Got A LOT done this weekend. I removed the back and front gatherings in the bodice and restitched them, then pulled them up to the measurements I thought would work. Then I sewed the skirt pieces together, nicely French-seamed just like the bodice and gathered across the back pieces to about 10 inches to match the back bodice gathering. (The fabric I chose has such a nice drape even though it’s a medium-weight quilting cotton. I can’t WAIT to finish and get this thing on for some pictures. [emits girlish squeal!])
When I went to join the bodice to the skirt pieces, I encountered a bit of a problem—AGAIN! The back bodice gathering worked perfectly at about 10 inches across, but the front bodice gathering was TOO TIGHT! I really don’t know if I did something wrong or if the pattern is wrong, or what, because the front and side skirt pieces aren’t supposed to be gathered at all. But the pattern piece for the front bodice indicates that it should be gathered to about 4 – 4 1/2 inches across the full front waistline (size L). And I gathered it to just about 7 1/2 inches, so really I don’t know what’s going on. I think the pattern and instructions are just WRONG! Did anyone else have these issues? In the reviews I’ve read no one has mentioned anything like this.
So I pulled out the front gathering stitches AGAIN, and resewed them, and pulled them up to match the front and side skirt pieces, about 13 inches. Next time I will wait to pull up the bodice gathering stitches until the skirt pieces are sewn together so I can accurately compare them and get things right the first time.
I completed sewing the bodice to the skirt pieces, and proceeded with the waistline drawstring channel, machine-sewing one edge to the waistline seam, turning up the free edge and hand-sewing it to the bodice to eliminate any visible stitches. No problems there.
Then I moved on to the sleeves, which I had started on previously by making the gathering stitches. Now I pulled them up to match the 14-inch-long pieces of seam binding I had cut, per the instructions, gathering them about 5-6 inches across the lower gathering stitches. Stitched the binding in place, turned it under on the fold line (about 3/4 of an inch from the lower edge), and handstitched it in place just under the upper of the two lower gathering sections.
All that remains construction-wise is to sew the sleeve edges together, pull up the top edge gathering, attach the sleeves to the bodice, and hem the skirt.
Then all I’ll have to do is add some ribbon trim. I’m thinking of using a sagey-green satin or grosgrain ribbon to hide the still-visible gathering stitches on the sleeves, and then they’ll be pulled up at three points as described in the instructions, kind of bunched, with more ribbon, anchored to the upper part of the sleeve, and finished off with some ribbon rosettes. While sage green isn’t a color in the fabric, there is a goldy-tan that in some lights looks sort of olive or sage, so it’ll be a nice accent color. A 1 1/2 inch wide sage green grosgrain ribbon at the waistline will tie in the front, leaving long tails to float down the skirt, and I think I’ll tack thread loops or skinny fabric carriers at the side of the gown at the waistline to hold the ribbon in place.