Thursday, July 23, 2009

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.


  1. These are really interesting. Any idea of a date for them?

  2. A broad estimate would be 1750-70.

  3. Thank you for posting all this information on the child’s stays. I am interested in social history, much more than sewing and clothing construction.

    Do we know the likely age of the child who wore these stays? Very young I think?

    From my research I offer to you the following notes stays for children.

    • Today we don’t like the idea of children in stays – not only for health, but also for ideas of liberty, freedom, self development etc

    • In the 18, 19 and early 20 centuries the reverse was true. Stays were healthy and they were part of training both young girls and boys to be responsible and acceptable adults. There is evidence in the 18 and 19 cent which goes like.. “don’t put your girls in fashionable tight corset, no, girls should wear corsets to provide support and shaping”. Of course, today, you would be accused of intense cruelty if you put your daughter into stays as described so well by Hallie.

    • There is a lot of fetish material around girl’s stays. Ignoring this there is evidence to suggest that child’s stays were seen as “proper”, “right” and not “sexy”.

    • Historical role-players say that 18 cent stays are comfortable if not super laced, and for women with big breasts stays can be more comfortable than the modern bra.

    • Stays perform a vital role in deportment, carriage etc. This was mega important in the past. If it’s socially important to be upright, shoulders back etc then stay will force this position. As a mother you want to make sure your daughters will be socially acceptable, therefore stays at an early age.

    The following links show late 19 cent corsets for girls and babies.



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