Be aware! This post is a nerdy couture one! 😉
I’m very pleased with the advancement of the wedding dress. The strapless bodice is nearly done, I’ve sewn the lace and sequins to it and I’ve just put in the waist stay.

Fasten in the back

For those (like me, a few weeks ago) who don’t know what a waist stay is, let me explain what I’ve learned along the way. The first mention I saw of it was in Susan Khalje‘s book, Bridal Couture. I cannot explain how much grateful I am that I’ve bought this. I’ve read it from cover to cover, it’s like the bible of couture sewing! So when Susan said that to make sure your strapless bodice stays in place all night, you had to have boning AND a waist stay, I didn’t think twice about it.

As it were, the vertical bonings make sure that the bodice klings to your body without making any wrinkles. That way, you appear to have a sort of second skin on.
The job of the waist stay is to stabilise these bonings and preventing them from going up (or down!!!). Basically, it’s like a little belt sewn to the boning that make sure everything is staying in place.
And what better place than the waist for that! Because, it’s the part of your body that’s the smallest in circumference so if it’s snug enough (be sure to leave enough room to allow to breath!), it can’t go up or down.

To make one, the ideal thing is to use a grosgrain or Petersham ribbon. That way, you know it won’t get distorted and stay the same length.

You then sew a hook and eye at each end, being careful to make a sort of cushion with the ribbon. This will prevent the hook and eye to dig into your back!

Ribbon, hook and eye

The eye is sewn at approx. 1cm from the ribbon’s end.
For Couture detail, sew all around the metal part to hide it as much as possible.

Eye sewn

Then fold the ribbon and sew the side to hide the end and make the little “cushion”.

Eye part

Eye finished

At this point measure the length you need and with the help from the eye, position the hook. Sew it on and cut the ribbon making sure you give yourself some extra length in case you need it one day! 😉

Measuring the length

Testing the fastening

Finish by folding what remains of the ribbon and secure it to the edges by sewing it.

Hook side

You just need to determine the position of the stay on your bodice (at the waist). Then sew it onto the boning channels using a cute cross-stitch.

Fixing the stay

Take care to leave approx. 10cm not sewn onto the bodice so you’ll be able to fasten it. I’ve made buttonholes, now that I know how to use the automatic one on my machine, for the stay to go through and be fasten easily.


Voila! I’ve now the very neat impression to be an real seamstress, having done such a lovely couture detail for my gown. And it works like a charm! 🙂