I had decided to make these stays when I realized one of the issues I always have when wearing Regency is that I never feel comfortable in it. Sort of weird considering how very physically comfortable it is (and how easy it is to drive in!). I'm certain my discomfort rises from the fact that I'm far more used to styles where I'm corseted, and I expect that hugged feeling from my underwear. I don't mind wearing a corset at all, and when I wore Regency short stays I felt like I have left the house with no underwear on at all. Quite awkward.
SO! On to the stays themselves. This set was made using the Laughing Moon Mercantile Pattern 115. I love Laughing Moon patterns. The instructions are always very detailed and if there is something I don't understand, they're always glad to help me via email.
(Sorry about my poorly painted door. It leads to the garage and I just haven't retouched it yet)
TIME: Close to 20 hours. I wanted to be as precise as I could be with the cording, so I spent a decent amount of time making sure my marking were where they belonged. Also, this set of stays has bust and hip gussets, two for the each hip, two for each boob, and then double that with the lining and you have 16 gussets in all. I find gussets annoying and time consuming. I used metal eyelets instead of making my own thread ones because that's the sort of detail I'm always read y to take a short cut on. Not to mention that is perfectly accurate for the later period that these stays can be worn for.
ALTERATIONS: I made up the corded corset. The pattern had advised that with the cording, there was going to be some shrinkage with my fabric. Following the directions, I added an inch to the areas that they indicated. At the stage when I tried them on for fit, I was able to determine where I should remove the extra I had added and where I should leave it. In retrospect, I should have removed more since my stays almost completely close at the back. From what I've seen this type of stays always has about an inch gap. This is the only alteration I made, and it was on advise of the pattern itself.
EASE OF INSTRUCTIONS: The instructions for this pattern were very good. There aren't that many (there are few pieces and the bulk of the work is the cording itself), but they were clear. I would suggest this pattern for the intermediate sewer looking to push their boundaries. There are a ton of markings that need to be transferred, if you're uncomfortable with that practice a bit before taking this one on.
So in the end did I feel better about Regency when I wore my stays? I couldn't tell you because I got sick the night I wore them! Cursed stomach bugs!