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Holly's Diderot Stays

Holly at the Silverleaf Renaissance Faire, July 2008

These stays have been mostly finished for about a year and a half (as of July 2008); all they were missing was the binding. This was the first pair of stays I made using the Diderot pattern from Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines, so naturally there are a few things I would change--and did change--in later versions.

I experimented with using fusible interfacing on the silk outer layer as well as serging the inside seam allowances, both to prevent fraying. It worked, but I'm not sure I really like the result. Interfacing the silk changed the lustre of the fabric and the serging just seemed like an extra step.

The strap attachment points remain so that tie-on straps can be added later.

Anyway, the stays are two layers of cotton canvas with an outer layer of embroidered silk--the same that I made my first stays out of. The binding is pink silk dupioni from Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan. Holly picked the fabrics herself and I adapted the pattern to her measurements by adding half an inch to each piece that the side seams. I also eliminated the straps to a certain extent--I cut down the front into the curve you see here but left the strap attachment points in the back so removable straps can be laced on later. The attachment points in the front didn't really lie nicely on her shoulders, hence their elimination. Also, having straps would have meant about thirty more inches of binding, and my fingers were starting to hurt.

The costume as pictured also includes the breeches I made for my senior project in 2007, as well as a tricornered hat trimmed in purple and silver lace. The tank top and shirt under the stays are modern garments.