{JennylaFleur: Dress Diaries}

Diderot Stays circa late 1770s

Candy Stays - I Want Candy!

1775 Diderot stays, Corsets & Crinolines
by Norah Waugh
(pg 40)

silk twill, cotton drill (interlining), cotton sateen (lining), bias tape large cable ties & steel boning

My second pair of 18th century stays, the colors and fabric inspired by the film Marie Antoinette.

Completed 2007.

Helpful sites along the way:

Mara Riley Method of Stay Making
La Couturière Parisienne
A Note on Cable Tie




The Results:


April 2007
The finished stays on me.






April 2007
The finished stays on my dressform.






Dress Diary:

February 27 2007

I have spent most of my sewing time lately working on my new stays. I love my old green broadcloth ones but they are starting to show wear so it's time for a new pair. The stays are to be green silk twill on the outside (mounted to white cotton for stability) lined with a raspberry cotton twill interlining (two layers) and finished with pink binding. So the stays will match my quilted petticoat, whenever I get around the finishing that.


This pattern from, Corsets & Crinolines by Norah Waugh, was originally recommended to me by Suzi, as stays that she has made successfully for years. I loved my last pair, the green broadcloth pair, but as I said it's time for new stays.


I've made a few changes to my pattern, tweaking some minor things that bugged me on the green stays. The first stays/corset always being a working toile you know. I got as far as cutting and tracing the boning pattern on the fronts.


Sewing the endless boning channels always slow me down to a crawl, wretched things.

February 28 2007

My "mental health sewing day" today is going well. I'm just taking a break from sewing the channels on the stays. My eyes were starting to un focus - never a good sign. I'm almost finished with the backs though, yay!

I guess I should go out tonight and grab some cable ties - I only have one or two laying around. Clearly that is not going to be enough. I also need some fabric for the binding too. I have my heart set on a light candy colored pink ...

February 28 2007

Oh I just ran out of thread! I guess it's time for a break and to run those errands.

February 28 2007

I've got the channels finished and the pieces all trimmed and cut. I was hoping to get further today but I ended up running around town all evening instead.

I went to Hancock, forgot my coupon and they didn't have my thread. So I went to Home Depot, just about had a heart attack when I couldn't find the large cable ties but turns out they had just moved them. Come home to eat dinner then went back out to the JoAnn's (coupons in hand this time), they didn't have my thread either. I guess that spool of thread was older than I thought and the Coats & Clark has stopped making it. Typical. Nothing matched my silk as well but I eventually decided on a Guitterman that was just a bit dark. I can live with it. I then went back to Hancock's (with the coupon this time) and bought some pink cotton sateen I'd spied earlier for the lining. And suddenly it's 8:15pm - ahhh!!

I am determined to finish the stays before the weekend is over though. I need to finish something, feel accomplishment about something in my life right now. So I think at least another half mental health day is in order tomorrow. I have a few things that can't be ignored any longer but other than that ... I need my Candy Stays!

March 1 2007


Yay pics! These are from yesterday and the sewing of the channels. I did some experimenting and just pinned my two pieces of twill together instead of basting with thread. I pinned around the edge then choose the piece of boning that ran through the middle of the piece and pinned along that line. I started there and worked my way out from the center (like you do with a quilt). It worked just fine - yay some time saved!

You will note it's sewn with green thread, because originally the twill was going to show in the inside but I changed my mind after finding that pretty pink sateen. The more I looked at the raspberry twill the less I liked the color. What can I say; I've been watching too much Marie Antoinette and having visions of jelly bean colored frocks. Also I decided to follow Jean Hunnisett's advice and mount the horizontal bones on a separate piece of fabric (rather than hand stitching them on like last time) so I needed another layer of fabric.

I spied this pink cotton sateen at Hancock's yesterday and grabbed it. I had originally wanted a changeable silk for the stays binding but being discouraged with the local selection, the high prices up north and being too lazy to order online, it occurred to me why not bind the stays with the sateen? So I had the fabric cut and THEN looked at the pre-made binding. Lo and behold, what do I find but a perfect match to the sateen! The pre-made stuff may be a poly/cotton but for the hassle it will save me I can totally live with it! So I now have extra sateen… oh darn.


So far I've got everything cut, the silk spray basted to a layer of cotton, the front and back layers each joined at one end and the boning channels attached to the front lining. I think I should insert the boning before I attach everything at the sides. I'm not looking forward to it but it has to be done so I'm resigned. At least I can do that in front of a movie.


Right now my headache is back (2 hours before I can take more meds *grinds teeth*) and my brain feels like mush so I'm taking a break. We've ordered take-away for dinner so I think I will dig unto that, slip into a fat induced coma and then pull out the trusty Navy issue scissors and toe-nail clippers to hack away at some cable ties. A riveting evening, no?

March 1 2007

I've finished most of the boning in the front. Just a handful of pieces to go but my hands have had enough. I'm also not feeling 100% (I think I ate too much + headache) so I'm off to bed.

It's so nice to see these coming together - these stays have only been on my to-do list since October!

March 3 2007

My stays are all boned now as well, except for the side seams which I have to sew first. I also embroidered a quilt signature for the quilt ministry at church - and all with a day long headache, go me!

March 7 2007


I worked a little on my stays today. All the seams are now sewn, double stitched and everything! I pretty much have only handwork left, plus cutting the boning for the side seams. I totally forgot I don't have any ¼” boning for the center back edges nor any lacing so looks like an order to Farthingales will be in order.

I pinned some of the pink binding along the seams (a la the stays in Fashion in Detail) to see how it looked. Pretty but I'm not sure if it's slimming or not. I'm also unsure if it adds or takes away from the pretty green silk. So now I'm trying to decide if I want the trim and if so, do I want it that width or half that (finished width of the edge binding). *ponders*

March 8 2007

Today's stays progress: 4 eyelets.

So 4 down, 26 to go. *sigh* I've decided to go ahead with the pink seam binding, but in the narrower width. I think it looks cool and I figure I can always take it off if I change my mind.

March 15 2007

Wow it's been a whole week since I posted - didn't realize it had been that long. Not much to report on the costuming front, hence the lack of posts. I've gotten a few more eyelets done on the stays but it's going slowly. If only I didn't love hand bound eyelets so!

March 17 2007


A very nice day ... spent most of working on my eyelets. It isn't everyday I'm in the mood to work on eyelets so I thought I'd take advantage. So despite a very unwelcome headache the score is 22 eyelets down, 4 to go!


I laced-up for the first time a few minutes ago and am very pleased. The top (where the straps lace) needs to be trimmed but other than that I'm happy. The slight alterations I made seem to be just right. Adding more eyelets so the lacing is all the way down the back feels good, much more lower lumbar support that way ... not sure how comfortable they will be to drive in however. Cars are SO not made for corset wearing!

March 19 2007

Overall a productive sewing weekend, although I didn't get much done on Sunday. The day was spent mostly on sleeping, church and a cup of tea with a friend - all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. It felt like a true day of rest, which a Sunday should be. I did "clean up" the side seams of my stays (whipped stitched them down on the inside), discovering that I had cut the back piece wrong and it doesn't meet under the arm. Annoying as I'm NOT re-cutting the back piece with 22 eyelets finished. So I'm fudging, not sure how yet but fudging none the less.


I also tacked down the horizontal boning (kept wanting to curve up and stretch out my sateen lining) and got the binding tacked along the seams. Still trying to decide what I want to do with my front "faux" seams. Show the actual line of boning (straight down) or more late century in cut (curved). *ponders*

March 19 2007


I had a massive headache today so I didn't go out tonight like I wanted to - blah! Once dinner was settled in my tummy and the meds kicked in I managed to work on my stays a bit though.

I was hoping not to baste the tabs before I attached the binding but they were not being friendly at all. So I'm basting the tabs with a very loose and sloppy buttonhole stitch (love that stitch, so handy!). The binding is going much better now so the extra effort is rewarded - yay! I must say I'm totally digging the matching binding/lining on the inside - so cool!

The clear majority is for curve faux seams, which is nice because that is what I was leaning towards myself. If I'd had the time I would have attempted a stays pattern with that shape (so pretty) but with my deadline restraints I couldn't mess with a new pattern. Much better to perfect the stays I've been wearing for the couple of years and make a new outfit for the tea. *wink*

March 21 2007

Another day, another headache so I stumbled through yesterday doing quiet work. Actually got quite a bit done in the real-life world of site updating, paperwork and such. Even folded my laundry!

I did sew 3 tabs last night, so that is something. Almost to the side seam so almost a third of the way done with the bottom - yay! I always do the bottom first because after all the tabs the top seems a breeze!

My head seems to be clearer this morning - let's hope it stays that way!

March 25 2007

I finished the bottom binding of the stays today - yay! I also pieced under the arm where I cut it wrong. Some binding to cover up the join and no one will ever know my mistake - another yay!

So just the top binding and the last 4 eyelets. Should go quickly now that the wretched tabs are done (I must remember to use less tabbing in B's stays or I shall go mad) ... almost there.

March 26 2007

It was a crazy day yesterday so I didn't get much done on the stays but I did work on them (in between church services since I had to hang out to do the announcements and just before bed to wind down). The join of The Mistake (TM) is now covered in binding and one third of the top is done. I have another busy day today but I'm going to try and take some personal time and get it finished - at least the binding if not the eyelets.

Since I have been so remiss at taking pics this week I'm just going to wait and show you the stays in all their finished glory. Because I'm just mean that way. *evil laugh*

March 28 2007

In happy news *drum roll* - the binding is done!! Just four more eyelets and the stays are done!

March 28 2007

My stays are done - yay! I took pics for you but they came out horribly so I will try again tomorrow. The stays are pretty though - I'm very pleased!!

April 6 2007


Behold the stays!! As you can see I have unashamedly pinched the line of seaming from the pattern Katherine just used but really it's too pretty not to pinch!


I'm very pleased with the stays, they are pretty, MA-ish and fit very well. Unfortunately I’m not pleased with any of the pics I've managed to take on them on me. So you get Narcissa as a model until I can try again on me.

Oh yes and a little preview of how the outfit will look with the quilted petticoat- yummy!

April 9 2007

Ack, my stays definitely need some breaking in. Good news is they give me the pretty shape I want, bad news is they give me a tummy ache. I seem to recall my old stays doing that at first. Forgot about that part. Truth is I really just need to get rid of my too big tummy for the 18th century cone shape ... maybe I should take the time to go the gym tomorrow after all ...

April 14 2007


My stays! I'm very pleased with them, they give a better shape than my last I think and are quite comfortable, now that they are broken in.


Lacing all the way down takes more time to lace but it does give better lower back support. It’s something I will definitely do on all my future stays.


Love the silk - not the most practical of fabrics but so fun to stroke!



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