I'm making the blue version with the sleeves. I cut a 16 from the waist up and an 18 from the waist down, and made a muslin to check it out. I was thrilled to find that the fit was pretty good right out of the envelope! Even without an FBA!I had never seen bodice pieces quite like this. The side front piece (#2) has almost an angle to the bust curve. I'm used to a much more gently curved side front. But check out that huge "dart" (the empty triangular area between the two pieces). I decided to go ahead and try it without the FBA, and it fit pretty well. The length over the bust was perfect- the underbust seam hit me at just the right spot. I could have used just a smidge more width, but I didn't want to do a princess FBA, because I didn't want to add any length to the front. I was really afraid that would throw off the lapels.
Fortunately, my fabric (which you can see underneath the pattern pieces) has quite a bit of crosswise stretch. I'm counting on that to compensate for the minimal width adjustment I could have made but didn't. Unfortunately, however, my fabric is a tad heavy. It's denim, after all. I was really worried about bulk, especially at the waist seam in back. The pattern calls for basting the bodice and lining together and handling it as one when installing the zipper. Not only is bulk a potential problem, but that just isn't a really nice way to handle a zipper.
I had originally planned to use the same fabric for the lining as for the dress. (You have to for the center front pieces because the lining will show when the lapels are flipped out.) But Fate stepped in: I didn't have enough! My first thought was to use a different fabric- a solid cotton or broadcloth- for the rest of the lining. But I was afraid that would negate the stretch factor I was counting on. So I decided to eliminate the lining- except for the center front pieces, and go with facings in the back.Normally, I would never change a pattern to add facings. I hate them. I much prefer a lining. But in this case, I think facings are the answer. Not only do they solve the problem of not enough fabric, but they will eliminate some of the bulk at the waist seam, making the zipper much easier to install, and using a facing will make it possible to finish off the top of the zipper much more nicely.
I'm off now to work on the dress. Stay tuned for more info about some other adjustments I had to make, and of course, for a photo of the finished dress!