(As an aside, I sort of hate calling it the "Pippa" dress even though it would be easier. Firstly because it's sort of embarrassing for a grown woman to want to dress up as someone from the royal wedding and secondly because the back style lines were really what defined the "Pippa" and this version doesn't have that and the changes in color and so forth make them further dissimilar...)
The fit on the bottom was actually surprisingly good but the bodice was way too big. I had already deepened the bust darts (accidentally because I mis-cut) and that fortuitous accident resulted in an almost perfect fit through the bust but I had several inches extra in the side seams and literally handfuls of extra materials in the back. This is actually a pretty common problem for me in that my measurements are really close to the those listed on pattern envelopes but as I tend to be busty and have a little bit of excess in the caboose I seem to be significantly narrower than the pattern companies expect given my size.
I had originally cut a size 20 in the entire dress. I kept the size 20 in the bottom half of the dress and graded down to a 16 from the waist up but continued to use my accidentally modified size 20 bust darts. I still suspect that I will have excess fabric in the back but I think I'll be able to remedy that when I install the zipper and I can always add some darts in the back to remove any extra material.
I also raised the neckline of the bodice by an inch and a half. Seriously, the neckline on this thing is LOW. And I am not usually one to shy away from a low neckline but this was low and quickly veering toward inappropriate in that the top of my bra was fully visible. Additionally, since I am adding a lace overlay to the bodice I wanted it a little higher so more of the lace was visible under the cowl.
I also added some extra length. When I cut the blue version I added three inches of length to the skirt and that resulted in a skirt that hit just under the knee before hemming so it will likely wind up just at or just above the knee. As a longer skirt will help create a longer leaner line, for my final version I added 5 inches to the length suggested by Butterick for view A.
Then I cut into my incredibly slippery, expensive, and difficult to handle fabric. I used weights rather than pins because I didn't want to mar the fabric too much. In the end I came up a bit short (probably because I purchased the amount specified on the envelope and forgot to get excess to accommodate my alterations). In the end I had to cut the bodice in two pieces and create a center seam but since it's fully covered by the lace, I'm not overly concerned.
Assembling the bodice (especially said lace overly) is far an away the most challenging part of this dress so I'm glad I got that portion completed. The lace didn't wind up completely symmetrical in the shoulder but I think I can fudge it a bit and get it to lie properly once the sleeve fronts and backs get attached.
|The lace actually isn't quite as uneven as it appears in this picture... I'm just not very good at pinning properly.|
So far I am really pleased. The curved front seam is incredibly flattering and while this silk is an giant pain to work with, it drapes gorgeously. I love the vintage effect of the beaded lace. My only concern right now is that the beading sticks up enough to give a weird pebbly texture to the the drape in certain areas. I may have to go in once the dress is completed and snip some of the beads that are not visible under the drape to create a more fluid look. We'll see...
|Here's the front, fully assembled and pinned to the dress form. I think I'm right in adding the additional length as it creates a better proportion. Nobody wants to look stumpy in bias cut silk!|