Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sullteens and Holhipt Stays

Here is a staymaker announcing that he makes childrens stays, coats (a child's boned gown), Sullteens (another child's article?), Holhipt Stays in the newest fashion (are these also for children?). Two terms that need more research, but to the customers of Mr. Clarke, terms needing no explanation.

July 7, 1760 New York Mercury

Inside Up Close

In this image, you are looking at the front section (proper right) and the joining of the next section to it of the Child's Stays. There are four different fabrics in this image, the white linen on the inside of the front sections, the nutty brown fashion fabric from the right side of the stays (turned to the inside), coarse linen buckram and another brown linen of a different weave to the right of the front section, acting as a re-enforcing strip. You can see the back side of the boning channels which were sewn with a back stitch and linen thread . Notice that the linen thread used to sew the seam allowance to the stay sections is of another quality and is used doubled, very commonly found in adult women's stays.

Rousing a Brother Sportsman

This colorful print shows us a gentleman being called to hounds first thing in the morning, one slipper on and one off! His lady still laby abed wearing her nightcap and shift/nightgown with her stays discarded on the chair, note again the stays are depicted as a light white/cream color and are showing the roundness of the body.

Still on the Inside

This image gives a good view of the interior linen strip re-enforcements and also the holes for lacing on the Child's Stays. Notice that the eyelets holes are offset, just as in an adult's pair (two close to the top on the proper left and two close to the bottom on the proper right). The eyelet holes appear rather large and could have been made using an awl or a punch. Of interest is how coarse and quick the stitching is holding down the seam allowances to the interior of the stays.

On the Inside Looking at Tabs

Continuing to look at the Child's Stays from the inside, the tabs are lined individually in white leather and both the bottom and top of the stays are bound in white leather. This is very typical, lining each tab individually allows for movement of the tabs to spread out over the hips, and while these tabs are really not necessary (children do not have have hips to spread over) the technique used in adult stays is mirrored in this child's pair.

The Inside

The lining of the Child's Stays from the previous posting is fortunately for the purpose of study missing. This allows us to view the interior and offers a great deal of information about how these stays were made.

There are four sections to each side of the stays, left and right, for a total of eight sections. A combination of white and brown linen were used for the interior and a nutty brown linen for the exterior. These stays are made with the same care and techniques as an adult's pair.

The stays are boned in whale fin, which is visible under the worn white linen at the center front sections and it appears that every channel is filled.

There is a layer of additional white linen strips re-enforcing the top interior of the stays and also a layer of brown linen strips laid in above the tabs, these additional strips of fabric provide additional strength, uniting all the sections. A piece of very coarse linen buckram lines the bottom half of the front sections of the stays, adding firmness and strength to the center sections.

The seam allowances of the 8 sections are turned to the inside (wrong) side of the stays and whipped down to the stay sections. The whipping is done with doubled linen thread and very large stitches, not a pretty sight, but they do the job.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Original Child's Stays

An original pair of child's stays from a Connectictut estate sold on Ebay. The stays measure 8 and 1/2 inches in length at center front and 9 and 1/2 inches at center back. The width of the stays is 19 inches. A current industry standard for children's clothing has a two year old child with a chest and waist of 20 inches and hips of 21 inches, making this set of stays suitable for a very small child.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Prices for Stays

Mr Ewen has done this blogger a great service by giving in detail his method of selling and pricing stays. He will make an entire pair of stays for 6 dollars and a quarter or three dollars for the making only (labor) or plain stays without any taby (tabby) or trimmings are 5 dollars or two dollars and three quarters for making only (labor). Childrens stays are priced in proportion to the size of the child, two dollars and half or dollar and a half, labor only would be a dollar and a quarter and up also based on the size of the child. The prices given are those in Newport, Rhode Island and they are in local currency (not English pounds or shillings), which poses a problem to determine what the value of the local Rhode Island dollar held against the British pound.

May 8, 1769 Newport Mercury

Making a House Call

This print based on an early sketch by Hogarth, has the staymaker fitting a client in her home. Her son is looking on with great curiousity as another child is busily pouring a drink into fathers hat. He is lounging in banyan and cap while playing with the baby. The client is very interested in the fit of her stays and has her maidservant holding a mirror so she can check the fit of the back.

First Staymaker in Providence

Mr Mahon is the first staymaker "contiguous" to the ladies in Providence, Rhode Island. Of surprise to this blogger is that the date of this advertisement is 1772. Up until that time the ladies must have been relying on Newport, Rhode Island or Boston, Massachusetts for their custom stay making needs.

January 4, 1772, Providence Gazette

Children's Sizes

Mr. McQueen while a stay maker himself is also importing stays from London to be sold in New York. He frequently offers in his advertisements children's packthread stays, in this posting he also details the sizing of the stays. "first, second and third size Packthread Stays". Could one assume the terms small, medium and large would apply? Also unknown to this blogger is the term "cushcats (sp) for Ladies Morning dress".

April 29, 1765 New York Gazette

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Red Calico Lining

Mr. Douchardy of Trenton, New Jersey, is advertising the loss of a number of garments including a pair of stays lined with red and white Calico. Many linings on surviving stays are blue check linen, plain lightweight linen or plain cotton. These must have been a colorful pair of stays, and the owner must have been fond of red and white as there is a short gown also gone missing of red and white large stamped calico.

August 20, 1764, New York Gazette

Going Out The Window

This print entitled " A Late Scene at Barnet" c 1770, has the typical lover jumping out the window upon discovery. Unknown to this blogger is the significance of the word "Barnet". It could be a manor, town or even be referring to a person but it has some meaning to the 18th century public purchasing this print and could even be a political statement of some sort. Of interest is the set of stays tossed off to the side of the bed on top of the chair. These stays have the decorative cording often seen on stomachers and shoulder straps.

Courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library Digital Collection