HSM Challenge 1 – Frankenstays Addendum

Back in my post on 1st Feb I reported on my latest failure in stay-making. I am now happy to say that I have some much better-fitting stays!

The problems I’ve had with stay-making include:

  • I’m nowhere near a standard size – I’m short, dumpy and much bigger in the hips/tum than in the bust;
  • I am at that age where my ‘girls’ succumb to gravity (perky we are not!);
  • I mostly have to dress myself when wearing costume;
  • I get claustrophobic panic attacks pulling tight things over my head;
  • I don’t have any handy sewing buddies to help me fit mockups.

So, bearing all those things in mind, and looking at my past attempts (the S&S short stays, and the Utrecht wrap stays researched by Sabine), I took the things that I liked and pattern pieces that worked and made . . . Frankenstays.

Basically, I used the front of the Utrecht stays, with the bottom curve shortened an inch or two from my first attempt, and used the back pattern pieces from the S&S short stays pattern, lengthening them to my (short) waist length, and making them back-lacing. I used the strap pieces from the S&S pattern and slightly adapted the Utrecht front to fit them. Because these are only waist-length, the lacing section is not long and I can manage (just) to pull them on over my head without my claustrophobic brain going far into alarm-mode, and I can do them up myself.

Front of Frankenstays

Waist-length stays - back lacing

I still need to run a fine cord through the top of the cups to pull them in slightly – although for some reason, they fit better without the chemise – with the chemise, the ‘girls’ tend to slip down more easily. But other than that the stays are done, and they fit and are comfortable.

The top layer is a fine cotton, the interlining is a coarse linen (this one from fabrics-store.com), and the lining is a twilled cotton from Spotlight. The boning is 6mm plastic whalebone from Aussie Corset Supplies. The busk is a paint stirrer stick from Bunnings.

One day I will make properly-fitted full-length stays, but with the Jane Austen Festival so close, these will have to do!

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