The overdress, on the other hand, is a little more complicated...
I started with Simplicity 4055 as my base pattern, and this time I made a mock-up of the bodice like a good little costumer. Using scraps of quilting cotton, I cut a size 12 according to my measurements on the pattern size chart. Like my half-completed apron-front gown (which I still need to do a proper blog post on), it turned out way too big in the back. Unlike the apron-front gown, this time I added length to the shoulders of the front bodice, and subtracted that same length from the center back pieces, to get the correct period placement of the shoulder seams.
|Fit is good across the front - extra fullness under the bust is pinned down.|
|Side seams line up correctly under the arm.|
|But I had to fold over about 2" from the center back to get the right fit. I also adjusted the shoulder seams slightly.|
|Adjusting the shoulder seam to the new angle|
|Trimming away the excess fabric|
|New pattern piece with center back marked with pins|
|I also wanted to use as little of the sheer striped fabric as possible, since I only had a little over a yard.|
|I love the flagrant disregard for grain lines! :p|
|This may look wrong, but trust me - it works!|
|Look at those beautifully matched stripes!|
Now I had enough sheer striped fabric left to make a fuller front bodice piece than the pattern called for (I had already cut off 30" of the full width for the skirt), so I cut the blue and white front pieces separately.
|Cutting on the fold, I simply added fullness at the center front.|
|The fullness under the bust will be gathered into the waist seam.|
|Just for fun, I used only blue pins when I attached the sleeve to the band. It's the little things.|
I carefully sewed the delicate white sheer bodice together by machine, then flat-felled my seams by hand.
|First I trimmed one seam allowance down to less than 1/4"|
|Leaving the other side the original width of 5/8"|
|Carefully folded the wider seam allowance over the trimmed one|
|And folded it back over the seam, keeping all the raw edges tucked neatly inside.|
|I sewed each seam down with a backstitch for strength.|
Cut both halves in half width-wise:
And switched them around so I have one shorter and one longer for each sleeve:
I rounded off the corners of the longer pieces, and draped one of each over the blue sleeve to see approximately how it will look when finished:
I will actually want the back piece to overlap the front piece, but this gives a good idea of how it will look. To finish the edges of the sheer bodice and sleeves, I cut 1" bias strips from my solid white voile. I would have used regular bias tape, but it was too stiff and opaque. I want to keep the overdress as sheer as possible.
|It may be hard to tell in this pic, but the bias strips I cut are much more sheer and drapey than the bias tape.|
|The sheer striped bodice over the blue day dress bodice, with the neck opening bound with bias|
|The selvage edges meet at center back, just as I'd planned. This will close with buttons and loops.|