June 29, 2010: After much hand sewing, we had a functional pair of front and back lacing stays suitable for the 17th and 18th centuries. Now with the major underpinnings finished, starting on fitting the jacket could begin. I started with a mock up cut from the Reconstructing History English Civil War pattern. A few minor tweaks later, I was ready to cut into the linen. The lady chose a vibrant mustard yellow for the jacket.

The stays are pretty straight up. I used cable ties for the bones, and strips of the same un-dyed linen for binding. With the straps, it gives a lot of support but does not really restrict movement. Now I just need to replace the somewhat less-than-period cord with some linen tape.

June 18, 2010

Binding: All of the tabs had to be done by hand. This was tedious, time consuming and hard on my hands, but I still have not figured out how to do it on a sewing machine. I don't really consider this a commentary on my lack of skill. It's more 'authentic' this way. Yeah. That's it.

Buttonholes: Since her audience will likely see her stays during the educational show, I figured metal grommets would be a bit too anachronistic, so I went with the next best compromise: small machine stitched buttonholes. Hand bound lacing holes would take too much time for the price to stay reasonable.

June 16, 2010: After hours of painful hand binding, we have arrived at our long anticipated conclusion (of this part). Now I am ready to fit the jacket over the stays and linen shift. The shift is made of a heaver linen than I might have liked, but it's for a range of characters, some of whom are less than upper class.

I will be adapting the pattern from
Reconstructing History for a 1630s look.

June 2010

What's light on one side, dark on the the other and holds the universe together? No, not the Force. Duct tape!

I was hired by a friend to make a 17th century wardrobe for a one woman show on witchcraft. Figuring I needed to stat from the foundation up, I started on a pair of stays that could work for both the 17th and 18th centuries out of natural un-dyed linen. To make a patter, I wrapped her and an old tshirt in duct tape.

This allowed me to get a great approximate shape of her torso and the position and length of the straps without actual pattern drafting skills. After I had the general shape I wanted, I stuck pins in to mark the natural waist and other landmarks, and cut it off of her. I then used this duct tape exoskeleton (combined wtih a bit of reference from the Simplicity 18th century underpinnings pattern) to make the actual stays.