Call Her Cordelia


My dear Mum got me a dress form for Christmas! Even better, she came with some padding that can be added for my specific *ahem* dimensions. While it is a bit creepy having a headless torso doppelgänger, (and admittedly have hugged it to see what it’s like to hug myself) I am still a fan of naming things. Hence, when my darlingest cousin Emily suggested that I name her Cordelia, (as I am very nearly Anne) I thought it was BRILLIANT.

The first project she has christened, are my early 19th century stays.

IMG_0049Alas, they look much cleaner here than in person.


I may have to have them dry cleaned when it’s all said and done.

I am an avid fan of many Historical Costuming Blogs out there, so I am aware of what I personally always wish for in a project post (pictures, pictures, and more pictures!)

But I also know that a good solid explanation always comes in handy too! As it has been like trying to find hen’s teeth to come up with a good run down on the construction of early 19th cen. stays, this is my bat signal, so to speak, for all the pros out there.

I’ve already discovered that it is best to cord ONLY to your seam allowances and not past. Else, you will have a terribly bulky seam. I am cording each piece of cover and inner fabric together, then going to turn the allowances on the front and front side and whip stitch them together a la Merja on her 18th century stays. The side back and back I will probably just sew together like a typical shaped seam. I’m making the lining separate, then binding the whole thing.

I HATE MAKING MOCK UPS. But I did one for this, and as I do like to pull quite tight in my waist, I added a bit in the hips so all the goosh has somewhere to go.

The pattern is Mantua Maker’s, but I lengthened it, made the bust gussets longer and reshaped them a bit (next time will lengthen them even more), beefed up the straps, and will potentially cut away a bit at the side hip.

If anybody wants to weigh in on the topic of early 19th century stays, be my guest!

“Will you please call me Cordelia?” she said eagerly.

Call you Cordelia? Is that your name?”

“No-o-o, it’s not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia. It’s such a perfectly elegant name.”

“I don’t know what on earth you mean. If Cordelia isn’t your name, what is?”

“Anne Shirley,” reluctantly faltered forth the owner of that name, “but, oh, please do call me Cordelia. It can’t matter much to you what you call me if I’m only going to be here a little while, can it? And Anne is such an unromantic name.”

“Unromantic fiddlesticks!” said the unsympathetic Marilla. “Anne is a real good plain sensible name. You’ve no need to be ashamed of it.”

“Oh, I’m not ashamed of it,” explained Anne, “only I like Cordelia better. I’ve always imagined that my name was Cordelia–at least, I always have of late years. When I was young I used to imagine it was Geraldine, but I like Cordelia better now. But if you call me Anne please call me Anne spelled with an E.”

“What difference does it make how it’s spelled?” asked Marilla with another rusty smile as she picked up the teapot.

“Oh, it makes such a difference. It looks so much nicer. When you hear a name pronounced can’t you always see it in your mind, just as if it was printed out? I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A-n-n-e looks so much more distinguished. If you’ll only call me Anne spelled with an E, I shall try to reconcile myself to not being called Cordelia.”


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