Soft stay from Eleonora Di Toledo .One of the rare piece of her wardrobe which has survive.It was part of her funeral outfit.This picture can be see in the book Moda a Firenze.
Except for the outfit she wore in her tomb , mostly nothing survive of the wardrobe of Eleonora Di Toledo .All her clothing was given after her death.Except for a complete metallic corset , she have only soft stay with no bone or something rigid in it.
I thought using the only image I had in the book Moda a Firenze , I could recreate a soft stay .It was a risk for 2 reasons : I never done a corset or stay before and the shape of my piece could not be good or historically correct.
After looking carefully at the picture , I decided to make three pieces and used hook and eyes to close the front like the original.
To make sure it fit me perfectly , I did many attempt.I even ask my friend Gwenyver to help me for adjustment.After 4 failures , I thought next time it work or I give up.I redraft my pattern , reajust it and it work.A success entirely mine.For someone who never did patterning before I'm pround of it.
Front view .Note to myself : next time lined it in a similar color.
Side view , already starting to have a belly.
Even if I did a mock up , it seem at the end it was a size bigger and so perfect .I was already pregnant at that time and my body had start changing.Somehow the adjustment will have to be done again because it doesn't look perfect at all for me.
First :doing pad stitches to keep all the layer together and move with fluidity.It does take time , too much time.The pink cotton velvet is not a great quality and even if I iron it gently , the stitches pad shows .It mark the velvet , not cute.
Second: using another color for the lining.I did used leftover linen I had ,ivory and black .A total of three layers to make things not too thin.I should used a similar color of the velvet .When it's close it show a little of the lining , easier to hide when it's the same color.
Third: as the last picture show , when I did the pad stitches their is a panel I did wrongly.For a question of time I didn't have the time to do another.So has you can see it , I had to used it on the wrong side which mean the inside of the stay is 2 colors.As a good excuse , I did a part of the stitches when my son was at the hospital for a surgery.I was nervous.
A long time after I had start , I found a very usefull web site : Katerina purple files.She have done the soft stay of Eleonora and many other things about italian renaissance .She had the same conclusion then me about the picture.It was good to see I wasn't so wrong.Her website is full of info and I must admit seeing what someone else have done can help.
Fact about this item:
Fabric: linen for lining and cotton velvet for the outside
Type of stitches : pad stitches by hand , the rest entirely by machine
Pattern : made by myself
Time to complete:13h30