Extraordinary! Regency 'baby' stays with moveable parts!
These extraordinary stays are miniature, as with the 18th Century stays I sold and they came together as stays for a baby. They are so rare that I am unable to find similar in such a small scale but I am sure they were NOT made for a doll. Why? Because the stays have tiny buttonholed slots through which the baleen can be removed and replaced! Wonderful!!! Apart from an infant, the only other thing I can think of is that they are a sample, used to show young ladies the latest fashion. I have found an almost identical stays thanks to 'Sylvestra Regency Fashion' on Pinterest, in her board: 'A Pair of Silk Stockings'. [See Links & Research]. Here we find stays in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA. Accession number 49.905, that look exactly alike, made of exactly the same twill fabric, edged in the same linen, and sewn in silk thread, just as this one! [See final image]. The silk thread on mine is soft gold. You will not believe the removeable baleen, each one covered in fine gauze to protect it! The piece is very shapely, even though such a tiny size.
Unlike my 18th Century stays, the fabric of this garment has absolutely no damage at all. There should be five baleen, but one is missing. This is the only true fault. The wider, central baleen and each of the back edges, where the ties thread through, are all present and these are the most important. The stays are gently discoloured below the waist - they were made to be washed [with baleen removed] so you could try a gentle rinse, but I love them as they are. Back stitch, chain stitch and buttonhole are all used individually to provide strength and appeal - all excellent. Ties are missing, of course, they rarely survive. The centre front length is 8", the waist 12" & the hip 14". A most delectable survivor!