Befuddled by the Busk Pocket

Last night everything went as planned. I hand-basted the upper edge of the stays, including the straps, to secure the layers in proper alignment. Then I aligned and hand-tacked the seams along the lower edge. I did skip ahead a tad and sewed along the edge of the center back edges to keep the stays from flopping around like a dead fish turned inside out. (I sincerely hope this doesn’t come back to bite me later. But if it does, they are easy to take out.)

The stays lay flat (!!!) which is something I honestly didn’t expect on the first try, but am delighted that they/it do/does. [This is a question of grammar – the garment is a single item, however it is referred to in the plural. Sheesh.]

So I am now at Step 6 on page 6: Create the busk pocket. And I’m stuck. (Deb – help!)

I purchased the busk when I ordered the pattern. It is a lovely piece of wood, tapered so that it is wider at the top than at the bottom. No problem – the busk pocket opening will be at the top edge and it’s easy to taper the pocket.

I absorb information visually and tend to process it intuitively, so I knew what to do next – lay out the stays at the center front and set the busk on top to visualize the next steps. And I hit a mental snag.

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My biggest handicap here is that I’ve never seen or handled Regency stays – neither an extant garment nor a reproduction. So I’m steering half-blind, gauging the look from museum websites and photos posted by compulsive Pinterest addicts (don’t take it personally, I’m one myself).

I’m not making a removable version, since washing corsets/stays with metal bones is not a good idea, so the next step is to cut two pieces of bias binding with each two inches longer than the width of the busk pocket. OK – so far, so good.

One is sewn to enclose the cover fabric and the interlining. The other is sewn to enclose the lining and a 2×4 scrap of interlining fabric. And this is where I’m stuck…I can’t visualize how it’s supposed to go together.

The following step is to sew the vertical lines to create the pocket into which the busk is placed. And then we move on to the boning and the boning channels.

The illustration shows binding placed in the center front at the bottom edge, which makes perfect sense. And I understand using one piece to enclose the outer fabric and the interlining, thereby creating the base of the pocket between those two layers.

But what am I supposed to do with the second piece of bias binding that’s sewn to the scrap of interlining fabric? Sew it to the interlining and…? It’s not mentioned again, so this is the point where it should be finished off.

I think.

All suggestions, instructions, and helpful hints happily accepted.

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2 thoughts on “Befuddled by the Busk Pocket

  1. You’re supposed to sew it to the lining and the scrap of interlining (which is there purely to help support the lining).

    But — if you don’t want to remove your busk, just forget this whole step!!! Push the busk in, and bind the top and bottom. 🙂

    I’ve decided I confuse people by trying to stick with historical details (or as close to historical techniques as I can figure out). The instructions are for a removable busk since they did “wash” (sort of) their stays, and they certainly replaced their busks, since they did break occasionally.

    btw, I just learned this week that by the 1830s, the wide part of the busk went down, and the narrow part was up. I haven’t found a source for before then, but I suspect that it held true for the Regency stays.

    • Thank you so much! Looks like I was trying to make it more complicated that it is…not unusual for me. 😉 Onward!!
      Very interesting about the busk orientation – will look into it.

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