I got Covid. Yep, I actually got the Corona Virus. Thus, I wound up quarantined for nearly 3 weeks. And what did I do during quarantine? I made myself a new pair of stays. (btw - I'm all better now! Recovered well, no worries!)
My Simplicity stays turned out well (I'm still quite pleased with them, and they are very comfortable!), but they definitely left me with the desire to learn more and make my next stays using more historical methods. Thus, when the Augusta Stays pattern was released last summer, boasting both in-depth historically accurate instructions and a set of instructions using modern methods to achieve the same results, I knew I wanted to give this pattern a try! My first pair of stays gave me a good mid 18th century silhouette - rather straight up and down with a conical shape and a flattened chest. Just what I needed to go under my 1760's Robe a la Francaise. The Augusta Stays on the other hand have a 1780's shape, which is a bit more curvy. As I had (and still have!) several 1780's projects planned, these stays would fill a gap in my historical wardrobe.
I bought the pattern last November during the Scroop Patterns Black Friday Sale, and 8 months later, in July, I decided it was a good time to get started on this project. I printed out the pattern, read through both the historical and modern instructions, figured out what size I needed, gathered my materials, and made a cardboard mock-up.
|Didn't have my shift with me, so my nightgown worked as a decent stand-in.|
How it fits the challenge: These stays have 4 different "secrets" - First, I made them while I was quarantined with Covid-19. (Maybe this isn't actually a secret, but just a cool story. Either way. . .) Second, They're boned with zip ties since those are easier to come by than whale bone. Third, The linen scraps I used as lining behind the strap eyelets is harvested from a thrifted men's linen shirt I used for a refashion years ago. Fourth, There are two places (other than the boning channels) where I used my sewing machine on this project to save time - but you can't see where those places are!
Material: Heavy linen for interlining layers, lighter weight linen for the fashion layer.
Pattern: Augusta Stays by Scroop Patterns and Virgil's Fine Goods.
Notions: Hand quilting poly/cotton blend thread, silk button hole twist, linen lacing, zip ties, petersham ribbon, xantham gum to make buckram for interlining.
How historically accurate is it? 75% I'd say. The pattern is good, the shape is right, they are mostly hand sewn using period accurate techniques, and the main materials are decent. The main concessions to historical accuracy are: Plastic for boning since whale bone is a no-go. Using poly/cotton and silk thread rather than linen. Making the buckram with modern xanthan gum rather than the more accurate gum tragacanth. Machine sewing the majority of the boning channels and a couple other things (straps and edges). Binding with rayon petersham ribbon. And if we want to get really technical, the weave of my linen lacing probably isn't right.
Hours to complete: Who knows! About 3 weeks of relatively uninterrupted sewing time thanks to Covid.
First worn: For pictures September 10, 2020
Total cost: The pattern was about $16 on sale last fall. The zip ties were $2 a package, and I used about 2 packages. I paid $10 for a huge roll of petersham ribbon and used very little of it. The heavy linen was thrifted for $2 for 4 yards. I used maybe a yard. The bag of xanthan gum was about $10, and I have a ton left over. The hand quilting thread was $2 for the spool, and there's plenty of that left over too. Everything else was stash from several years ago so I don't remember costs. So that's about $54 that I spent to actually be able to do the project, but, including the pattern, there's only about $25 total worth of materials in the stays and all the left over materials will be used for future projects.