These back lacing Stays of heavy brown leather with stomacher front are constructed from 3 main pieces joined by Streatley stitching*. The front section of the stays is very wide at the top featuring a slightly rounded neckline and tapers down at the waist. The whole stomacher is covered with panels of green linen and bordered by brown wool. The top edges are covered with linen tape. The centre back is reinforced with an extra leather strip and saddle stitched*.
The stays have 7 pairs of stamped and pressed eyelet holes Scoring on the leather is used to represent stitching down the sides and back. Tabs at the lower edge would splay out over skirts.
Streatly stitch used to join the stay panels can be described as a combination of a backsticth and overcast stitch butting two pieces together. The stitch has a characteristic pattern of Z shapes on one side and X shapes on the other.
Stays with a high back and low pointed front. Front and side panels constructed from brocaded blue silk, and the back of pale gold silk damask. The fabric has been pieced to fit, stiffened by closely set vertical strips whalebone giving the stays their rigid shape. While stays were a practical garment and unseen the extremely fine rows of stitching that follow the panel seams emphasise the craftsmanship of the garment. The stays are lined with beige wool flannel cut in 3 pieces. The stays are bound with narrow linen braid and trimmed with cream silk braid over panel seams. The stays fasten with 16 pairs of eyelet down the back. When worn the shaped tabs at the bottom of the stays would splay out over the hips.
Back supporting bodice designed to alleviate upper back pain and shoulder stooping. There are 48 flat steels for support from the side and around the back. The bodice would have been worn over a camisole or bust bodice. The eyeletted straps extending from the back and over the shoulder cross over and wrap around the front attaching to the heavy duty brass hooks down the front edge. To see how it would be worn follow the link.
The back supporting bodice is cut as one panel of cotton with darts used to create bust shape. The garment is strengthened with bone casings containing groups of four 6mm flat bones. The bodice is bagged out and finished with a double row of topstitching.
The centre back of the garment features 9 sets of eyelets spaced 2cm apart with flat boning used on either side for support.
Centre front depth 37.5
Centre back depth 20cm
Back view showing bone positioning. Hooks on front for straps to attach to.
Child’s stay band from the Symington collection of corsetry. Constructed from red sateen with hessian interlining and cotton twill lining. The stay band has an adjustable wraparound strap and fastens using hooks and eyes. The front and back of the garment are corded for support as well as providing additional warmth for the infants body.
Stay bands would have been worn by both sexes from babyhood through early development. They were flat panels of cloth that wrapped around the body and fastened with straps that passed through slots at the front. They were typically made from cotton and interlined with hessian and corded or quilted at the front and back. Whilst there was no shaping or restriction to the stay band, the garment supported the body and believed to prevent deformity of the spine. Children wore stay bands until around the age of eight when boys were breeched and girls would begin to wear specifically designed corsets. Almost all children’s corsets had adjustable features to allow for growth of the body.
Front view shows vertical cording either side of the centre
Opened stay band shows further sections of cording around the garment in vertical strips
This corset is constructed in two parts made from white open weave cotton and printed with blue mock chain stitch circles. The cotton net was lightweight and breathable allowing air to pass through the holes and kept the skin cool when worn making the corset suitable for summer wear.
This long line style corset is cut under the bust line and finishes over the thigh with a dipped hem at the back to sit over the buttocks. The actual waist line was lifted higher than the natural waist so that extreme restriction could not be achieved. Corsets from 1910 featured a straight front but their function was not to compress the waist. The S- bend corset was cut low freeing and no longer supporting the breast. It pushed the stomach and pelvis in, hips and buttocks back and the shoulder and bosom forward creating the pouter-pigeon mono-bosom that was popular with Edwardian fashion.
The corset fastens at the front with a 10″ flat narrow split busk that does not run the full length of the garment. The bottom is left open at the front. The corset is firmly boned with flat steel double bones encased in channels at each seam. Even though the cut of the corset is long the bones only finish part way down the channels to allow some ease of movement to the lower half of the body though still providing support and control. The corset features 4 x plain adjustable suspender.
Trimming is minimal on corsets of this period, most only having lace around the top edge. This corset is finished with a layer cut from the cotton net applied to the upper edge and is bound at the lower edge with twill tape.