Sunday, 25 May 2014

Binding the stays & the laces - HSF 9: Black and White

I started binding the stays, even though I still have one piece of cord to insert on the other side. I was fed up with the cording, which, considering the cording was probably my favourite part of it, is quite a feat. But with such lovely aqua binding lying around, it's not such a wonder. It's so perfect. It finishes the stays (by now rather Frankensteined and getting on my nerves) into something once again perfectly mine.

It's one of the bias bindings I got from my aunt.

Coloured binding is historical, honest, although I don't recall seeing any blue bindings. It's probably not completely accurate for the super-neoclassical period of all white sheer dresses, but I don't plan on any sheer white dresses at this point and if I ever venture there, I guess I can just as well go the whole way, start from scratch and make myself one of those more period-correct stays Sabine discovered. It's what I'm going to make my sister - I'm sure she'll be tickled to have stays based on a Dutch example. ;-)

As you can see on the above photo, there is a piece of cord sewn in next to the lacing eyelets. That's what I'm tying my lace to. I'm not sure anymore where I got the idea from, but it's something I came across in my research into spiral lacing.

The laces, as well as that piece of cord, are made by me, too.

Because I'm still working on the stays, I entered the laces into the Black and White challenge (a bit late, but it makes me feel good to have something up). Because I made them myself, too, it's more or less a separate item, and they're white. Ish. You know, the colour linen is when it's basically white.

What the item is: Stay laces
The Challenge: Black & White
Fabric: none, see notions
Pattern: none - I was inspired by this blog post by Stephanie Ann; but because my cord is thicker, I cast only two stitches - it's basically like a lucet cord made on knitting needles.
Year: early 19th century
Notions: linen cord (of a baker's twine variety)
How historically accurate is it? I don't have any documentation for my time period, but I think it's at least 100% plausible
Hours to finish: I lost count - it wasn't much, but it was an on and off project
First worn: Only for tryouts so far
Total cost: I don't remember anymore, but I think the cord was about 30 CZK, not more.

I'm still contemplating whether I will go the same route with tying the shoulder straps or if I will pretty it up and use ribbons. :D But I don't have any period accurate(ish) ribbons and I'm cheap, so I guess knitted cords it is...

It's a fun technique. I like that I'm able to do it on knitting needles, because it's faster and tighter than when I try it lucet-like (more specifically, I've tried it as spool knitting). I could make myself shoe laces as well.


  1. there is a plastic device i got from my mother, its mainly spoon knitting in a half automatic way. its really fast

    1. Thank you for the suggestion, but I don't think there would be any difference for me between your device and my device. So I'd better explain why spool lacing doesn't work for me here before other nice people point me in the way of devices that work for them but unfortunately would not work for me.
      You see, I can never get the cord as tight and neat on the spool as I do on needles and it's all the tugging to make it so that makes it slower. It's perfectly fine when you want a soft, elastic cord, but less so when you need a solid, thin cord to pass through lacing holes and hold up to the strain of lacing! It's a question of the size of the loops and the device, not the material - and all the plastic devices I can see are way too big for my needs.
      And I suspect I would have to order it online, because I've never seen it in Czech shops, and in the end it's basically the same as my homemade "spools" anyway, for the reason described above. I already have the knitting needles. Whenever I can use something I already have versus buying something (let alone plastic and most probably from overseas), I'm all for using what I already have.