After several weekends... this is it. I am pretty happy with it. It fits more or less correctly. I have a little gaping at the bust on the shoulder straps that isn't great, but otherwise, not bad.
The only change that I made was that the instructions said to line the bodice, but I lined the entire dress since I don't like to wear slips.
The dress material is a cotton I found in the quilting section. (You may recognize it from a quilt you have made?) The lining is a synthetic satiny material I found in the bargain bin ($1 a yard).
I only had two main issues:
One. Getting the zipper in correctly. I had to watch several you tube videos on zipper.
One video showed sewing the vertical back pieces together completely and then installing the zipper and using a seam ripper to expose it. Another method showed sewing the ends of the fabric over (like two vertical hems), then attaching the zipper. I didn't have perfect luck with either method and ended up ripping out and putting in the zipper four times before calling it good enough. I used a mix of both methods.... somehow.
|Zipper/Lining/Fabric War. Everyone Lost.|
Two: I also learned what the dots on patterns mean. Gather. I had trouble matching up the pieces on the bodice, then spent hours figuring out what they meant in the instructions. It turns out that the gather calls for you bunch up the fabric on one piece (the bust) and sew it to a flat piece (the waist). This makes a 3-D structure on the bust - the part just above the waist piece - that if I had a much of a bosom, it would be cradled in.
Everything is fine and I can wear it, but on the inside of the dress, I have less than professional results. It looks like there was some kind of fight inside the dress and the fabric lost. I didn't know how to deal with the lining and the zipper.