Simplicity 18th Century Stays – Adding Boning

I’ve been MIA on the Simplicity 18th Century Pattern Hacks lately, due to moving, but I’m back! Time for more helpful hacks and hints for constructing Simplicity 8161 and 8162 in a more historically accurate way.

Today I’ve got a short video on inserting the boning into your stays.

To recap, I’ve cut and sewn the pieces of my Simplicity 8162 stays, have drawn a new boning pattern and stitched all the channels, and now I am inserting the boning.

I am using zip ties for my boning, but you can also use reed or steel. Please note that the method I’m showing in the video is for zip ties only.

At this point the only construction variation from the Simplicity pattern instructions is when I re-drew the boning pattern. We won’t diverge from the pattern instructions until we get to the binding next.

In the video I demonstrate cutting the boning, sanding the ends, and inserting into the channel. It’s straightforward. Two tips – use canine nail clippers to cut your boning, and cut your boning about 1/4 – 3/8″ shorter than the channel on each end, to leave a bit to stitch the binding to.

Note – the strap is sewn on after the boning is all inserted.
Another Note – The seam allowances are tacked down after the boning is inserted.

If you have questions, please leave them in the comment below!


  • Rachel

    June 26, 2016 at 3:22 PM

    I'm using zip ties as well. What do you do when you get to the boning channels that are triangular? aka wider at the bottom and then get to a point at the top. Do you just put the boning in as high as it'll go, or cut the boning to the shape of the chanel?

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 6, 2016 at 4:07 AM

      I only put the boning in the straight channels that are a consistent width. Triangular shapes that are left over from stitching in all the boning channels I just leave empty.

  • Mrs. Schurr

    July 6, 2016 at 3:57 AM

    Are your stays made out of twill? What weight (light, heavy, etc) and what are you using for the lining?

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 6, 2016 at 4:04 AM

      My stays here are made out of an upholstery cotton, interlined with linen, and the tacked-in lining (not shown here) is muslin.

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 6, 2016 at 7:16 PM

      Yes, any medium weight, non-stretch material will work perfectly- twill, jean, coutil, lighter weight canvas.

  • Joy Flasher

    August 7, 2016 at 4:02 AM

    I'm a 40 bust but narrow across the chest above the bust and across the back so I combined two sizes to get a great fitting pair of stays. They went together easy. I did the full boned stays. I made one little change in the construction. I stitched on a facing to the center fronts and center backs so I could set my grommets early on in the construction process. I still need to attach the lining and binding. Great pattern, Lauren, and great tips.

  • Anonymous

    August 21, 2016 at 3:44 PM

    Finally have time to work on the chemise today! the pattern notes 3/8 seam allowance. Does that apply to just the neckline (the comment is near the neck) or does it apply to all the seams for that pattern piece?

    • Lauren Stowell

      August 21, 2016 at 5:37 PM

      The narrow seam allowance is only used where noted. The rest of the seam allowances should be 5/8" unless otherwise noted.

  • Colette

    October 20, 2016 at 7:58 PM

    I wish had time to sew the eyelets but I'll be using grommets. The pattern says 34 grommets. but doesn't specify what size. Most I've found seem too big–what size did you use?

    Also any recommendation for grommet setting tools? (First pair of stays anxiety!) Thank you!

  • Carol_G

    April 23, 2017 at 2:04 AM

    Will heavy duty zip ties work? Or will they be too stiff? I didn't realize I got heavy duty ones because I was focused on length and width. I'm worried fully boned will be too stiff.

  • Neak1

    April 30, 2017 at 7:20 AM

    The binding, how much did you use? Pattern states 2 packets, but what length are in the packets? I am in New Zealand and our stuff is probably different to American amounts

  • Christine Streenan

    September 6, 2018 at 10:31 PM

    Would using sewn-in rings instead of grommets be historically accurate for the bodice? If so, what type of rings should I use? Also, I already used grommets on the stays and was thinking about going over them with thread or embroidery floss to give them a more authentic look. Would this work?


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