Fabric: Cotton--a beautiful print, not what I would have chosen but Katie loved the fabric when she saw it at Hancock's. She will get to do the ironing. :) The fabric suits Katie well, and I'm very pleased with the results.
Size: I started with a size 10 based on Katie's measurements, but it was much too big. I'm so glad I discovered this when I made a muslin of the bodice. You know, I rarely used to make muslins, and it's only been in recent years that I have. After much fitting and re-fitting, I finally got it right on this dress. I realized that I should have started with a size 6 and adjusted up from there instead of adjusting down from the size 10. The only place the size 10 fit was in the waist/ribcage and the hips. I pulled several reference books off the shelf and learned so much about fitting. Much to my surprise I found that I actually enjoyed the fitting process! I feel like the extra time and work involved was well-spent because of the knowledge I gained.
Construction Details: The dress is fully-lined, but I did not follow the instructions for the lining which have you line the bodice and waistband before attaching the skirt and skirt lining. Instead, I completely made the dress, sans sleeves, and I made the lining the same; then I attached them together at the neckline. Afterward, I did stitch-in-the-ditch in the waist seams to hold the lining to the dress. I did not topstitch the waistband as instructed.
The back of the dress opens with an invisible zipper. I'm so glad I have an invisible zipper foot for my machine--it holds the coils up and allows for close stitching. Before I bought the zipper foot, I used a pintuck foot which worked almost as well.
~Raised the neckline by 5/8 inch.
~Raised the armholes because the sleeves were binding. Raising the armholes helped because there was too much fabric there that was binding. Before I read about this in the fitting book I would have thought to lower the armhole (I tried it first, and it made the binding worse).
~Lengthened the hem by 2 inches. I would have made the skirt even longer, per Katie's wishes, but I didn't have enough fabric. Since Katie is short ("short people got no reason") the final dress length is fine.
Okay, I will post pictures of Katie in the dress in the next few days. It looks great on her!
thank you for reading,