Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Small Hat, Big Stays

So what has the Hungarican Chick been up to lately? Not very much that doesn't involve more baby-talk. Yes, I've become one of those people. I post so many pictures on Instagram and Facebook, I'm pretty sure my friends want to shoot me. But that is just too bad. I love my little boy with every molecule of my body. I took this brain-meltingly cute picture of him the other day standing naked on his changing table, with his bum facing me, turning and looking at me, but I won't post it lest some disgusting lech of a child molester steals it to fap to. Nothing can just be innocent anymore.

But yes, I have actually been occupying myself with some costume stuff during me free time*.  I made a hat just because I felt like it, I wanted to create a couple of new patterns for the workshop in 2014, but I cut it literally to my paper mock-up without allowing for extra space for I dunno... my HEAD, so it ended up being WAY too small, which is a shame because it turned out to be a beautiful hat.

Velvet Hat/Bonnet
I ended up putting it up on eBay where it sold for fifty bucks. I have the pattern, it requires tweaking, but I will make another. I used a slate grey velvet that I bought a long time ago for a spencer, and some striped taffeta for the lining and ribbons. I was sad to say goodbye to it, but it is now in Cincinnati (or almost there) hopefully being appreciated by its new owner.

My other project which I work on during those 'free time' hours, is my new set of stays.  I've made a few since my first endeavor into the custom transitional stays project. These stays I wore for a while before giving them to a friend, who wore them to the point where the steel boning rusted and began to jab out of the fabric and cut her. I resolved never to use that kind of boning again.  But that one pattern that I customized has become the template upon which all of my stays have come from since, the only change from those original stays is that I now habitually make them rear-closing with a short busk up front. I also added another gusset to the side just to give it a little more shape. I'm not sure when I started doing that, but it's now there. These work for me and have always worked for me.

They work out very nicely in spite of the fact that I am plus sized and am/was a DDD cup.  I know this is a conundrum for many women, finding stays that work for their bust size. Most patterns top out at DD (the short stays may go larger, but again, I do not recommend them for large-busted women because they just flop forward under the weight of the girls.

The reason why I'm making new stays is not because my most recent stays are ruined or such. It is because my breasts have grown bigger from the advent of the child. So, I resolved to make myself a new set with an extra gusset in the cups to broaden the space allocation and widen the 'platter'. My old stays would tube-out on me, and then become prow-like before me because there was just not enough room in there to fit all that boob.

So that is the most recent mod to my pattern. The extra boob gusset. I'm not sure yet how this is going to work, I haven't quite finished the stays. Since I decided I would hand-stitch the whole thing, and stupidly thought I'd do some cording to boot, I made it a lot bigger of a project than was necessary. But I do that to myself all the time. And I do it late at night, listening to Austen on Librivox, until I can barely keep my eyes open any more.

The Regency Silhouette, early and late (but in reverse here)
I've made a couple of posts on the Oregon Regency Society page about the regency silhouette, and corsets and attaining a decent fit when you are making regency stays.  This post about fit is one of the most popular posts on the ORS blog page. It talks about gussets and the empire waistline and la-di-da... but I haven't jumped into the shape and silhouette.  Many early period stays were modeled in the fashion of the 18th century corset, which was a boob-squasher. It created a hard-angle line that slanted in towards the stomach. There were some early stays made in this style where the empire waistline isn't really distinguishable. The chest sort of seemed puffed up rather than lifted, and because the corsets were designed to create an angle, the waistline was never very defined. Examples:

Stays like these do not have the bust-gussets that create the shape of the cup.  They promote a harder angle, and a slightly lower 'waistline' if any at all.  They squash the lower half of the breast and heave the cleavage up, which can be very attractive, but it isn't what I'm looking for in a set of stays. Especially in the case of a larger bust, where the heaved up breast, with the angled underside can often make the wearer look like a strutting pigeon--more Edwardian in shape than Regency.

Coo... cooo... strut strut.

Regency became a fashion of the natural form, and in the 1800s, the gusseted/ruched cups appeared to help define the waistline quite well, and to lift the breasts aloft over the waistline rather than force them up by squashing them. Then you have a bust in your bodice, not just a great big chin-touching cleavage. This is the look I prefer, because it works best for a big-busted girl for one, for two, the waistline isn't widened by the shape of the corset, and it's the most flexible for the gowns that go over it, not limiting the gowns to be worn to just 1790s styles, well, at least without looking like one is wearing a 'modern gown' with an old fashioned set of stays... like wearing sixties torpedo bras today. LOL. I like having my bust defined and 'presented' rather than squashed.

Little gathered cups give a bust rather than just cleavage.
Most regency corsets you find (pattern-wise) will have two gussets per cup and as I said, topped out at DD cups.  I could have widened the gussets themselves, but I don't really want to have something ridiculous looking, and since my girls need more width in the cup anyway, adding that extra gusset will hopefully do the trick of accommodating all that extra boobage breastfeeding has created.  I may also add a drawstring to adjust them if my girls shrink down again when I am through being a dairy cow.

This is the original pattern I customized. Note the two slits close to the center-front
for the gussets. I will add a third closer to the shoulder strap.

I transferred the old pattern onto some soft buckram a while ago and added the gusset slit
for the trunk. I eventually added another gusset to go between this front piece
and the side piece.

And there, I drew in the third slit for the gusset. I made it a smidge shorter
than the other two.
I cut this in two layers of cotton duck.  I usually add a third inner-layer for the hell of it. But I didn't this time. Just the two layers.

I hand stitched the pieces together, and then got to work doing the cording and boning channels. Here is a small sample of what I've done so far. I'll post pictures when it's done completely. I'm almost done with the cording (I want to add some little leafy shaped channels or squiggles still, but I haven't gotten to that point yet. I have one panel still to finish cording, and then I have to bind these babies--which with the tabs is kind of a byeetch.  But I am a glutton for punishment. And I like the tabs when they're done. They're cute.

Some cording and boning (ppfffftt... she said boning)

I will be making one of my amateur patterns for this set of stays for the ladies out there in search of something for their larger bosoms. This could fit a 40-44 DDD, possibly E ... but only time will tell. When it's done, I will put it on and model it for you all, and let you decide if this is the look you want.

*Free time consists of the hour after Alex goes to bed, around 8:30 or 9:00 PM, until 1 or 2 AM when I can barely keep my eyes open. It's the only time I have to myself these days.


Annabel said...

So glad to read a post concerning generous busts and finding solutions. I have ordered 3 different type of short stays: one wrap around, one with cup gussets and boning and one a variation on that. I normally wear a 34FF bra and long to find supportive corsetry which will allow me to dance and spend a comfortable evening without feeling that my 'assets' are straying! We could compare notes when I have 'test-driven' the three variations! Annabel from Malta

Lady D said...

Interesting to read of your issues.
I am not a 'big' girl but I am busty. I have the contradictory problem of needing it it be small but the 'cups' need ot be large I'm 28inch waist but 32F bust.
I tried a ready made short stay which was far too big - it was just 'scaled up'. Then I tried making wrap stays the gussest fitted but...found I needed a back pannel my shoulders just couldn't take the strain.
So ended up making a corded hybrid which will do for now...but if I loose weight I'll have to take the back panel in more.

Gillian Stapleton said...

A really interesting post. I was very surprised to see a photograph of the transitional stays from my Etsy shop - please could you credit the image to me? Thankyou!


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