I may not have been busy blogging, but I have been busy sewing!
After licking my wounds caused by the rather disencouraging debacle with my black taffeta, I decided to march on to a project I had planned for a while: a new pair of stays.
While my current pair fits me very well, there are a few things I don't like about them. The armscye is to big towards the back, and since I had no idea what I was doing while I made the stays, they're basically a patchwork à la "make up as you go". It's not noticeable to anyone but me, but that's enough.
But the biggest issue is that I really need a pair of front-laced stays. I can't depend on others to lace me up every time I want to do a fitting or go to an event, and it's impossible for me to lace myself up in a pair of back laced stays - I've tried and I almost had to see a chiropractic afterwards!
So these new stays will have lacing in back, and in front. That's a lot of eyelets, but I have brainwashed myself into liking them so that's not an issue. Historical accuracy may be, because I can't recall seeing a surviving pair of stays, with shoulder straps, from the later decades (70's-80's) of the 18th c that has both front and back lacing (if you know of one, let me know!).
And since I'm obviously suffering from both hubris and a masochistic streak, I decided to go 100% hand sewn this time. Why, I will never know but that's where I am right now.
The helpful ladies at the forum (still online! Yay!) recommended 12 stitches per inch for the boning channels... Let's just say that I'm getting closer... The two front panels look like %&##¤&¤## but I'm progressing and now make 10 stitches per inch. If I make even further progress, the stays will appear to have been made by 5 different persons in different stages of intoxication.
When I started to make plans for these stays, the idea was that I would work on them on and off, between other projects, with no pressure but now I have decided that I won't sew another garment until I can fit it off these stays. Hopefully I have got everything right this time, so I can use the master pattern for new stays to come without having to change my garments over and over again.
No close-ups because I'm too ashamed of my terrible stitching!
Outer layer of blue linen (doesn't look so bright in person) and two layers of heavy cotton. I will add the lining later. Binding will be from natural linen tape (if I don't try to dye it pink... Hmmm...). And cable ties for boning - allright! Although I have to order more.
As you can see, there's a lot more to be done. One stitch at a time...
...so I decided to start on a simultaneous project where I actually could feel I made progress!
Miss Ellinor, my stepdaughter, wished for a new pair of stays for Christmas and I liked the idea. Yesterday she went to Wales for two months of internship and I had initially decided to make the stays after her return, but a few days before she was about to go, I got a sudden urge to quickly make them up just enough for a fitting so I then could work on them while she was away, and so she would return to a brand new pair of finished stays!
Said, and done! Ellinor is about half my size but surprisingly enough I could make a draft from my own stays, and since such a petite figure as hers does well with half-boned stays the (machine sewed) channels and assembly went real quick.
So now all I have to do is to sew the eyelets and the binding... That's right - most of the work actually...
Here the stays lie with a lot of raw edges and seam allowances ready to be trimmed down.
She also got blue linen for an outer layer but it's not the same as on mine. Cable ties FTW! I will definitely use pink binding on these for cuteness.
And as if I hadn't my hands full already, I purchased fabric today for something that some day may become a pair of regency stays. Madness, madness. I need to do a lot more research for this, though. I want the stays to be appropriate for ca 1810 (any help/suggestions/encouragement extremely welcome!). I'm terrified of cording and bust gussets. I really need to end this post now.