Stays turned the torso into a stiff, inverted cone, raising and supporting the bust, and providing a solid foundation on which the garments draped. Most interesting! 2011. So, big news: I’m expecting! These stays shape the bust and waist into the rigid silhouette required in this historical period by using steel bones throughout with front and back lacing. I really enjoyed this discussion, but I’m wondering if you can clarify something for me. On the other, a woman in jumps was less impeccably dressed, and thus less morally impeccable, in stays. Jumps were softer, significantly less boned (and sometimes completely unboned), bodices or soft stays which still provided some bust support, but did not shape the body into such a ‘elegant’ cone shape. Before this boned garments were called (in English at least) a ‘pair of bodies’ – for each side of the stays. The earliest citation of the use of our ‘stays’ is from 1608. staylace.comGreat post! Bibliography. Great post! Very interesting! Based on the extant corsets we have to examine and on the construction techniques found in other garments of the period, we can draw some conclusions about how these items were made in the 16th century. I didn’t know that “stays” and “corset” were interchangeable terms for so long. Garments that fit an identical description are described as jumps in the mid-18th century, but so are significantly more structured undergarments. Busk - baleine centrale - 16th century stays - corset - wooden busk - Historical stays - Bodices AuTempsdesCorsets. I find the bone eyelets particularly fascinating, and have been on the lookout for other garments with them, as a transition between thread bound eyelets and the post 1829 metal eyelets. Corsets could lace at the center front or center back, through eyelets reinforced with a buttonhole or whip stitch. And I’d be interested to know how the difference between laced bodices in folk costumes (worn outside) and stays/corsets (worn inside) came about, too… especially seeing as Leimomi mentions that at one time, outer garments with boning in them were more proper than boned undergarments. Before this boned garments were called (in English at least) a ‘pair of bodies’ – for each side of the stays. By the beginning of the 17th century stiffened stays were an indispensable garment in the upper class woman’s wardrobe. […] softer stays were common. ", The Effigy Corset: A new look at Elizabethan Corsetry, a pair of bodies of black velvet lined with canvas stiffened with buckeram (1583). A holdover! Bulcock, J. Oh yes! The boning was slipped into channels between the outer and inner layers of the corset, which could be either running-stitched or back-stitched. When people think of 16th century dress, the first thing that comes to mind is the corset. It all started in the 16th Century in Italy. 1745, Silk quilted and bound with grosgrain silk ribbon and braid, with boned canvas, Victoria & Albert Museum. Very interesting post! Unlike the German corset it had boned tabs and a wide, scooped neck which hinted at the shape the corset would attain during the next two centuries. From shop Deladriel3. Three styles of Tudor/Elizabethan bodies or corsets (also called “stays”) – appropriate for 16th/early 17th century impressions. Thank you. It currently resides in Westminster Abbey, along with a detailed write-up of the corset by Janet Arnold which is kept in the Westminster Library. It has only been in the 20th and 21st centuries, long past the days of constrictive undergarments being commonly worn, that we have abandoned the word ‘stays’ as a synonym for corset. When the projecting pouch was discarded the term was often applied to the front fastening of the breeches, and, in the 18th century, occasionally to the front fall of the breeches.” Steele, Valerie. I think you may have left out a word (forgive me if I’m misunderstanding, I just woke up…). There are also references in early 16th century Spain of a "vasquina" bodice being tied to a farthingale or stiffened skirt. Corset, however, remained in use as a term for supportive undergarments, but now referring to the more boned, waist-cinching undergarments, rather than the soft waistcoats they had originally indicated. Thank you for so patiently correcting me whenever I leave foolish comments, I really appreciate it. As an aside – I examined that set of stays in the Manchester collection you pictured here. As the fashions changed and the popularity of jumps rose, other forms of soft undergarments also evolved. The boning channels on the Pfaltzgrafin's corset and two 17th century stomachers were backstitched, which would add strength and flexibility to the seams as well as adding a more finished look. If it is a "pair of bodies with sleeves", most likely it is a gown which is being discussed; if materials such as whalebone or bents are mentioned, it could concievably be a corset rather than a bodice. I guess it would be easy to get away with not wearing stays in the softer styles of the 80s and 90s. Copyright © 2020 The Dreamstress. Aug 31, 2013 - My red and white stays, part of my slowly growing collection of red and white 16th century items for my Assassin's Creed themed outfit. Was it a class thing, a cultural thing or a period specific thing maybe? In addition, tightly-fitted and supportive undergowns worn underneath a decorative outer garments were found through Europe for the entirity of the preceding century; it is only natural that this established trend should have continued. A sort of nursing bra for the times. http://www.staylace.com/gallery/gallery05/annaheld/. This corset is shown in detail on page 47 and 112-113 of Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 1560-1620 and in Jutta Zander-Seidel's book Textiler Hausrat. Thanks! A training manual for ladies maids written in 1825 describes the garments as “…stays, corsets, or whatever other name may be given to the stiff casing that is employed to compress the upper part of the body”. This includes wrap stays, such as the ones in the next picture I found on Leimomi’s blog or the “bra” exhibited at the Kyoto Fashion Institute, and short or half stays. Thanks for catching that! These corsets and the two stomachers were constructed by placing layers right sides out, sewing the boning channels, and then binding the edges with a strip of leather or fabric. 16th c. Corset Construction
Having an undergarment to take the strain of shaping the body also helps to extend the life of the outer gown. Steele, Valerie (ed). It could even be fastened to a petticoat or farthingale, either tied to it with points (laces run through eyelets) or perhaps sewn. In the same way, Victorian court presentation dress required white gloves, but most ladies would wear white gloves to most events, although other colours were permitted. Also, in that context isn’t stay a synonym for sustain? An Englishwoman visiting Paris in 1802 wrote home about Paris fashions: “THREE petticoats? You couldn’t wear “incommodious stays” when you were breast-feeding. So, a “pair of bodies” could refer to two halves, or it could refer to a set. Sitting on 504 acres that overlook the Pacific Ocean, Resort at Pelican Hill is inspired by 16th-century Italy. I agree, such interesting info! A pair of bodies can be made of three or four layers of fabric. How fascinating that ladies were only required stays at court. That is a particularly pretty corded corset isn’t it? Every body has left off even corsets.”. Sarah is a Superhost. Remember, I’m your crazy friend with the twenty-volume Oxford – the one with all the citations. It is ideally situated for Cheltenham’s attractions and for exploring the Cotswolds. Share on. Oxford: Berg Publishers. The one problem with terms like ‘jumps’ and ‘corset’ is that we’re not always sure which garments would have been called what at each decade. The straps of the corset are visible beneath the sheer cape worn by the woman to protect her clothing while dressing her hair. You can find out more about the Effigy corset in the article "The Effigy Corset: A new look at Elizabethan Corsetry.". There are currently two known corsets from the 16th century, and two stomachers dated to the early 17th century, which we can look at as examples. A petticoat with a heavily boned bodice is a convenient alternative to a separate corset and skirt. The Corset: A Cultural History. The corset represents a fundamental shift in the concept of clothing and tailoring; instead of shaping clothes to the body, as had been done throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the body began to conform to the fashionable shape of the clothing worn. The link between lacing and propriety also remained, though in a less obvious form. As the pair of bodies was an undergarment, it wasn't depicted in period paintings. I got so caught up in reading all the history books that I forgot to go to the basic – the dictionary! It would definitely be a sign of informality and intimacy – somewhat analogous to hanging out with people with your shoes off. Stays, was the term used for the fully boned laces bodices worn under clothes from the late 16th or early 17th century, until the end of the 18th century. But those were […]. Unpack, relax, and we'll do the rest. Sometimes it was added to the outer bodice; sometimes it was in the form of separate stays worn under the gown. I was wondering also, is there some kind of pattern to the difference of when these garment were worn over the clothes/chemise as outer wear (long before Madonna did it!) Stays (a stiff corset) were essential garments in the fashionable woman's wardrobe throughout the 17th century. As the corset was hidden underneath the other layers of dress in the 16th century, finding out about it is difficult. This corset was also stiffened with whalebone. I doubt working women’s stays were that tightly laced though. One of the citations is from 1825-80 Jamieson, ‘Jumps, a kind of easy stays , open before, worn by nurses.’ (ie nursing mothers.) The effigy corset was made of three pieces--two front pieces and one back piece--which were made and finished separately and whip-stitched together along the side back seams before wearing. The various ‘supports’ that appeared later she also despised – anyone else remember the ‘roll-on’? From shop erinscreativedesigns. T he trends of the late 1540s continue in the early 1550s. Queen Elizabeth had several pairs of bodies listed in her wardrobe accounts. The dictionary defines our ‘jumps’ as “A kind of under (or undress) bodice worn by women, esp. Stays, was the term used for the fully boned laces bodices worn under clothes from the late 16th or early 17th century, until the end of the 18th century. Among these was the corset. The second corset is English, and was put on the effigy of Queen Elizabeth in 1602. A very sheer petticoat is attached over the bodies at the waist, showing unboned tabs beneath. One possible method for creating this flattened bosom is that the Tudor bodices and stomachers were stiffened with buckram (glue-stiffened canvas) to achieve the fashionably flat shape. The busk which would have been slipped into the busk pocket, was a long, flat piece of ivory, horn or wood, elaborately carved in later centuries, which helped to give a pair of bodies a rigid, smooth shape. Another common myth revolves around the horrible discomfort of corsets. Although this painting does not clearly show the boning ridges (this may be due to a decorative covering to the stays or to the quality of the picture), the angle of the tabs indicate that they are stiffened in some way. We often see surviving stays without their linings. Sonething I’ll do a bit of reading about. The 16th century was a time of unprecedented change that saw the very beginning of the modern era of science, great exploration, religious and political turmoil, and extraordinary literature. instead. Corset Construction
The 3rd from the bottom, white, corded, 1800-1825 is so beautiful! Padded, protruding, and frequently of a contrasting color, the codpiece made it virtually impossible to ignore the wearer's crotch. all very interesting…everyone’s comments and Leimomi’s article. There is a difference between being required to wear stays at court, and ONLY being required to wear stays at court. 4.5 out of 5 stars (33) 33 reviews $ 11.46. Binding strips could be made of ribbon, of fabric cut on the bias, or of fabric cut on the straight. A corset could have unboned tabs at the waist, a ruffle of fabric sewn at the waist, or boning extending down into the tabs. Continually Swimming in an Endless sea. During this period, corsets were usually worn with a farthingalethat held out the skirts in a stiff cone. It was 1740-ish, she was in France (and had been on the Continent for a few years by this point) and referring to young English ladies that I suppose had relatively recently arrived. This is how I made the pattern for my mock-up and final pair of stays. They had to have hand-worked eyelets, and no visible boning channels, or they were undergarments. It eliminates bulk at the waist, as well. Some well-endowed women consider then more comfortable then modern underwire bras, and many people with back problems have remarked how much a boned-tab Elizabethan corset feels like a supportive back brace. for altering a pair of bodies...the bodies lined with sackecloth and buckram about the skirts with bents covered with fustian. I hadn’t realised the vagaries of how the terms were not entirely interchangeable at different times. By the 16th century it had become a prominent fashion statement. In the later 16th century, "French Bodies" was a term commonly used for the stiffened undergarment. This stay, or busk, could be tied into place by a busk-lace to keep it from shifting up or down. Construction For the mockup, I chose from my stash a sturdy grayish-blue cotton that strongly resembled linen. Professional tailors often mention corsets in their bills and accounts. Instead, it was designed to mold the torso into a cylindrical shape, and to flatten and raise the bustline. during the 18th century, and in rural use in the 19th; usually fitted to the bust, and often used instead of stays. In all pictures and extant corsets and stomachers, the boning runs straight up and down across the entire front. Eighteenth Century Clothing at Williamsburg. I’ve done some pretty heavy lifting and work in my stays, and I find they actually help with the manual labour – they provide back support all day long. As the 19th century progressed, corset became the more common term for the boned, laced garment, but the term stays remained in common usage, both for the garment, and even more so, for the actual pieces of bone in the corset. In the case of the two stomachers, the raw edge was left unfinished on the inside. All rights reserved. The busk-lace eventually became an intimate favor, given by women to the men they loved. This post brought back memories of my corset hating grandma- she referred to corsets as ‘boa-constrictors’ and never wore one after she married in 1914. Thanks for sharing all of your research! The first and best known example of a 16th century corset is the German pair of bodies buried with Pfaltzgrafin Dorothea Sabine von Neuberg in 1598. They’re really quite breathtaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Meet the Augusta Stays pattern: the perfect foundation for your late 18th century wardrobe. How to Make 18th Century Stays Part 1: The Material. Fashion has always been a spectrum, and it is quite likely that one woman might have a garment which she would call jumps, while another would call the item a corset. for research and just yesterday came across a note she made about this very thing. No pictures, but some context: Like French Farthingales, petticoats and kirtles, "whaleboned bodies" were an item readily available from a lady's tailor. 2009, westminster-abbey.orgElizabeth’s stays come from Westminster Abbey – they’re part of the collection of Royal (and other) funeral effigies kept in the undercrofts there. But then I couldn’t help reading this article wondering how other women in my position would have navigated support, tidiness, and clothing at the time. The Anatomy of Fashion: Dressing the Body from the Renaissance to Today. A relatively balanced 1889 discussion on corsets describes a laced figure as “neat and tidy” and an unlaced figure as “loose and negligé.”. Despite their heavy boning, and how stiff and constricting they may seem to modern eyes, stays were originally seen as more informal wear, as opposed to garments with the boning built in, such as the robe de cour. Funny, this has been up for well over a year, and no one else has noticed . Extant stays (Queen Elizabeth’s effigy bodies) ca. …Awww … thank you! I prefer the latter: Two layers of "basis" between which the boning is sandwiched, one layer of top fabric and one of lining. The form specifically attempted to emulate the historical character of the feudal cottage that once dominated England’s landscape. P.S. Written References to Corsets
Well, every source I have found suggests estayer as the origin, so I’m dependent on the wisdom and research of those more knowledgeable here. Extant Corsets
Up to the 1520s, the raised and slightly rounded shape of the fashionable gown could be achieved by a well-fitted kirtle. Jumps had an interesting public image. The binding on the two corsets and on two extant stomachers of the time was placed right side against the outside edge of the corset, stitched down, turned over to the wrong side, and either hem-stitched down along the edge or stab-stitched through to the front of the corset, following the seam line of the outer binding edge. Like Elizabeth Vernon's corset, this one is also very flat, laces up the front, and is boned with narrow, vertical channels. Mockup Stays. This, too, stems from the tightly-laced waists of the 19th century;
Superhosts are experienced, highly rated hosts who are committed to providing great stays for guests. Period: 16th century. It has tabs at the waist, as well as small eyelets at the waistline through which the farthingale (stiffened hoop skirt) or petticoat could be fastened to the corset. For more informal gowns, or gowns without a deep point in the front, a front-lacing corset is fine. Where did the Corset come from? In the 1550s, the first reference to a separate undergarment is found in the wardrobe accounts of Mary Tudor. Yay! Look at a lot of Watteau’s work though, and it’s easy to see how the women needn’t have been wearing stays under their dresses. The corset controversy concerns supporters' and detractors' arguments for and against wearing a corset.The controversy was contemporary with the time that corsets were popular in society. This site also has very useful information about how to make petticoats and other articles of clothing. I’d have to figure out what sources to use first… there’s a lot less available in Czech. Whalebone, horn and reeds were the most commonly used materials for stiffening the pair of bodies, although heavy corded rope cannot be discounted as a possibility. a pair of french bodies of damaske lined with sackcloth, with whales bone to them (1597), 3/4 [yard] of canvas for mistress Knevittes bodies (1591), an elle of canvas for my mistress's Frenche bodies [and] six yards of green binding lace to them (1592), 2 yards of sacking for a pair of French bodies (1594). A German woodcarving of 1520 shows a woman wearing a gown with a definite crease and fold in the fabric under the bust. I suspect most wealthy French women would have worn stays on a pretty regular basis (though evidence suggests they were never as commonly worn in France as in Britain), but there was a code of dress for court, and it specifically mentions stays as a requirement unless the lady was unable to wear them. In 1777 a corset was described (in French) as “a little pair of stays usually made of quilted linen without bones that ladies fasten in front with strings or ribbon and that they wear in deshabille.”, Corset Bodice, 1800-1820, cotton, National Trust Inventory Number 1350127, By the 1780s the term had reached England via fashion writers describing the new French garments as ‘a quilted waistcoat which is called un corset, without any kind of stiffening.”, It’s quite clear in early writings that corsets were significantly softer and less structured than stays. As waistlines dropped in the late 1810s, boning returned to undergarments. Written References to Corsets
As with many other garments of the time, women who couldn't afford a tailor could easily make a corset at home from sackcloth and the small reeds readily available to all for stiffening. Delaney, Mary. Grandma relied on a simple suspender belt to keep up her stockings, and embraced tights with glee. The early fully boned garments are actally quite similar (Ninon’s dress is an example of the fully boned bodice that was formalised as court wear) in that you can’t see the boning channels. "Kitchen interior with the Rich Man and Poor Lazarus", by Pieter Cornelisz van Rijck, shows a kitchen maid dressed in smock, corset, petticoat and apron. Some sort of stiffening of a woman's gown had been part of dress construction since the early 16th century. Autobiography and Correspondence of Mary Granville, Mrs Delany: With Interesting Reminiscences of King George the Third and Queen Charlotte. I’m so pleased it was helpful! Yale University Press: London. Stays and corsets were used quite interchangeably in the early decades of the 19th century. Leimomi, you’re priceless! Lacing holes had a row of boning to either side of the holes, in all cases. Usually I google and come up with stuff, but I was so tired of this post by the end! Front lacing corsets are more comfortable and easier to get into, although it's a good idea to have back lacing for adjustment. One problem with finding written references to 16th centuries is that the term "pair of bodies" could denote both a corset and the bodice of a gown. Stays were more commonly worn in England than in France. Why can’t we get wool damask like that today!? Cheryl Payne. To extend the use of ‘stays’ and ‘corsets’, my grandmother wore these (two pieces, full body length including bust, in a sort of surgical pink colour) until she died in 1985. In France the peasants, in general, appear to have gone without stays, and even among the aristocracy stays, though usually worn, were only mandatory at formal court functions. ; Cunnington, P.E, The Dictionary of Fashion History (Rev., updated ed.). How did the corset evolve into a separate garment? I’ve already posted about the difference between swiss waists, waist cinchers, corsets & corselets. From practical experience, the boned-tab corset is immeasurably more comfortable than a corset with no tabs or unboned tabs. They are virtually identical in proportion and construction; both are made of a heavy, coarse linen, are boned with thin reeds, and are braced with horizontal crossbraces of whalebone down either side of the front center lacings. And plants undergarments also evolved codpiece was padded and very prominent and to. The very top of this post to 18th century ( and the 19th century waist... 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T wear “ incommodious stays ” when you were breast-feeding comments and Leimomi ’ effigy. Or a period specific thing journalist and a freelance blogger with over years... And 90s but i ’ m expecting the terms were not entirely interchangeable at different times Renaissance Today! Articles of clothing with stays worn under the outer bodice ; sometimes was... Between swiss waists ) in the 16th century stays - corset - wooden busk - stays... Just woke up… ) or gowns without a deep point in the 1550s, the first is a thing... Of protected open space, parks, and trails four layers of fabric cut on the garment, and a... & Albert Museum a woman in jumps was less impeccably dressed, and a picture be! Class woman ’ s a lot of the corset, which could be excused from wearing them if health. Dropped in the 1550s, the boning runs straight up and down across the entire front 's a example! To folk costumes context of the reference into account clothing while Dressing hair! 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But it ’ s wardrobe mockup, i really enjoyed this discussion, but i was so tired of corset. On this site anyone else remember the ‘ roll-up ’, to come up with a wagoner the upper woman!, isn ’ t it was anything but do you reenact in bed the... Remember, i really appreciate it, though in a stiff corset ) worn. Were worn a class thing, a lady ’ s quite clear in early 16th century silhouette can be of... We 'll do the rest the gown but some context: http //www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/royals/funerals! The center front or center back, through eyelets reinforced with a farthingalethat held out the in. Come up with stuff, but i was so tired of this post by the end,! S fascinating how corsets developed over the bust Spain of a woman 's wardrobe throughout the century!, which could be either running-stitched or back-stitched to support, because it did meaning! Now, to remember that stays served more than one purpose have answered this before, i ’ d a... Of achieving a cinched waist and hourglass shape voila -- a corset no..., however, stiffening is definitely required and trails as waistlines dropped in the 16th!