November 4, 2011

How to Make Civil War Period Corset Ties

 "My! I'm so uncomfortable; I've broke my stay-lace, and I have not got another. You couldn't lend me one, Betsy, could you?" said a young woman to her next-door neighbour, as, early one morning, they were both cleaning their door-steps.

'No,' replied Betsy,  'I haven't got a spare one; but there's the boy we get our matches and black-lead from; I dare say he'll get you one in a jiffey.'" - Hogg's Weekly Instructor, 1845

 Been looking for period laces for your corset? Or laces for your shoes or boots? You're in luck because they are very easy to make. I've been meaning to replace those awful modern shoelaces I've been using to fasten my corset.

During the 1850s and 60s, laces were made by machines but making laces was a cottage industry for frugal families. Poor girls in charity institutions were taught to make them as a way to make a bit of money and stay laces and boot laces were  popular street vendor items.

Cast on three stitches.
Slide the stitches to the right end of the needle.
Knit into the stitches normally. Slide the stitches to the right of the needle.
Repeat until you reach the necessary length and cast off.

Stay lace made with crochet cotton.

 Boot and shoe laces were made exactly the same way. This lace can also be used for creating frog fasteners as most modern frog style fasteners are made from synthetic materials. There are numerous instructions available for knitted laces and it is pretty much a universal pattern. In modern times, we call this an "i cord." 


  1. This is so great, Stephanie! Now I know what to do next time when I need those frog closures. Thanks!

  2. Excellent post. Doesn't look too difficult.

  3. Hey, those are some cute wooden knitting needles! Would you like me to help you with this some time?

  4. This is awesome! I tried making something similar once and it epically failed. :( Looks great, though!

  5. Really great! I did not know how to do this. I'm spool-kniting a cord for lacing my medieval dress, but this is so much simpler - and looks sturdier, too! I'll definitely use this for my Regency stays.

  6. holy moly! I-Cord is period to the Civil War??? I wonder how old it is?

    I won't be making it, though, it is deadly boring, and I'd rather be doing something else.

    1. Yes, it is. It is one of those re-discovered things. I think it's boring too. It used to be knit by the unskilled, cheaply along with garters.

  7. What kind of yarn is advised for making corset laces? Thanks!


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