I have wanted to make a pair of 18th century stays for a very long time. I'm not really sure what the draw to them was, because I wanted to make a pair before I was even interested in 18th century fashion. I think it had something to do with the structure and all of the boning.
So when American Duchess published Simplicity pattern 8162 for a pair of stays I made sure to buy it the next time patterns were on sale for $1, which ended up being a few weeks after I learned about the pattern.
I held onto the pattern for a while, not sure when I would actually get around to making anything from it. Then in July I was bored and decided "eh, why not start a completely new project?" So I did. I finished the mock up in a couple of days and the only major change I made was to the boning pattern to make the stays fully bonned. I also ended up cutting the pattern in the smallest size in order to be able to lace them closed properly.
Stays are very different from a Victorian corset and are a bit more comfortable because they don't reduce your waist as much. Overall, they're pretty straightforward to make, but sewing the seam binding was torture. I'm really not happy with my work on it, but it is what it is. I know better for next time.
I had the hardest time figuring out how to do the spiral lacing for some reason. I was finally able to figure it out thanks to this tutorial. My brain doesn't work well with numbers, so doing the math on this one took me a while.
All of the eyelets are hand sewn and I ended up sewing the seam binding by hand as well, to save my sanity. I opted to hand sew eyelets for two reasons. 1) They're historically accurate. 2) Metal grommets are a pain in the neck for me. I've tried them before and have yet to master them.
Because of the amount of hand sewing I ended up doing on this project I realized how much I actually love sewing by hand and want to do more on future costumes. It's very relaxing
Here's the inside of the stays. I wanted to use a fabric with some color for the outside, but I didn't have anything that would have been period accurate, so I ended up putting the color on the inside. But I ended up with pink seam binding and purple eyelets, which I really like.