Now, if you're not a fanatical sewing enthusiast or not looking to make this pattern you may want to tune out after the pictures as its going to get a bit boring :-) For those interested I have listed my process below - I find that sort of thing useful so hopefully you will too. I'm hoping to do a proper Pattern Review one day but for now I just need to get this off my chest ;-)...
The black one:
This was meant to be the wearable muslin, but ended up being it. In its former life the fabric was a tunic bought by my friend T while on a night out together - popped into Vinnies before dinner for a look ;-). I think I talked her into buying it (sorry T) but she never wore it and ended up giving it to me to use. I loved the black linen, it was pretty long (almost enough fabric to use) and I loved the machine embroidered flower. So I chopped it up, strategically placing the flower on my hip. But I was just short of fabric so skipped the front pleats and had to use a scrap of black linen from my stash (slightly different black) for the lower back panels.
And I added a left over flower to the opposing back shoulder for a bit of detail in balance. Oh that cross cut-out back, it's such a lovely detail of the pattern.
When I'd almost finished it I decided if I didn't get the proper version finished in time I could probably wear this, and left it with unfinished armholes, neckline and hem to start the proper version...
The blue one:
I went on a special trip, using precious child-free time, to The Fabric Store to buy something special. I came away with a length of a Lisa Ho fabric, an amazing blend of silk, man made fibres and I think a touch of metal. It feels amazing. I'm sure I probably wore a greasy spot on it as I touched it every time I walked past it sitting by my machine :-).
All was going well, I even tried a little piping sample (I'd fallen in love with this piped edge version) and decided to pipe lots of the seams. So one evening was spent on piping, then the next evening I sewed it all together (this was no. 3 so I was getting quicker), excitedly put it on after sewing in the zip and... could hardly breathe it was so tight around my middle. Ok. So the black linen was cut on the bias, giving it more 'give'. Not a true muslin at all of course. So that nagging feeling I had that I should grade the pattern up a size at the waist? I should have listened to it :-(.
Can I breathe out now?
So I found myself with 2 mostly finished dresses, late the night before it needed to be finished (with zero time available to sew the next day). Sucking in my breath I asked the Mr for an opinion on which was better. I so wanted to wear the blue but knew it realistically needed a good few hours of alterations to get it right. So when he picked that the fit was wrong I was kind of relieved. At least I'd be able to do useful things like walk, and sit and you know, breathe, if I wore the black. So the late night sewing session was spent finishing off the black instead of the blue.
But I'm hoping I'll get around to fixing it one day - probably when the next event is looming... late the night before of course!
If anyone is still reading, I applaud you :-)
And finally, just some pattern notes:
* the Pattern is written in French, which I don't speak, but between the pictures and Google Translate it was not too hard to understand. Though there were a few 'ah ha' moments for me by the time I got to version 3, which I'm guessing may have been resolved earlier if the language barrier hadn't been there.
* I lengthened the bodice by an inch (I seem to have a long body - the Mr says I have short legs but I prefer to think of it as a long body :)
* And I reshaped the neckline, making it higher & wider - slightly more boat neck shaped than the pattern as I think this suits me better, just a personal preference.
* I quite like the pleat-free adaptation of the front skirt on the black version, but maybe it just suits my shape better, and may use this alteration in future.
The moral of my Belladone saga: don't use bias cut fabric for the muslin! And leave more time for unexpected occurrences - when will I learn!!