So, last I left off, I had the dress skirt and bodice ripped apart and two additional panels inserted, ready to be sewn. When I pinned the skirt to the bodice, I decided to go with two box pleats at the front, and two at the back. Back to the sewing machine, and after getting REALLY frustrated that I only had 8 inches more to do and the thread tension was messing up, I finally got it sewn back together.
My idea about the placement of the pleating was completely bogus. It was not flattering (I would have been better off with the original 8 pleats). As my husband so eloquently put it, it looked like I had a load in my pants! Suffice it to say, it was not photo-worthy. So, I took the dress apart. Again.
On the second try (or would this be third?) I decided to do 1 simple pleat on each panel, so that the pleats were evenly spaced all the way around. Sewed it together one more time, and:
These photos don't do it too much justice- it was kind of a "take a picture quick, before I take it off", and the skirt length is affecting the drape, but the pleats are a vast improvement. While I had it on, Dearg helped me once again by using some chalk to mark some modifications to the arm and neck holes.
I started the hand sewing last night- stitching the neckline hem- and it's slow going. I may not be able to get all the seams finished before Saturday, as I still need to trim the bottom and hem that. I'm going to cheat there, though, and use the machine.
I still need to decide what I'm going to wear underneath. It's a very tight fit, so I don't think I'm going to be able to wear my black dress. That would probably be too warm anyway. I may just pull out some leftover material and make a short tunic with long sleeves that I can wear over my sleeveless chemise.
I'm learning a lot of valuable lessons from this dress. The more panels the better. Eight was too few. 10 is OK. 12 would be better. I should have cut the bodice longer. Even pleating is generally better. I'm satisfied, though, with how it looks so far. I didn't have too many expectations about what it would look like, so I'm not disappointed, but I think there are a few things that would have made it better.