Anyway, here is my completed Simplicity 1652:
I'd already attempted this a couple of weeks ago with very unsuccessful results regarding getting a good fit on the bodice, so I started off by making a new muslin of the bodice and had to make quite a few changes.
I cut a size 12 throughout, with the exception of the back yoke, for which I used a size 8. This was on the advice of So I Sewed This... . It was her gorgeous version of this dress that made me want to make it so badly.
Even after cutting a much smaller size on the back yoke I still had it gaping on the diagonal sides of the back opening. In the end I solved this by making a small dart on this edge, tapering away to the centre of the pattern piece. I probably took about 1cm out of the edge, and this appears to have worked perfectly.
I also had to take the back bodice section in quite a bit. I'm much narrower in the back than I am at the front, so I started by taking 1.5cm of the top of the centre back seam, tapering to nothing at the waist. This seemed sufficient on the muslin, but once I'd sewn the bodice up in my proper fabric I realised it was still too loose, so I extended the back dart from the waist up to the top edge, taking out about 1cm at the top. Next time I would cut a smaller sized back piece, it would probably be easier!
There were 2 modifications made to the skirt, the first being that I omitted the pockets. I had made pockets in my first version, but they were really small, and not really placed in a good position for me. I debated redrafting the side skirt panels to create pockets in those, but didn't really have enough fabric, so I just omitted them completely.
I also pleated the front and back skirt sections onto the bodice rather than gathering them as I find this more flattering on me.
I really love the back of this dress:
My invisible zip really is invisible in this dress! I'm VERY pleased with myself for managing that.
For the sleeves I used the pleated cap sleeve from New Look 6000, as I loved the way these looked on my butterfly top. The slightly stiff fabric gives them a really nice shape.
Now for a few shots of the inside. I really feel that my finishing is improving. On this dress I used bias tape to finish the waist seam, front and back facings, sleeve hem and skirt hem. I ran out of black tape, but had just enough red to use on the sleeves.
Anyway, this stitch has finished the seams off pretty well.
I'm really glad I persevered with this pattern. I did wonder if I was ever going to get the back to fit at one stage, but working at it calmly and slowly paid off.
I think I'd make this again at some stage. I'd love to redraft it so that it had a straight skirt, I think that would look pretty good.