Unfortunately since the fabric is black, it is difficult to get a great photo of the dress - I will have to remedy that for the final SWAP photos. You can make out the overall eyelet pattern however. I have included a full length picture and a close up of just the bodice. Hopefully, in the close up, you can see the shirring at the shoulder, lower bust and cummerbund.
I installed the invisible zipper...twice. Wow, what a pain in the patootie!! The eyelet fabric is a tad ravelly and lightweight - this made putting in the zipper quite tricky. I had to rip out one side completely because the fabric shifted during sewing, which left the seams misaligned on either side of the zipper and left a pucker at the end. Ugh! Have you ever tried to remove teeny tiny black stitches from black fabric? It ain't easy!! But, I persevered and in the end, the results were perfect (well, perfect enough that you'd have to actually put your head under my arm to see any mistakes - and then I'd put you in a head lock and give you a noogie!)
I tried the dress on at this point and quickly realized that my, um, shall we say, lack of endowment was going to be a problem. Everything fit well, except for the surplice bodice. If I relaxed my shoulders at all the straps would fall down my arms - which is really not the look for which I was going (especially since I plan on wearing this dress to chaperon the Winter Ball at the school where I teach). I debated on several ways to fix this problem and in the end I opened up the V-neck facings and restitched the shoulder seams, 1" down from the original stitching line at the outer sleeve, tapering to nothing at the neck. This pulls the bodice up and fixes any modesty issues. At left, there is a photo if the inside of the bodice, showing the V-neck facing and the bias tape used as armhole facings.
Lastly, the skirt was hemmed. I needed to trim 3" off the bottom of the skirt. Black rayon seam tape was machine stitched to the bottom of the skirt on the right side. The skirt was then turned up 3" and hand stitched all the way around. This left me with a neatly finished hem that fell just below my knee cap, which is a flattering length on me. The photo shows the seam tape on the hem (vertical, shiny line), as well as one of the french seams in the skirt panel (thin, horizontal line).
Due to the sheerness of the fabric, I will have to wear a slip under the dress - I guess it's time to go lingerie shopping!
This a perfect little black dress. It would fit the bill, whether worn to a wedding, a nice dinner out or a formal high school dance (which is exactly where I plan to wear it on it's inaugural voyage).
P.S. Thanks to all those people that left well wishes for my health. I am finally starting to feel better - although my sinuses still feel like they are filled with glue (I know, eew!) Today, I am planning on getting together the wearable muslin for two more SWAP pieces - so stay tuned.