I have made one version of Florentine stays, based on Patterns of Fashion. They
are very comfortable to wear but I find that they occasionally ride up
above the underskirt. .... Then I found some more documentation
in La Moda a Firenze. Looking
at more clear and larger pictures of the extant stays, this shows a
different pattern to Patterns of
Fashion, and one that should not ride up so much with
Below Left is the extant stays from La
trick I have found to see things more clearly is to lighten the picture
and change to B&W. Right is the altered picture. From this, I have
traced over the lines of the pattern pieces (blue). The white lines
approximate the waistline. My previous stays had ended at the
waistline. This 'new' version will be extended down lower, with the
||To make a new pattern, I
'sacrificial t-shirt and masking tape wrap' method (left). This was
ensure a very close fit. I marked the waistline and then lowered the
front and back. Eleanora's stays were of
used cotton canvas to interline, and lined the inside with linen. the
interlining was herringbone stitched together for stability. The lining
was hemmed stitched to the velvet.
Red was used to help in healing...
reduce future movement and provide more stability.
This was based on the information by Janet Arnold and mostly by the
actual extant garment itself. .... I made this pattern last year and
(foolishly) just cut it out. I had learnt more since then and should
have known better. I redrew the pattern for the velvet covering, so
that the straps extend up from the back of the bodice, with the should
seam just to the back (and not on top of the shoulder)...
So, already I have planned a stays version 3, down the track.
I used 3 layers of cotton canvas which was sewn together to
edges of the armholes, neckline and bottom were cut at the 'seam
allowance'. The velvet covering was turned over and sewn down with
running stitch. (left and below left).
Below L is the corset with the edges (not the front) turned over,
without gussets. I turned the edges and lined the gusset in the same
way as the main bodice. The gussets were whipstitched in place.
linen lining was hem stitched to the back.
I sewed 3-4 stitches (almost like a crows feet effect) at the
corner of the neckline. This proved to be practicle as it held the
lining and strengthened the corner.
front was then measured to be tight, the edge of the interlining
clipped, the velvet wrapped over.
Modern sensibilities meant I used the lining to cover the hook and
eyes, after they were hand stitched on.
The linen lining was then hem stitched.
Left is the original version of my stays, based on the pattern from Patterns of Fashion.
is the 'new version' which should be less
annoying and ride up less often. So are much more practicle.
More so, I am reasonably happy, with this latest attempt , at the
flattness of the front. Time will tell how this 'holds up' with longer
wear. I am hoping the stiffness of the canvas and that the interlining
is stitched together, means that it will remain relatively
Stays I have made and how they work:
based on extant burial stays of Eleanora d'Toledo (Janet Arnold, POF)
||Shape of imbusto with felt
linings (4mm thick) and unboned felt stays
||Linen stays: Mark 2 with
improved fitting at back
||Shape of imbusto with felt
linings (6mm thick) and unboned linen stays underneath.
- Arnold, Janet Patterns
of Fashion, MacMillan, London, 1985. ISBN: 0-333-38284-6
- Orsi Landini, Roberta & Niccoli, Bruna. La Moda a Fioenze 1540-1580.
Pagliai Polistampa, Firenze, 2005. ISBN: 88-8304-867-9
K Carlisle. April,2007- May 2009