First we tossed around a couple of patterns to possibly use for the dress as something to help us along. I have not drafted a sweetheart neckline before, and this was not the time to start from scratch. We settled on Butterick 5731, which is the commercial pattern for Kate Middleton's dress. This seems like what we are trying to achieve anyway. Sweetheart neckline with lace overlay. Perfect.
Our skirt will be full lace overlay and we will have a waist sash, but otherwise this was our jumping off pattern. The bride's mother made the first muslin of the inner bodice (the sweetheart non-lace) and after some tweaking, I took it home and created the second muslin.
the evil lining of doom
Lots of questions we had were answered in this second muslin. First, we had talked about what to use for underlining and lining. For the second muslin I used what I had in my stash: some poly lining for the underlining, and a bemberg rayon for the lining. When put together with the satin, it was all very shifty and difficult to sew. A complete pain. So, cotton, either lawn or voile (or even shirting or light muslin), is going to be used for the underling and even perhaps for the lining. Also, I had purchased some crappy boning at Joann's, since that is what is available to me, and realized that spiral steel boning will be worth it in the end.
The final realization was about pressing the fabric, which has unfortunately brought to light new questions/concerns. The test fabric, a satin polyester, was a huge pain to press. I was very concerned about melting the fabric, so I tried not to go too crazy. The end result still seemed puffy, even after pressing as best as I could. Any tips would be appreciated.
The fit, when finally on, was less than satisfactory. But, this is why we make muslins :) We need to raise side seams, taper the back seam and remove some fullness from the top of the princess seams. I also realized that the sweetheart neckline needs more stability.
I did end up signing up for Gertie's Bombshell Dress course over on Craftsy, and most of these things are covered in the class. I think it will be thirty bucks well spent.
I will post soon about the progress of that as well. I will also try to do it within the month :)