With the release of our book, The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking, we’ve given you patterns and instructions for a great many lovely 18th century gowns, accessories, and skirt supports.
…but one thing we did *not* give you in the book were patterns for stays. Stays are a complex subject that warrants an entire how-to book of its own. We knew their absence would be vexing, so to not leave you totally in the lurch for what-stays-when-how-where, here is my list of 18th century stay patterns sorted by time period:
Printed Patterns for 18th Century Stays
1700 – 1770 – Conical Silhouette
- Simplicity 8579 – The American Duchess pattern for closed-front, full-boned stays.
- Redthreaded Georgian Stays – Individually sized printed pattern for half-boned, closed-front stays with straps. Also available as a print-on-demand PDF.
- JP Ryan Stays – Strapless, fully-boned stays.
- Larkin & Smith Stays – Front and back lacing strapless stays with broad stomacher.
- Simplicity EA363501 – (Print on Demand) – full-boned, closed-front stays with high back, spiral lacing, and straps.
1770 – 1790 – Prow Front Stays
- Scroop Patterns “Augusta” Stays – 1775-1789 with a historical and theatrical variation.
- Simplicity 8162 – The American Duchess pattern for half-boned stays lacing front and back.
- JP Ryan Half-Boned Stays – closed-front, half-boned stays with straps.
- Butterick B4254 – Options for closed-front or back and front lacing, with straps.
- Ralph Pink (PDF Print-out) – Half-boned stays with straps. UK size 8 only.
1790s – Transitional Stays
- Past Patterns #030 – Transitional stays with front spiral lacing.
- Past Patterns #038 – Transitional stays with front lacing and bust cups.
- Ralph Pink 1790s Stays (PDF Print-out) – High-waisted front and back lacing stays with straps.
|Tight Lacing, or Fashion Before Ease – Bowles & Carver after John Collet, 1777, The British Museum 1935,0522.1.227|
Books With Patterns for 18th Century Stays
- Patterns of Fashion 5 by Janet Arnold, Jenny Tiramani, and Luca Costigliolo – an entire PoF book with patterns and research for 26 pairs of bodies and stays c. 1595 – 1795
- Corsets and Crinolines by Norah Waugh – six scaled patterns for stays from the entire century, including early period and 1790s transitional.
- Corsets by Jill Salen – gridded patterns stays from the 1750s, 1780s, and 1790s.
- Stays and Corsets by Mandy Barrington – several patterns for stays with drafting instructions.
- Costume Close-up by Linda Baumgarten – one pattern for closed-front, fully-boned stays, 1740-1760.
- Period Costume for Stage and Screen by Jean Hunnisett – gridded patterns for 18th century stays.
Other Resources for 18th Century Stays
- Redthreaded – High-quality ready-made stays for the general 18th century, 1780s, and 1790s.
- Period Corsets – High quality ready-made stays for general 18th century, 1725, 1770s, and 1790s.
- Custom Corset Pattern Generator – Use your measurements to draft a custom pattern. This is originally for Elizabethan bodies but with some ingenuity can be used to made an 18th century pattern. Experiment!
- Kleidung um 1800 – Sabine’s study (and patterns) on 1790s stays. 1, 2
ElizabethJanuary 11, 2018 at 7:57 PM
Could you please comment on the ease drafted into your simplicity pattern stays? Positive, zero, negative? The patterns unfortunately do not give finished bust and waist measurements.
Lauren StowellJanuary 11, 2018 at 8:49 PM
There should be negative ease in the pattern – you want about a 2" gap in the back. Unfortunately once the pattern leaves us, Simplicity make their changes and while the pattern comes out pretty close to our original draft, sometimes they shorten the waist or make other small changes. The best I can recommend is to cut the size recommended on the back of the pattern envelope.
AnonymousJanuary 12, 2018 at 2:21 AM
I made my stays from your pattern with help from your blog. They fit perfect, but are laced closed both front and back (I'm also weirdly tiny) but they still fit perfectly so I'm not complaining! 🙂
VeyskethJanuary 12, 2018 at 1:24 AM
I found the Mantua Maker stays to be a good pattern and the instructions easy to follow.
rufflesandsteamJanuary 12, 2018 at 11:48 PM
Marquise.de has a detailed guide about stays: http://marquise.de/en/1700/howto/frauen/18corset.shtml
frenchcreavintageJanuary 23, 2018 at 5:57 PM
Very nice work
I invite you on my blog of old magazines and old french sewing patterns
M'ladyJanuary 31, 2018 at 5:04 PM
Could 8579 be converted to the style of stays that are laced over a stomacher?
KyleleenFebruary 15, 2018 at 10:05 PM
Hi Lauren and Abby! I've recently purchased your stays pattern (simplicity 8579) and I'm wondering if you guys might do a blog post (or youtube, or podcast) about the process of putting together that pattern. I'm especially interested in how you chose the style – are they based on an extant pair in a museum collection? Are they an almalgamation of elements you've found in your research? The low back is unique (and part of the reason I chose the pattern) does that relat to a workingclass style since they are nearly strapless? You describe the straps as posture correcting – that sounds like it has some intersting background! Too many questions to ask – sorry! I'm also intersted in the measurements on the pattern, I can't tell how much of a reduction in the bust and waist they are intended to give from the test in the pattern. I'm also not sure in the measurements listed on the envelope are for the unaltered body or for the laced up measurements. Such a long post, my appologies! Love your stuff!!
KyleleenFebruary 15, 2018 at 10:08 PM
jeez typos much?! *relate – text, not test – if, not in
KyleleenFebruary 16, 2018 at 5:02 AM
I found the facebook live video that answers lots of my questions – sorry I didn't see it before asking! cheers
UnknownJune 23, 2018 at 2:14 PM
best generator for home use Champion Generator
Jen in OzSeptember 20, 2018 at 7:44 AM
Curious to know if there are any differences between McCalls 2003 stays and view B of Butterick 4254? If there are differences, which would you recommend and why?
UnknownJanuary 14, 2019 at 6:43 PM
Which stays/corsets are appropriate for the gowns represented in your book? Specifically, which was common for use with the Italian Gown 1780s and for that specific figure?
AmeliaJanuary 30, 2020 at 3:38 AM
Looking for sites with well reasearch and clear guides for drafting myself. any ideas?
MiaOctober 29, 2020 at 4:42 PM
CorsetsnmoreNovember 8, 2021 at 11:36 PM
What a wonderful blog! Thanks for this information, it’s quite useful.