Saturday, 17 May 2014

Regency Resources - Corsets and Stays

A few weeks ago I wrote of my plans to attend a Jane Austen festival in Canberra next April, and my preparations for same.  Well, I have begun!

I ordered the Regency Underthings Pattern (digital version) from Sense & Sensibility Patterns - a bargain at $9.95 as it includes patterns for a chemise, short stays, and two chemisettes. 

I bought 5m of fine white cotton sheeting fabric ($20) and have made my first (of three) chemises, and it is so comfortable I have been wearing it to bed! I have also made both version of the chemisettes (basically under-blouses with no sleeves) in the same fabric - they just need the ribbon draw string inserted at the bottom and perhaps a ribbon to the the frilled neck one - although I am thinking of just using a brooch. 

chemise and  chemisettes
chemise and  chemisettes
Now tackling the short stay.  My first attempt at the stay (a sort of regency bra or short corset) was too large, and I realized I had cut out the wrong size - sizes 8 to 26 are included - but now I think I have the right fit.  The stay consists of three layers, and is a bit more fiddly than the other under-things. The instructions recommend to start with the lining, which is what I have done.

Short stay - lining
Short stay - lining
I am a C cup, so hopefully the stay will hold mE in, or up, but apparently if you are a D cup or larger, a longer stay is better.

The Oregon Regency Society have some wonderful pointers about short stays -

Short Stays
I particularity love this advice -

"The rule of thumb is this, your gusset cups should not cover much more than the lower half/hemisphere of your breasts. The nipple should be just barely covered by the edge of your binding, or even half-covered.  The top half of your breasts should be pillowed in the cups.  What keeps them from falling out is the neckline of your shift. "

For some more wonderful advice, illustrations and history I have found these sites helpful and interesting -

A pair of transitional stays, from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Another example of a cotton Regency corset (c. 1800-1825) – from the National Trust website
Achieving a proper fit with Regency stays – by Oregon Regency Society
Examples and pictures of Regency era underwear – Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion

Now to find a pattern for some pantaloons.....
Deb xx

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