Turned out that those little pleats on the skirt just weren't right for me. The skirt profile was not as flattering as I'd like, so after some advice from sewing friends, I switched it out for a plain flat front skirt, and was so much happier! The muslin was also a chance for me to audition the sleeve options, and I definitely preferred the pleated band as opposed to the short sleeve, so my plan of action was ready to be executed!
Butterick 5814: Surplice wrap bodice (front and back, and skirt back).
Butterick 5947: Straight skirt (front only).
- I wanted the bodice side pleats to extend into the side seam, so I had to add some space into the bodice front pattern piece, and reshape the curve.
- I used only the skirt back of 5814 so that the back darts would match the bodice back darts.
- I eliminated the bottom pleat of the arm band, as I felt it was more visually pleasing with 3 pleats instead of 4. I simply folded the extra fabric up into the inside, which finished the inside of the band quite nicely.
Getting the proper order of construction together was my greatest challenge, so I just went slow and thought things out before stitching anything down. I placed the rigilene along both side seams, in a line up to the armhole "peak" of the front and also on the back. 2 yards of rigilene was pretty much what I used. I also bought 2 yards of horsehair braid to stitch along the top bodice lining edge for added stability. I used Gertie's blog post about it, and it worked beautifully. The most important thing to do with the Rigilene is to wrap the ends, or the plastic with rub through the lining and scratch you all night.
I knew the lining would hide the underlining (striped cotton), so I didn't worry too much about that. If I had to do over again, I would've used the pattern pieces for the lining (darts) rather that making extra layers with side pleats, but with all the other changes I made, it was easier to just stick with what was working.
At this point, I was over the moon. Overjoyed that my vision had (mostly) become a reality, and I was thrilled.
I forgot to photograph the back, sorry! Just an invisible zipper back there anyway! I was really pleased with the how well the inner structure of the bodice behaved, there was no gaping open, it fit my body closely and kept everything concealed (the way it should)!
My fear was that the arm bands would be restricting, but they really weren't, I had no trouble on the dance floor at all! ;)
We had a wonderful time helping to raise money for the Great Lakes Burn Camp and we look forward to attending again next year!