Cotton Twill Stays
c.1830-1840. A pair of stays made of cotton twill and lined in what appears to be a
lightweight linen. There are 15 sets of bone eyelets down the back (known as French holes),
three of which
are missing. These have been neatly repaired with handsewn eyelets. The shoulder
straps have French holes has well and adjust with ties.
The corset is not boned, but lightly corded and has a pocket for a busk. A long, straight
busk of whalebone, ivory or wood (most often ornately decorated) would have originally been
inserted into the pocket.
The shaping of the corset is quite elongated and would have been used more to smooth out
the figure than to emphasize the waist. The gussets are quite deep, they would have
provided for a more rounded figure than the extremely pushed up bust look that accompanied the
Empire waisted dresses of previous decades. Diagonal seams and hip gussets shape
the torso. This pair of stays shows the slow move towards
making corsets from pre- shaped pieces which would become prevalent in the Victorian era.
Measurements: Bust 24", Waist 21", Hips 27", Busk length 13".
From the collection of Katherine Caron-Greig