So I've done lots and lots of research into the making of a set of 18th c stays and although the concept of them seems really easy, the execution is not. I'm on the 4th set and getting frustrated. I'm frustrated cuz I can make a modern day corset that fits the body beautifully, but am having difficulty achieving the silhouette of the 18th c. Hopefully with a completely new pattern and new boning it should work out.
I can't show you the beginning of the 1st and 2nd set of stays since I started making them about 6 months ago and have since gotten rid of them. They were mock ups anyways just to see about fit. I finally thought that after the 2nd mock up that I had the fit right. I was getting so frustrated and then DH pointed out a small detail as to why i was getting a cylindrical shape instead of the conical shape I wanted. So I altered the pattern to his suggestions. Sometimes someone who has very little knowledge of sewing, but a very analytical mind can see the flaws you don't, which is why I ask him for he;p sometimes. :D I was so excited! I had found a solution and as soon as we were somewhat settled in in NS I dug out my pattern and fabric and got to work.
Unfortunately the excitement was short lived and when I put on my almost finished stays, they still gave me a cylindrical shape. AAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH! So irritated that all that time was spent on sewing a completely useless set of stays I thought I would start fresh.
So I started searching again and came across Fushia's 18th c Dress Project blog and she had a link to a free stays pattern through Ralph Pink's Site, which the link didn't work for here or me so she had another link http://www.fashion-gorgeois.com/pattern-cutting/corsets Which takes you back to the Ralph Pink site but somehow works. Just download the file and there yah go. 5 free patterns.
So since I had no printer to print out the pattern I did however have stabilizer for embroidery which can be used as a sort of tracing paper. So I enlarged the pattern in Adobe on the computer and traced it. Genius I know! lol.
This pattern is considerably different that the one I drafted. I thought I was somehow cheating by using a pattern I hadn't drafted, but I can see where I went wrong in my previous attempts. Besides It doesn't matter how you got there as long as you achieve your goal in the end, (with in reason) lol. So I swallowed my conscience and continued.
Just a Note: I admire the other wonderful women who have made 18th c clothing and have the determination to do it all or mostly by hand. I however am impatient and am not a big fan of hand sewing, so I will endeavor to sew as much of the dress by machine as I can...Just saying. ;) lol