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!


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