July 9, 2009

jumping back to the 18th century

It's time for stays! On page 42 of Corsets and Crinolines is a pattern for stays from 1780 that looks like a good place to start. The copy reads, "Half boned stays, covered in red silk damask, the stitching for the bones which shows on the outside is white, and the seams are outlined with a narrow white silk ribbon." The V&A has red stays (It's tough to tell without a high resolution picture, but that fabric does look potentially damask-y.) with white stitching and thin white ribbon that look like they may be the stays this pattern was made from. If not, they're pretty close.

© Victoria & Albert Museum (museum number T.120-1969)

There isn't much information given about these stays though because the page is highlighting the side hoops. But there are images from several angles. The back view shows the shoulder straps tie in back. Hmm, something to think about. Fabric-wise, I'm thinking maybe it's time to dive into the bin of Toile de Jouy.

Or maybe I'll be super decadent and use this Carolyn Quartermaine silk dupioni.

Both seem era appropriate, though cutting into the silk scares me. I have time to decide though while I work on the pattern. If you think one would look fabulously better than the other let me know!


  1. I think the silk would be 500% more fabulous and wearable than the Toile de Jouy.

    -Eleine (Peau-de-Soie from LJ)

  2. I ditto Eleine - I think the silk would be way awesome.

  3. You probably know about this by now, but this pair of stays can be seen in much better detail in this photograph(also from the V&A): http://www.vandaimages.com/results.asp?image=2010EE7862-01&itemw=4&itemf=0001&itemstep=1&itemx=8

    You can actually see the damask pattern very nicely in this image, and I am convinced this is the exact one Norah Waugh based her pattern on. There are other views of this garment as well.

    I've been lurking around this blog for the past few days and I am very VERY impressed! Your version of the 1780's pair of stays has convinced me that this will be my next corsetry project, although your workmanship would be extremely hard to equal!

  4. I didn't know that Miniki, thank you for clueing me in to the V&A's updates image search! And thank you for the compliment!