Sunday, September 19, 2004

Completed 18th Century Undergarments

Completed Stays and pocket hoops Posted by Hello

I used JP Ryan's strapless stays and pocket hoops patter for these undergarments. I borrowed a victorian evening chemise from my civil war collection to go underneath everything. The stays were a true labor of love and took hours to complete: it is 100% boned. I used a combination of steel boning and wood reed. The eyelets were sewn by hand (through 3 very thick layers of fabric). You definitely will need a friend (or in my case a husband) to lace you into these very stiff stays.

A victorian corset (or a corset from any other era, for that matter) will NOT be a good substitute for this corset. My victorian corset creates curves at the waist. These stays flatten the torso into a trianular shape (and push the bust up). A word of caution: 18th century stays do not seem to be created with comfort in mind. Do not lace your stays up too tightly or your back will be hurting in less then ten minutes. 18th century stays were not meant to contract your waist or body in any way.

The pocket hoops were a much simpler project, and probably only took me about 2 hours. Very simple, and I LOVE the fact that they actually have pockets in them for carrying around a wallet, fan, etc. I can never figure out where to hide my wallet when I'm in costume, but that will not be a problem with this outfit.


anna's mom said...

This is such a sophisticated fitting problem for a bodice. Holey moley. Such skill! Where do you find the steel and bone stays - do you have time to share your sources?

Costume Diva said...

Hi Anna's Mom!!

I hope this isn't a terribly old comment that I'm finally getting around to replying to, but I'll go ahead anyway. I get most of my steel and bone stays from However, for this corset I used reed that I ordered from a basket weaving store online.