Stays, and Stays

October 27th, 2011

I think, fingers crossed, I’ve finally done it. I lost count long ago of how many iterations I’ve made of this pattern for stays (originally from Peterson’s, 1855). At least six. And here are the last two.


The one at the top fits perfectly — or comes very close to doing so. There are still some persistent wrinkles around the waist, but I think I’ve reduced them as much as I can with redrafting. The rest will be done with boning. It’s actually a rather dreadful pattern for stays. I’ve seen extent stays from the 1840s and from the 1860s that deal with the hip curve (raison des plis) in a much better way — either with a deep gore that wraps all the way around the side of the hip, or with a separate curved hip piece. Maybe this pattern was meant to be more like the deep side gore, circa 1840, but the picture and directions from Peterson’s led me back time and again to these smallish front slanting gores.

Now to make them in some nice fabric for a change!

Final Stretch

October 10th, 2011

Actually, I’m now even closer to finishing my latest petticoat edging than when I took this picture…thanks to an evening at home watching movies with my favorite fellow.

Guipure, final row

I’m working on the final row. It’s going fairly fast — I’m nearly halfway done after just a few hours of work. Good thing too, as I’m getting a little tired of crochet — at least this pattern. And my wrists ache, my fingers are stiff, and there is a nasty bruise on my right palm where the end of the hook rests. Genius is pain.

Next I’ll need a petticoat to sew this to. I think I have just enough muslin left. Tucks seem like the way to go again, since I still have yet to find any evidence of a mid-19th century petticoat sporting both crochet and embroidery.

Another Down

September 7th, 2011

This morning I woke up early and finished whipping the edging onto my new petticoat. It’s now resting, neatly folded, next to my embroidered petticoat. Both are awaiting waistbands, which I can’t attach until I assemble my cage…

Trim Attached

I am resisting the urge to embroider this one. I can’t help seeing where a pair of inserting patterns, between the tucks, would be a lovely addition. But the fabric is so lousy — hardly worth putting more time into it. And, truth be told, embroidery might be overkill with the heavy crochet work.

Now, on to my day!

Not Again!

September 5th, 2011

Is it me? Is it my corset? Is it fate? What am I doing wrong? After only three more wearings, my (relatively) new chemise has another tiny tear.

Tiny Tear

It’s still just a little teeny rip — too small even to patch. I think I’ll try darning it this time. I suppose I should be glad I caught it so early. I only noticed because I decided to iron the chemise after its recent washing.


Tuck In

September 4th, 2011

Today, while digitizing 78 rpm records for the Treasure Ivan Show, I finished hand-sewing the skirt for my latest petticoat. It is now sitting in my overflowing work-basket, neatly folded, awaiting its crocheted trimming. I have only 11 more repeats, then I’ll block the lace and whip it on.


It’s a fairly modest specimen, as petticoats go. A one-inch hem masquerading as a tuck, topped by two more graduated tucks. I considered an embroidered inserting between the tucks, but decided against it. I couldn’t find any precedent from the period to show that petticoats were ever decorated with BOTH crochet and embroidery. In fact, I couldn’t find any 1850s petticoats with crochet edging period. My only guess — since the pattern is most definitely 1850s, and specifically says that it isĀ  for petticoats — is that the majority of lace-trimmed petticoats were cannibalized.

Continuing my train of thought, it’s also interesting to note how quickly this edging has worked up. I started it a few weeks ago, and working sporadically, have nearly finished. Definitely much faster than broderie anglaise. And at least by modern standards, MUCH cheaper in terms of materials as well as effort and skill. Yet another argument for mating it with a fairly simple petticoat. Now the next crocheted edging I’ve got in mind is a different story…

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