Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hand-bound lacing holes or metal eyelets? + More stays progress

In the 18th century the lacing holes would be hand bound with thread and that's how I've used to do it on my stays. But lately I've started to consider if I should use metal eyelets because the hand-bound holes have stretched and ripped after two years of using my former stays and now I wish my future stays to stay neat as long as possible. I've been debating whether it's more important for me to have historically accurate lacing holes or the stays last for longer and haven't yet come to a decision. I know it doesn't really matter as much when I have machine-sewing seen as when I don't have it seen and right now the machine sewing is visible on the outside of the new 1780s stays so I'm starting to think I could go for the metal eyelets.

Here's my list why I should use either:

Metal eyelets:
-last longer
-quicker to attach
-not historically accurate

Hand-bound lacing holes:
-historically accurate
-look prettier (that's just my opinion)
-stretch and rip over time

Conclusion could be to use metal rings to strengthen the lacing holes. Yesterday I discovered that it's also historically accurate. Here's my rough translation from Underkläder by Britta Hammar and Pernilla Rasmussen:
"... to make the (lacing) holes more durable you could strengthen them with a piece of leather. Another option was to sew in metal rings around the hole between the layers of the stays or on the right side - a method that is used, for example, in the two stays of Malmö Museum's collection."
There are also pictures of these two stays in the book but I couldn't find them on the Internet... However, since I'm going to make another stays after I've finished the ones I'm sewing right now, I'm probably going to try out the metal rings on the next ones and go with the metal eyelets this time.We'll see about it later.

So, after I had sewed the pieces of the stays together, I stitched the seam allowances flat to the underside and also stitched the seams by hand on the inside to make the stays even more durable.

After that, it was finally time for the metal eyelets. I'm really pleased with my choice, in the end.

Now, this also isn't a historically accurate way to do the lining, but I've always preferred to sew the lining under the binding because I think it looks more finished and prettier that way and because these stays aren't going to be worn every day so I doubt the lining won't have to be changed.

I got to try these on and like I had assumed, they were indeed far too big. I drew the pattern back in September and have lost weight since. It doesn't matter, though, because these will be sold anyway when finished. 

Next up: the binding... Don't we all just love that part with the tabs...


  1. Lovely! I've had the metal eyelet debate myself...thus far I've sided on hand-stitched mostly because it's easier to work that type of eyelet while watching a watching the pretty little holes shape up is almost magical. Or maybe I'm a nerd?

    1. I understand what you mean (being a nerd as well, I suppose)! I really like the hand-bound lacing holes and I've always hand-stiched them earlier. I guess it was time to try out the metal ones this time. :)