1780's Embroidered Stays - Construction Part Two

I had no idea I was capable of sewing this much in such a short amount of time, but here we are. A week from my last post i've finished the embroidery and put together the main body of the stays. I'll start with how they look at the moment, then go through my process.

1780 Embroidered stays main finished
1780's embroidered stays embroidery close up

I'm pretty proud of how they're turning out, but I still have a long way to go. I'm not looking forward to binding the tabs, for example.

The first job was the finish the embroidery. I originally planned to have 2 other pieces of embroidery in the other large boning gaps, but that would have taken far too long.

1780's stays finished embroidery pattern

This is only the third piece of embroidery i've done (my garters were second), and although it's rough and sloppy in some places, I love it. Embroidery is just so addictive, the floss is so cheap and all you need is a scrap of fabric to put a design on.

After that was done, I cut out the side panels of the stays in cotton duck and the blue cotton outside fabric. Then I traced the boning channels onto the duck, which I hate doing. I must invest in a tracing wheel.

1780's stays boning channel trace

I then played around with different fabrics and interlining. On my mock-up the reed showed through the fabric, and I felt that it could have been sturdier overall. I boned two rectangles of fabric - one with the cotton duck and blue cotton, and one with that plus some non-fusible interfacing (interlining?) that I had in my stash.

1780's stays fabric boning test

The results were clear, the one with the interfacing provided much more support and gave the stiffness I wanted. Modern interfacing is in no way period accurate, but I didn't have the time to go buy more cotton duck for another strength layer. A lesson learned for next time.

Despite this setback, I sewed the boning channels on the side panels with no issues, and felt pretty good about myself.

1780's stays side panels boning channels

All that was left to do was the front panel, which meant lining the embroidery up with the channels. Now, i'm sure there was an easier way I could have done the embroidery for this. Maybe sewing the channels then doing the embroidery?

1780's stays embroidery boning channels

Either way I managed. The right piece of embroidery is slightly wonky, but it's not noticeable.

After I sewed all of the completed pieces together, I made a start on the seam reinforcements. I deliberately left 5mm gaps plus my seam allowances, so I could fit in the 10mm wide ribbon on the seams.

1780's stays seam reinforcement ribbon
I'm sewing these by hand since i'm afraid i'll mess it up with a machine. I need to improve on my hand stitching anyway, since the top curved channels will be hand stitched. Unfortunately there's about six layers of fabric to stitch through. Why did I get rid of my thimble collection?

The inside turned out quite neat too. You can see where I had to adjust my boning channels after I mis-measured and almost stitched through the embroidery.

1780's stays inside seams

After i've sewn all the seam reinforcements, I need to cut and sew the lining together and make the straps up. Then comes the joys of tab binding and eyelet making.

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