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Stays for Couture Garments | Video

Threads magazine

In this episode, couture sewing expert Claire B. Shaeffer sheds light on how stays help a garment keep its shape. Using examples, such as a stay at the neckline of an evening gown, she explains that a stay can be added to a garment to keep it fitting perfectly and looking great.

Claire says that stays should be included when you are constructing a garment, but that they will often be shortened, lengthened, or even added in after fittings. She noted that it is fine if stays are not exactly right when they are first added to a garment.

Providing the true basics, Claire notes that a number of fabrics are appropriate for stays, such as China silk, silk chiffon, silk organza, and cotton voile. She also describes how stays can be cut on the lengthwise grain, cross-grain, or even on the bias. 

The workshop gives an overview of how to sew a stay on an edge. For example, Claire gives step-by-step instructions for sewing a stay at a zippered opening. The stay’s role is to hold the opening in place and keep it from stretching out of shape. She walks sewers through measuring for proper length on a pattern, plus how to mark, pin, and sew the stay, giving tips for best results along the way. 

Another technique you will learn in this episode is adding an elastic stay. Claire uses it to correct a gap in the armhole of a linen blouse. She describes preferred stitches and methods for sewing the stay to give you flexibility in fitting. The stitching she demonstrates holds the elastic, but makes it easy to adjust before permanently securing it, so it won’t be too loose or too tight.

With Claire’s help, you’ll soon be adding couture stays to garment edges…

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About This Video Series

This video series features three hours of insider tips and secrets for creating high-end couture garments and home accessories. See an expert at work as Claire Shaeffer illustrates the basic techniques that take sewing to the next level -- from hand sewing and machine stitching to marking methods, pressing, and hemming.

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