Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Regency/Empire Stays, part III

With the front panel complete, it's time to assemble the rest of the stays.1

Working from front to back, I "sandwiched" the completed section between each two new layers.  So, for the first in-seam gusset (cut in two layers to permit the sandwich), the outer layer of the gusset is laid right-sides-together with the outer front panel, and the lining layer is set right-sides-together on the front lining.  I then stitched the seam through all four layers (gusset shell/front shell+lining combo/gusset lining), and pressed the gusset out.  The front+gusset is now the completed section and is treated as one.  To add the side section, the side shell is laid right-to-right over the front+gusset, the lining is treated the same, and the process is repeated.  The hip gusset in the side piece was made in a single layer, and treated as the bust gussets in the front panel.  Boning channels were stitched between the shell and lining after the two were attached and pressed flat.

To make the back section, I joined the shoulder straps to the back pieces (L shell to L shell, R shell to R shell, R lining to R lining, L lining to L lining), and then joined each back piece to its lining, along the center back opening.  I did this to make a clean center back, without binding (leaving more space for the bones and eyelets).  Pressed the back pieces flat and stitched the back boning channels (butted into the CB seam, and another 1/4" away, leaving space for the eyelets in between.  Made the eyelet holes with an awl and applied 2-piece metal eyelets (size 00) with a setting anvil.  Following the method in Period Costumes for Stage and Screen, the eyelets are paired, but with an extra off-set at the eyelet at top and bottom for internal spiral lacing.  [My initial attempts to don the garment with spiral lacing were unsuccessful, so it's displayed below with cross-lacing.]

Made remaining back-boning channels as before.  I then joined the back and side+gusset pieces by sewing the shell only (usual right-to-right and open method).  The lining was folded over (to cover the raw edges) and topstitched.

The straighter boning channels (short slanted bones on the front, center back pairs, side hip) received 1/4" straight steel bones.  Curvier sections, particularly along the panel joins, used 1/4" spring steel.
(To see the difference, I've put up explanations of the different steels here).

Prepared bias edging of tightly-woven cotton (also used for some of the lining pieces), and attached it along the top edge--including both straps--and the bottom, encasing all remaining raw edges.  Added 8 thread eyelets to fasten straps (two per strap, and two at each side of the bust).

Completed Regency/Empire Stays.
Finished stays, front

Side back view of 1820s Stays from Period Costumes for Stage and Screen.
Finished Stays, side back

Front side view of early 19th century-style stays.
Finished stays, side front

1. For the record, I know that the French First Empire dates 1804-1814 and the English Regency period ran 1811-1820, but I am using the terms in the expanded sense, to cover the neo-classical fashion of dress which was popular approximately 1795-1830.  My apologies to anyone who is bothered by this construction.  I have been known to flip out over similar misuses of the term "Victorian" (1837-1901) to denote "pre-1920", "1870 or later", and/or "looks sort of old".

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting!