- Written by Tennessee US/London UK
When it comes to creating Regency stays, one may choose to make either a pair of short stays or long stays. I created a pair of long stays based on the fact that I wanted to maintain a smooth line from chest to hip in my costume. Keeping my own golden rule of costuming in mind (foundation first) I set about creating the shape I wanted my Regency costume to take.
Employing a combination of research, extant studies, and the patterns published by Jean Hunnisett and Norah Waugh, I was able to draft my own pattern.
The next step was to create and fit a toile. Once I was satisfied with the fit of the stays, I set about cutting into the top fabric. I chose to use two layers of cotton drill in order to “sandwich” the cording between the layers.
The cording proved to be quite trying. I first marked the busk pocket and embroidered the top layer. I decided to sew the busk pocket as the very last thing so that I could fully take advantage of the space it would take up when inserted. I’ve never corded stays before so I was very apprehensive about sewing channels. I started with the first channels under the bust and I pulled the cord through from the busk space, stopping it right at the edge. I continued this process until I finished the cording on every panel. I then stitched the busk pocket carefully, making sure I caught the edge of each cord.
Then I cut into the tape layer very carefully to place the gussets in. I decided to hand stitch the point in so that they would fit correctly. After sanding the busk down, I inserted it into the pocket.
The next step taught me the most valuable lesson I learned from this entire project: keep it neat. The gussets were the hardest part to bind and proved to be the most difficult when it came to stitching them down to the inside. I closed all seams together and then covered them with bias binding.
In the end I decided to use peach ribbon to tie the straps together because it tied all the undergarments together in a manner I found pleasing.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my work with you.