I'm working on the final version of my Regency stays now - I did a mockup, and didn't really make any changes to the pattern. I considered playing with different bust gusset sizes and shortening the length because I'm short-waisted, but in in the end I left the pattern alone. The only adjustment I made from the original pattern was cutting straight across the top of side piece, instead of dipping down at the armhole. It looked awkward, was already plenty low for comfort, and keeping it straight will make binding easier.
Mantua Maker pattern copyright 2010 (updated version with the wider back)
Busk at CF, no bones or cording yet
The brown part is my lacing strips at CB, not part of the finished project. I don't love that it comes up at CB, but I didn't see that until right now, so I won't change it for these stays. The back panel is on the bias, so the pattern piece is cut straight but then stretches slightly, causing it to veer upward.
Here you can see the "lift" that the Regency period is known for. The stays do the upward pushing, and the chemise (or in my case, the tank top) holds in the top to prevent spillage.
I was a little surprised at how this fits - people keep saying that Regency corsets are just like a really good miracle bra and Spanx, but I also felt a huge difference in my posture - the wide straps force my shoulders back and chest out, which explains why the clothing of the period has such small backs. Or else I just have rotten posture.
When I fit this the other night, I was kind of unhappy with it - the buck wasn't staying put (maybe it's too wide?), I had trouble keeping the shoulder straps on, etc. And then I tossed on my most recent Regency dress and it looked TERRIBLE . *sigh* They just weren't fit to go together. But these pictures look pretty good, so here's hoping a little cording and boning help everything settle in better. Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated!