I tried to make V1206 in November, but the bodice gaped at the bust: a piece of the bodice needed to be folded in, but I didn't know how to add a dart to the bodice without interfering with the dress's design. A few weeks ago I realized: the design of the dress saved me - the ruffles would hide darts!
I folded in the excess fabric on my muslin, measured that amount, drew it onto the pattern, and sewed the dart onto the front bodice piece. Just what was needed! I laid the ruffle pieces onto the bodice to make sure the darts were covered: they seemed to be, but I decided to extend the left ruffle slightly just to make sure.
Based on my muslin, I also raised the neckline 1.5".
The fabric is an amazing red lightweight, gabardine-esque wool from Pendleton. The lovely ladies at Pendleton took pity on my desperation at being on the opposite coast from its fabric outlet, and kindly sent me a few cuts. Unfortunately, I'm fiending even worse now: this fabric is so amazingly lovely and quality and so... RTW. It took me a long time to work up the nerve to cut into it. It's spongy and drapey, so it works for this pattern, though it was difficult to press the darts.
This dress is not a weekend project. There are many components: the pleated sleeves,
Detail of the back sleeve.
Pleats on the front sleeves.
the waist inset. But it was a very well-drafted pattern, and when sewn in steps over the course of a few weeks, was actually... easy.
Can I gloat a bit? I've always had a problem lining up the skirt and bodice at the waist when using an invisible zipper, and was terrified at having to line up 2 waist points. But they lined up perfectly the first go.
I marked the distance from the neck to the 2 waist seams on the zipper, and hand basted the zipper in place. Hand-basting the zipper took only minutes, and saved so much time and aggravation: previously, zippers have taken multiple tries to insert. I'm a convert.
This is a time-consuming pattern, but I think the results are really dramatic. My husband proclaimed it the best piece I've ever made. I think I agree - I really, really love it.