Following advice from Julie, I added straps so that the dress can be hung. I used ribbon with Susan’s wedding colors: yellow, blue and green. It’s kind of wild, but I think she’ll enjoy it. :)
I’ve only hand basted these in for now – I want to see the impact on Susan before committing to them fully. The grey thread you see here (and in other shots) is polyamide button hole twist, which is VERY strong. Sorry for the blurriness of the photo – I’m still trying to learn the special features (like manual focus) of my new camera.
I added button loop tape and the back extension. The button loop tape I used has elasticized loops, which hopefully will make them a bit easier to secure. The loops were too far apart on the original tape, so I folded it over on top of itself and doubled the frequency of the loops.
I trimmed the length of the skirt so that it was even all the way around. Once this length was established, I was able to align the lace properly onto the godet, baste it into place and insert the godet into the skirt.
And I finished up the waist stay. Let me spend a minute on this, because this was a detail for which my intuition failed me and I learned a few things from experience. I allowed myself to become confused by two different sets of advice. Most people on PatternReview recommended a waist stay. It’s kind of like a belt, on the inside of the dress, which holds the weight of the skirt so that this weight isn’t all on the strapless bodice, pulling it downwards.
One professional seamstress, however, gave me detailed instructions for making an inner corset to slip between the silk and the lining, and part of those instructions included attaching a grosgrain ribbon to the bottom of this corset (i.e., at the bodice-skirt seam) and using THAT ribbon to hold the weight of the skirt. So I went into this step mentally comparing the imagined advantages and disadvantages of a ribbon around bodice-skirt seam (attached continuously) and a ribbon around the waist (where there isn’t a seam in this dress) attached only in a few spots.
Can you see where I’m going with this? Without experience, the first option seemed to make more sense to me. It seemed like placing the ribbon at an existing seam line and having it connected continuously would be more secure.
But I was wrong. One of the critical things I neglected to take into consideration is that the instructions for the higher ribbon were in the context of incorporating an inner corset into the dress. Without that inner corset, trying to place a ribbon above the waist just doesn’t work. The stay naturally wants to slip to the smallest part of the body – the waist. So, that’s where it should be put.
Also, the dress hung more nicely on Susan the FEWER points at which the waist stay and skirt were attached. I can’t really explain why THAT was true, but it was. In the end, I attached the waist stay at waist level and only at the side seams. I used a bit of elastic at each end of the grosgrain ribbon, where I put the hooks & eyes, so that I could get it really snug.
Julie left small openings in side seams of the lining for her waist stay to come through, but I had cleverly (ha!) used French seams in my lining and they didn’t look like they wanted to come open again. So, instead, I reinforced the lining right by the side seams with interfacing and then made buttonholes. Conveniently, the largest setting on my automatic buttonholer is 1 inch, which is also the width of the waist stay…
Good thing, because the rehearsal dinner is tonight and the wedding is tomorrow!