Use of bents for stays

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CarolineV
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Use of bents for stays

Post by CarolineV »

Has anyone tried to use a form of bents for stays, or knows anyone who has done so? I intend to make a copy of the effigy stays of Elizabeth I and would like to try using a form of bents. Does anyone know what I could use; I have some upholstery canes but am not sure if they will work. Has anyone tried dried sea grass/reeds?

Years ago I met a lady who had made an early Stuart bodice and used bents, she creaked when she moved (lovely) but I don't have any contact details, so I know it can be done but before I experiment I thought I would ask here for advice.

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Post by frances »

Well don't use barbecue skewers! They snap and split and do not give as your body moves around.

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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by Nigel »

DEBS CANNT ACCESS A THE MOMENT DESPITE REPEATEDLY asking

so she is popping somethign together which iw ill post later on
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John Waller
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by John Waller »

I met this chap at a NT house last year http://thestaymaker.co.uk/contact.php. Seemed to know his stuff and was very approachable. He had repro corsets etc from several periods on display. Might be worth dropping him a line?
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lidimy
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by lidimy »

Would second Ian, he's fantastically knowledgeable and pretty sharp with responding to emails too! I am sure he would know where you could get supplies from, too.

Would this be any use at all?
http://www.venacavadesign.co.uk/Product ... tml?q=reed
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Sophia
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by Sophia »

Ruth Goodman sometimes sells bents on her stall at TORM.
aka Thomasin Chedzoy, Tailor at Kentwell Hall

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Izabela Pitcher
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by Izabela Pitcher »

I have been using bends for boning bodices and stays for 16 and 27 garb and they work a treat! comfortable to wear, light and inexpensive! go for it!
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STEENIE
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by STEENIE »

Many years ago, my wife made a pair of bodies using a pattern and construction from Janet Arnold. Based on the type of bend in the book, she used that dark marsh grass you see in low lying fields bound in bundles as shown. Not only did it work very well, but it meant that the thickness of the bent could be adjusted to fit the pocket tightly by pulling out the odd ''reed'. She used them green, but now, they have dried out to the same colour as the photos in JH. My wife said, that not only did it work but the creaking as she sat in them was great and always smelt nice. The original Pair of bodies is still going strong after 20 years and she can STILL get into it :D What is interesting, although the bodies is obviously thicker than a normal garment, they bring her down a dress size. It also means she gains the period problem of not being able to take a full breath which makes her careful in things she does. Again, another step towards the experience of the time.

Here is Rachel in an embroidered and beaded in seed pearls Janet Arnold 'pattern' gown. In this she has her pair of bodies on (obviously under the dress lol).
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Rachel2.jpg
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CarolineV
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by CarolineV »

Many thanks.

I've met Ian and seen some of his stuff; really lovely 18th century and later.

I'll see if I can contact Ruth Goodman re bents, but I think I now have a rather romantic notion of going to one of the beaches I now which has sand dunes and picking my own bents to form bundles etc. Just got to check that it is legal to gather them forums/posting.php?mode=reply&f=3&t=241 ... 46989e9cbc#

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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by Eve »

Are these the same reeds as used to make rush lights?

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STEENIE
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by STEENIE »

Eve wrote:Are these the same reeds as used to make rush lights?
I cannot see anything amazingly avant guarde to go and pick some marsh grass, I don't know if it is the stuff you make reed lights out of, I do know you find this dark round grass in clumps on marshy ground. The sort of marsh grass collected by all classes for their under garments. Nor can I see it as something to worry about if it is illegal or not. Nor can I see why anyone would want to go buy bents from Bents and Sons Ltd (Ruth Goodman), it is hardly rocket science to make marsh grass into bundles and cut it to length to fit into the differing pockets of a pair of bodies.

I think people need to throw off the C21st and try to think like those in the C16th/C17th, improvise like they did, look for natural alternatives like they did, do as they did and in the end you may end up with a garment and a look like they did.

Caroline, are you sure it wasn't my wife you spoke to? She has also said she creaks as she moves! :)

Here is the page from Janet Arnold which says it all. Mind you I think whale bone would have been a bit of a luxury and hard to come by. We found that bents did for both:
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jamet armold.jpg
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Eve
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by Eve »

If it's the same as for rush lights then it's sedge you want.

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STEENIE
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by STEENIE »

May I say, what a great time I have had looking through my old friend 'Patterns of Fashion 1560-1620'. Especially as I have made so many of the garments using not only Janet Arnold's patterns but using her knowledge.

Caroline V, if you look to the photographs I have posted below, you will find Janet Arnold has produced the pattern of a pair of bodies dates 1598 in the above book. The garment belonged to Pfalzgrafin Dorothea Sabina von Neuberg when she was buried in the tomb at Lauingen in 1598. when she was buried at the age of 22. This may help you in your 'makings' :wink:

The first is the pattern, the second is the garment as drawn out by Janet Arnold herself:
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pair of bodies pattern.jpg
bodies.jpg
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Shadowcat
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by Shadowcat »

You might find this inteesting.

http://www.elizabethancostume.net/effigy.htm

I also have a copy of the article written by Janet Arnold, who was my tutor at college, on the effigy stays.

S

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STEENIE
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by STEENIE »

Shadowcat wrote:You might find this inteesting.

http://www.elizabethancostume.net/effigy.htm

I also have a copy of the article written by Janet Arnold, who was my tutor at college, on the effigy stays.

S
Shadowcat, says it all really. Whar fantastic article and what a fantastic effort!!!!!

Says it all about broomstraw though. I must admit we didn't have the problems with regard to the 'collapsing' of the straw with the marsh grass. Nonetheless, saying it all, again, fantastic effort :thumbup:
We feast upon those that seek to subdue us. (Adams Family motto but suits my family exactly)

CarolineV
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by CarolineV »

It may have been your wife; I remember a pretty blond lady wearing a pink bodice (my colour memory may be at fault).
I have made copies of the Janet Arnold III pair of bodies and in the Costume Society journal number 41 (2007) is Janet Arnold's article on the Elizabeth I effigy stays (and drawers). Which will be a great help. I like the pair of bodies in Manchester although I've only seen a photograph of it but it is another pair of stays which has boned tabs.
The Article is great, really useful.
My concern about the legality of picking the sand dune grass is that Oxwich is a SSI, a place of special scientific interest so there may be restrictions - I find asking nicely with a smile lets you get away with most things and don't see much problem with finding some grasses. I haven't heard of broomstraw. Maybe I will try marsh reed, marron grass and boomstraw and see which works best. In 17th century if I lived near a marsh I would probably use march reed etc.

I've used plastic boning, steel boningand bamboo skewers in the past; my current favoured boning is plastic boning folded in half length ways with a wooden busk centre front. Folding the boning came from a lecture by a London College of Fashion lecturer and is much more effective that ordinary plastic boning.

I just fancy trying something as period as possible.

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STEENIE
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by STEENIE »

My wife who is indeed a pretty blonde who has a crushed strawberry pink dress trimmed in black with which she wears bodies stiffened with bents. So I guess it was her.

From memory, does not Norah Waugh have a pattern in her book for a pair of bodies? 'The cut of womens clothes' ? Maybe wrong. I seem to remember a stiff busk piece running down one pair of bodies which could be pulled out like a rule to hit amourous beaus across the knuckles. :devil:

No my wife says, the 1598 pair of bodies from Janet Arnold has a busk piece, and that is the one she used to hit me across the knuckles with. :D Janet Arnold suggests tying this in but my wife likes it handy for action and untied. She also said, that if existing became hard hot and uncomfortable, if you pulled the busk out it made life a little bit more bearable.

Here is a photo of the pair of us on a VERY cold night outside of Aston Hall, Birmingham. She has the pink dress on - a la Wenceslaus Hollar - of an English Gentlewoman in Winter, so I am sure you can recognise her under the mask :D
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Rachel and Stan, Winter at Aston Hall1.jpg
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CarolineV
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Re: Use of bents for stays

Post by CarolineV »

Lovely photo and kit.
Norah Waugh also wrote 'Corsets and crinolines' and it is the same Dorothea pair of bodies. There is a photograph of pair of bodies in 'Cut of Women's clothes', black and white but, from memory, labeled cherry red with turquoise blue trim. I've used the Jean Hunnisett patterns for stage and screen to help with other bodies. I've attended lectures from both Jean Hunnisett and Janet Arnold but neither specifically for stays. Luckily Jill Salen is local (recently published a corset book but from 1750 onwards) and she generously lets me pick her brains.

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