October 17, 2009

1780 stays properly laced


Here they are! 


Look at how the neckline becomes square when the stays are properly laced. Neat. The shoulder straps stayed in place, though they meet the back of the stays at an awkward angle.


The center back edges are pretty parallel, which makes me happy. The back armscye is a bit snug, which does not. The top back edge could have been a bit lower, and the shoulder straps a bit shorter. But now I have something more accurate to go on for the next pair of stays, rather than just guessing by flopping the straps back and looking over my shoulder in a mirror. Here's a view from the side.


Not bad. 

For the record, I felt very secure in these stays. I wore them for about 7 hours, and other than my ribs becoming sore at my back near the end of that time, there were no problems. I couldn't lift my arms, but way-back-when a lady wearing stays like this would have had servants doing the lifting for her. And I could not take a deep breath, there will be no desert hikes in these stays. To roughly approximate (very roughly) the late 18th century silhouette I wore the stays over a wide-hipped dress, and under that I wore a 1950's crinoline. Not a square dance shaped one, but a long Dior-esque one that's flatter across the front, with the fullness on the sides. A friend laced me in, we took these pictures, then went to lunch. So I wouldn't be a spectacle, I tossed an embroidered tank top on over the stays. As we were walking home a man stepped out of a thrift store, pointed at me, and said, "Eighteenth century! European!"  so I guess the rough approximation worked. 

11 comments:

  1. Haha! I love that some random person got it!

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  2. nice job! and i have to admit, the thrift store man made me chuckle - it's not often that random people will comment (correctly, i might add) on period garments!

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  3. It looks fantastic, I LOVE your blog!

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  4. I too laughed at thrift store man. What a surprise. And thanks for the compliments!

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  5. It looks great! Now I'd love to finish my own stays soon, they've been on the shelf unfinished for a year.

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  6. Just come accross your blog - these stays are lovely!

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  7. It's been five years since you started on these stays and they have been a god send to me. I'm working on a pair now and your posts have been a BIG help. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I absolutely LOVE your blog.

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  8. That's so nice to hear! I'm glad the posts are helping you with your own stays. Thank you for reading, Jeanettec!

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  9. I was able to put my back laced stays on by myself by starting with the opening in front, and the shoulder straps unfastened, lacing them fairly loosely,and then hauling them around, and tightening the lacing. I see, however, that your shoulder straps fasten in the back, which would make this approach difficult.

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