To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3

Friday, June 21, 2013

Regency Era Corded Stays Sewing Binge!!!!

Right then!  I have been on a sewing binge....I haven't been on one such as this in a very long time!  However, I am feeling the press of Costume College weighing down upon me.  Oh and the Lewis and Clark picnic in July, can't forget about that!  

The past two weeks have really been....busy...let's just call it that.  So, at the beginning of this week, I told my family, "I am doing nothing but staying home and doing 'home' things!!!"  I did actually get "home" things done.  Laundry....just got the clean and folded items put away tonight.  Vacuuming...yes...that was done tonight.  I did make dinner three nights this week...a couple of nights didn't count as we were out....See!!  I did to "home" things!

However, I must be truthful and say that mainly I sewed...on an insanely time consuming corded stay.  OHMYGOSH!  

Ok...I need to take a time out here and say something if I may.  I so admire all of my costuming peers out there in the amaze me with your ability to create beauty from scratch.  But, I do need to say something.  (and please know that I say this with LOVE, humor, and great AWE!!!!!)  You ladies who sew all of those cording channels by hand....

ARE CRAZY!!!!!!! not crazy perhaps.  But as I spent hours and hours sewing cording channels with my sewing machine, all I could think of was those ladies who do this by hand....are....talented (there is no denying that at all) and full of patience!!!  I could never do anything like that!  Well, maybe I could, but so do not want to.  The hand sewn eyelets and buttonholed slit for the busk that I made were enough to send my fingertips into rebellion!!

I decided to use the Past Patterns stays for my first Regency Era stays...I was seriously intimidated by the pattern and ALL those cording channels.  I had to talk my self into making these stays.  Truly.  I laid in bed Monday morning and debated with myself on the merits of making these....finally I got out of bed and started with the mock up.

Because I was on a sewing binge, I only paused to take photos and not post a blog we shall make this post a very fast paced one!!!

I used some of the black quilted cotton I bought a while ago (I got it with the idea that I would make my mourning dress out of it.  The quilting changed my was too.....quilty...)
The pattern went together really well and actually fit!

Side view.  Look!!  I have a shelf!!  Whoot!  Didn't know if I would as I take after my Daddy in the bosom department...flat.  But with these, I have a very lovely Regency shape!

 I am so not going to worry about the gap in the back.  I have no idea how to adjust these babies to get that gap equal distance apart the whole length of my back....

Ok, here we are a few days later.  I have sewn the cording channels but have not filled them with twine cord.  I followed this most fabulous tutorial on how to fill the channels.  This helped me so much!

Great tutorial with tons of pictures and written instruction!!  

I think the stays were too far down...don't know....

The back looks better here.  I did add 10 steel bones to the stays as I was not fond of the way the stays buckled when I tied them.  I am sooooo used to the structure of Victorian and Edwardian corsets.  These kind of freaked me out.  That and the fact that I look like a sausage wearing this.  I have no give in my waist anyway, and these stays only nipped in a wee bit.

The back.  Look at all those lovely grommets!!!  Laaaaaa!!  I found this fabulous tutorial for making them and they work GREAT!!!  I tied the stays rather tightly and had no problem!

Aren't they pretty?

Laying flat on the bad....The upper channels are all sewn.  The next day I sewed the lower channels!

Miss Rosie cracks me up!  She always has to inspect and then lay upon whatever I put on my bed. That includes anything new I have sewn.  This time I scolded her and said that under no circumstances was she allowed to lay on my pristine white stays!

Here is a better picture of her "not" laying on my stays.  But see how she snuck in her tail?  Sneaky little kitty!

Alrighty then!  Here are the almost complete stays on Emma Mark IV.  I have everything done except the shoulder straps!  I will wait until next week to begin those.  I have done enough sewing for this week.

All those cording channels.  My family thinks I'm crazy!  I have about 42 hours invested into these.  That included picking out the channels that weren't straight....

I raised the under arm was waaaaay too deep for my tastes before...

On Emma Mark IV the back gap is so much nicer to gaze upon!  Oh well.....She doesn't eat cooking and pastries!  Poor ole girl!!

All in all I am really happy with the Past Patterns pattern.  These involved a lot of time, but the pieces themselves went together grandly!!  

Can't wait to wear them!!


  1. Hey, wow, your stays look AMAZING! Look at those hand bound eyelets! WOW! Great job :)

    1. Thank you my lovely friend! I am pretty proud of my hand bound eyelets! And my fingers are through being grouchy with me! hahahahaha!!!

  2. WOW!! That is amazing! I love the grommets. There are a ton of channels and you did a great job on making them even and straight! Perfect stitching and wonderfully made! I'd give this a 10 out of 10.

    1. Thank you Valerie! I must admit though that out of the 54 hours it took me to complete these, a few of those hours were gobbled up by ripping out some of those channels because they were decidedly NOT straight! hahaha!!! Thank you for the wonderfully high score!

  3. Hi Gina,

    I was wondering if you could tell me what size you made? Did the size match your measurements or did you go one size down from your measurements?


    1. Hi Chastity!!
      I used size 18 and I don't recall having to do any alterations to the size. It went together fabulously and without a hitch!