So this weekend I started and have almost finished a new pair of stays. I realized that my only pair of 18c stays are more 1770's shape and I needed late 1780's early 90's for my French Revolution jacket ensemble. So I drafted a pair based on the 1790 brown jean pair in Jill Salen's book. I made them front and back lacing, just to make fiting a bit easier, cause I'm lazy like that. They are also meant to be very light weight and cool, as I don't love wearing tons of layers in the middle of summer. Plus, I've realized I don't need a ton of shaping. :P
They are made from three layers of linen, two are a natural medium weight and the outter layer is very light weight light pink. I sewed them with the seam allowances on the outside and then clipped and covered them with bias tape. All of the boning is light weight cable ties and I was even lazy enough to use metal grommets for the lacing. There was no way I was going to handsew all those eyelets by next weekend and finish an entire outfit. I just didn't care enough this time. But I'm glad I didn't because I don't love the fit. I was going more for the "prow front" shape and I didn't really get that. Maybe it's because my chest is almost non-existent? That could have a lot to do with it, but I also may not have made the curve on the front piece big/dramatic enough. I feel like it gives me about the same results as my old pair. Though they are much lighter! And perhaps more comfortable. They are shorter waisted and also a bit lower in the bust. So there are some differences. I may re-do the neckline of my jacket, as they were wide and low at this time period. I don't want to make it *really* low, though I will be filling it in with a fichu. Anyway, all that's left to do on the stays is to get some more cable ties (only one side is fully boned), bind everything (I have yet to ever finish binding a pair of stays, so we'll see when this ever happens, the top gets done but not the tabs) and figure out what I want to do for straps. I thought at first I wouldn't do straps, but they sit wrong without them, they slip down in back. So for now I'm using ribbons pinned from the back. I like how easy that option is so I may just add some grommets and use ribbons! I could always make straps that tie on with ribbons later if I didn't like just the ribbons...
Lots of things left that I'm still trying to figure out. I really want big fichu that will wrap around and tie in back, but from what I've been able to find, that wasn't necessarily the style then? It certainly comes in after in the 1790's. And might also be before? I guess I should say, my outfit is aimed at 1789. I might just do what I want though and not care. At this point I just want to be able to get it all done and have something to wear! I've been on hold with the skirt because I'm not sure walking length was popular then either, but I don't want it longer, though if my new shoes don't get here in time I won't have good shoes to go with it. I don't know what I want to do for accessories and I don't really like the hair options either. I'm much more partial to the 1790's, transition to the empire fashions. The late 1780's all seem to have this straight piece hanging down in the back, I am not a fan of it really. I will probably just wear my blonde wig. It will look good enough, but that's going to be so hot! Also, what should I do for a hat? So many questions!
I checked out some books from the library at lunch today about fashion in the revolution and so we'll see what I can find there if it helps me figure out what I'm doing. Anyone have any opinions?