18th Century Stays

The stays here were offered for sale in September '99 on eBay. Following is the text and photographs that accompanied the posting:

RARE & ORIGINAL 18th C. (c. 1750-60) CORSET

In the 18th century, a woman's stays were an integral part of her wardrobe. The stays gave the woman support and added the correct and fashionable shape to her body. Later, in the early 19th century, this undergarment was renamed the corset. These stays are entirely handmade and are in extremely good condition considering their age. The outer fabric is hand-woven wool; there are numerous moth holes in this layer (see close-up photos). The inner linings are a heavy homespun linen. The stays are constructed with a continuous series of 1/4" vertical channels between the outer and inner layers. Whale bone (baleen) was sewn into each of these narrow channels, giving this undergarment a structured, sculptural appearance-much like a piece of armor! The inside front section of the stays has an additional layer of seven horizontally spaced lengths of whale bone (one section of the baleen is visible where it has poked through the linen). The stays are trimmed around all edges in a light-colored buckskin leather. Measurements: Waist, 26 1/2"; Center front height, 11 3/4"; Center back height, 14".
This style of back-lacing stay was in fashion during the mid-18th century - BEFORE the American Revolution. This is an extremely rare and wonderful meseum-quality garment. Successful bidder pays $5.00 shipping plus insurance. Please go to my web site at http://www.antique-fashion.com to view other historic items I have for sale.