Fitting Stays.
By Joyce McDonald, (submitted by Linnea Bass)


As this is my first posting to the [Rev War]list, I should include a brief introduction. I am the seamstress for the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, McLean, Virginia. I also clothe numerous reenactors, historic site docents, and colonial dancers in the MD-Northern Virginia area. I was introduced to [the Rev War] site by several list members and have been very pleased with the level of scholarship and discussion found on 18th-century Woman.

In light of the discussion [on the list] of the stays workshop in Williamsburg, this advertisement in the Maryland Gazette might be of interest:

“Baltimore-Town, Sept. 21, 1767.
EDWARD PRESTON, STAYMAKER, from LONDON, At his shop, opposite Dr. Henry Stevenson’s in Gay - Street, Begs Leave to inform the Public in general, and the Ladies in particular, that he makes all kinds of STAYS in the neatest Manner, and after the newest, most genteel, and best approv’d Fashions, at the same Prices formerly charged by Mr. CHARLES WALLACE, and with the same Abatement, if paid for within a Month after Delivery. Those Ladies who may be pleased to favour him with their Commands, may depend on being serv’d with Dispatch, as he has a proper Supply of every Material suitable for his Business, and a sufficient Number of Assistants. The Measure of STAYS, if not taken by himself, must be measured after the following Manner:

I. From the Top of the Breast, to the end of the Peak.

II. From under the Arm, down as low as the Waist.

III. From the Top of the Back, to the Bottom of the Lace Holes.

IV. Round the Body, over the Breast.

V. Round the Body, over the smallest Part of the Waist.

VI. From Arm to Arm, over the Breast.

All Letters (Post paid) with Orders,
will be punctually answered,

by Their most humble Servant,
EDWARD PRESTON”