Well .. I finished the dress, and nearly finished myself off in the process! I was still sewing the finishing touches 2 hours before the "do" it was made for, but the results worked quite well, and here I am wearing it - on the left.
It is, I think, the most uncomfortable dress in the entire universe - hence the pained expression but the look, according to my friends, was "very Jessica Rabbit". Or perhaps that was a kind way of saying "oh my god! you've put on a ton of weight since last year!"
The reason it was uncomfortable is because the boned foundation inside the dress finishes at the waist. It therefore digs right in where the waist springs out to the hip. If I was to make this again, or if I was to give anyone a tip about making it, it would be to make the foundation longer.
The dress was made of red and black shot silk which was an ideal fabric for the style of dress - it showed the beautiful pleating up magnificently with all the colours changing in the folds of the fabric and the evening light. The pic shows the effect quite well.
I did change the pattern a little in that I used stiff coutil for the foundation rather than the two or three layers of lining and interfacing given in the instructions, and I made the coutil foundation in the same way I would make a corset by using the seam allowances pressed to one side as bone channels.
All said and done, despite the ridiculous number of pattern pieces (even though I omitted a good few!), the time it took to put together due to said number of bits, and the fact that Vogue patterns do not agree with my shape one little bit and therefore required lots of alteration, I LOVED the method of construction of this dress. The inside of it (pics to follow), looks very polished and professional, and it is much easier to put on than a dress with separately closing foundation.
Unfortunately, since that night which was 2 weeks ago, I've been struck down with the vile flu bug that's been going around the UK. Today was my first day 'up and about'. I couldn't get out before Christmas to do my last minute shopping so I had to make a pressie for Mr Marmalade. More on that next time!