- Written by Washington, USA
Corded Regency Stays
This is a pair stays made from cotton sateen over a base of coutil, and decorated with cording and embroidery. My primary inspirations were pieces in the Kyoto Costume Institute, as well as the links in the Transitional Stays article on Foundations Revealed. The cording is two strands of yarn threaded into channels between the sateen and coutil, and the embroidery was done by machine. All of the eyelets were made by hand.
Many of the existing stays I looked at could only be dated to a fairly wide range, so pinning down design details to 1812 was fairly challenging. Most seemed to have a busk pocket at center front, and some added boning on either side of the busk, flaring out over the stomach. This seemed like a good idea for someone who needs a little extra help flattening the stomach, so I kept those details in. The busk was a bit shorter than I'd like, so I added rows of cording below the busk to make up the difference.
I also wanted some extra detail to help emphasize the waist. My favorite examples of cording and embroidery date closer to the 1820's or 30's, but quite a few 1810's stays also had some sort of waistline detail. In particular, c. 1811 stays at the Missouri Historical Society had some lovely curving lines at the waist, and a 1815-25 pair at the Met had a band of diamond paned cording. These were the same details I was drawn to in the more elaborate patterns from the 1820's. I created a pattern of cording that combined details from multiple pairs of stays, while keeping the design fairly simple to reflect the earlier date I was aiming for. I also created a cording pattern along the sides of the gussets, under the arms, and along the upper back.
I considered patterning fixed straps, since that seemed to be most common in the stays I looked at. I liked the look, but was worried about the lack of adjustability. In the end, I decided that I needed something that could be worn for the widest possible time frame, and settled on straps tied in place by eyelets. More details in my Dress Diary, on my blog