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One helpful blogger told me that you basically make it all up in two layers so that you can put in maybe half of the boning, use an old eyelet strip to lace it up, and then repeat. Numerous times.
I think I only made one mockup, added 4cm to the length at the point at which it told me to lengthen/shorten as I have a long body, and cut it out using the size 8 and making no adjustments to the bust or waist. I tend to also have a narrower waist as well as bust to the norm so I should have learned to make mock-ups and adjust patterns years ago. However stays are so personal to the individual that all that correct fitting is heightened.
I decided to machine sew the stays as much as possible, as the fabrics weren't strictly accurate and I was also not quite sure they would work out! There is no way I wanted to waste 40 hours of my life for something I was going to throw out.
After the mock-up, I cut out the pattern using a thick cotton left over from some blinds I'd made, cotton duck left over from slip covers I'd made, and the aforementioned 'unneeded' cotton sheet. I stitched together the self and interlining fabrics, then sewed them together as one, as with the lining. Once pressed, they looked quite smart and well-behaved.
When I got to the back centre edges, I folded the seam allowance at the marked place, so that the boning continued over the seam allowances nice and neatly, leaving room for two bones in the last channel. The pattern called for metal bones at the seam edge of each panel, however I didn't have access to these so I made each one slightly wider and inserted two zip-ties instead.
Yes, this does reduce the size of the stays, but hopefully the mock-up has taken this into account and the stays are slightly too large! Also, by making sure there is plenty of ease at the lacing edge, the stays can be loosened if too tight and then tightened again once they stretch and give with wear.
However, I didn't find this until I had finished the tabs! For some reason I thought that it would be easier to use wider binding, so bought ready-made binding in the wider size. I feel better knowing that that was part of the reason it was so difficult, but to be quite honest it wasn't too torturous.
In my naivety I didn't realise that I could sew the outside of the binding on by machine, saving myself a lot of trouble. I pinned the binding around the stays, then slipstitched them on by hand. Not neat, not smart, but serviceable. Actually, probably not serviceable either by hey, I wasn't planning on wearing them every day or anything!