7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jumps vs. Stays, by Amber Perry

Being a writer is fun for many reasons. (Not to mention a lot of work!) But for me, the hard part is often the fun part: research! I've had a fabulous time researching the clothing of the mid-1770's. One thing I have noticed that I find particularly interesting is the difference between stays and jumps--particularly because there is little information on jumps what actually were and who wore them, as well as few remaining pairs of them, from what I understand. (If you know more, please feel free to comment below!)

Many fabulous articles have been written on stays--the 18th century version of a corset, if you will. So I won't spend much time on that. But for those of you who might not know, I'll give a brief description. Stays were worn over the chemise, to give that popular cylindrical shape. Laced in the back and/or front stays were sometimes pulled quite tight and a woman often began wearing them at a very young age. Below is a picture of what a woman's undergarments looked like. Though as you can see, this was not a "homemaker" of sorts, this woman would have been quite wealthy. She is wearing her chemise, pocket panniers and stays on top.

In this illustration below, you will see what a more common woman might have worn. As a woman of a working class, she might have worn stays more for help with her posture, as opposed to wearing them for impressing people with the shape of her figure.

But the thing that I want to focus on in this article, is the difference between jumps and stays. In my research (I actually first saw something about them on etsy.com, if you can believe it.) I came across something called jumps--a garment similar to stays, only . . . different. *wink* Immediately I was interested, and started looking for more information. But to my dismay, there isn't much available--because there isn't too much documentation! However, what we do know is fascinating.

Apparently, jumps were worn more particularly by the working class as an alternative to stays. They were cut very similarly to stays as well, but with little to no boning, allowing for easier movement, etc. However, that doesn't mean that women of higher classes didn't wear them, as well. They were worn to keep that similar "slim" shape, and if a woman didn't feel the need to be as formal in her attire, she might have donned her jumps instead of stays. It also appears that jumps were sometimes worn without a bodice or jacket on top, as you would have done (most of the time) with stays.

I WISH that I could have found a non-copyrighted illustration/photograph of jumps, but alas I could not. However, below I have included two links where you can find pics, and additional information.

I particularly enjoy this link: http://www.couturemayah.info/engjumps.html
Her in-depth description of how she made the jumps is fabulous, and the pictures are wonderful! I would love to own a pair!

Here is a link that shows a woman's undergarments, very interesting. With a great picture of jumps (and stays)--and this pair does not include the shoulder straps. http://www.villagegreenclothier.com/showroom/shifts.html

Also, I really must thank my good friend Shannon McNear for helping me gather these great links and information!!

If you happen to know more about jumps, or know of any links, please comment below. I would love to know more about this lesser known 18th century clothing article.


  1. Amber, this so interesting! I've heard of jumps too, and I think that girls wore those too as opposed to stays. I'm looking forward to checking out those links. Thank you so much for this info!

    1. Hi Joan!!! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, don't you just love this stuff? So interesting!

  2. Amber, interesting article.

    Thank you for the links. I checked them out and got lost in the jewelry on the Village Green.

    One of the most important things I could see about jumps is that they support the back and assist with reducing back aches. Just think of all the things our fore mothers had to do by hand, many of them leaned forward in a posture which gives me an immediate back ache within the first few minutes.

    I'm old enough to remember the day when you didn't leave home unless you were girdled. And believe me, those girdles supported the back and staved off the back aches. Wish I could find a source for a good girdle today... Oh, well.

  3. Aw, thank you for the nod! According to the research I've done, even babies were put in stays, because society at the time believed a growing body needed that support. It's all so fascinating, isn't it?

  4. Jumps typically had shoulder straps while stays do not. Jumps are not distinguished from stays by the amount of boning for both were most often fully boned in the mid 18thc. Neither of these garments were typically worn by themselves without outer garments; They were underwear if you will, and it was highly improper for them to show, regardless of the class or economic circumstances of the woman.


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