Sunday, 5 May 2013

More on stays with sleeves

Child's stays with detachable sleeves

My sleeved stays are progressing nicely, which they have to as I need them finished on Thursday. It is a bit difficult to get an overview as I’m working on several parts at once. Sewing the brocade on the stays is fiddly and best made at home and when I’m not tired. The petticoat, on the other hand are perfect to work on when I do feel tired and the shoulder straps and sleeves are small enough to take with me. So today my tally looks like this: The stays have 2 ½ pieces of brocade left to finish and then the shoulder straps need to be sewn in. The shoulder straps are halfway done. The sleeves are finished apart from the lacing holes. The petticoat is hemmed, but need to be pleated and attached to the waistband.


But right now I’m taking a sewing break and show you a few more sources for stays with sleeves. The picture sources I have found are still Italian or French, but I have found a few written sources that are British. In “The Gentleman’s Magazine” from 1791 there is a letter that mentions “stays or boddices with sleeves”.The 1790’s seems a little late for this fashion which seems to belong to the first half of the decade, but the letter writer says this happened several years previously, so we can’t be sure of the exact year. Thanks to justawench on LJ I found Old Bailey Online and when searching for sleeves found several cases of theft where separate sleeves have been stolen. I don’t know what they are supposed to be attached to, if it is stays or not, but up until the 1750’s they emerge quite often. They are usually not described, but sometimes they are mentioned to be of linen or Holland or once or twice cotton. One pair is described as lac’d, but if that means that they are meant to be laced on or have lace on them, is unclear. It is also uncertain if they are worn by both sexes. Some are stolen from men and some from women, which may not mean much, but in one case they are said to be women’s sleeves. Not exactly on the topic of stays, but the further in into the century you come, sleeves that belong to shift turn up again and again. What does that mean? That you habitually changed sleeves of a shift when they got too worn but the body of the shift was sound? I have no idea.

Corset blanc (white corset), from M. Garsault's Description des Arts et Métiers, 1769

Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange by Jean Baptise Perronneau, 1747
These and the ones below has more laced on sleeves than tied on. These don't look like they are boned either.

Girl In A Blue Dress by Pietro Rotari
Giovane donna con rosa by Giacomo Ceruti

Giacomo Ceruti


ZipZip said...

Dear Isis,

I am so looking forward to seeing this project! What a rare design you've chosen, and what an interesting one. They look neat when worn, don't they?

Very best,


Kleidung um 1800 said...

I'm afraid my comment has nothing to do with your recent stays research, but I'm absolutely fond of the painting of Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange and her gorgeous blue CAT!!! Thank you very much for sharing :)


Isis said...

Natalie: Very neat! And I did feel very pretty in it!

Sabine: I love that painting too! :)

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