Okay, hate would be a strong word, and it's not the sewing that I hate, it's the mock up and fitting process. I am on my third 1700s stays style and 6th mock-up. This recent (the third) style I took from Corsets and Crinolines but ended up drafting my own block.
This picture is taken from the book. It's a late 1700s style and it is only two pattern pieces, so for someone who had to lots of adjustments I figured this one will be perfect. Fewer seams to adjust.
Now this pattern I used for reference on pieces and boning channels, but I did not grade this one up and print. I used as a visual guide as I took my own measurements and drafted my block. I'll do details on that later. I'll also include links to good stays construction resources at the end.
I have added some pictures of my latest mock and added snippets under about them.
SOME CONSIDERATIONS: As you view the pictures please be aware that drafting and fitting stays on a dress form is a terrible idea mostly because stays are worn with slight compression, (the squishier you are, the more potential for compression) however the dress form doesn't give. The breast doesn't smush, overall it doesn't compress as a natural body would, so I have been doing the fittings on my body but for pictures, I pinned to the form. You have to fit and alter on your own body for this particular garment. I mention this though because I know the muslin mock looks wrong on the dress form. Trust me, its good on the body.
This is a shot from the side back. My dress form slip is super sloppy so please disregard. I got the back piece drafted nicely. I am currently really happy with it. The nice thing about this style is if I get the back piece right, then I know I only have to work on the front.
Fun fact is in late 1700 the designer realized that the shape of stays really came from the direction of the boning and not having multiple seams and their shapes. That is why as we move through the century popular styles have less pattern pieces. Not all style however.
When deciding how low/deep you need the neckline depends on the size of your breast. It's typically about an inch or so above the nipple but because I have larger breast I did a little higher to ensure they won't bubble and spill over.
The center back lacing should be about 2-3 inches, and since I am squishy I opted for 3. Ideally, I will lose weight so this will give me some room.
Another random fact, but depending on how you lace with also dictate how you may fit in the stays. Top to bottom can have a different look or fit than bottom to top.
Stays were laced with one string in a spiral style versus the common victorian style of criss-cross.
Robe a La Francaise Adventure by Enchanted Rose Costumes: She has videos for each part of the outfit. Stays, pockets, chemise, paniers, garters, stocking and so on. Great construction overview.
Merjas 1780s Stays from Before The Automobile: All her stuff is amazing, well researched and beautiful, I linked to my favorite project of hers, but please view it all.
Rococo Atelier: 18th Century Stays Construction: They have a good overview of the construction process
Green Marthas Blog on her stays construction: It's in french but google has a good in browser translator, please great pics for her construction overview.
Battle of The Stays: The author compares popular style patterns against each other so you have an idea of how they look. Great reference.