I do wish I had had more time to spend on the dress, the workmanship on this is not perfect and it would have been nice to explore a few couture techniques, but I figured it was better still to get it finished!
Vogue rates this pattern as average which since it has a boned foundation surprised me, but fortunately for me with my time constraints, for the most part I agree. The dress itself is fairly straightforward to sew and I followed the instructions which are good. Marking all the pleats is time consuming and without a doubt the worst part was sewing the straps to the back of the dress. I did start to wonder part way through this process if I could have treated this like a lined sleeveless sheath and pulled the lining through the shoulder seams - I'm not sure, impossible with the boning? If you make this I suggest leaving the lower ends of the straps open longer than you think otherwise trying to manipulate the seam and it's many layers under the machine is no fun.
Other changes I made to the pattern are as follows;
- Obviously extended it to full length, just by lengthening the bottom of the skirt. I added a slit on the same side as the zipper so I can freely move in it.
- One of the shoulder straps is supposed to be left open and fasten with a hook and eye. I get why they wanted to do this, you can then step into the dress rather than putting it on over your head, but the risk of wardrobe malfunctions just seemed too great! I think it would not have looked as neat either. The zip opening is very long so it is still pretty easy to get in and out of (without messing up your hair and getting the dress covered in make up hopefully!).
- The suggested fabric for the foundation is china silk with a layer of interfacing. I thought this would be too flimsy so I used my lining (a silk satin), a layer of cotton batiste and a layer of interfacing. This might explain why I had so much trouble with the shoulder straps but it feels much more stable. I applied the interfacing to the cotton batiste, then cut the lining much larger, basted round the edges and trimmed off the excess - the same method I use when underlining with a slippy material.
- I left off the piping on the neckline, there isn't piping anywhere else on the dress so I thought I would keep it simple. In retrospect this was a good move, another couple of layers in those strap seams and I would probably still be sewing.
- I was paranoid about getting water spots on my fabric so when pressing I used a dry iron. This I think is the main reason why my shoulder straps look narrower - mine are more padded and rounded rather than banged flat.
The foundation really helps keep all the pleats in place and stops any drooping of the back neckline - I could have made it very tight in the back instead, but this stye of dress is quite restrictive on the arms at the best of times so the foundation actually makes the dress more comfortable to wear. It does extend to the hip, but the boning finishes at the waist so I hope I will be able to sit down and eat in it. We will find out in a few hours!
I will take more photos tonight when I am wearing it and post those next time.
I don't know why my dressform is listing over like this, I will probably look the same by the end of the night!