Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In this well known English print, c1777, the strapping footman has his hands full with his lovely young mistress, the lady's maid is quite enjoying holding the handsome footman and the young black servant is having a good time assisting the young maid with his hands snugly around her waist while the dog looks on with canine curiosity. The monkey is pointing to a book with the words "victim of eating".
The point of the satire is easily taken, the tight lacing of the stays is being lampooned as fashionable folly, but this print tells historical costumers some information. She is wearing her under petticoat under her stays, her pocket is also being worn under the stays. She has her hair done prior to dressing and putting on her stays and is also wearing her shoes and stockings. The stays have an extremely narrow waist and yet are broad across the chest and under the arms, certainly not comfortable. All these details assist in putting together the entire package that is the 18th century woman from the inside out.
Courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library Digital Collection
Textiles in America, 1650-1870, Florence Montgomery
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Stay-Maker and is advertising turned stays, jumps, packthread and bone stays as one would expect. An unusual item in the list of his stays/products is "Gazzets" a term that need further research and study. Since it is in the list of stay items, is it a type of stay? A children's item? A fashion flash in the pan? Uniquely New England? A search of the Old Bailey does not return any results.
Mr. Tyrrell not only makes new stays, in a wide assortment of stays including: turned, straw cut (whalebone) , pack thread (corded)and half boned pack thread stays but also mends and repairs all sorts of old stays. Stays are a large expense in a woman's wardrobe, mending a comfortable, worn in pair of stays is practical good sense.
Georgia Gazette, February 21, 1765
Thursday, May 21, 2009
According to Mr. Cambell the author of the the London Tradesman, this is the Division of Work in the shop of the Stay-Maker:
The Stay-Maker takes the ladies shape as nicely as he can, cuts out the tabby and canvas which is then given to women to sew the rows of stitching. This is piece work and the pay is minimal. Anyone who has examined a pair of original and professionally made stays can bear witness to the perfection of stitching and the many hours of labor required to sew all of the channels for a pair of stays.
Proceedings of the Old Bailey,Samuel Lowe, Susanah Butcher, Theft 4th December 1751.
“I have known her three years, she lived with me about 2 years ago; I never heard any thing, but what she is a very honest girl; her business is stitching of stays.”
Stay binding, trimming, and whale fin were purchased from the Haberdasher and then the job of stuffing the whale fin into the channels was done by the Master or Foreman of the shop.
"The work is too hard for Women, it requires more strength than they are capable of.." London Tradesman, c1747
The stays were then loosely sewn together, taken to the customer for a final fitting and then they were finished by laying braid along the seam and lacing across the stomacher and the edges bound.
Virginia Gazette, May 1772
Virginia Gazette, March 1770
"The Stay -Maker is employed in making Stays, Jumps and Bodice for the Ladies. He ought to be a very polite Tradesman, as he approaches the Ladies so nearly"
The London Tradesman c 1747