Okay, once I had a day with nothing else to do (except school with the kids, fix meals, run 2 or 3 errands, mow the lawn, take Thalia to drama class) I was FINALLY able to finish this dress:
Butterick 4385 in crepe-back satin from the BFF collection at Hancock's. I was surprised how easy this fabric is to work with, plus it's washable. On the other hand, it's so shiny it's hard to photograph.
Also, when cut on the bias, as it is for that upper band, it's super stretchy. The zipper is supposed to come up all the way to the top of the dress in the back, but it stretched the band out too much to do that -- it looked like a tea cup. So I moved the zipper down and made covered buttons for the band.
I've never made covered buttons before. Here's a tip -- it's really stupid to start your covered-button-making career by making buttons with slick fabric on tiny buttons, especially when you're feeling pressured about time. These sort of turned out with points on either side -- Annabeth said they look like lemons. But, hey, actually she's going to be wearing something over her shoulders, so they won't show. And the something-over-her-shoulders will also cover the not-so-great button loops made by zigzagging over round elastic cord (again, no clue what I was doing there).
In other areas of not-knowing-what-the-heck-I'm-doing, Annabeth really really REALLY objected to the net ruffle that's supposed to go between the lining and dress to give the dress some oomph there at the bottom. Even though it wouldn't touch her skin or show at all, the existence of the ruffle was objectionable. And, you know, I have better things to do than psychoanalyze this (plus, frankly, I don't like making ruffles) so I decided to put horsehair braid at the bottom. Which was exciting for a couple of moments until I explained that it wasn't really horsehair, but is just called that. Anyway, since I've never put horsehair braid in a hem and am profoundly clueless about this, I wasn't sure if I should put it in the lining hem or the dress hem. I decided on the dress hem. It sort of makes a weird ledge in the hem
but on the other hand I like the weight it added to the bottom of the dress, which now hangs better when it's on her. And it gives it sort of a solo dress (Irish Dance) vibe, if you ask me.
And then I was free to hem the lining with a 3-thread narrow hem on the serger, which is wicked quick to do:
This I DID know how to do, having discovered it last week while making some organdy curtains, and having instantly decided to use it whenever possible as a quick, lightweight hem.
So, pictures later on-the-body. I hope. It took awhile to get the pattern to fit, since patternmakers seem to consistently believe that princess seamed dresses in a child's size 7 or 8 (which would fit a typical 7 or 8 year old) need to be drafted to accommodate AT LEAST an A cup bust line. Which is ... bizarre. But, really, this has happened with various patterns from Big 4 companies -- it isn't an isolated incident. Anyway, it fits now and will continue to fit until she grows out of it, which will probably be sometime in June or July at the rate we're going.