I have always wanted an 18th century Stays(as they were not called corsets until the 1800’s) and on Friday, I just decided I was going to make’em.

13 eighteen-inch Heavy Duty Cable ties
52ish fourteen-inch zip ties (regular strength)
1 1/2 yards of canvas material (for me)
1 1/4 pkg of double fold bias tape

Estimated Time:
took me 15ish hours (over 3 days time)


I started with this handy dandy site called the Custom Corset Pattern Generator. This site is for Elizabethan corsets, but I had a plan: The basic shape of the Elizabethan stays and the stays from the 1700’s are pretty much the same. I put my waist measurement as 2” smaller than I am, from 25” waist to 23” and used the pattern generator for the basics of my pattern and customized my pattern further by looking after this diagram that I found somewhere on the internet. The bone channels were derived from this picture to give a more “18th Century Look”. I also added straps, tabs around the bottom, and a rounded bustline to the generated pattern to make it more like the pic.

(if this is your photo and would not like me to use it, tell me, and I’ll get rid of it)

My pattern ended up looking like this:

The blue lines are for the heavy duty zip ties, while the red lines are for the regular ones

After cutting out my fabric I sewed the necessary channels for the bones (as indicated above). This didn’t take too long, as you’re sewing straight lines. But, the hard part came when the ties were ready to be put in… In order to guarantee that the cut cable ties won’t pierce through your corset while you’re wearing it, they need to be dulled after they’re cut. This is most easily accomplished by burning the ends. BUT this stinks something terrible, so by all means do it outside!
After I finished with that horrible ordeal, I inserted them where they are supposed to be.

So my stays were pretty much done by that point, only the bias tape, straps, and eyelets needed to be finished. I sewed the straps on by machine, but the rest I did by hand. It took a long time but I’m glad I did it.

I now have to repair one of the bones from the back of the stays b/c as you can see it popped out of place:

I’m very happy with how this turned out… and fortunate to have had these sites for help:
18th Century Stays
Mara Riley
La Mode Historique

If ya got any questions… just Holler!