STAYS IN THE MAKING.....                      
Trial and a lot of error    Patterns and frustrations    Here we go again    Possible 17thC stays    17thC sleeved pink silk stays in the V&A
Stays are undeniably an essential part of re-enactment of the 17thC. There is both too much and too little information about norwegian stays available. What sources exists for 17thC dress are probates, paintings and memorials in churches ,extant clothes and folk costumes from some of the inland regions.
While there is no doubt about stays being used at least since 1660 according to probates, the extant stays are rarly dated. Extant stays though,are known to fit the description of those in the probates. As the probates quoted are from the inland/midland regions, we have to look to mainland Europe and Denmark for what was worn in the towns. The fashions in the towns among the powerful and wealthy are known to differ very little if any from what was worn in Europe and the dutch region.
To make a proper outfit of the 17thC I do need a stay of some sort. The difficult part is pattern and boning. Laying my hands on some of the whale skeletons laying around from the last whale hunt is out. Plastic breaks, metal is too pliant or wide, rigeline is useless, hemp rope doesn't work to well with a Donald Duck shaped back and bamboo is not ye local bush growth around here.
So after a rummage through the back of the local craft shop(for a good description; read about any of "ye olde magykk shoppes"), I found 2mm piano wire and a 2 and a 6mm split reed called pedding in norwegian. It's used for weaving baskets. It's not in danger of being extinct yet, is pliant and gives support and is cheap. The 2 mm didn't quite work out. Will have to rethink that one. Possibly best kept for a busk or something. The piano wire I'm thinking of using for those sections that could use a little extra strength and hold.
There is no denying it, any reasonably historically correct fabrics will be murder to work with. Linen, wool and silk will fray when looked at. I am not going to use fulled wool. Probably the worst idea to enter my head since I either started this garb project or the website.
And just for the hell of it, I'll be trying my best to sew historically correct. As correct as possible when you only have crappy photos to go by that is.  I'll be trying out a number of different sewing threads too ; linen, wool,silk and polyester as a silk substitute.