1830s stays with blue embroidery
c.1830 stays made from creme cotton sateen and lined in a natural muslin.
Soft stays of the early 19th century were not worn so much for a dramatic waist reduction
but to give the body a long flowing line underneath the high waisted dresses of the era.
Early 19th century stays lifted up the bustline and compressed the waist and hips into a
narrower "tube" like shape so that a high waisted gown would fall unencumbered down from
the high waistline.
Although waistlines were still comparatively high in the 1830's, the waist level on stays
and dresses during this decade started to drop down very slowly to the natural level foreshadowing the
hourglass figure of the Victorian era.
Stays from the first part of the 19th century often had a wide, vertical center slot in
which a long, straight busk made out of wood, ivory or whalebone (often highly decorated
with cavings or poems) which could be inserted into the center slot for support. Busks
were not always worn and could be removed easily according to your activity. Generally
busks were worn for formal or evening functions and taken out for leisure.
This pair is completely hand stitched and have cotton cording inserted into the narrow
channels to give structure to the undergarment. The surface embroidery is worked with a
teal blue floss in both satin stitch and tambour stitch.
The stays were never worn and were never finished as there are no eyelet holes present and
the bottom edge was never finished off.
Measurements: Bust 33"-36", Waist 23"- 26", Front length 16".
From the collection of K. Augusta