Thursday, January 5, 2012

Finished Project: 1790's undergarments

Hooray!  I'm finally finished with the shift, stays, and petticoat for the 1790's morning outfit - this was my first entirely hand-sewn project, so I'm trying to bask in the glow of accomplishment and not think about how many more things I could have done if I had used the machine.  And I'm not completely done: the bottom edge of the stays need to be finished and I need to short the straps a bit, but that straightforward work can be done when I get back to college.

The chemise and petticoat are a cotton/linen blend and the stays are cotton sateen with the cotton/linen for the waist stay and binding.

It's hard to see, but there is a small bustle pad attached to the petticoat

Yeah, those straps need to be shorter

I used Past Patterns 038 for the stays and I have some advice for anyone interested in making it.  First, the "busk area" (there isn't actually a busk, just four boning channels in the center) was too wide.  This made it stick out away from me - this can probably be concealed by a sturdy bodiced petticoat, but it's a bit of a pain.  The extant stays I've seen have this wide busk:

So if you make this pattern, I would suggest that you only use the two center-most boning channels and ignore the outer ones.

This is probably just my high waist, but the side bones dig into my hips the tiniest bit.  Otherwise these stays are very comfortable.


  1. Wow! Those look amazing! Kudos on all the hand sewing.
    I've got that Past Pattern on my wish list so I'm glad to know your review :)

  2. Bask in the glow of the hand sewing! You may have accomplished more on a machine, but it wouldn't be as fabulous!

    I'm very envious of your stays. Making a pair of short stays is at the top of my wish list. Just as soon as I finish all those UFOs!