I’m in need of 18th Century stays… because I’ve been wanting to make an 18th Century outfit for years but I just couldn’t settle on a style. Now I have and more on that as I work on it, but for now, I need the foundations.
Let me say that I’m not stranger to corsets and stays. I have my Elizabethan that I love and I suppose, if it comes to it, could work for fitting purposes for the 18th Century. I have made several corsets for my Victorian wear, and a few regency stays (working on those fascinating wrap ones in the future). For whatever reason, these ones are not going well.
I’m using a Butterick pattern, 4254, because it has been recommended and because I don’t need an abundance of support that might have pushed me toward drafting or another company. I’m a 32A and there lies my problem. I picked the size that should give me 3-4 inches in the back and comfortable support around my chest, though I always expect it to be big there given my measurements. But this pattern? Oh boy.
I felt fairly comfortable throwing it together and then I threw it at my dress form knowing that it doesn’t squish like a real person. Yep, Houston, we have problems.
It’s a bit wide for my tiny bust and by a bit, I’m going to go with upwards of 1.5in, which is significant but not un-fixable. I know these stays are supposed to be wide, but I’m pretty sure there shouldn’t be a gap. If I need to, I am not opposed to inserting bust pads to achieve the correct period shape. The neckline of my garment will not be so low to make cleavage a point to consider.
Next problem: It closes in the back on a solid dress form. That means that it will be big on me, a human. This is frustrating. Apparently at 24in waist actually means a 27-28in waist. I’ve worked with Butterick before and haven’t had this issue. In fact, the end product usually makes me think that I should have gone up in size. But this is a decently easy fix. I’d had to do it, but I can remove .5in on each side. I’m hoping that by doing this, I will also pull some snugness around the bust line.
Next: I’m tall and everything is short on me. Fine. That’s actually okay since I will be wearing a bumpad to fill out my skirts (no paniers) and I am comfortable with them sitting on my hips. That said, the straps are rather long. As in, too long. I can overlap them on the bust. Another easy fix. A trim will be in order for those and for the back which rides exceptionally high. I’ll do this once things are together.
My biggest concern in how big it is. I could be worrying about nothing. I did that with my Tudor and to be honest, it’s a bit too snug. Taking out a .5in on each side might do the trick; I’m not going for waist reduction like I do with my Victorians.