c.1786 pair of stays made from brown cotton and lined in natural homespun linen.
Stays of the 18th century were conical in shape and gave the wearer a pinched in waist and
a full, pushed up bustline. They were very stiff being heavily boned with whalebone or cane
many women complained of bruising under the arms and at the waist from the sheer
rigidity of the stays.
This pair of stays originally had shoulder straps which would have supported the bust while the
tabs at the bottom of the corset would have adjusted to the shape of the hips and
allowed for movement while the rest of the upper body was firmly corsetted. They are boned
with 68 pieces of whalebone.
The stays are completely handsewn and have handworked eyelet holes at the back for the
lacing. Bands of light blue linen tape provide decoration for the stays.
There is a note written in ink pinned inside the stays which reads, "Grand Mother's
stays when she was 17 years old. Her maiden name was Elizabeth Baker. She married Captain
Jacob Coatie when she was 17. She died in 1849 aged 80 years. Elizabeth Baker Coatie,
b. 1769 - d. 1849" She was probably was the wife of a New England sea captain.
Measurements: Bust 29", Waist 21", Front length 12 1/2", Back length 16 1/2".
From the collection of K. Augusta