the hem on an angle so it’s a few inches longer at the back than at the front. And I also rounded off the corners.

The hem was turned inward by a half inch with basting stitches.

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Then inward once again to hide the raw edges. This time I sewed it in place with whip stitches.

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The back is pleated with double box pleats. I really like double box pleats, they nicely distribute fabric and aren’t as bulky as gathers or as finicky as normal pleats. Here was the “pleat sheet” that I followed.

1790s Yellow-7484And marked onto the top edge of my fabric.

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Here it is pleated down.

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And laid out flat.

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I sewed across the top, then pinned it to the waistline of the bodice. I left all the pins in the pleats until after the skirt was sewn on.

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It was sewn on with whip stitches and now I had something that looks like this!

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I’m pretty sure a dress like this would have been worn over a petticoat that was visible from the front of the gown. But I didn’t have a petticoat that was pretty enough (or high waisted enough) for that to work. So I chose to add a front panel.

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The front panel is made from a rectangle of a sheer curtain from ikea (which is roughly fifty inches wide) and a rectangle of muslin (forty-ish inches wide) that are sewn together with french seams. The back portion will be gathered and sewn in place but the centermost thirty inches of the curtain fabric gather down with a draw string.

On the top edge I marked the center point. Then I put two pins fifteen inches away from the center point in either direction.

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Ribbon is sewn over the 15″ marks, then tucked into a channel (which was actually the hem of the curtains). The ribbons poke out at the center point and can be pulled and tied to gather the material down.

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After doing this I hemmed the skirt – I ended up hemming this again because it was an inch two long.

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The portions of the top edge that don’t have a drawstring were gathered down by machine.

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Then it was sewn into the waist of the skirt. As you can see the muslin panel is at the back of the skirt – it adds width to the hem of the front panel which makes it hang nicely, but isn’t visible when the dress is worn.

I’d planned on posting photos of the process of getting into this dress since it looks a big confusing, but it’s actually really easy! The dress can be stepped into, then arms go into the sleeves and the drawstring on the skirt is pulled until it’s tight it sits above the waistline. The “lining” of the bodice hooks together overtop of the skirt and keeps in place. Then the snaps/hooks on the bodice are done up and that’s it!

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The headpiece for this costume was really easy. I’m not a huge fan of the popular turban headdresses from the 1790s (though I plan on making one for a different project) so I decided to make a hat instead. My usual methods of interfacing and wire seemed to heavy for such a summery dress, so I bought a cheap straw hat from Michaels.

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I made a TON of alterations to it (I filmed a tutorial of the process, which can be watched here if you’re interested) like lowering the sides, narrowing the brim, and reshaping the crown to make it more appropriate for an 18th century costume.

I also lined the hat with a scrap of the ikea curtains and trimmed it with a ribbon and bow made from leftovers of the yellow fabric. The final touch was a feather and some flowers. It isn’t perfectly accurate, but for less than ten bucks of materials and an hour of time i’m pretty pleased with it!

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Here is the finished ensemble. Though I don’t love how this dress looks from the front (my frustrations with the volume placement mentioned in the post about making the bodice still stand) I like the silhouette from the side a lot. And the color scheme makes me happy – I don’t usually make light or summery dresses, so it’s a nice change.

It’s paired with a cheap blonde wig and a long strand of pearls from Kohl’s. Last minute I decided to stick a petticoat underneath it the dress – just a small quilted petticoat that has an eighty inch circumference and pleated waist, which added a lot to the shape of the dress.

And that’s it! More photos of it finished will follow this post later today.

Yellow Dress Resize 2

Yellow Dress Resize 4

Thanks for reading!

Making a “Simple” Yellow Striped 1790’s Round Robe

I’m not sure how interesting this post will be – I took a lot of photos of the process, and have a lot to say about making this, but the garment itself is kind of boring. But it’s my most recent project, and i’m in the mood to write about it, so here we go!

Last week I decided to start on something new. I had just finished a few projects and wanted to make something simple before starting on the complicated projects I have planned (like the 18th century gown mentioned in this post, and an 1880s bustle dress).

During a clearance sale I picked up eight yards of striped yellow fabric (reduced down to less than two dollars a yard!) which seemed perfect for this season and a simple project. I browsed a few blogs for inspiration and eventually came across a scanned pattern from Norah Waugh’s The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930* which depicts a “Round Robe” from the 1790s.

I don’t own the book this pattern comes from, but i’ve heard nothing but good things about it and frequently reference another pattern book by Norah Waugh, which is called Corsets and Crinolines*. So I had high hopes that this pattern would be easy enough to follow, and within a few days I would have a lovely summer dress.

Spoiler alert, that didn’t happen!

I resized the pattern in photoshop, then traced it onto newsprint. The pattern and reference photo i’m using can be seen here, on this blog. I added seam allowances to the pieces and made the bodice panels slightly wider. I also lengthened all the bodice panels by an inch and a quarter so it wouldn’t be as high waisted.

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This is when I encountered pattern problem number one. The sleeve lining pattern was significantly shorter than the sleeve pattern, and a completely different shape. This is sometimes done with puffed sleeves to help hold their shape, but these are straight sleeves that wouldn’t require that. And since the lining was so much shorter, I couldn’t see how the sleeves would be sewn together…which makes me wonder why you would have a different pattern for lining at all.

Not to mention that the sleeves were weirdly long compared to the sketch shown on the pattern. I took more than an inch off of each pattern just to make them look right. I also made the cuffs wider and let them out at the shoulder.

At this point I probably should have realized the pattern might have some issues and made a mock up…but I didn’t do that.

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I cut out the back panel, sewed the darts, and marked all the pleats with stitching.

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The pleats were ironed, the pinned in place and sewn down by hand.

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The pleated panel is supposed to sit overtop a layer of lining, which looks like this…

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But the lining was too big to match up with the pleated panel, so I took it in by a half inch.

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Then a bunch of things happened. I sewed on the straps, and stitched the pleated panel onto the back. I tried to finish the arm holes with lace tape, then turn them inward, but that was a disaster. The fabric had too much tension on it and puckered horribly. I ended up cutting the lace off and attempting to use bias tape as a facing.

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That didn’t look great either, but it was better, so I moved forward and used more bias tape to turn the top edge inward. Then I did a fitting and it was bad. I mean considering I didn’t make a mock up it was okay, but it was pretty uncomfortable at the shoulder, and the arm openings were too tight so they dug into my skin.

Plus the thing looked messy as hell. I wasn’t very excited to wear this or proud of how it was coming along.

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So I started over! Step one was making some pattern alterations. I cut down the arm opening and decided to sew the straps on with smaller seams (giving me an extra inch of room). I also let the sides out slightly and cut my seam allowances down to a half inch instead of three quarters of an inch. This makes changing the fit more difficult, but it should make the fabric less prone to puckering around curved edges.

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This time I constructed things a bit differently. The straps were sewn onto the lining layer right away.

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And I cut a layer of lining for the…uh, lining layer. Which totally makes sense.

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These were sewn together with the right sides facing each other. Then I clipped the curved edges and turned it the right way out. I sewed around each edge with running stitches to prevent the lining from showing (the stitching around the neckline was done by machine, the rest by hand).

The end result was so much better. It looks clean and none of the edges were fraying or puckering like they were on my first attempt!

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I remade the pleated panels using the same method as the first time.

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But I finished the edges of this separately from the edges of the lining. The top and side edges were ironed inward by a half inch, and the curved edges were finished with facings.

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I sewed across the edges by hand and gave the piece a good iron.

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I sewed the front edge of this panel onto the guideline marked on Norah Waugh’s pattern – this was done with slip stitches. But I left the curved and back edges pinned, they won’t be sewn on until after the strap is secured (which I did much earlier on my first attempt but regretted since it made the bodice much harder to work on).

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The bottom edge was finished with bias tape to prevent fraying. Here you can see the front.

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And the back. My pleated panels were a different size from the lining on this attempt as well, so I had to add darts to the lining once again, which you can see on the interior.

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The lining was almost done at this point so I moved onto the overlay for the front panels. These were hemmed by hand with the help of lace tape, and are pleated at the shoulder.

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Once I pinned them in place for a test fitting I ran into a little problem…they were way too short. Since I’d made the strap longer without altering these (they were cut out before I decided to start over) I knew they might be off by a little bit, but one side was off by an inch and the other was off by almost two inches!

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Attempt number two! I made these longer at the hem and let them out at the shoulder. I also decided to make them a bit wider since i’d let out the bodice pattern slightly. Then hemmed them, folded the side edges inward, and pleated the shoulder. This time they were the right length once pinned in place.

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I sewed hooks and bars into the lining before attaching the front panels. The bodice was a bit large in the bust so I sewed the bars in on an angle – the end result doesn’t look very nice, but it works just fine.

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I gathered the bottom edge of the front panels slightly (as shown on the pattern) then pinned them to the lining for a fitting. I’d planned on gathering the panels along the entire length of the hem, but after my fitting I realized that wouldn’t be possible since it caused the top edge to ripple horribly.

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Since I couldn’t gather them down the way I wanted, I had to cut off TONS of fabric from both panels (you can see the pencil marks in this photo).

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I gathered the panels a little bit more, then cut the bottom edges and finished them with bias tape. When I look at the pattern now I think the front panels should have been sewn to the skirt before being sewn to the lining (and then they gather down together with a drawstring…or something?) but it isn’t entirely clear, so maybe I did it right.

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Here is the interior of these panels.

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The panels are pinned so they look like this…

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I sewed the bottom portion down with slip stitches which are pretty much invisible.

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And the top portion is sewn down with large whip stitches.

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Now the bodice looked like this!

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The left side of the bodice secures to the lining with two snaps.

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And the other side hooks in place.

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Now I finally did up the shoulder seam – this was done with the wrong sides facing each other, then I covered the raw edge with the back panel. Sewing down the back panel was the final step. This method for construction went so much better than my first attempt, i’m really glad I started over.

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However I don’t love the end result. I’m happy with the construction, but I think it’s weird that all the bulk is at the side of the bodice. I think it makes me look wider. I much prefer the way it looks on Waugh’s sketch, with gathering all the way across the front…but I don’t see how that’s achieved without disrupting the neckline. I’m actually pretty disappointed by the lack of  gathering at the front – that’s what really attracted me to this pattern in the first place!

I guess this could have been avoided by making a fully functional mock up, but since i’ve had so much luck with corset patterns from this author in the past I assumed the dress patterns would be similarly successful.

I’m proud I managed to overcome pattern related issues, but i’m not sure it was worth the effort. Hopefully i’ll like it when it’s done – I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the sleeves and skirt will be easier.

Photo on 6-21-16 at 12.00 PM

Two notes: I ended up stitching down the pleats at the shoulder because they shifted out of place in the photo above. I also decided after a few fittings to wear this without stays, since it’s pretty comfy without one and fits fine. But I WILL be wearing it a chemise, I just have to make one that’s appropriate for this period!

And that’s it! My boring yet overly complicated, supposedly simple dress. Thanks for reading!

Stay Study – Project One

I’ve started a new series, because apparently I don’t have enough things in progress already! This one is a little different from everything i’ve done before, and i’m very excited about it.

I’ve always been sort of fascinated with sets of 17th and 18th century stays and bodies, so much so that last year I bought a first edition copy of “Corsets and Crinolines” by Norah Waugh. It’s a really amazing reference, and i’ve spent days reading through it and studying patterns and information included.

But up until now I’ve had a few things stopping me from making anything from this book. The first is that the patterns really scare me. Stays can require sewing over two hundred boning channels, and if any of them are misplaced, sewn crookedly, or just a quarter inch off it can ruin the shape and wearability of the garment.

The second is that they require so many techniques that are foreign to me. Stays don’t have seam allowances, they are all hand bound together. They have hand embroidered eyelets, cross cut boning, curved bindings and lot’s of other tricky things I don’t have any experience doing.

And the final thing is that I couldn’t figure out which one to make. I really like, and think I would get use out of a lot of the designs in this book – it’s impossible to pick one!

Last week I sat down and looked through the book again, and realized that I would never magically acquire the proper experiences to make anything from this book. To learn the techniques needed to make a set of stays, I would actually have to make one.

And since I couldn’t just pick one – Why not make a few? Starting with some of the easier designs and building up to a fully boned set of stays.

I’m calling this the “Stay Study” even though two of these projects aren’t technically in that category. These predate that term and would usually be called a pair of bodies, since they were made from two main pieces  (though I have heard them called “Renaissance stays” before).

The goal is to complete four stay-related projects from this book, and I’ll document the process here! I’m going to aim for every other week updates, but I’m making no promises. In the end I just want to learn as much as I can, and i’m not going to rush that!

I’m also not making these in a historically correct way – I’m using plastic boning, twill, and machine sewing my boning channels. If you are  looking for historically accurate recreations, this is NOT the right blog for you!

This is the first project I decided to take on.

DSC_3993I started by scaling the pattern to be full size, then made it a little bit larger. Due to lack of information on these garments (which are talked about significantly less often then regular stays) I wasn’t completely sure how they should fit. I ended up leaving a 1.5″ gap at the front.

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Then I marked the boning channels and eyelet holes onto the material I had cut for the lacing panels.

I used a layer of heavy duty twill sandwiched between two layers of muslin.

DSC_3903I sewed over all my markings and trimmed the edges with pinking sheers so they wouldn’t fray.

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I embroidered the eyelet holes – which was less challenging then I had expected! I might go back and reinforce these with more thread later on (because I didn’t do that great of a job) but for now they are fine.

I also made a bit of home made half inch bias tape which was sewn around each panel.

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Once that was done, they looked like this!

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Which meant it was time to move on to the body of the garment. I repeated the process of marking out all the boning channels onto the twill. I also left a one inch “seam” allowance on each side.

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I sandwiched the marked panels between muslin.

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And sewed around them.

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And then the sewing of boning channels began! This wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had thought. You just have to go slow and follow the lines.It’s when I rushed, or got distracted that I made mistakes.

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Adding the boning was the most enjoyable part for me. I cut each length and then filed the ends so they weren’t sharp.

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I wish I could say these pieces were finished – but they were far from it. Each piece needed to have the edges bound.

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Bound edges are done by turning over the seam allowances (twice) and stitching them down. Then the bound edges are stitched together to hold the garment together.

To do this properly I purchased some heavy duty upholstery thread – the cotton thread I usually use would have snapped in an instant!

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And this is what the back panel looked like! Four of the edges are bound and two of them are stitched together.

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Not the prettiest stitching in the world, but I think I will get better at it.

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I repeated this process on the side/front panels as well. Then I added more home made bias tape to the curved edge.

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Once that was finished and all the pieces were sewn together it looked like this!

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I just had to bind the bottom edge, sew the shoulder seams together,  and sew on the lacing panels.

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For the shoulder seams I used a cross stitch. The insides ended up looking really messy, so I sewed a small panel of lining over them.

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And I was finished! Overall it has a lot of issues and ugly hand sewn bits, but I learned a ton (which was the point) so I’m happy with it. It’s also a lot more durable and comfortable then I had expected – I honestly have bras that are far more uncomfortable then this.

I did forget to order the right lacing for this, the one i’m using now is too thin and if I pull it tightly i’ll wrisk tearing the eyelets. I’m confident I can lace it in another inch if I had the correct mm of cording.

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So that’s that. I think my next project from the book will be the Neuberg bodies, but I may decide to take on the more challenging partially boned stays next, hmm…

Thanks for reading!