I finally did it! I finished my pregnancy stays- just 6 months late!
I was interested in this project because not many people have talked about their maternity experiences while being in period costume. Also, because I’ve not seen this particular style of stays reproduced. So onto the deets!
Medium Weight Linen (Yellow scraps from my husband’s waistcoat)
2 Layers Heavy Weight Linen (white, canvas- more scraps from another project!)
These stays are based on the pair in the Jill Salen Corsets book for 1780-1785 (pgs 18-21). They lace up the back and have lacings on the sides as well to accommodate your growing bump. These stays are interesting because they do not have a lacing in the centerfront- whereas a few other examples do have that feature. I found that the general measurements (waist length and bust measurement) were very close to my own to begin with. The scariest part of this is to gauge some measurements since you’re to grow throughout pregnancy. Being my first pregnancy and having no idea what to expect, I made the decision to have the closed waist measurement an inch larger than my red wool pair of stays.
1/2″ linen tape from Burnley and Trowbridge (B&T)
Linen Thread from B&T
Cane/Reed for boning
How historically accurate is it?
I tried to make them as close to the original as possible- made of linen and bound with linen tape. I used cane/reed for the boning; which is merely what I had on hand. I wanted to use ash splint, but didn’t want to spend a ton of money for a pair of stays that will only have a little bit of wear. They’re entirely hand-stitched and I made them in a week (other than the binding on the tabs… that took me 6 months to get back to.)
Hours to complete: 35ish
I should have kept track, but being in the “get it done” mode, I didn’t bother. I know I spent at least 3 work days, a few evenings and around 3 hours in the car on the way to a conference. So the above is an estimate.
I wore this pair for the first time March 2017 at the Printed Textiles Conference held at Colonial Williamsburg this past spring. It was really great to be able to wear them around, albeit late in pregnancy, to compare with my everyday comfort. More on that later…
Total cost: around $25
Being a person of somewhat small stature, I’m always delighted when a fabric scrap will more than adequately be what I need for a project like this!
Overall I’m happy with the way they turned out and they are VERY comfortable and I can easily wear them while not in maternity mode. One of the biggest complaints among pregnant women is that bras are uncomfortable with a growing bust. With this pair, I had no problems with extra movement, underbust sweat, or shoulder strap pain with these like you do modern undergarments- WHILE PREGNANT. However, post-baby, I found that the measurements are no longer the most optimal- I can still wear them pretty comfortably- but I’ll definitely need a new pair to look and feel my best… but I’ll post about the post-baby-fit sometime soon!
So far this quarter, I’ve been trying to juggle taking a mere 12 credit hours (I normally take about 17), piano lessons and life. But here’s the progress on the Regency dress!
|Certainly not the most beautiful pic
of me, but there’s the dress.
The pics have the dress pinned together (sans sleeves) in what I hope it will look like. I decided to gather them Corded style, so wonderfully explained by The Dreamstress…though, I did mine by hand instead of machine.
I really like the cording method rather than a running stitch. It’s way more secure and delivers the most gorgeous gathers! I do believe I will use this method of gathering from now on.
Notice the cream yarn? I’m using it for my cord instead of real cord. Why? It doesn’t have a tendency to bulge, requires a very thin channel and I have a ton of it. Yay thriftiness!!!
|Le View de Side|
You can kinda see the cording on the skirt portion in the side view ANNNND you can also see the Apron-front line. I decided to do something a little different than the typical apron front bodices I’ve seen. I got the idea from the dress Marianne twists her ankle in.
|I understand this is not Marianne, but
it is the same dress, just from Persuasion (2007)
Now, I realize that these pics are not of Marianne, but for viewing purposes, the stills from Persuasion (2007) are a lot more illustrative. The bodice piece is a gathered trapezoid creating a more seamless effect, so in theory, you won’t be able to tell if it’s an apron front or not… but we’ll see how sneaky I actually am later on, when it’s closer to finished.*crosses fingers*
|See how the lines are angled?|
I’m still not positive on the style of the sleeves yet. I’m torn between elbow length or cap. Sometimes I wish I could do both, but it would look rather silly.
Finally, I’m getting around to posting this! I finished my hand-stitched petticoat right before Christmas and took pictures on Christmas day. I’m set with the undergarments and am ready for the real dressmaking now!
|me being goofy|
|ick, I look very ticked off. but here is the front.|
The entire garment is stitched by hand and made of a white cotton bedsheet from a hospital which was bought from a thrift shop.
Well, I’m not entirely sure that it’s 1790’s but the overall outfit will be. I started this project on Monday and have spent many many many hours in my sewing room trying to finish it so far. It is made out of a bedsheet from a hospital:
The sheet cost me $1.50 from a thrift store and had more than enough fabric to do the job. The bodice is a modified stays pattern, lined with the same bed sheet and is entirely hand-sewn. The skirt is attached only with pins at the moment…
|The best pic of the side I could get|
It will have a waistband, to bring the bulk of the gathers down a bit, for a smaller waistline. I also didn’t notice that the bodice of my petticoat is smaller than my stays until looking at the pictures for this post. Oh well I guess. Anywho, that’s my progress!