Friday, October 7, 2016

Regency Underpinnings Research

As I have said in previous blog posts, I hope to get back into historical sewing starting with foundations: chemise, stays, and so on. I already made those several years ago, but I didn't give much attention to historical accuracy, and this time I want to make them as nearly accurate as possible-- which means doing a lot of research.  And even if that didn't matter so much, I've gone up a few pounds and dress sizes since the last time I was sewing historical costumes, so I really do have to start again from Square 1.

The last time I made Regency undergarments, I used Sense and Sensibility Pattern's chemise and short stays pattern. It was easy to make and turned out well, but I found that the stays were uncomfortable for my back. That could have been my own problem with sizing or lacing, but whatever the case is, I would like to try a different style this time.  So I have been researching different patterns and styles as well as techniques.

Below are various links I've compiled, with helpful information on Regency-era underpinnings (both chemise and stays).  I thought it would be helpful-- both to myself and to my readers-- to share my research progress as I go.  Perhaps these links and images will come in handy for you as well.


Undressing the  Regency Lady
A helpful overview of the various pieces of Regency era undergarments. This article provides links to recommended patterns and also includes videos by costumers demonstrating the parts of Regency clothing.

"Short Stays" Studies - Schnürleib Studien
This post (and in fact, the blog in general) contains a vast amount of useful research on transitional stays. The blogger has researched originally texts and images to recreate three different kinds of transitional stays from approximately 1810/11.  The post is very informative and helpful, and the comments section has a wealth of useful information and discussion as well.

An Overview of Regency Stays/Corsets
This post is inspiring and informative. It contains a lot of beginner information about busks, gussets, and the desired Regency silhouette. It also surveys three different kinds of Regency era corsets: short stays, transitional stays, and full stays, along with helpful information about which style works best for what size/body type, how difficult/easy they are to make, and which patterns to use (there are lots of helpful options!)

Fabrics for Undergarments
One of my concerns is choosing accurate and beautiful fabrics with which to make my Regency wardrobe, even the part no one will see.  Last time I made my chemise out of JoAnn's muslin, which was okay, but perhaps too thick.  This link provided useful information about what kind of fabric to use to make historical undergarments.

Achieving a Proper Fit with Regency Stays
A discussion on the proper form and fit of Regency stays.  It contains some helpful infographics for the parts of Regency stays and the proper silhouette they should create. There are also basic pictorial instructions for sewing gussets and cutout cups.


Corded Boning
Here is a helpful tutorial on corded boning, something I haven't ventured into yet but would like to try possibly on my next corset project.

How to Make Beautiful Hand-Bound Eyelets
As the title says, this post shows how to make hand-bound eyelets. I have never been able to successfully make eyelets look good, so I plan to follow this tutorial when it comes to making the eyelets on my corset, and I hope the result is good.


Laughing Moon Mercantile - Long and Short Stays (leaning towards this one, both because of the variety and the time frame represented)

Past Patterns - 1820s-1840s Corded Stays (more likely for a later project if I decide to focus more on the later Regency/Romantic era)

Past Patterns - A 'Transition Stay' Fashionable Circa 1796-1806 (possibly too early of a style)

Koshka the Kat - My 1820-1840 Corset Reproduction (I actually made a mock-up version of this years ago, and would love to make it again. Again, this one is a little late for Regency.)

Transitional Stays. I read that these were part of the Kent State Museum collection but after some research, I've been unable to find any definite information on it. Nevertheless, I found some good images of various angles here. Romantic History's Sarah and Koshka the Kat's Katherine have made inspiring reproductions of this.
Corset, ca. 1811, The Met
Stays, ca. 1790 (Victoria and Albert Museum)
Bodice, Pallais Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

Transitional and long busked stays, found at American Duchess
Set of Cord-Quilted Stays: ca. early 19th century

A wonderful collection of images for further inspiration can be found at Historical Corsets. (These are, of course, not all Regency-era items.) 

I've also been collecting images on my Pinterest page.

What links would you add to this post? 
What are some good resources you've found for research or inspiration? 
What is your favorite Regency-era stays/corset pattern?