Going Regency: a short note about long stays

1820s Corded Corset from Meg Andrews Auctions

1820s Corded Corset from Meg Andrews Auctions

Now that I’ve gone Regency, I need to build a complete wardrobe: chemise, stays, overdress, and gown. And bonnet, gloves, shoes, stockings and reticule. And I cannot make a properly fitting gown without properly fitting stays.

I’ve spent some time reading up on the issue of stays: short or long, most authentic patterns, easiest patterns to use, etc. The girls are going to need something like the picture above – lots of support. Half-stays will probably end up digging into my ribcage trying to hold these two DD show-offs up and out. (The thought of which is a bit alarming, but that’s how it goes.)

In addition, a simple corded model won’t do either. In the absence of whalebone, the girls need steel.

The Mantua Maker Regency Corset pattern (long stays)

The Mantua Maker Regency Corset pattern (long stays)

So, after much deliberation, it came down to two pattern makers: Laughing Moon and  The Mantua Maker. Laughing moon patterns are great – the first corset (Victorian) I made was from Laughing Moon and the instructions are fabulous. However, I ended up going with The Mantua Maker – the pattern appears to be better suited for my curves (lots of gussets) and will allow for as much boning as I’ll need. The photo of the finished product is horrible, too shiny and doesn’t fit the mannequin properly, but I’ve seen the end result and it is so much nicer. So. Much. Nicer.

Wooden center busk for Regency long stays (still wrapped in plastic)

Wooden center busk for Regency long stays

The other feature of this pattern is that it’s designed for a tapered wooden busk. This will be a first for me. I’m having a hard time imagining what it will feel like when sitting – good thing the ends are rounded. The center busk separates the girls and make sure that cleavage isn’t revealed – highly improper, you know. This I’ve got to see for myself.

The muslin is out and ready to cut.  The coutil is on its way from Richard the Thread: http://www.richardthethread.com/.

I’ve read the pattern all the way through four times and made notes throughout.

Time to pick up the scissors and get going.