Anna Murray Douglass Dress: Making the Stay

At first I thought I would just buy a corset to wear under the dress, but then quickly changed my mind. I wanted to get the full effect of what Mrs. Douglass might of felt like on that day.

I knew that an 19th century woman may have worn some type of corset/stay under the dress, but needed to find out which she might have worn in that time.

My research turned up a Stay. I found this from a website called The Dreamstress: The term stays probably comes from the French estayer: to support, because that is exactly what stays did. Stays turned the torso into a stiff, inverted cone, raising and supporting the bust, and providing a solid foundation on which the garments draped.

Then in search of a pattern I first found an American Dutches Video, which led me to Redthreaded Patterns There I found many era's of stays/corsets/supplies/etc.

I also found a video from Katelyn Heisch ( making the 1830's corset by hand. I really liked how she padded her bust gussets (she uses a different stay pattern than I used). Her You Tube channel is dedicated to the historical sewing arts. Busk or not to Busk....I did not...I thought I would be so uncomfortable, even though I am familiar with wearing a corset (ahhhhhh the 80's/90's). Anyway, I just made a piece from 4 pieces of plastic boning that made it a bit more flexible. Maybe one day I will get a busk and just try it out for a couple of hours 😁.

Thanks for watching and you can see more of this journey here:

New York Times

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