Here are the front-lacing stays, boned, put together (mostly), with eyelets and a bit of binding:
The eyelets were easy and quick. The binding isn’t. But thanks to the finished eyelets I could try it on and the fit is out of this world flattering. I also have to say that the plastic boning (it’s that fake German whalebone) is very good at doing its job, although I wonder how much of that is owed to the fact that this is two layers of coutil. Those double layers feel like they might do quite well without any boning at all.
If this this had been a backlacing pair of stays though, I would have giving carbon boning a try. Because the plastic is nice and all but it’s not even close to baleen’s sturdiness. Reed and steel would have been but I dislike reed (the first reed bone I ever handled, snapped in my hands after a little bit of bending.) and steel is heavy, hard to handle and prone to rust.
Although on some level, I am really insanely curious what a fully boned corset, boned to the brim with steel, would be like. How heavy would it be? Would it make you “knife-proof” around your torso? (Which is the most interesting explanation for this corset.) Would it be done with normal steel boning or would it be more sensible to use thin round feather steel? These are not so fun questions to ask in the middle of what might be the second most tedious part of making my stays. (my sewing machine refused to sew a few inches on principle two days ago… tedious does not do that bit of fun justice.)