The Stays That Bind: Olympe’s 18th c. Stays

Starting a new project, a pair of stays, a commission for Olympe.

Olympe’s materials – cream jacquard, yellow linen, and the stays shall be interlined in canvas

They will lace at the front over a stomacher, and with a pretty light blue ribbon.  The body of the stays is a cream jacquard and the stomacher and bias binding will be this lovely yellow linen.

Reference images:

Reference for boning.  I’m thinking a combo of hemp (for curves) and zip ties (my favorite) for straights
An example of front closing stays.  No laces shown here, oddly enough.
Front closing stays with wide-set shoulder straps.  Olympe’s won’t be so wide, and her straps will be detachable.  I love the long tail on the back of these, though.

A few ideas in terms of pattern:

One of those standard reference images for stays you see everywhere.  Where did I even get this?
A free pattern I found on the web.  Half boned stays, but could be fully boned easily enough.
Butterick’s stays pattern.  I may use this for basic pattern pieces to then alter.

She has asked for wide-ish tabs (and I agree), and straps that can be removed.  They straps will have a wide set so as to be worn fairly far out on the shoulder, if attached.

My preliminary sketches for the stays, just exploring pattern, where the seams will be how the bones will work.  Brainstorming.

Olympe is teeny tiny!  She has asked for a 2.5″ reduction, and this takes the measurements well under the size of my dress forms, so I will have to employ my skills of maths to figure out the pattern, eek!


  • Olympe de la Tour D'Auvergne

    September 7, 2010 at 12:05 AM

    So exciting!! I have the same problem with dressforms whenever I sew something for myself, I had to buy one of the "uniquely you" forms and cut it down to size.

    Thanks for sharing the progress, I know it's going to be fabulous!

  • Élisabeth

    September 7, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    Nice, but just a little advice, if you still did not think about it: do not create a too long tail, because Olympe would have difficulties to seat down!

  • American Duchess

    September 7, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    Dreamstress – I'm working with materials Olympe sent me, and although it is very poppy yellow I think it'll look well-put-together when the cream is bound in the yellow and with the light blue ribbons across the front, they'll temper it.

    Elisabeth – noted! I hadn't thought of that, but very good point. I'll keep it reasonable 🙂

  • Lithia Black

    September 8, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Great colors, it will look stunning!
    Some heads ups, if you are planning to use a pattern that looks similar to this one:
    Be very careful with the placement of the waist. My stays from this pattern ended up with the waist a bit too low and that was not so comfortable. I also strongly recommend carefulness with strap placement. If the straps end up to far out on the shoulder the stays will not give as much cleavage and bust support.


  • Tatieva

    September 15, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    Fabuleux corsets ! Ma prĂ©fĂ©rence va au rouge avec les petits coussinets, je trouve adorable et ça nous plonge dans l'Histoire… Merci.
    Artiste peintre… avec une Marie-Antoinette on my blog !


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