Here is the reference shot:
The dress should have been a simple build. I used a combination of my two favorite Simplicity patterns (4940 and 9891). As I have obviously used both patterns multiple times, I wasn't worried about the fit. I modified the front panel so that the neckline was correct. I decided early on to simply make a gown and not a separate bodice, because no one was going to see anything from the hips up.
It looks pretty good, right? WRONG! Honestly, I don't remember what I didn't like about this because I was hopped up on Dayquil, but I had a freaking meltdown when I put it on. I think the entire front poofed up or something. I spent the next few days readjusting the bodice. Also, I had gold piping on the sleeves, but then I realized later that there is no gold piping on the dress sleeves, only the jacket. Argh. So THAT all got ripped off. As for the rest of the dress, I wasn't going to remake the entire thing because I wasn't about to start dying fabric again. Luckily, I had JUST enough fabric left to make a bodice, like the dress is supposed to have. Also, I don't have a shot with the sleeves, but they were WAY too long.
Using the pattern I'd made for the jacket, I made a new bodice. I wasn't too happy with my original shaping, so I reshaped the neckline to make it a more gradual angle, and then made the neckline a little more pronounced. I tried it on several times to make sure it would work. Because the original costume has blue trim along the edges and I didn't really feel like worrying about that, I simply sewed about 3/8" from the seam to give a textured look. I think it works.
I then pinned it in a very general manner to the original dress to see where it should lay. After trying it on about six times, I was finally happy and sewed it on. Believe me, cutting off the original top was very difficult to do! I mean, if it didn't work, I was screwed.
The final step was to add the buttons in the front. I used these buttons from JoAnn's and painted them light blue by mixing together a variety of paints I had laying around.
I finally attached the buttons down the front of the bodice. They don't lay totally straight because they have such a big stem to them, but they'll do.
And tonight, I realized that the shoulders weren't sitting correctly, so I ended up taking about an inch off of them.
Let's just keep something in mind here - NOTHING FROM THE WAIST UP WILL BE VISIBLE.
I'm hoping to finish the majority of the jacket and front panel tomorrow so that I can get started on Matt's Eomer tunic. I'm so glad the dress is done. It was much more of a headache than I would have liked!