I self-drafted the pattern (I'm getting semi-decent at this, I think): I made a small alteration by way of removing a little extra from the back seams and right under the arms. Other than that, it was pretty much good--I thought. I purposely left it a little extra wide in the front.
Because I am attempting to go "more authentic" I did all the visible stitching by hand--starting with the outer bodice/overlay hem:
- I was going to have to rip off all that hand-stitched pleating. No pain, no gain--right?
- I was going to turn it into a six piece rather than four piece bodice. (In other words, that most often seen side-back line on 1860's gowns was going to be incorporated into this dress. It helps the fit. Part of what was uncomfortable about the dress as it was was that it pulled funny under the arms thanks to not having that third piece in there.)
- I need to learn how to make the shoulders properly--not only so they go further over my shoulder and down over the upper arm, but without the gape between bust point and shoulder that seems to be my failing point on nearly every single historical bodice I have drafted.
I cut some material out of the back, a good 3 inches off the front under the arm, and cut side back pieces. Once I got that all stitched up, I was relieved to find that the fit was far more comfortable and snug. More like it was supposed to be.
I worked the pleating material different this time as well. To begin with, I didn't sew it into the under arm seam, but over it. I started the pleats while the bodice was laying on the ironing board, but finished them with the bodice pinned to myself (rather, my underpinnings!) I was pleasantly surprised that I only managed to stab myself maybe half a dozen times over the next couple of hours.
That concluded the bodice construction with the exception of hook and eyes. As much as I say I hate hook and eyes, I determined that I was going to use them on this dress. I have been looking at interior details as much as possible on Pinterest and have discovered that their hook and eye set up was actually half-way sensible--See what I mean?
Once that was done, I measured...and measured...and measured to get the length(s) right. My hemline varies from .5" to 1" so I tried to get the variances fairly even. Then, following the directions of the tutorial I was attempting to use, I ran a seam along the top of the skirt where I had folded it over:
I put all the hooks and eyes on...only to discover that I had to rip all the hooks off because they weren't set deep enough to cover the eyes entirely! That was a booger. Maybe I will remember next time I use hooks and eyes to really get that placement stuff perfect the first time.
I rather haphazardly figured out the places I needed to stick them along the waist band and bottom of the bodice to hold the skirt up in the front rather than sagging....
Alright, so you want to see it on me, I know.... ;)