1770s Undies – Part 2: Stays

Have I made a corset before? Yes. Have I made historically accurate 18th Century stays before? Well…no. So here we go!

  •  Using Butterick 4254 and altering boning channels, boning, and lace-up pattern to reflect the extant example in the image above.


  • Fabric: aqua blue and light gold brocade, interfacing – medium weight canvas, lining – ivory & beige leaf pattern broadcloth.
  • Notions: ivory and gold 100% cotton thread, ivory binding, brass grommets, ivory ribbon.
  • Important Note: if you are making these stays or a similar pattern you will need to buy transfer paper and a rotary marker to transfer all the channel markings onto the fabric.

Cutting, pinning, pattern mark transfers:

  • This is a very easy pattern to work with at this stage. You may have difficulty transferring the markings if you choose a silk brocade.
  • As I work more and more with the pieces I’m finding the chalk marks are disappearing – probably should have waited until the layered pieces were all basted before transferring channel marks.

Basting, sewing boning channels, cable tie substitution:

  • So this is my first big departure from the instructions: I basted both interfacing pieces with the outer fabric. I am not basting the lining fabric to a piece of interfacing then basting the outer fabric to interfacing — then perimeter pinning them to sew through all pieces. WHY? 1- Time consuming, 2- Historically the lining was tacked in with large slipstitches because it was removable for cleaning.
  • Second big departure: I am using cable ties in a combination of small and wide sizes. I have read and talked to people who said the sturdy yet flexible ties were perfect and mimic whale bone/baleen properties.



Alright what do we think so far? I am pretty happy with it – cutting the tabs will make a big difference; and then it’s finishing time 🙂 Binding, ribbon, and grommets here I come!



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