The bodice is now complete. It was not a simple, toss-it-together affair though. Since I have a small bust, the halter top of this dress was huge on me. Had I worn it as is, I could have smuggled two cantaloupes out of the local grocery store and had room to spare. So, obviously something had to be done. I have posted about SBA on darted bodices before, but this bodice uses a different method to provide room in the bosom.
The front bodice piece for this pattern is shown. The curved bottom edge is gathered to create the fullness required to fit a large bust. The pointed top wraps around the wearer's neck to form the halter top. At the peak of this point is a button/button loop, which acts as a closure. I did not require all the space provided in this bodice.
Using a flexible tape, I measured the distance from the centre back of my neck (where the button/button loop will be) down my chest and across to the point where the bodice piece overlaps in front. I did the same thing again, except this time the tape measure ended at the place beneath the arm pit where the bodice piece connects to the midriff band. These two measurements were transferred to the pattern piece and a curved line connected them (shown by the blue line). Now, I still needed to fudge a bit during the actual construction, but, all in all, I think I got a decent fit.
Two triangular halter pieces are gathered and joined to the midriff band (shown to the right). The results of this step can be seen below.
The inside of the bodice was hand finished with wide bias tape. The bias tape covers all untrimmed seams to create a clean inside finish. The tape also provided a little extra sturdiness to the side seams and the under bust seam. Since I wanted this dress to be fairly flowy and soft, I didn't want to resort to using boning for this, as it is just too rigid. The bias tape proved to be a good alternative.
The skirt has also been constructed. Both the fashion fabric and the lining was put together using french seams (see photo tot he right). I felt french seams were necessary because the fashion fabric is semi-sheer and I wanted everything to look neat and clean. Putting the skirt together was a major PITA. It slipped and slid so much, I felt like I was at a water park. Nothing seemed to make this job easier - believe me, I tried every hint and tip ever published on using floaty fabrics and I still had a hard time. I have never had issues like this before. I think the major problem was the sheer volume of fabric involved. Between the overskirt and the lining, I estimate I was wrestling with 8 yards of fabric. Just keeping the fabric from slithering off the table was a colossal feat! Even after completing all the french seams, I had to go back and trim all the "whiskers" that didn't get properly contained in the seams.
Now, I just need to attach the bodice to the skirt, sew the 10 buttons at the bodice back and then hem the skirt. Hemming should be horrific as well, since the bottom circumference of the skirt is massive. I may just bite the bullet and do a rolled hem (which will still be painful since I don't have a serger). Lastly, I will be beading the bodice to give it a certian je ne sais quoi. This dress better look as amazing in real life as I picture it in my head. Wish me luck...