Well, like many projects, I had the best intentions of documenting the complete process, and then reality took over as I was sewing after work and at home and before I knew it, I realized I hadn't taken as many pictures of the process as I had envisioned. At least the dresses were finished on time!
Here's a little summary:
The chiffon over skirt was pleated up and I hand basted the pleats first then I ran a line of machine stitching on that line as well as a half an inch both above and below before trimming away some of the excess fabric. I figured that I wouldn't be lucky enough to not have to adjust the length so these lines of stitching kept everything together when the time came to adjust the length. I basted the chiffon skirt to the underlayer at the waist and pinned it to the bodice on a dress stand to check the hem, and sure enough, I needed to make a little adjustment on the sides, so I unpicked the basting bit by bit and repinned until everything looked good and then I rebasted the waist of the skirts.
You can see the amount I adjusted at the sides in this picture.
I marked out each piece separately for both the under and overlayer.
I used the seam allowances of the underlayer to create bone channels for the plastic boning. The only seam allowance that gave me trouble was the front panel over the bust. This fabric doesn't take well to being eased and as the edge of the 1/2" wide seam allowance is slightly longer than the seam it is a part of, it rippled a bit when making the bone casing. It wouldn't press out well either, so if I did it again, (which I did in the second dress) I would make a separate bone casing for that particular bone and then the seam allowance can be trimmed down and made to behave.
I also made sure to machine stitch the top edge and waist line of each of the pieces for the inner layer. This shows me the pattern line, but more importantly, stays the areas of the bodice that are a bit on the bias, such as the side front panel at the top edge. I checked the measurements of the pieces against the pattern after this. That side front panel had stretched out ever so slightly so I used that stay stitch to ease the edge back to its correct size.
I then sewed the top layer of satin just on the outer edge of my pattern lines to allow a smidgen of ease.
Place the bodice right sides together and bagged out the upper edge, pressed, under stitched and trimmed the seam allowance down. Then I basted along the upper edge to hold the fabrics as one and smoothed everything in place before basting the layers together at the waist, and then serging the raw edge of the waist and CB seam allowances.
Once the bodice was prepared, I worked on the pleated overlayer. I used a bias strip rather than the shaped piece in my original plan (thanks again to colleagues!). The bias can mold around the body and a bonus was that the tension on the bias piece made the front area stand up vertically and the rest of the strap laid flat! I also could make length/tension adjustments easily!
I fused the lame with a piece of wool fuse which is a soft spongy fusible I had on hand.
I had this prepared and prefit from an earlier fitting,
so I stitched the top edge of the pleated net to the lame and then arranged the pleating at the waist. Baste the layers together at the waist, then baste the skirts on and fit to check.
Everything seemed fine! so I finally machined bodice to skirt, and trimmed the excess seam allowances down.
The worst was over!
next up will be all the finishing details.