March 31st, 2011
While battling a spring cold, I’ve been finishing my latest stay mock-up. I decided to sew these by machine — partly because there is simply too little time in life to hand-sew mock-ups, but mostly because I’m using a ridiculously heavy brushed twill that is completely impossible to hand-sew.
The good news is that they fit MUCH better now that I’ve changed the angle of the stomach gores. I also figured out that the key to a straight busk is not so much the rigidity of the material used, but the width. Two half-inch spring steel stays running next to one another are far superior to the same two spring steels stacked one on top of the other!
They are also incredibly comfortable. I’ve been wearing them for almost an hour now, and am in no hurry to take them off. I actually enjoy the support.
Here’s the bad news. I’ve got horizontal wrinkles. Ah me. I don’t remember if they were this pronounced in the last version. So many other things were wrong there that I might not have noticed. It seems these can be caused by too much length, though I don’t really think that’s the problem here. They can also be a lack of boning, but I think the folds are too severe to be fixed by an extra bone. So that means I have the gussets or side seam in the wrong place. Perhaps too close to the center front? Alas, alack. More fitting.
It does seem to improve a little when I tug the stays higher, but they always fall back down again. The back is kind of wrinkly all the way down, but I think it’s alright. Unlike the front, the back is cut on the straight grain, so it’s got less of that forgiving stretch. It’s definitely a problem in the front.
Suggestions welcome! I am off to beg advice wherever I can find it.
P.S. I do feel quite justified in using my sewing machine as this pattern was published by Peterson’s and Godey’s in 1855 and 1857 respectively. And the sewing machine was definitely making inroads into American homes by then!