Stays and Corsets


Historical Patterns Translated for the Modern Body

By Mandy Barrington

© 2016 – Focal Press

Paperback. 274 pages

SKU: 9781138018235 Category:


Stays and Corsets: Historical Patterns Translated for the Modern Body goes a step beyond traditional historical costuming texts by not only providing you with historical pattern diagrams and information, but by showing you how to adapt these patterns to the contemporary body shape. Using her original pattern-drafting system, author Mandy Barrington will show you how to draft a historical pattern for a modern body shape, while still retaining an accurate historical silhouette.

Each pattern has been generated from an original stay, corset, or pattern taken from a historical garment. The instructions to follow these new patterns are designed to accommodate any size of female figure, allowing you to avoid extremely difficult, time consuming, and inaccurate historical pattern re-sizing Requiring only basic prior knowledge of pattern drafting, all calculations have been worked out for the costume maker and are provided in simple tables accompanied by easy-to-read, step-by-step diagrams that clearly show how the historical pattern is plotted onto the female basic block, coupled with photographs of the constructed stays and corsets.


Mandy Barrington is a Senior Lecturer in Costume at the Arts University Bournemouth with a first class honours degree in Costume design and a Masters in Costume. Mandy has worked professionally making costumes for shows such as My Fair Lady at the National Theatre, London, the hit West End show Wicked, and Sleeping Beauty at The Royal Opera House.


Table of Contents


    1. How to use this book

Guidance on the pattern drafting process

A guide to finding the measurements for your historical pattern


  • Pattern Drafting Tools
  • Female Measurements


Taking Accurate Measurements

Female Measurement Form

Female Measurements Guide

Standard Female Measurements


  • The Female Basic Block Pattern


Female Basic Block Instructions

Preparing the Female Basic Block for your Historic Pattern


  • Historical Patterns



1735-50 Fully-boned Corset Bodice

1776 Half-boned Stays

1785-88 Half-boned Stays

1793 Fully-boned Short Stays

1820 White Cotton Corset

1860 Closed Front Corset

1875 Corded and Quilted Corset

1890 Riding Corset

1890 Wasp-waist Corset


Costume collections


Further Reading



Additional information

Weight 0.88 kg