December 16th, 2010
I’ve been making progress on my new stays. I’m proud to report that the bosom, hip, and stomach-gores are all neatly hand-sewn and felled in place. I particularly like the way the directions include steps for fitting each gore as they are first basted in, then adjusted, and finally sewn in place.
I must admit I did most of my fitting with a machine-sewn mock-up, so I didn’t bother basting the bosom gores or stomach gores at all. But when I discovered how poorly the hip (back) gores that I’d cut out fitted into the slashes they were meant to fill, I decided to fit them on my body again. Good thing too, as I ended up taking out nearly an inch of fabric!
Here’s one of the two halves put together. You’ll notice that the front is MUCH wider than the back. That’s because 1stly, there’s an extra inch for the front seam; 2ndly, the crazy curved side seam (which miraculously twists straight when it’s wrapped around my waist) is meant to fall a little behind the hip; and 3rdly, I have an insane fear that I’ve made the darn thing too small. I nearly took off the back pieces and re-cut them with an extra 3/4 inch next the lacing. But I measured again, and discovered that the piece works out to exactly 11 inches, which is half of 22 inches, which is my 25 inch waist minus the 3 inch spring recommended in the instructions. So the side seams were left alone and felled down as well.
Next step is to get my hands on something that I can use for a steel busk. Most likely I will make an excursion to the garment district and scoop up a 1/2 inch steel. I also need some twill tape to use for bone casing. Then come the “french holes,” aka metal eyelets. And miles and miles of lacing.
In the meantime, I’ve worn needle holes in the first two fingers and the thumb of my right hand. It got so bad this evening that each push of the needle occasioned excruciating pain, and would sometimes end with the needle poking out of my finger instead of the moving through the fabric. I’ve had to resort to using my deerskin thimble.