I tried out different colors of ribbon before settling on this lovely pale blue striped ribbon that I bought at the 2016 Francaise Dinner from Bulldog & Baum:
|The earrings and cameo were my raffle prizes that night|
For the base of the stomacher, I took apart this gown bodice:
It was leftover from the petticoat I made to go with the Striped Silk Gown I wore to that same Francaise Dinner. (The skirt was used to make the ruffle for that petticoat.) I used the center back bodice pieces, which were already flat-lined with a nice interfacing:
I just marked a straight line down the center back where the zipper had originally been, and stitched the two sides together. This gave me a piece that was roughly the same size and shape as the original gown stomacher:
|I used the first stomacher to trace a shape for the new one.|
I then used the large front draped piece of the bodice (picked apart, washed, and pressed) to cut the front of the stomacher with no seams. While I was working on that piece I played with the ribbon, pinning it on the back piece to decide on placement:
I posted these three options on Instagram, and the first one won by a large margin. So that was settled!
The ribbon turned out to be extremely difficult to sew through, so I did as little stitching as possible. I also made little faux bows for the sleeve flounces, and one for my cap. They're just squares of ribbon, hemmed on the cut ends and gathered in the middle.
I added faux pearl beads to the center of each "bow" on the stomacher, just because I felt like it needed something to finish the decoration.
I also did one alteration to the gown itself, by replacing the original sleeve flounces. They were fraying badly, even though the edges were pinked:
I realized that this was because I had cut them horizontally on the grain, so the long edges exposed the weft threads that pull out more easily. I did not have the same problem on the yards and yards of trim, fortunately, because I had had the foresight to cut them vertically on the grain:
|Those pinked edges are still holding strong!|
The new sleeve flounces were cut vertically with the same scalloped-scallops edge, and this time I gathered the top edges with large machine basting stitches through both layers, drew them up and stitched between the two rows of gathering stitches by hand.
I like this gathered look a lot better than the original box pleats:
And here are some photos from the day! I put on my shift and stays under "normal" clothes for the drive up to Williamsburg, to save time once I got there. And I did my hair before I left, too. It was a bit messy, but would be largely covered by the cap. I took some ever-classy mirror selfies in the public restroom near the ice-skating rink while I was getting ready:
|Pocket hoops and plain petticoat|
|Second ruffled petticoat|
|Petticoat from the Striped Silk Gown|
|Finally - the gown!|
|Stomacher pinned to the interior bodice front|
|Gown pinned to the stomacher|
I got these photos taken for me, which show off my coordinating muff, as well:
I really love how the blue pops against the gold in the sunlight! I was worried about it looking too silvery.
The wind really liked playing with the wings of my cap. :p
It was just barely chilly enough to need the muff - I had actually started out wearing my blue wool mitts, but soon discarded them because I was too warm. But I was glad I got a chance to use this muff cover, which is the first one I ever made! At the time I had nothing that coordinated with it, so I had never used it before now.
The muff was also a convenient spot to hide my phone, without having to dig through my pocket hoops every time I wanted it.
I had a lot of fun wearing this gown, as I always do. And I've already identified the area that will need to be "fixed" before I wear it next:
This ruffle was also cut horizontally across the grain! So it will need to be replaced so it doesn't continue to fray:
Fortunately, I still have quite a bit of this fabric left! This francaise is the gown that never ends. :p