Thursday, April 2, 2015

Stash Busting-My-Ass, More Like!

Okay, so I missed the February HSWTF deadline for the "blue" challenge.  I'm still working on it--my blue wool stays have acquired 85% of their hand-bound eyelets and will soon be ready for boning and assembly.  (She said optimistically...)


March's challenge is 'stash-busting,' aka "I'm not allowed to buy anything new for this project."  How fortuitous, then, that I had the materials for a new pair of regency stays already squirreled away for a rainy day.  I did make the executive decision to order a fresh copy of the pattern, Past Patterns 001, since while I did already own a copy, I slashed the pieces to add circumference to the body piece last time I used it and taping pattern tissue back together sounds like perhaps the least fun thing ever.

Actually, working with pattern tissue is probably one of my least favorite things to do.  I find the stuff infuriating--it's so lightweight that a stray mouse fart will blow it around the room, it shreds when you pin it to anything, and rips if you look at it sideways.  Which is why I procrastinated over cutting out my pattern pieces.  Which is why it's now, um, April, and hah, guess who doesn't have a pair of stays finished yet?  Oh, that'd be me.

However, about a week ago, I realized that hey--I sent my regency stays to a friend because they no longer fit me, I have no early 19th century undergarments, and OH, there's a regency ball in, um, like three weeks!  Two weeks, now.  Less, in fact.  April 11.  In any case, nothing motivates me like a deadline.  Let's DO this!

First step was to deal with the annoying tissue issue.  Fusible interfacing to the rescue!  It doesn't really have much use in terms of historical materials or techniques, but it's great for this--I seriously just ironed my pattern pieces to the interfacing and it decreased their annoying traits by about 4000%.  As an added bonus, they don't shimmy around when placed on fabric now!  Highly recommended.  A+, would fuse again.

So much better!

With that problem dispatched, it wasn't too difficult to get everything cut out on my lunch break, with the help of the ever-wonderful perfect-height filing stations.  I got the pieces cut--two layers of twill with an outer layer of cotton sateen--and appropriate basting done last week.  On Saturday, I set all eight gores, which went surprisingly well.  Until I then tried the corset on and got a very awkwardly-shaped reminder that I haven't fit into a B-cup bra since I was 12, and why would it be a good idea to start attempting that now?

Yeah.  The pattern comes equipped with gores labeled "B Cup" and directions to "widen at the top edge" for more room.  Well, I needed more room.  There was no way the temporary busk (aka 12" ruler) was going to come close to touching my sternum, and my chest was trying to become better acquainted with my chin and my armpits all at the same time.  Not a good look.  So, I put on my best-fitting, most uplifting bra with the straps cranked down way tighter than I'd normally wear them, put the stays on over them, and slashed down the middle of the gores until the busk could rest flat against my chest and everything shifted forward and settled down to a more natural and flattering position.

And no, I did not take pictures; you'll just have to imagine.

Anyway, I then measured how much space I needed at the widest point across the slashes and expanded my gores.  Much better!  There is a little extra space at the top now, but a drawstring will easily snug that in.

Next up, structural reinforcements. 


  1. Your eyelets are so neat ... I applaud them especially as you don't love the process of sewing.

    1. Thank you! My first few were a little rough, but one thing that really helped is that the stays I'm copying have punched holes--so I could make a larger hole cut right out of the fabric to start with, rather than trying to separate the threads with a stiletto. We'll see how it holds up!

  2. Those eyelets are really spot on! I also need new Regency stays as I outgrew my last pair. But the fitting issue really turns me off... *sigh* I might really get started and copy the pattern today, thanks for being such in inspiration for me!

    1. Thank you! And I totally sympathize with the whole fitting thing being offputting...especially with corsets. It's hard to tell if it fits until you've already put so much work in!

  3. Those really are lovely eyelets! I'm rather jealous! :)

    I should try ironing more patterns to fusible, I usually get too lazy but I'm sure it's worth it. (Although I often end up tracing my patterns onto paper anyways, since I don't like to cut into the master pattern in case of future size changes or stupid mistakes)

    1. I would say it's worth it if you think you'll be using the pattern again. I know I'll probably use PP001 again, so I want to keep it nice. My Laughing Moon 1860s pattern I probably won't fuse, because I know it needs alteration out of the box before it'll fit, so I know I'll be tracing that one for sure. Both work for different situations! :)