Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mrs. Hancock’s Baby Stays: Finding Fashion Fabric

As you may remember from my last post, the baby stays need fashion fabric. The wool I had intended to use was a bit too bulky, so I searched my scrap stash (that is, fabrics leftover from previous projects) and I decided to use a scrap of dull green linen because:

a) I have plenty of it.
b) It’s a fairly lightweight fabric so it should work well for the summer.

In a quick scan of the Philadelphia Museum of Art's collections I found this example: 

Women's stays, mid 18th century Accession Number 1903-135
The fashion fabric is a glazed wool that is the same kind of green as my fabric.
And I found this...

Child's stays, c.1770-1790 Accession Number  1988-15-1
The fashion fabric is a gold coarse, plain weave linen. 
If you consider that the green lady's stays are the same color as my fabric, and the child's stays are the same type of fabric that I have on hand, it would seem sufficient to use my dull green linen, right?

So I did.

I covered the outer part of the stays...

I had to piece the fabric together at the bottom front since the fabric was a little too short.

I whip stitched the fabric to the lining.

And whip stitched each panel together. 

And I thought that they were almost complete, that I just needed to make the eyelets. 

However, Mrs. Peabody recently blogged in her post TextileThoughts about ceasing to use linen colors that are not documented, such as green.

This is a bummer because:

a)      I had thought that the project was nearly complete.
b)      I made a petticoat with this linen that I'll have to retire. And I used a scrap to line my absolutely favorite accessory, my needlework bag, which will have to take apart and redo. : (

Sew. Does it seem too much of a stretch to use green linen for baby stays? Or should I snip it off and start over? 

1 comment:

  1. Well, Mrs H. We are at the point of the horn of the dilemma. Historical accuracy vs what we have on hand. The green stays are wool, the green linen is green achieved thru modern dyes to the same color as the wool. Question? Are you going to present these to the public as a teaching tool? or will they be worn under a gown never to be seen? There lies your answer. Mrs. Peabody, Known everywhere as a buzz kill