Here’s my finished Regency short stays! Since asked in a previous post for more info, I thought I’d do this follow up and a brief pattern review. Sorry, I’m not going to be modelling these, for modesty’s sake.
Pattern review guidelines borrowed from patternreview.com
Pattern used: Sense and Sensibility Regency Underthings. I used the E-Pattern and only made the short stays.
Pattern Sizing: 6-26D. I used size 8.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, but I made alterations to the back (made it scooped and not squared), and also cut the front length down at the top.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It really works! It gives the accurate shape and went together pretty quickly for a period foundation garment. The instructions were also quite well done and I loved that she gave suggestions for smaller ladies.
Fabric Used: Two layers of corset coutil. This was not what was originally called for in the pattern. She called for three layers- linen, coutil, and cotton, or something similar.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did make many changes, most of which I outlined in my previous post. Instead of rewriting them, you can read them on my last (very wordy) post about these stays.
After I posted the last post I added twill tape to the top and bottom of the stays to bind them and chose to run a lace through the binding so that I could snug in my neckline even more and prevent it from falling off of my shoulder. I’m very glad I did this, as I can feel the extra stability from having that extra tie there. I just tuck the ends inside my gown when I wear it. I may, however, replace it with a thinner cord sometime in the future, as this one is a little bulky and made a little bump on the surface of my white cotton gown when worn. Of gowns of thicker fabric, like my evening gown, you could not see the ties. I also cut in the underarm 1/2″ at the front because it dug in a bit. I could even cut it in an extra 1/2″ for more comfort, or convert the straps to tying on in front instead of being fully attached, to be even more comfortable.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, definitely, on both accounts. I suggest making at least one mock up. I believe I made two, then still needed to alter my pattern afterward. Make your mock up in a hearty fabric like a cotton twill or duck that does not stretch. My muslin stretched on me and caused me heartache. I also want to play with the straps more in a future version, since I put my straps a bit too close together so they had to be pinned to my evening gown to prevent them from showing. Alterations for this pattern are very figure specific, and it will probably not fit the same two people the same way (it would really be impossible to make a pattern like this that would fit everyone) and the patternmaker was very thoughtful in her instructions for what sorts of alterations might be needed. As long as you take into account, like most patterns, that it will probably not fit straight out of the envelope, it is a fantastic little pattern and I very highly recommend it.
Conclusion: Really great pattern! I highly recommend it, especially for smaller ladies who do not want or need to wear the full stays.
I was asked about comparing these to long stays. I think it depends on the person, and their preferences, but for me, I much prefer them. These are designed to still give you good posture, but leave the stomach free and you are also free from the front busk, which I found very uncomfortable in my long stays when sitting for long periods of time. I live a few hours away from most events, but I Could actually wear these in the car with little discomfort. Since I have poor posture in day-to-day life I did find that my shoulders ached by the time I got home from being pulled back into their proper position. I have heard that these are not well suited to larger ladies, or larger busted ladies, and they may prefer to wear full stays instead of short stays.
I was also asked about comparing these to a modern bra. I would not recommend this in place of a modern bra, simply because the silhouette, while great for Regency, does not seem like it would fit well under modern clothing. The short stays force the bust up higher than the natural bustline, and modern clothing is designed to fit more at the natural bust. I also find that they sort of smooth the shape at the underbust due to the gores (in a V shape), instead of rounding out like a more modern silhouette. For Regency wear, however, I wholly recommend these as they will help obtain the period silhouette. For those who are smaller busted, if these are fitted correctly, you can even add a little bit of padding inside. Be sure you have them fitted snugly, however, or stitch in the padding, so it doesn’t go skittering across the dance floor ;)
I also should say that my stays are not laced in a period correct way. If they were accurate they would be spiral laced. And sorry for my sloppy eyelet holes. I decided to do them with a buttonhole stitch, and I found my technique greatly improved from the time I began the first until I finished the last. Oops? Maybe next time they’ll be more uniform and I’ll learn the real way to stitch eyelets.
Disclaimer: I purchased this pattern on my own and was not compensated in any way for a pattern review. All of the information I shared is my own personal honest opinion of this sewing pattern.