Purfylle: UFO - Renaissance Corset / Stays

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UFO - Renaissance Corset / Stays

An experiment in boning materials

I need to get back to sorting out those UFO's. This corset was an experiment I started on last year. I wanted a design to work with Eleanora's gown, the 'Pisa' gown and other 16thC garments.

I constructed the pattern for these stays from either the Pisa gown or Eleanora's, I can't remember which, it will be in my notes somewhere. This is the second attempt after I realised it would need tabs for comfort and fit which makes the stays more of a 17thC style. The Pfalzgrafin Dorothea Sabine von Neuberg pair of bodies, c1598 have shoulder straps and features that do not work with the Florentine gowns.

fully boned stays

I was going through a phase of trying out various things that could be used as stiffening and boning materials. I also had a new pattern to try out.


I wanted try lawn keeper line as a modern (machine washable) substitute for bundled reeds as seen in Patterns of Fashion 1560-1620, plates 329, 330 & 331 on page 46. Other costumers have had success using nylon lawn keeper as a boning substitute and I was curious as to the results. 

extant stays with reeds as the boning

When I was purchasing the 'boning' I chose it based on the colour rather then the stiffness. I tried this thick red stuff 2.4mm x 40mtrs  and a lighter blue one 1.6mm x 90mtrs (that's another UFO) although I was fairly sure that I wanted the fluorescent lime green stuff that was inbetween the two, I just couldn't bring myself to buy it.

Well the red stuff is stiff! I certainly couldn't put it in bundles. The lighter weight blue boning moulded into a better shape a lot easier then this stuff did. A little bit of heat applied - carefully with my iron - and and the blue lost the curl from being wound up in the packet. This red stuff reshaped fine on the front sections, the trimmer line I used there was from the outside of the reel, but the stuff on the back is resisting even after applying heat and being left under heavy books for several days.

The corset shape is great when you put it on and I'm sure after wearing it for a few hours the nylon would be permanently reshaped by body heat and it would no longer curl up on itself after taking it off.

When I first tried the fit it fitted me perfectly and the front edges just met, but now there's a bit of a gap and I haven't even finished it. (Putting on weight is one of the joys of giving up smoking, but everyone that knows me thinks I was too skinny before anyway. Somehow this does not lessen the annoyance of nothing fitting anymore.)

I had to take a break from this project after trying to stitch down the bias binding and not being terribly satisfied with the result. Stitching down that bias binding was what inspired my hunt for a good thimble

trimmer line as boning in stays

I had to pull all of the boning out (long story) and when I put it back I'd lost a piece. I had to wait for hubby to buy more weed whacker for the garden so I could get this project finished. Now I've got what I need to finish this UFO but that's probably not going to happen until after Christmas and I've recovered from making Christmas stuff.

The 2.4mm thick line trimmer is looking very promising for a nice narrow stiffener to place between the bias bound edge and eyelets, however I don't think I'll be reaching for it to use throughout stays very often. I'd still like to try the inbetween stuff which I think was 1.9mm.

I think trimmer line would be great for piping on outdoor furnishings too. What non-sewing items have you used in your projects?


5 comments:

  1. What a great idea! I never would have thought of using trimmer line as the stiffener in a bodice. Well done and thanks for sharing the ideas!
    MommyCrusader.com

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    1. I can't take credit for coming up with the idea, but flat or round it's all the same stuff. It is definitely easier to cut.

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  2. Wow! Look at you. I'm impressed. Working with boning is intimidating to me. I admire your courage. Thanks for linking up to Snickerdoodle Sunday!

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    1. Boning isn't so hard to work with but it can be a bit boring, making sure there are no sharp edges is a bit of a challenge, but it's stitching all those perfectly straight lines that are the hardest part for a fully boned corset.

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  3. Thanks for linking up at Two Uses Tuesday! Bless you ladies that sew!

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