Friday, June 17, 2016


Way back when before our May trip I signed papers to volunteer at the Log Cabin Village. Before I start, though, I have to make that new 1840's outfit. Well, I got hung up on making the stays/corset. The 1840's seem to be that odd era where things started changing from stays to corsets, from shift to chemise. It's all very confusing. I've made several pairs of 1770's stays, but that's the only type of corsetry I've ever made. This is when bodice shapes started transitioning from the almost looser late-Regency style to the mid-century hourglass.

Eyelets and binding left.

Since this corset is for myself, and since everyone else on site is already less accurate because they don't wear corsets, and because I am now in a hurry to finish, I feel that gives me license to just fudge it through. For a base I used Past Pattern's 1840's stays pattern, kindly loaned to me by a friend. This pattern has cups, while later corsets do not. This pattern is corded, while later corsets are boned. I decided to blend the eras a bit and add boning, not cording.

For fabric I used two layers of cotton sheeting and two layers of leftover linen/cotton. All very affordable, all fabric I had leftover from something else. I did buy a center-front busk(Etsy!). For boning I'm using my favorite, plastic zip ties. I know some people say they can bend from heat, but I haven't ever had trouble with my stays becoming mis-shapen. I think I didn't wear them often enough, and that's also probably more of an issue for larger women.

I've never used a center-front busk before, so apparently I put it in the wrong order and so had to hand-sew it in. I definitely rushed the last part of making this, and it's not my best work ever! But I learn something every time I sew so nothing is wasted. Some people's corsets are really works of art; I actually don't sew costumes much for myself, and when I do I rarely spend the bulk of my allotted time on underthings. Here's another blogger who made this same pattern all by hand. I'm not that dedicated when it comes to my own underclothes!

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