Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Last Minute Alterations to Wear the Dragonfly Volante

 After two years of hanging in the closet, I decided my dragonfly volante needed an outing - and the Renaissance festival was the perfect excuse to give it one.

A week before I planned to head to the Ren fest I pulled the gown out of my closet, and made the last accessory it needed to be wearable - a stomacher.

From my stash I picked a scrap of green and gold shot silk taffeta (given to me by a friend) and some metallic gold trim. 

Using an early 18th century stomacher in Patterns of Fashion 1 as my reference for shape and a Simplicity pattern piece as a guide for size, I cut out a stomacher from two layers of linen canvas. (The same canvas I used to make my sister's stays last spring.)

I sewed together the two layers of canvas and stitched boning channels.

The stomacher got boned with zip ties.

I decorated the outer silk layer of the stomacher with my metallic trim, then mounted it on the boned linen foundation.

And bound the whole thing with some petersham ribbon.

It was a quick and easy one evening project - and once it was done I figured I was all set to head to the Ren Fest at the end of the week - but then matters got complicated.

I tried on the gown - and oh my goodness. It was a shapeless sack.
Ok, so this style of gown is, more or less, a shapeless sack, BUT.
It should have had a bit more shape than it had.
I tried it on over my big hoop skirt. I tried it on over my small hoop skirt. I tried it on over my pocket hoops. Nothing looked right. It needed help.

I went to Pinterest and looked at all the pictures of Volantes I'd saved two years ago, and formulated a plan. My Volante needed a partial bodice lining to give it a bit more shape.

This partial lining wound up being super easy to add - just a pair of lacing strips with twill tape ties sewn into the back of the gown. Once the ties were all tied together they added just the amount of fit and shape this dress required!

There was now a clear distinction between bodice and skirt! But. . . the ties caused a different issue. The bodice was now just fitted enough when the ties were tied that the gown did not want to slip on easily over my shoulders. Uggg.

I fixed this problem by extending the front opening a good 6" or so and adding a couple hooks and eyes to keep it closed below the waistline.
Speaking of the waistline. . .

When I made the gown I made the waistline a little bit high - too high. So, while I was fixing the gown up to wear, I decided to lower the waistline a touch by extending the bodice pleats down several inches.

This was a pretty easy alteration to do and greatly improved the fit of the gown!

Bodice alterations done, I tried on the gown with my hoop skirts once more to choose which skirt supports I would wear that weekend. My small hoop skirt - the one I wore with my wedding dress - turned out to be the best choice. 

When I'd originally made the gown 2 years earlier I'd intended to wear it with my big hoop skirt (the one for the pink ball gown), and the skirt was cut and hemmed accordingly. 
Well, with the smaller hoops, the skirt was now too long. So, I spent the afternoon before I went to the Ren Fest hemming.

A new hem facing was sewn in!

And finally, two years after it was originally made, the Dragonfly Volante was completed and worn!!

In case you missed any Volante blog posts. . .

Here you can find the story of how it began

This post is all about the initial construction of the gown 

Here I share about the accessories I made to go with it

And here's my post all about my day at the Renaissance Festival where I wore it!

1 comment: