My basic design idea was to make a dress similar to my avian dress with the pleated skirt but make the top more work appropriate, I decided on a fitted button up shirt top with the flat neckline from my latest jumpsuit.
I then started from scratch on the front. I initially liked the fit of my maxi dress but something doesn't seem quite right so thought I'd try again. I drew lines 2" apart vertically and horizontally across a piece of scrap fabric and then started draping on my dress form. As I already had the back piece cut out it was easy to match it at the shoulders and sides keeping the grain straight and then just pinched out princess seams down the front to get the fit right through the bust. I then added a 5" wide waistband which in the end was cut down to about 3" wide.
After one wear I am happy with the fit I've achieved with this.
I then basted on a basic collar band and button band and got my daughter to pinch out all excess around the back of my neck and basted it in place around the front so that I had a smooth collar and button band.
The last step was to figure out sleeves. I used the sleeve pattern from my maxi dress but added just a smidge of extra width around. It looked right on the muslin, but once I cut it out of the final fabric the sleeves looked way too big so I ended up taking 4 small pleats along the lower edge of the sleeve before finishing the sleeve which gives it a slightly puffed look which I think works beautifully with this style.
Once I had my muslin all fitting perfectly I trimmed everything off at the seam lines and lay all the pieces out on a piece of paper and traced around them to give me a perfect pattern for my new dress. I added seam allowances back on where required and then I was ready to get started with my final material.
The material that I used for this dress is an upholstery fabric that I was given at my local town hall. They were planning on throwing out about 6 bolts of material, but they knew I was giving sewing lessons there so offered the fabric to me first. Of course I took it. I figured if nothing else it would be great to use for muslins. However once I saw this bolt of material I knew I needed to make a dress out of it. Once again it's curtain material, but I have a thing for dresses made out of curtains - too many viewings of The Sound of Music obviously.
The top of the dress came together pretty quickly. I finished all the seams with the overlocker and then top stitched each seam. The sleeves I finished simply but turning under twice at 1/4" each time. The skirt is two big rectangles the full width of the material about 46" x 23". I traced the shape of the pocket off the Avian dress since I don't have a pattern for the pockets for that dress and sewed them into the side seams of the skirt about 2" below the top edge.
I then put a 2" pleat at each side of the side seam making a big inverted box pleat and then placed two other inverted box pleats in both the back and front of the skirt to use up any excess fabric. I sewed the skirt onto the bodice and hemmed the skirt with a double turned 1" hem and my new dress was done and ready for the interview - now to wait and see whether I got the job.