True to form, I was stitching hook & eyes on just hours before the event! Why is it never possible to finish things like this ahead of schedule?
I managed to get through most of the hand sewing on this piece (which was rather extensive) without doing too much damage to my finger tips. But this past week, I got myself good. The eye end of a needle punched through the pad of one of my fingers, and the spot was really hard to avoid re-puncturing. (I really must learn how to use a thimble.) A pair of beading pliers really came in handy to avoid aggravating the injury.
The skirt zips up the front, and obviously, the bodice buttons up the front. What I did not initially realize from looking at the cover illustration is that the garment is one-piece.
The back bodice and skirt are attached at the waist seam.
The skirt edges are finished with a length of grosgrain ribbon.
The ribbon is stitched to the seam allowance and after pressing it down, hand-stitched to the skirt lining.
The ribbon is left free for a few inches at the center front
The peplums are attached to the bodice pieces, which are are finished, top and bottom, and get zipped and buttoned after hook and eyes secure the skirt at the waist.
Actually, the directions are rather iffy on this part. I was lucky enough to wear a fantastic Victorian ball gown costume in high school that was two pieces - large hook & eyes were used to secure bodice to skirt, so my memory of that piece is where I started.
After that I just kept adding snaps and hook & eyes to keep everything in place. (In the end, the closures are probably more Edwardian than mid-century/1950s with all of that folding and hooking and snapping, but it works!)
The hem was marked with a contrasting thread, and to ensure that the silk organza underlining did not shift, I stitched just inside the fold (those stitches stay in permanently).
One of my favorite things about this garment is how easy it is to get on and off. I can also step into it, which means hair and makeup can be done prior to getting dressed.
I have a ton of pictures to go through, but I promise that I will have a finished dress to show you very soon! Here is what it looks like without buttons, hip pads, shoulder pads, the belt, or a hem.
[Britex has generously provided the fabric and sewing supplies for a dress I will be wearing to a formal event in October. I will be sharing some of the steps and construction techniques with you as I work on this project over the next couple of months.]