Sewing 18th Century Stomachers

I’m of the opinion that one can never have too many stomachers.  They’re like the statement necklace of the 18th century; interchangeable, drawing the eye to the chest *giggle* and worn in the closure of women’s shirt jackets.  And because they’re easy to make and need little fabric (yeah, scraps!), I currently have six…and counting!



My first stomacher was made for made my Claire costume from Outlander (Season 1) with an upholstery fabric and Dritz feather-light boning sewn in.  I love this one and it remains my favorite, but because of the coloring, it doesn’t match everything (or even most things).



Wanting a different Claire look for this year at DragonCon (and future Claire options), I made a cream stomacher and a peacock green stomacher but with a cheaper boning (which is rubbish, but usable).  Using the JP Ryan’s Ladies Jackets pattern (including stomacher), these little babies take no time to make.



So I just kept making more!  After my dogs attacked my prized Pottery Barn duvet cover in the dead center of it (rendering it completely useless as bed clothes), I cut the bottom lining off to use for other projects and saved the decorative top for…whatever may come up.  Turns out I have super educated and talented friends who spotted the pattern as Indienne, a fabric pattern popular between 17th and 19th centuries.   So I cut down a quarter of the duvet cover for an 18th century jacket (coming soon to the blog) and used some scrappy areas for a lovely stomacher.  I also had some grey fabric leftover from my 18th century pockets so I made cuffs and a stomacher from that.



Which one do you like better with the Indienne jacket?  Grey or matching floral?  I couldn’t decide myself, so I tried on both….and still can’t decide which I prefer.  These were also made with the cheap plastic boning…I’m not a fan.



After making 18th century stays, I tried another stomacher but with natural reed boning (doubled).  I also had an Outlander handkerchief that begged to be a stomacher instead of its original purpose.  And since it was too short for the pattern, I scrap stitched the bottom part of the stomacher and lined up the plaid in the center…hoping it won’t even be noticeable when closed in a jacket and behind lacing.  Working with three types of boning so far, I’ve really begun to appreciate and prefer the reed boning for form.



Coming soon…the rest of the 18th century clothing items made with the fated duvet cover, including jacket, petticoats, and hat trim.  Check back here for links!