I am so pleased with how the dress is looking and though progress has been slower than planned or expected, the outcome is going to be exactly what I wanted.
This morning when I first woke up, completing the dress was one of my first thoughts and the second one was in regards to the zipper. I love invisible zippers and truly have perfected inserting them. Yet for some odd thought process I decided to use a regular zipper. Now that this is out of my system I will go back to invisible zippers. I ran into some issues when stitching the zipper but all in all it looks just fine.
Here are some photos I took of the dress this AM and as of this writing sleeves are ready to be attached; then hem the dress and sew on hook and eye.
The pattern only calls for lining the bodice and sleeves. The fabric I used for this dress really needed to be line; I used the skirt pieces to cut out the lining. I sewed the skirt lining and skirt separately, basted the edge of the lining and skirt at upper waistline and then attached all to the bodice.
Before sewing all of this, I basted the bodice and skirt together and basted in the zipper for final fitting. One adjustment I made after making the first version was adding to the hip area on the pattern piece. I have hip fluff and with skirts I add about 1/2 inch at the waist line of skirts over the hip area tapering back to the waist at the side seam. By taking Lynda Maynard's fitting class on Craftsy, I learned about how to add some width to this area by drawing a line parallel to the straight grain line about an inch to 1 1/2 inch from the side seam.I then cut from hemline tapering to nothing at waist line on the pattern piece. I then adjust this area by spreading an amount necessary. For this dress I added 1/2 giving me a total of one inch and maintaining the shape of the side seam. This gave me the extra width I needed for the back darts to fit appropriately and have ample fabric over the back hip fluff right under my waist.
All other fitting adjustments I made with first version were incorporated into the pattern before I cut this one out. I have the fit and look I really wanted with this dress. One more fitting I did with this version was I took deeper side seams right starting right below and in line with the bottom of the front dart. This gave the dress a more tapered look that I prefer.
More updates to follow.