Friday, July 1, 2011
Found! Zig Zag Wire Stays
Just the thing you were looking for, right?
I get so excited when I read vintage pattern instructions and they call for something really obscure. A great example would be this McCall's pattern that I bought last year because I loved the neckline.
I haven't made it yet, but I did read through the envelope copy and instructions. (Yes, that's what I do for fun, okay?) You'll see on the back of the envelope that the pattern description and notions call for "zig zag wire stays." Have you ever heard of such a thing?
I hadn't, so I was very interested to see how the pattern incorporated these stays. Late in the construction process, when the bodice is finished and has been attached to the skirt, the stays get hand stitched inside the neckline, right on top of the facing.
Isn't that interesting? I would think they would get sandwiched between the facing for comfort. (Maybe they're on top so they can be easily removed for washing the dress?)
The facings don't call for interfacing, so the wires would provide all the support for that crisp neckline. (There's a lot of interfacing elsewhere in the dress: the midriff, the collar, and--a bit oddly, I think--the entire slim skirt are fully interfaced.)
Anyway, I assumed that these stays weren't something one could find anymore. But then I came across some! On Richard the Thread, you can buy these stays in packs of 100, in 3" and 7" lengths. (I wonder what you would need 100 of these for?) Richard the Thread is pretty theater-focused, so perhaps this something used in costuming. Any costumers out there familiar with them?
P.S. Also, you should check out Richard the Thread for lots of other great stuff, like nice corset brocades and BIG sheets of wax tracing paper.