The first channel I tackled was for the bone that sits above the hip gore in the center of the side seam. For stability and to better shape the bust I decided to go with a ½" steel bone here. I used bone casing, because of the seam. I first finished off the end with tiny zig-zag stitches then carefully centering it on the seam stitched it in place.
I continued the stitch (¼" away from the seam) all the way to the bottom of the stays. It finished it from the front and stitched down that pesky seam allowed I kept out by mistake.
Next I turned my attention to the front panel. First I took a clear ruler and drew a line (in washable pencil) about ¼" below the bust gussets. I stitched along that line, and then using my presser foot as a guide (I found the width of my zipper foot was the perfect size for my hemp cording!) I stitched 3 more rows, creating 3 cording channels. I then again took my clear ruler and marked a line ½" below my last stitching line. I then stitched 4 rows, creating 3 cording channels. And so on until I reached the top of my hip gussets.
This worked out nicely as I didn't have to spend hours marking every row and by stopping and marking the occasional line I kept myself straight. The whole thing came out remarkably even and straight!
Once I reached the hip gussets I started stitching vertical channels, filling in all the space between the front busk and the hip gussets again using my presser foot as my guide.
Next came the endless knotting, which took about twice as long as the actual stitching! While I was stitching I generally put in one or two stitches over the line as a safety measure, so after picking those out (so the stitching lined up with either the side seam or the last row of horizontal stitching), I pulled all the threads to the back and began tying them in knots.
Once that was done I took a needle and running it right along the stitching tucked the ends under the fabric.
It's a time consuming thing to do but the result is so pretty! *squee*
For the boning on the side panel I used my old stays as reference to draw on stitching lines with my trusty clear ruler and washable pencil. One boning channel went near the side/front seam and two channels went in the center-ish of the panel. I then stitched those up. For the bones on either side of the side/back seam I simply used my clear presser foot, which gave just the right size for the steel boning I wanted to use there. On the back panel I used a mixture of presser feet and pencil markings to create the combination of channels for the steel boning, hemp cording and eyelets along the center back.
I then soaked my stays in warm water for about 15 minutes to remove the pencil marks. I rolled the stays in a towel to remove the excess water then hung them up to air dry over night. The next morning I used a steam iron to take out the wrinkles and I was ready to insert the cording.