Hand-sewn 1780's style stays. These stays are made of three layers of linen and will eventually have a fourth layer consisting of a loose lining. The exterior is a lovely Italian linen dyed by me to a reddish pink to mimic some extant pairs of stays from this period. The boning is pounded ash from the ever-obliging Nate of Nate's Nantucket baskets. The binding and seam covering is white lambskin. All seams are sewn in linen thread. The boning channels are stitched in back-stitch.
The stays are cut to give more lift and shape than the stays of earlier in the century. To do this the boning of the front panel splays out instead of all going in exactly the same direction. These stays also have an additional partial set of eyelets at the center front which can be used to adjust the bust measurement, though in reality they are mostly decorative.
I originally intended these stays to have straps. My goal was to model the straps off a pair of stays at the V&A where the they are not of a pieces with the body of the stays but seem to have been stitched on separately in the back and then attached in the front. At the moment these stays fit quite well without the straps and my attempts to add them have so far been unsuccessful. I would like to if possible simply because most stays of this period do in fact have straps.
The more observant viewer will notice that these stays are not fully boned and that on the side panels wrinkles form in the un-boned spaces. I believe this is due to my not having cut the panels on the correct grain which is frustrating but doesn't pose any structural problems so I guess I'll just know not to do that next time.