Now the dress is completed. The total time taken was 5 hours but this could have been reduced in several ways, not least by taking a few minutes to read the layout instructions at the very beginning of the project!
Comments on construction: The instructions include binding the back sections of the skirt with bias but as it is not seen, it could easily be hemmed in the usual way thus saving four rows of stitching. I did not use a binding foot which meant that each piece of binding had to be stitched twice. The hem on the circular part of the skirt is double folded and involves two rows of stitching. It could more easily and much more quickly be neatened with the overlocker and then machined in place. Bearing in mind that a lot of the bodice edges were on the bias I took great care to ensure that I did not stretch it out of shape when applying the binding. I notice that the back neckline scoop is lower than the front and also because of the weight of all that circular skirt there is a tendency for the dress to pull to the back thereby making the back neckline even lower. The pattern envelope suggests 3 packs of bias binding but I did not use anywhere near as much as this so now have a small stash of black bias binding. Perhaps I will use it together with the half yard of fabric that is also left over from cutting out the pattern.
Comments on fit: I used to have an “Hourglass” figure but I’m afraid the time has run out and I am now more of an “Apple” shape. This being so means that I have had to make an adjustment/”work around” to ensure that I can fasten the dress back and front. To do this I made an extension piece on the front (which comes from the back) left-hand side on which to stitch the buttons for the three button loops. I balanced up the button loops with a matching set of faux loops and buttons. As I could not find just the right buttons, I have used 22mm self-covered buttons which I think are perfect!
On the back (which is an extension of the front) I added two extension pieces to take the button and buttonhole fastening. As I no longer have an hourglass figure it would help the fit of the front if the second body dart was reduced or omitted. As usual, my bust point is 1” lower than the pattern so the bust dart and body dart points need to be moved accordingly. The armholes gaped at the front and necessitate a dart to reduce the armhole shaping. To counteract the tendency for the back bodice to be pulled down by the weight of the circular skirt, next time I would raise that neckline slightly.
Final analysis: Having made up the pattern once any further constructions should be more time efficient and could reasonably be made in 4 hours. I enjoy the “uniqueness” of the dress (especially the liquorice allsorts print!) and will probably make another in a combination of fabrics, e.g. positive/negative print such as dots or two-tone floral print.