Well, last night's course went in a flash but I was much, much happier. Before I had even put my bag down my teacher announced to everyone that she had been working on my bust!
"Um, thanks, I think" I muttered to the giggles of the others. Turns out she had gone away and created two pieces of my pattern to make this:
It almost fits perfectly! I can't believe she made this just based on my measurements and observing my shape. She never fails to amaze me. That's years of experience for you. So no need to worry about drafting that part of the pattern!
After saying we had to go back to the block and start again, it turns out we didn't. Hooray! Instead we made the changes on the pattern draft and I only had to retrace two pieces. The front dart was extended. In pattern piece number 1 we added two small darts which were pivoted to remove the excess fabric. I couldn't work out how to pivot out three darts on this piece so I traced it with all three and then folded the darts. The shoulder seam was brought forward on the front by 1.5cm and the back was extended by the same amount. The neck line was reduced by 1.5cm on each side and this change should make the fit much closer to the original dress. We also marked the spot where the godets will be in the skirt. We're working a cascade effect here with some higher than the others, again we're staying true to the original design.
This all took less than half the class and before I knew it I was straightening the silk chiffon to get it ready to cut. This took forever as it comes with all the standard problems that slippery fabrics have. I pinned the selvedges together to ensure it wouldn't move too much and then laid out the pieces. Getting the pieces on grain was much easier than I anticipated though, mainly because the longest part was matched to the selvedge - the chiffon has a great selvedge that can be used in the seam allowance. I also took Hazel's advice and pinned and pinned to prevent further movement. Going slowly I managed to cut some reasonably clean lines. I would have liked to have tried cutting between tissue paper but that's a trick to try next time. I haven't cut the bustier or the godets yet.
I'll be spending this weekend basting the pieces together and beginning to write out the instructions for making it. I also need to hand wash the three metres of lining fabric. I managed to find a cream silk which brings out the colours in the chiffon beautifully. I'm running out of chiffon but luckily the supply hasn't run dry and I'll be picking up some more next week. There is still a lot more to do, including working out how the lining will be shaped to make the perfect fit, but I don't feel quite so far behind now!