Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WIP: 18th century Stays

Now, I'm a bit clumsy and it's not unusual for me to jab myself in the fingers, elbow face with a stick pin while sewing.  But I've set a three stick rule for myself: if I'm sewing along and I draw blood three times, I'm supposed to take that as a sign that I'm too tired to be doing this and should probably set the project aside and go to bed.  However, I've run into problems with attaching the bias on the 18th century stays that I'm working on.  I've been hitting three sticks within minutes of starting!  Not cool.

The first hurdle was when I was attaching the bias to the relatively tame top of the stays.  With an extra set of hands from Minion V to help hold all the awkward pieces, I was able to attach the front side of the bias tape with the sewing machine.  Score!  It looks pretty and went together in a quarter of the time.  I then folded the tape over and inserted about eleventy billion stick pins in prep of sewing down the inside by hand as I've done on other corset projects.  Then it's Labor Day weekend and a trip to my folks' house and I needed to find a safe way for the heavily pinned project to travel.  In a moment of genius, I pulled an oddly shaped scrap of leather from the stash and wrapped the stays in that.  Score!  Not only did it travel well without pins getting snagged on the inside of the duffle bag and yanking out, I was also able to drape the leather over my lap to protect my body from random jabs.   

I found a way to apply the same bit of logic when working on the tabs.  By cutting off a 6"x10" scrap of the leather, I was able to wedge it between the tabs and create a safe place to rest my hands white sewing. 
Pit of vipers, right there.  All those pins on both sides, many of which
I just could not get the points to anchor back into the layers.

Yeah, it was enough of an epiphany that I needed to share it.  These stays have been months in the making and at the rate I'm going, I'm thinking they're going to get done at about the right time to be applied to the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #23: Generosity and Gratitude, as I've got a whole slew of online articles, tutorials and project diaries that I need to thank for all their help with this project.

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