This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here are the underpinnings you need to give you the proper Regency foundation! This package includes patterns for a chemise, short stays, and two chemisettes. The chemise was modeled from original garments in several museum collections and features an adjustable drawstring neckline and gussets under the arms for a comfortable fit. The short stays lace in the front and were based upon extant stays in museum collections as well as period drawings of these transitional undergarments. The chemisettes were drawn from portraits of the time as well as Janet Arnold’s excellent research in Patterns of Fashion I. Begin with the chemise next to the skin, then add your stays for the correct silhouette. To create a smooth line beneath your gowns, add a long petticoat over your stays, which you can easily make from the Regency Gown pattern above (omitting the sleeves). For daytime, put a chemisette over your undergarments, then don your gown. Voila’! A full Regency wardrobe!

  • Sizes 6-26D all included in one envelope.
  • Illustrated instructions make construction easy!
  • Notes on original undergarments of the time as well as tips for wearing the undergarments.
  • Click to download the Regency Underthings yardage chart.
  • Photo Instructions available as a downloadable PDF — Click HERE!
  • Also available for instant download as an ePattern in PDF format!
  • This pattern is rated intermediate to advanced–the chemise could be tackled by an experienced beginner, but the stays are more complicated and require more careful fitting and stitching.

The stays are rated “intermediate,” but the chemise and chemisettes are simple enough for a beginner. I am always available through the Contact Form if you have questions! Do note that the short stays will not offer ample enough support for sizes above “DD” without serious modifications. I would instead recommend the excellent Regency Stays pattern by The Mantua Maker, which is for longer (hip-length) stays and can be easily modified to support larger cup sizes.

FITTING HELPS: Do not miss this excellent tutorial for help in fitting stays perfectly!

Note: If you purchased a copy of this pattern prior to April 2007, click HERE for corrections/revisions.


130 comments on “Regency Underthings Pattern”

    • Hi, Beatrice! I recommend CorsetMaking.com for steel boning, but it’s actually much cheaper (and even more authentic) to simply purchase flat wooden reeds at a craft store like Michaels or Hobby Lobby and cut them to the proper length. That way you get the perfect fit for every channel, whereas steel boning only comes in set lengths. Hope this helps!

  1. I’m trying to understand how this goes. I wear a chemise, then a short stay to hold up my bust, then a chemisette on top of the other two and then the dress? And purchasing this pattern will give me all the patterns I need to sew the chemise, stay and chemisette?

    Sorry for all the questions but this is my first time making anything like this. I really like the “Pride and Prejudice” dress look and would love to know how to get the correct look.
    Thank you for any help you can provide.

    • Hi, Stefanie! Yes, the chemise is the first garment you put on. The stays go over that for bust support. The chemisette is optional. It’s an item that was mainly worn as neckline filler during the day–never for evenings unless you were an older chaperon and didn’t intend to “stand up” with a gentleman for a dance. 😉 Hope this helps!

  2. Thank you so much! I’m on a tight budget so flat wood reads would be great,I would much rather spend more on fabric than on boning that nobody is going to see anyway, and the more authentic the better:D

  3. Mrs. Chancey,
    Will the stays from the Regency era pattern work underneath the ladies’ Georgian portrait dress or is it essential that I use the longer stays pattern from Mantua Maker? I was thinking since I will need the chemise from the Regency underthings pattern anyways, it would be nice if I could buy one pattern rather than two!
    I am relishing your exquisitely gracious designs!
    Thank you,
    Lucy

  4. Mrs. Chancey,
    Will the stays from the Regency era pattern work underneath the ladies’ Georgian portrait dress or is it essential that I use the longer stays pattern from Mantua Maker? I was thinking since I will need the chemise from the Regency underthings pattern anyways, it would be nice if I could buy one pattern rather than two!
    I am relishing your exquisitely graceful designs!
    Thank you,
    Lucy

    • Hi, Lucy! Regency stays will create the wrong silhouette for the Georgian era. The Regency silhouette is a high, rounded “shelf” bustline, while the Georgian Era silhouette is pretty much flat all down the front. 😉 Sorry you can’t make the Underthings pattern do double-duty here! So glad you’re enjoying my site!

  5. Jennie,

    What would a nursing mother have worn for support and easy access for her nursling under her gown? I’ve looked at several of the posts on modifying the Regency gown for nursing but I’m curious about what undergarments would work with both the gown and a nursing babe!

    It seems it would be simple to add openings to the chemise for nursing but I’m not sure how the stays would work?

    • Hi, Kristin! Nursing moms wore long stays with gussets that opened or short stays that simply folded down for nursing access. I made my short stays soft (quilting instead of boning), and simply unlaced the top and folded down each side for nursing access. The chemise needs no openings; you just loosen the drawstring and lower the neckline for access. I successfully nursed twins with full Regency garb, so it can be done!

      • Hi.. I am wondering how to do the quilting on the short stays. I am around 4.5 months pregnant with my 6th but still nursing baby #5 and plan to nurse #6 when he comes so I think making a softer short stays would be the best bet for me right now!

        Thanks 🙂

        • Hi, Erica! If you’ll check the illustrations in the instructions, you’ll see some recommended quilting styles. Basically, quilting stiffens up the stays in the same areas boning would, but it keeps them soft so they can fold down for nursing. I nursed twins in mine and found them super comfy!

  6. Hi Jennie,
    I have just followed your link to mantuamaker.com, but i can’t seam to find what you are talking about. The only stay/corset link there is a corset training course. I am an F cup so obviously need more than the regency short stays, can you help please?
    thanks so much,

  7. Hi Mrs. Chancey!

    I own the Simplicity version of the Regency underthings pattern, which I understand you designed. Will this one work as well as the one from your website? Or is this one more period?
    I’m a college student on a tight budget, but want to do things correctly!

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi, Victoria! The Simplicity version is the same as my original except that it runs a size too large. Definitely (as always) make a toile to check the fit of the stays before cutting out your “real” stays. 🙂 No worries on the chemise–it is meant to be large, so just go a size down from what you measure, and it will fit fine.

  8. What kind of changes would you make for a larger busted woman? I have issues with my lower back and cannot wear a full corset, but seeing the short stays, I may be able to adapt them for the larger bust (42 H). I am just wanting to know if you think it is possible, before I attempt that level of pattern adaptation. Thanks.

  9. Oh yay. I’m a 38H and her stays look great! I also have the Simplicity stays pattern.. but it’s the smaller version. Can I use basic pattern enlargement techniques to enlarge it to something more my size (I realize I will have to do more changes for that “H” cup size)? Or would that throw off the width..?

    Thank you!

    • You can use the Simplicity pattern, but remember it runs a size larger than my version, so keep that in mind as you size it up. Just test every stage in muslin before cutting into your fashion material, and you’ll be set!

  10. Hi, Mrs. Chancey,
    Just a quick question for now:
    What happens if I make a Regency-era gown from your Elegant Lady’s Closet and do not wear the period underpinnings, but instead modern undergarments? I wanted to make a Regency gown for my piano recital and folk-dancing ball, so I’m not as concerned with being historically correct. Would I not get the look I’m going for if I don’t use these underpinnings?
    Thanks!

    • Hello, Courtney! Because the bodice pieces are much shorter for the dresses in the Elegant Lady’s Closet, you will have to lengthen them to cover a normal bustline. Stays push you inward and create a bit of a “shelf” look, so cut out a muslin bodice and test it over your preferred undergarments to see how much length you need to add to the bodice pieces. I will warn you that the drawstring look is just not flattering over a modern bustline unless you are an “A” cup–larger sizes really look (ahem) “out there!” Have fun sewing!

  11. Thanks for the answer! I just purchased the Elegant Lady’s Closet, and so I plan to make my dress! I will definitely make the muslin bodice. My sewing teacher, my grandma, is an expert seamstress and so she and I should be able to get this done in time. And, I’m safe with the cup size. 😉
    Thanks again! I hope to buy more of your patterns in the future!

  12. I thought this was only corded- I would like to make one, (I never made a corset before) but I do not see from the images where the boning is located. Thank you.

    • Olga, it is difficult to see boning channels, as the thread is white on white. Suggested placement of boning is on either side of the center front opening (by the lacing holes), then diagonally on either side of the outer bust gussets toward the side seam and in the side seams themselves. I include diagrams for boning, cording, and quilting options in the pattern. Thanks!

  13. I just finished my first Regency Chemise from the Underthings Pattern and I am so thrilled!!! I want to make several more to really get it down, and then I’ll attempt the Regency gown pattern that I also purchased. This is a lot different than making the same pattern for little girls and for dolls. Love your patterns. I’m having so muc fun. Kathy

    • Hi, Pam! I have instructions for ladies who are “nearly A” in the pattern. You really do not need stays to get the proper silhouette if you are an “A” or nearly A, but the option is there if you prefer to have them. 🙂

  14. I’d like to know…how comfortable are the stays to wear day in and day out? Do they compress your body very much, so as to cut off lymph drainage, or cause other circulatory problems? How do they compare to wearing a modern bra?

    I ask because…..over the past 2-3 years I have developed an intolerance to wearing a traditional bra, they are very uncomfortable for me. I have gone to short cami’s, but they do not do a very good job of “supporting the tissue.” I am about a 38C size. So, I am looking for an alternative…

    Also, do either the short stays or the long stays provide any sort of back or posture support?

    Thanks for any advice!

    • Hello, Mrs. C.!

      If you make the stays unboned (soft), they are as comfortable to wear as a sports bra. There is no “constriction” in a well-fitted set of stays–only bust support. The way the straps are designed also encourages upright posture, gently pulling the shoulders back, so this prevents slumping (but not uncomfortably). Long stays from this time period (which I do not offer but you can get from The Mantua Maker) do not compress the body–they just provide support for the bust. However, if you make long stays with a busk down the center front, they do provide more posture support than short stays.

      Hope this helps!

  15. Yes, this info is a great help! I will definately try them! (Sewing machine in repair shop at present, hope to have it back soon!)

    One more quick question—when you mentioned using “flat wooden reeds from Hobby Lobby” in a post above, are you referring to basket-making reed, or something different? I would like to try it but am not sure exactly what product you mean.

    Thank you so very much!!!

  16. Hi again! You don’t want highly flexible basket reed. I’m not sure what Hobby Lobby calls this stuff, but it’s in with all the balsa wood and other supplies for carving and woodwork. It comes in lengths around 18-24″ and is easy to cut but will snap if bent to a 90-degree angle. Hope that helps!

    • Hi, Crystal! For form-fitting undergarments, it is usually best to find someone locally who can make them, as that person will be able to fit the toile to you and make sure the stays are correct. However, if you are confident that you can provide accurate measurements, my Seamstress-in-Residence can make stays for you. I’d recommend that you request her to mail the fitting toile to you for a try-on, as that step really is crucial to having a correct set of stays. Hope this helps!

  17. Hi Mrs. Chancey,
    I was originally looking for a Regency stay pattern to help keep my stomach from being noticeable with the empire waistline. Do you think it would be possible for me to edit the pattern to include a piece below the stay for that purpose?

    Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you!

  18. i’m very busty and i wanted to know if the flat wooden reeds would work for me or should i buy the bonning? and on booklet that came with the patterns has the website: GranddGarb.com to buy boning from but that isnt a website :/ thanks for the help

    • Hi, Mollie! Unfortunately, Grannd Garb has gone out of business. I’ve removed that notice from the latest edition of the instructions, so you must have gotten an earlier one. Sorry about that! Flat wooden reeds will work nicely on you. Just be sure you are getting a hard wood rather than balsa, and you’ll be set. They are much, much easier to use, since you can cut them to the correct length rather than having to special order the metal boning to the proper length. Have fun sewing!

  19. Jeannie, all I could find at the fabric store today for the chemise was batiste (65% poly/35% cotton) or poplin (97% cotton/3% spandex). Which would you recommend be used? Thanks!

    • Hi, Nina! You need to look for muslin, which is 100% cotton. Wearing a poly blend close to the skin tends to make the wearer perspire more. I’ve never found a fabric store that didn’t carry bleached and unbleached muslin, but you may have to look in the linings section or quilting section. If you absolutely cannot find any (which would be very unusual!), go with whatever has the most cotton content and is lightweight and breathable. I hope this helps, and thanks for your patience in awaiting an answer. Our Internet was out for three days! Warmly, Jennie

  20. I was wondering if you could tell me the pattern number for Simplicity’s version of underthings? I’m debating which pattern to order (I’d love to order yours, but I’m on a budget. 🙁 Maybe someday), but I can’t find it on the Simplicity website.

    • Yes, but I’ve found it pretty hard to cut and file without special tools, so that’s why I recommend reed boning instead. Metal does offer more support for larger cup sizes (and is harder to break), but I sure wish it was easier to work with for a custom fit!

  21. I used the Simplicity verson of this pattern… and wish I’d have saw this before I started … made my stay using the measurements and it’s too big. any tips on adjusting this or do I need to make another?

    • I’m so sorry, Carol! Yes, they “upsized” all the pieces even though I warned them not to, as stays need to be firmly fitted to the body! If you’ve already completed the stays, I’m afraid it’s much too hard to make adjustments. I always tell folks to make a fitting toile out of muslin and test it over the Regency chemise before cutting out all the rest of the pieces (outer fabric and lining). You want to make sure the gussets hit you in the right place, the straps don’t slide off your shoulders, etc. Toiles save so much grief! Let me know if you have any questions on the second set of stays, and I’ll be happy to help. 🙂

  22. I have the second set of stays cut out… I did the next size down. I normally wear a 38C bra and measure to fit a size 16 on simplicty pattern and that is what I made first that doesn’t fit– to get it to fit I’d need the laces part to over lap a good inch or more. I’m going to make the size 14 and use the C cup. When making the toile do you just sew one set of the pieces together out of muslin and then poke holes in for lacing and lace it up? I tried on the first one before I sewed the 3 layers together but since it was the first time I ever wore them I didn’t realise how they fit and it didn’t really tell me much. LOL I know know that I should have a gap between the staight part in the front where the laces are… right? I also have the Simplicity dress pattern anything I need to know before sewing that out? Luckily I did buy the girls size pattern from you for my daughter so that should go easier. 🙂

    • Hi again, Carol! I wrote up a list of the differences between Simplicity’s versions and my originals at http://sensibility.com/pattern/differences.htm. As you’ll see, all the pieces are a size larger than what they should be. So cutting out the 14 is a better starting point for you. You do not need to lace up the try-on stays. Just put them on over the chemise and pull them snugly so the front edges are about 1-1 1/2″ apart. Remember that a toile will stretch a bit, unlike the final three-layered stays, which will be stiffer. But if the gussets hit you properly and the front has a gap, you are on your way! Also be sure to check the straps to make sure they don’t fall off your shoulders. If you have sloping shoulders, it’s a good idea to run a drawstring through the top casing as well as the lower edge’s casing. You can also shorten the straps if you have a high bust point to start with. I hope this helps!

  23. Thanks for all the help! I have my dress, stays, chemise to make and my 8 yr olds dress to make before the tea on May 20. I want to make bonnets if there is any time. LOL So I really need to get things right the first time. I did sew the dress boddice together to try on before I made it into a dress and that is when I realised I really do need the correct under things for it to fit correctly. Now… off to look at that link. 🙂

  24. I read your link… so the dress bodice to short isn’t an underwear problem but a pattern problem…. so you might recommend I make a 14 toile bodice and try your tutorial to lengthen the bodice? When I do a toile for this dress I just need to make the bodice no sleeves? Or do I need to add the sleeves?

    • No need to put sleeves in your toile for the try-on. You’re just testing the fit of the bodice. And, yes, you can just add the correct length for your cup size to the Simplicity pattern to fix that error, but I still recommend correct underpinnings if you really want the right silhouette. A modern bra just really doesn’t fit the look of the period, which was “columnar.” A modern bra tends to give you a very “out there” (ahem!) look in the bust, which is not as pretty as when everything is held in properly! 😉

  25. What differance is the metal or wooden stays?? Which holds up the best and is washable? Obvousely the wooden is cheeper which is what I would go for unless it doesn’t hold up.

    • Hi, Katie! Metal stays are obviously more durable, but they’re also more difficult to have cut to the correct length (which will vary according to your size). If you get flat wooden reed for boning and candle the ends (melting wax over the edges), they will flex nicely without breaking and will last a good, long time. They can also be custom-cut to fit and are washable (unlike metal, which can rust over time). Hope this helps!

    • Hi, Penny! Personally, I don’t use it. It’s easy to cut, but that’s about the only advantage I can see in it. For small cup sizes (A, nearly A), it does offer enough support, but if you are B or above, it just doesn’t do the job very well, I’ve found. Metal “spiral” boning is obviously the most sturdy, but it can’t be custom-cut at home, so you have to order it to the exact size(s) needed for your unique stays. I really like flat, quarter-inch-wide reed boning, because it’s available at any craft store, can be custom-cut at home, won’t rust with washing, and mimics the support of whalebone quite nicely. You can usually get a 24″ length at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby for about 89 cents, too! Hope this helps!

  26. How does the wooden boning stand up to washing? Does it keep its shape alright? I’d never considered using wood as a support, even though I’m sure seamstresses have done it for centuries.

  27. Hi again! I’ve had wooden boning in my stays for six years, and it has stood up to washing just fine without losing its shape. Hand-washing is all you need to do anyway. Hope this helps!

  28. I made the short stays this weekend. The good news is that while I’m very much a novice sewer, I found the pattern fun and easy to use. My problem was fit. Even though I followed the pattern instructions for sizing and did a try-on with my interlining and even ended up taking a couple of inches out of the bodice back, when everything was finally laced up, the stays were still too large, and did not give me the right support. Fortunately, they worked quite well for my friend, so all was not lost, but I’d love to know how I can do better next time. My bust measurement is 38″. I made the size 16 stays with the D gussets, as my bra size is 34D. What did I do wrong and what size stays/gussets should I make to fit me right?

  29. I should probably add that I had no “gap” when the stays were laced, and still had some slack in the back. Also,I got lift, but the gussets did not push my bust in enough, so the fit didn’t feel firm and secure.

    • Hi, Rebecca!

      Just got your comment on the stays. It sounds like you have a big difference between bust/cup measurement and ribcage measurement (which is taken around the body below the bust). The answer is simply to go down a size and go down to the “C” gussets for a firmer fit. This information is included in the note to “A” cup ladies, but it also applies to those who are small through the torso below the bust.

      Glad your friend was able to wear the stays you made! When you make your next fit toile, try using a stiffer muslin or even cotton duck (which can then be used as your interlining), since it will not stretch as much as regular cotton (important with larger cup sizes).

      Hope this helps!

    • Hi, again! Well, I ended up making the stays in a size 12, with the ‘c’ gussets, as opposed to 16 D per the pattern instructions. Go figure—I must have odd proportions, but these seem to work pretty well. Thanks!

      • Hi, Rebecca! Yep, that means you are smaller around the ribcage in proportion to your cup size–and you got the right solution! So glad they fit nicely. They make such a difference in the look of your gowns!

  30. Hi Jennie,

    (I apologize in advance for asking such a thing…) I was wondering if the pattern can be modified for the bust to have more of a modern look (= not so high). I’m looking for something with good support, for my back too, for every day use under modern clothes. Something that would work well for nursing and holding babies…
    Thank you so much for working on all those patterns! ^_^

    • Hi, Irit! If you want the bustline to sit more naturally (rather than having the “shelf” look), you need to lengthen the stays about two inches and lengthen the gussets as well. I’d also lengthen the straps about an inch. TEST all of this in muslin first! You’ll have to experiment a bit to get the bustline at the correct height. I made soft nursing stays that were corded instead of boned and nursed twins in mine. Very easy and comfortable! Have fun sewing!

  31. Hi, I’m interested in wearing your regency dresses as my everyday dresses. Are the Underthings still needed? If so, I’m wondering if I can still wear your pattern, even though I have a D-DD bust? I looked at the other pattern you suggested and due to my Fibromyalgia, I don’t think i could wear that other one daily. Thank you for your time!!

    • Hi, Tina! If you’re a D-DD, you would at least need a minimizer bra with good support to avoid creating a “bullet” look in the bust. Then you’ll need to lengthen the bodice pieces a bit on the dress patterns to accommodate a fuller bust without the Regency “shelf” silhouette. Experiment in muslin, and you should be just fine. I’ve made the drawstring dress from the Elegant Lady’s Closet pattern many times over to be worn with a modern bra–even cutting it to hip-length to use as a blouse. Happy Sewing!

      • Hi! Thank you so much for your very fast reply! I’m so encouraged and excited to experiment with your suggestions! I’m fairly new to sewing, but luckily have a very skilled best friend, if help is needed! 🙂 Blessings, Tina

        • Hi Jennie,

          I’m getting ready to play around with stays and have a couple questions. First, in your response to Tina, you suggested wearing a minimizer bra with the stays for a D-DD cup. Is this suggestion for her specific situation or are you recommending that to everyone with a D-DD cup? Secondly, I’ve been losing a little weight and am hoping to continue on through the summer. I’ll need the stays in September, so I’m wondering if there’s a couple sizes to play around with once I get them made or should I save making the “real” ones for closer to time to wear them?

          Thanks!
          Sarah

        • Hi, Sarah! You do not need a minimizer bra if you lengthen the stays as shown in Acacia’s post on my archived forum. You’ll definitely want to experiment with length and gusset size in the fitting stage to be sure you get a firm enough fit for good support. You could go ahead and make up the innermost layer of your stays now, use them for fitting, then wait ’til you’ve lost the weight to make the final pair. Hope this helps!

  32. Hi, I’m sorry to bother you again. Can I wear the other items in the underpinnings pattern with a D-DD bust size? Again, thank you so much for your help!
    Blessings, Tina

  33. Question, if the short stay rides up when you wear it, does it mean they are tied to tightly or do I need to make the next size up? I have about a 1- 1.5 gap now. Also, what do you suggest for cording? I used metal boning for my first and I am thinking about making a second with cords. Whats the perks of using boning vs. cording?

    • Hi, Brynn! If your stays are riding up, it means you probably have a lower bust point, and your straps/gussets are too short. If the stays are pulling up over the mid-bust, you need to lengthen the straps so they stay where they belong (with gussets cupping the breasts). To lengthen straps on your next set of stays, just slash the piece horizontally across the center and add at that point (don’t add to each end, as the shape will not turn out right. Experiment a bit in muslin before you go whole-hog, as the fit does need to be just right. For cording, you can use any kind of piping cord sold by the yard. If you need firmer support, I recommend the thicker cording used in industrial upholstery, but if you are a “C” cup or less and don’t need as much strength, just go with regular cording. Have fun!

  34. The link for the whitebone isn’t working anymore. Is there another source for whitebone? Or another material you recommend for boning in your short stays pattern?

    • Yes, unfortunately, they went out of business. 🙁 I actually recommend purchasing a length of flat 1/4″ reed from a place like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, since you can cut exactly the lengths you need for your particular set of stays. Cut the ends into a slight curve and sand gently to prevent any wear around the tips. That’s it!

        • As with all stays, hand-washing is best. Over time, reeds will warp if washed in hot water, so soak in cold and lay flat to dry. The bonus is that reeds don’t rust! 🙂

        • I went to Michael’s and they said they do not have reeds… and I should have never mentioned a corset as they didn’t even try to look for them then.
          What department would I look for reeds in?

        • Hi, Carol! All the wood supplies are over near the framing. If you ask for Balsa wood, they will point you to the right section, though I am surprised they didn’t know what you wanted when you asked for reed, as it’s used in basket weaving! Hope this helps. 🙂

        • I think they shut off their listening as soon as I said corset. LOL They said go to Joann’s. I know Joann’s has plastic boning. I told them reeds like you use in basket weaving but I think they were still hung up on the corset.

          Is reed and balsa wood the same thing? I saw balsa wood but thought it was too fragile for boning.

        • The lengths of reed will be in the same place as the balsa wood, but they are not as lightweight or fragile as balsa. Just give them a good feel and gently test bend to make sure the flat reeds they show you are flexible and not brittle. Those will be the correct ones! 😉

        • Hi I’d like to chime in for Carol’s question about reed. You can order reeds on Joann’s website. 😀 I don’t know if the carry it in the store, as they don’t carry in mine.
          ~Eliza

  35. Question about the Short Stays (SS): I wear a size 38C bra. I measured across my bust and decided I needed a size 20 and made a toile of the size 20 SS with C cup and they were way to big so I used my chest measurement under my bust and decided I needed a size 16 with C cup. I made the toile and it seemed like the size was good so I added laces to the toile and when I laced it up the laces/stays form a ^ shape where I thought they should make a l l shape. Will this straighten out when I add my 3 layers together and boning or do I need to make some other adjustment?

    Thank you.
    Carol

    • Hi, Carol! Sorry for the confusion. The gussets take care of the fullness in the cup area, so the under bust measurement is actually more important and you definitely want the size 16. If you find the front gap is more open at the bottom than at the top, then you can trim away a small wedge-shaped section at the top to make a more uniform gap. But if the gussets are hitting you correctly and the silhouette looks right, it’s not vital to have a perfectly uniform gap from top to bottom. Just have a look at yourself in the mirror, and if the bust looks nice and “shelf-y” and well supported, you are fine. Hope this helps!

      • Thank you. I do think the shape looked nicely shelf-y. And I felt the rest of the fit was good. So I will leave it as it is.

        No problem… that is what muslin is for! The more I practice the better chance of my finished product looking better. 🙂

        • Absolutely! My seam ripper is my best friend, and muslin is, thankfully, inexpensive. Always better to rip apart muslin than to cry over fashion material later! 😉

  36. Hi, I have a question.

    I wear a 30DD bra. It says that for full support at DD and above longer stays might be required. However, 30DD is not a particularly “large” DD (equivalent to a 32D, 34C, 36B, ect. as far as size goes.) According to my bust measurement, I am between a 12 and 14. But, my ribs measure 29″.

    Do you think short stays would be sufficient? If so, what size is “right”?

    Thanks!
    Emily

    • Hi, Emily. If you are in DD, you may need to lengthen and enlarge the gussets on the short stays to get full support (without feeling like everything’s going to be squished out the top). One of my customers successfully lengthened the short stays to fit her “G” cup, so it definitely can be done! You can read her post about it on my original forum (which is now a read-only archive), and if you want to ask her any questions, she’s in my current forum as “Acacia.” Hope this helps!

  37. Hi there! I was just wondering if you have a ballpark measurement for how high the short stays are supposed to raise the bust point to? Of course I know it will be different for everyone, but I wondered if there was a “standard” estimate or something, as there is for the “natural bust point” (the 10-10.5″ measurement.) Thanks!

    • Hi, Meghan! 10.5 is the “standard” bust point (as if there was such a thing!). The stays will lift them about two inches higher, but it totally depends on your cup size. As always, make a toile to try on before you cut out all your layers. That will help you see if you need to lengthen or shorten the gussets, straps, etc. Drop a line if you have any questions. I’m always happy to help!

  38. I scrolled through the comments to see about breastfeeding or pregnancy and wearing stays. So this would replace a bra? are they safe to wear while pregnant? It doesn’t squish the belly? How far down the torso do they go? Thank you for your help! 🙂

    • Hi, Erica! Short stays fit like a sports bra and don’t restrict the belly in any way. I wore mine while nursing twins. 🙂 Leave out the boning and use cord and quilting stitches instead. The result is comfortable and easily wearable while pregnant and breastfeeding. Happy sewing!

  39. Hello! I just got your pattern, and I am so excited to make it! This is my first time delving into the regency era (usually a colonial sort of gal) and I have a question about cup sizes. I am somewhere in-between an A and a B cup size (A’s are always too small and I barely fit them, and B’s are always a little too loose). Keeping in mind that I want as authentic a look as possible, should I use the A gussets or the B gussets, or should I fashion an in-between (and how would I if so)?

    Thank you so much!

    Sophie

    • Hi, Sophie! As with all my patterns, I strongly recommend sewing up a toile in muslin before cutting into your fashion material. You’ll do this with the stays and will be able to see if you need the “A” or “B” gussets. I imagine you will most likely need the “B” gussets, but you might need to cut the body of the stays one size smaller. Fitting the toile will help you figure that out, and I’m always happy to answer questions via email, too! 🙂

  40. For the e-pattern, how do I determine if everything printed the proper size? Every other e-pattern I’ve ever used before has a square somewhere in the pattern to measure to be sure everything printed properly. I don’t want to cut my material and find out it isn’t the right size.

  41. Hi Jennie!

    I’m currently engaged in not one but TWO historical dressmaking projects: an 1893 ball gown for a Victorian dance event, and an 1807 ball gown for a Regency-themed event to celebrate the completion of a research project on the history of campaigns in my town to abolish the slave trade.
    I’m not brave enough yet to attempt Victorian corsetry, though I will eventually; but in any case, my Victorian project entails long enough list of things to sew without making my own corset. However, your delightful site with all of its information and helpful readers has made me think that I may have my first foray into corsetry by making my own short stays for my 1807 dress! Is this an easier corset than a Victorian-era one?
    I have just two questions about the Underthings set.
    1) My 1807 ball gown will have quite short sleeves. How do I make sure that my chemise sleeves do not stick out from underneath it?
    2) Do these short stays lift up and separate “the girls”? I did read in one of your responses to a reader that the stays don’t flatten the bust out. I wear a C cup, ergo I’m neither very flat-chested nor very busty. I imagine they might fit me with minimal adjustments.

    Any advice would be much appreciated!
    Thanks for all your fun and inspiring work.

    Anna

    • Hi, Anna! What fun projects and events you have coming along! I bet your gowns will turn out beautifully. 😀 Now to answer your questions:

      1) You can cut the chemise sleeves narrower so that they don’t stick out, or you can simply tuck them up under the straps of the stays to hold them in place. The straps are designed to perch at the edge of the shoulder so they don’t show under the neckline of the gown, either.

      2) Yes, short stays still lift and separate. The important part is boning the front channels where the laces go. When these are pulled together, they form the “busk” that separates the breasts. If the stays are flattening your bust, you are actually wearing them wrong. 😉 There’s a great article about this over at The Oregon Regency Society.

      Do keep in mind that I am revising the stays pattern at present, based upon new information about bra fitting that I learned and wrote about on my blog. The next-to-last paragraph contains the info about cutting your stays a size smaller, but cutting the gussets one cup size higher. Adjust from there. Because no two of us have the same bust shape/placement, you do need to carefully fit your toile before cutting out all the layers of your stays. Once the toile fits nicely, go for it!

      Happy sewing, and I’d love to see photos of your outfit when you finish!

      Warmly,
      Jennie

  42. Hello again,
    At what age did girls start to wear stays in this period? What should a small-busted fifteen-year-old wear under the Elegant Lady’s Closet drawstring dress to be historically accurate?

    Thank you for your help!

    • Hi, Gwen! Little girls wore stays from about age four or five in the Georgian era, but this relaxed a LOT in the Regency, and you really don’t see stays for young children (or else there are extremely few in museum collections). The one set of child’s stays I’ve seen were in the Williamsburg (VA) museum, and they were for about a ten-year-old girl. They had no boning and were entirely quilted. I think they’d serve more for warmth under the thinner gowns of the period, but I’m not positive about that. They definitely weren’t there to give any definition to a non-existent bust! If your daughter is an A cup or smaller, I would actually make a bodiced petticoat instead of a regular set of stays. Hope this helps!

  43. Hi Mrs. Chancey! My sweet husband recently bought me the Elegant Lady’s Closet e-pattern for my birthday. I’m a nursing mother & very much a beginning sewer, & I’m trying to figure out how to get started. Is there any hope for a beginner to succeed in making short stays? (I contacted your seamstress-in-residence & she does not currently make them.) Do you have to wear a bodiced petticoat over the stays? That would require yet another pattern. Can you nurse in a bodiced petticoat? I’m just not sure where to begin… Thank you for your patience with my questions. 🙂

    • Hi, Robin! I nursed twins while wearing soft short stays (no boning–just quilting stitches to add stiffness) under my drawstring and crossover gowns. If you are new to making stays, just go for it! I have photo instructions available (drop me an email, and I’ll send them–or click on the link above on this page). The first go-around is the hardest, because you have to fit so carefully, but you’ll get them done. They aren’t rocket science, thankfully! If you are making a gown that isn’t sheer, you can skip making the bodiced petticoat. It isn’t needed if you are wearing stays. If you still want a petticoat to go beneath your skirt, you make another skirt from the same pattern pieces and add straps to go over your shoulder–long enough to keep the petticoat right beneath the bust. That’s it! I hope this helps, and happy sewing!

  44. Hi Jennie, I bought your regency underpinnings pattern a year ago and I made the chemise and stays from it. Since than I have gotten into more colonial era sewing and was wondering whether the chemise would historically accurate for that era (around 1770s).
    Thanks so much
    Anita

    • Hi, Anita! You can definitely use my chemise pattern for 1770s, as the shape is still correct for that earlier time period. A lot of chemises from that time had longer sleeves, but it’s fairly easy to extend the sleeve rectangles if you like. I hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *