Stays

1795-1800 (made)
Stays thumbnail 1
Stays thumbnail 2
+5
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Woman’s stays of white cotton twill, lined with linen, bound with linen twill tape and stitched with linen thread. They reach to the bottom of the ribs with unboned skirts at the bottom edge and a squared point at the front and back. They are partially boned and back opening with 8 worked lacing holes on either side. The stays are cut in 8 pieces with a 3/16-inch (3mm) wide white silk ribbon covering the front and side seams. The cups at the front are insertions of 2 layers of cotton twill stitched with 3 horizontal casings with drawstrings, but no openings for adjustment. There is decorative lacing at the centre front and small rectangular pads on each side at the back to add volume to the back of the gown. The shoulder straps have been unstitched at the front.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Cotton, linen, silk, baleen; hand-woven, hand-sewn
Brief Description
Woman's stays of cotton, 1795-1800, Britiish; gathered cups, back laced, partially boned
Physical Description
Woman’s stays of white cotton twill, lined with linen, bound with linen twill tape and stitched with linen thread. They reach to the bottom of the ribs with unboned skirts at the bottom edge and a squared point at the front and back. They are partially boned and back opening with 8 worked lacing holes on either side. The stays are cut in 8 pieces with a 3/16-inch (3mm) wide white silk ribbon covering the front and side seams. The cups at the front are insertions of 2 layers of cotton twill stitched with 3 horizontal casings with drawstrings, but no openings for adjustment. There is decorative lacing at the centre front and small rectangular pads on each side at the back to add volume to the back of the gown. The shoulder straps have been unstitched at the front.
Dimensions
  • Bust measured inside garment circumference: 80cm (Note: Measured by Conservation)
  • Waist, just above tabs/lower ribs measured inside garment circumference: 56cm (Note: Measured by Conservation)
  • Front height: 18cm
  • Back height: 27cm
  • Underbust measured inside garment circumference: 57.5cm (Note: Measured by Conservation)
  • Across back width: 28cm (Note: Measured by Conservation)
  • Nape waist length: 31cm (Note: Measured by Conservation)
  • Nape hem length: 40cm (Note: Measured by Conservation)
Gallery Label
  • By the early 19th-century stay-makers had developed long corded corsets to suit the classical gowns of the period. However, shown here is the transitional phase between the old and new styles, between stays and corsets. Indeed, it was around this time that the term 'corset' started to be used as a refined name for stays. The Times of 24 June 1795 stated that: 'corsettes about six inches long...are now the only defensive paraphernalia of our fashionable belle'. Transitional stays/corset Britain, about 1795 Cotton with silk thread, whalebone, and silk ribbon, lined with linen V&A: T.237-1983(2013-2015)
  • A new style of stays The construction of these stays reflects the higher waistline of around 1800. While they retain the hip tabs of earlier stays, they have been cut with gussets to support the breasts. From the 1780s increasing numbers of women ran stay and corset making businesses. The newly fashionable lighter stays with fewer bones were easier for women to make than the earlier stays constructed from densely packed whalebone. In France these new stays were called corsets. Stays Britain, 1795-1805 Cotton, linen, whalebone (baleen), trimmed with silk ribbon V&A: T.237-1983(16/04/2016-12/03/2017)
Collection
Accession Number
T.237-1983

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record createdSeptember 3, 2007
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