Well, I barely finished this in time to wear to the wedding this evening, but I'm glad I did. I won't be making the black and white one anytime soon because I just found out that I have to have leg surgery, so my next week and a half will be spent scrambling around trying to get everything in my classroom and home in order (somewhat) because it is a long recovery from ACL surgery. I am not looking forward to it at all. I had the same surgery done on the other leg about 10 years ago and what I remember is waking up in a LOT of pain the day after surgery and it being a very long time before I could get back to a normal life. I will have to take 4-6 weeks off work, but fortunately, I am getting it done soon, so I will only miss about 2 weeks of work, hopefully. Unfortunately, I am starting a new grade this year, so I have no idea what I'm doing as far as planning for a sub (or even myself.)
Well, back to the dress. I ended up putting a lot more effort into this dress than the pattern called for, but I'm glad I did. I really could play volley ball in this dress and not have to worry about it. At the wedding this evening I saw MANY women in strapless dresses, and I also saw many of them, including the bride, tugging at their dresses. I never had to even think about tugging on mine. I did wear a strapless bra with it, but if I had made the top a little tighter, I would not have had to even do that. (and I NEVER go braless) I was so afraid that this was going to be too tight, so I think I ended up making it a little too loose. Even still, this dress fits well and between the pattern designs and the tips I learned in the Kenneth King bustier class really produced a well-made dress.
Here you can see that the boning is sewn at every vertical seam (except the zipper seam), The waist stay, in this case 1"wide polyester grossgrain ribbon, is hand sewn to the boning only. I also sewed a strip of organza ribbon along the top edge of the bodice to prevent any stretching. KK recommends either twill tape or strips of silk organza selvedge. I thought the twill tape would be too bulky, and I didn't have enough organza selvedge, so I thought I would try the organza ribbon since I already had it on had. That worked perfectly.
The skirt on this dress is rather full, but has a 1.25" hem. Usually this ends up in some pleating or "gathering" of the upper edge of the hem. This time I took my time and really used the iron and a spray mist bottle (the steam iron sagas are another story or two) and the skirt edge eased in perfectly with no puckers.
I think there is something weird with this picture because the zipper looks like it doesn't meet at the top. Actually, it does. I put this zipper in by hand because my centered zippers suck. I always put in a lapped zipper, but then it always makes it tricky to get the lining, or even a facing to lie flat and cover the zipper tape but allow you to zip the zipper all the way up. So, if you have a good tip on that for me, let me know. ANyway, this is a hand picked zipper, because I knew I would need a very strong zipper (thinking that it would be tighter than it was) At PR weekend LA a couple of years ago, we had Susan Khalje teach us some couture stitches and I remember her saying that a hand picked zipper is the strongest zipper application.
I'm glad I learned some of the tips from Jennifer Stearn's embroidery class and got the placement for this embroidery exactly where I wanted it. I wore the dress at the wedding tonight and it was comfortable easy to wear. I definitely want to make another one of these again.