Monday, February 21, 2011

Worsted Stays

My first pair of stays were beginning to show some major signs of wear, but I work too often to do any repairs to them.  Solution?  Make a second pair!  I decided to make this pair out of a lovely teal worsted wool, not only to show off all that channel stitching but to co-ordinate with the Robe a la Polonaise I was currently making.  They're still based on the same original stays that my white pair is.  The fit was just so comfortable I couldn't argue against using it again!


As always, I hand-stitch EVERYTHING.  I used a heavy, bleached linen thread for all of it.  Channels are all back-stitched except for the ones next to the center back which have a spaced back-stitch.  I usually end up with around 10 stitches per inch, a little on the tiny side.  Seams are butted and whipped together.  The center front is "open" part way down, but the laces keep it shut.  The eyelets are created using an awl, finished with double thread (the only other place double is used is on the seams).

The un-lined inside looks a bit rough.  You can see the heavy linen used for the structure and boning channels; two layers covered with the wool on the exterior.  The seams are whipped down before lining. The leather binding is stitched with running or back-stitches to the outside then flipped in and whipped down.  The heavy linen is cut to the finished edge, but the wool is left about 1/2 longer and whipped down before binding.  It helps to stitch the leather to an edge which isn't fraying.  You can also see the connecting thread between the eyelets, which will get hidden by the lining.

The linings purpose is to take all of the sweat, friction, and smell of the body.  It's easy to remove and has as few seams as possible (none in my case!).  The tabs are done separately, which I can vouch is much easier than trying to work around those curves with one piece.  It also means that you may not have to replace tab linings each time.

Notice how the leather binding curves over the ends just slightly.  Adds more durability to that corner so no fraying edges sneak out.  I'm thinking about adding leather strips around the eyelet holes as well to keep the lacing from wearing them down.

10 comments:

Lauren said...

Lovely!

American Duchess said...

Such an inspiration! These are so gorgeous!

Lindsey said...

They're beautiful! I'm so impressed that you sewed the whole thing by hand! Do you have any secret for getting such perfectly even straight stitches?

ColeV said...

Practice, rhythm, and needle length. I can see on my stays where I put them down and left time before returning. The stitches are far less even for the first few minutes of work every time. I also found a needle length that encourages a specific size of stitch for me. And remember this is the third (and a half) pair of stays I've hand-stitched channels on!

Isis said...

So gorgeous! And I can see why you want to keep the pattern- it fits you very well.

Joanne said...

Beautiful! Will you wear these wool stays in the summer too? I found when I made mine that the hand sewing through the leather eventually hurt the skin on my fingers - all the tugging. Did you have any problems with that?

ColeV said...

The wool is so light weight it shouldn't be a problem for summer. My favorite summer petticoat is worsted wool in fact!
Usually when doing the binding I always have on a good thimble and keep a pair of pliers nearby! I try not to use them often, but even if just for the really stuck points it saves a lot of pain.

Patricia said...

Hello :) I'm in the process of making my first stays and I'm finding your inside, un-lined, photos being very helpful, so thank you. However I had a question about a perceived contradiction that I see. In your Stays Instructions 1 post, when describing assembling your panels together, you state: " Note: NO trimming any linings here." However in this post (Worsted Stays) you mention the linen structure layers are trimmed to the panel edge and only the fashion layer is folded back an inch. I am just about to cut out my heavy linen structure layers and am trying to determine if I need to add seam allowance along the seams or not.
Thoroughly appreciate your insight :)

ColeV said...

Hi Patricia! The trimming mentioned in this post refers to the outside edges only (the ones that are bound). The seams aren't trimmed back since you want every layer caught for strength. I usually leave a big allowance around all of my pieces when cutting so adjustments can be made later. When done I trim the seam allowance back to about an inch and whip it down.

Patricia said...

Great! Thanks so much for the response :)