18th century clothes, authenticity, Clothing, common dress, failure, living history, patterns, sewing
What of those wardrobe issues?
1. The Cross-Barred Gown is Too Big. I will have to take it apart and make it smaller as it is too wide across the back in general and the shoulders. This is fairly simple.
2. The stays are Too Big. I can lift them up and do the shimmy inside them. Seriously. Eighteen months ago, when they were made, I had a two inch gap at the back and the front did not lace closed. Now I can lace them shut front and back.
Whether I have some body image issues or am just a crack-addled monkey can be debated among impolite company some other time, but to solve these problems, here’s the
half-baked scheme plan I have in mind:
I re-cut and re-fit my bodice block for an open robe and made it smaller. (For the sacque, I need only trim the sides of the back because I haven’t gotten any farther than that, thank goodness! Now I have a better sense of the shoulder width I need to fill with pleats, also good.) For the Cross-Barred Gown, dis-assembly and re-construction can happen in the spring. Simple enough, and adjustable, too but…
The stays are a little different, and much more serious. I’m not yet sure what to do. I could unstitch the binding and the panels and remove some bones, re-stitch the seams and re-apply the binding…or I could start all over, but make the stays a size smaller. The cardboard mockup measures 33 inches across. With a tape measure snugged up, I measure 37 inches around. Seems like all should be well, no? Two inches, front and back?
It is not. Here you can see the green stays and the yard stick: 32 inches. I should have five inches altogether, right? No. These lace shut front and back (see the back lacing, kindly trust me on the fronts).
Then I compared the mock up and the stays. Curiouser and worser!
Somehow when I assembled this hot mess, I mis-aligned the pieces,and the fronts are lower than they should be. This explains much about the increasingly poor quality of fit as these slide down my ribcage…as you can imagine, the stays can’t do their job when they’re not in the right place to do their job.
If I am to reclaim these and my decorum, the first step will have to be dis-assembly simply to get the various panels into the their proper places. I think it would be fairly simple to do to the fronts, and then I could end some of the madness by sewing the front panels shut and converting these to back-lacing stays. It might be only a temporary fix, but that alone would be worth the effort. Fortunately, I won’t require these until November 23, and in the meantime, I know which gowns are too big, and need to be smaller. With open fronts, at least they’re pretty adjustable.
Nancy N said:
Just a fairly novice question, as I’ve only made a few pairs of stays to date,and none of them 18th C–shouldn’t the tape measure be curved? CF to CB on those puppies isn’t a straight line, right? Also, I noticed that my pair of 1905 era ones stretched in performance. This self corrected when I hand washed them. So before you go ripping, you might try a wash?
I do find that pressing the stays helps, and I have some hope that soaking them (as close to laundering as I can get) will help. But it’s pretty clear that the front panels are in the wrong place–whoops.
A friend measured her stays, and there is a 4-inch difference between her bust and the stays at the bust point. Whatever I have done, I need to start over with measurements and re-thinking how, and where, I’m measuring. I suspect I have started with an incorrect measurement of myself, which is compounded by wear and stretching.
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