Regency Short and Somewhat Transitional Stays

The newt project for Lauren the Silhouettist is a pair of Regency short stays.  We first took a look at what’s out there, for inspiration:

Transitional 1790s (left) and long busked stays (later 1800)
Transitional stays showing tabs and drawstring.
Transitional Stays pattern from Past Patterns.

The Regency Sports bra – looks modern.  KCI (?)

Transitional Stays.  I believe these are from Kent State University
Museum, but I can’t find them in their collection.  However, these
are pretty close to what we’re going for.

Earlier transitional stays, very interesting construction.

Lauren didn’t like the idea of tabs on the bottom edge, so we’ve opted to remove those, and keep the bust line in the later style, at the empire waist, instead of the longer style you see in transitional stays.

However, some of the features on these transitionals appealed, such as the bust cups, gathered at the top edge, and the thin straps.

Here’s the sketch I’ve come up with – it ain’t pretty, but it’s a working drawing, figuring out just how I’m going to go about this:

The stays will be made of 3 layers – cotton, canvas, cotton, with the bust cups in just cotton.  There is minimal boning, just at the back and side seams, and the stays lace up in front.  I’m going to curve the center front edges down at the stop just a smidge, to keep them from accidentally showing from potentially low-cut gowns.

Fashion: The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute
Katherine’s Dress Site – 1790s Transitional Stays


  • ewilliams

    November 22, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    are you aware of the sense and sensibility short stays pattern? If not you should take a look. It's very similar to what you've drawn here. 🙂

  • Lauren Stowell

    November 22, 2010 at 8:24 PM

    Liz, I took a look at the S&S pattern. It is very similar, true. I also have the Simplicity pattern (now out of print) that is pretty accurate and I've used it before, but I'd still like to go ahead and try out this other style, and also try working out the pattern myself. It's a challenge, I suppose!

  • Unknown

    November 22, 2010 at 9:02 PM

    I'm still curious about the anthropological ideas that allowed woman to finally have breasts (early 19th c), and not just flatness with poof on top (eg: 18th c stays).

  • Lauren Stowell

    November 22, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    Many Laurens! ahah. I think that the simplification of the gowns lead to the celebration of the bust. There had to be a focus point somewhere, and the only place really is the neckline. It might have also just been an engineering thing – when the waistline is under the bust, it has to stay there, and if the chest is flattened, then the waistline would just walk its way up, do you think?

  • Anonymous

    December 4, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    The ones that were exhibited at Kent State Uni are from the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society – they're the basis for teh Past Pattern's pattern.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: