I finished the alterations the other day, and would like to share with you how I did it!
This is unplanned, but it also fits the Sweets Theme for December. :P
Basic Idea of Steps
1. Take apart lining.
2. Take apart bodice.
3. Make new panels to fit in.
4. Rebuild bodice.
5. Rebuild lining.
6. Take out zipper.
7. Rebuild lining half of zipper.
8. Rebuild bodice half of zipper.
9. Dance party.
So, the AP website said the dress would fit a 28" waist. It lied.
It barely fits a 26" waist.
I decided, after removing a little fabric and getting into the project, that my best method for making the dress 4" bigger would be to add a 2" strip to the side seams.
The bodice seam was 5" tall, with a white trim starting/stopping at the seam.
The lining was 4" tall with a facing of 1 3/8" tall in print cotton.
I started by picking apart the side seam that does not have a zipper in it, up by the arm hole.
Very slowly, I removed the trim along the arm hole.
I went too far, because at the time, I thought I was going to replace an entire bodice panel.
Once the arm hole/strap was opened up, I could get between the fabric and the lining and start to deconstruct the bodice.
The next step was to remove the panel of lining that I wanted to extend.
Again... at the time I thought I was going to replace it. It didn't need to be fully removed, but I am glad I did, or it may have gotten too cumbersome to work with.
I hand basted the skirt material, just in case it was not basted already.
This keeps the gathers from falling apart.
Luckily, it was machine basted within the seam, but I will always do this just in case.
I pinned together the facing inside the dress after ripping the seam to keep it safe.
Serged seams were deconstructed with tiny scissors instear of a seam ripper.
I did not want to ruin the fabric by tugging on the threads, so I slipped the scissors in and snipped away the thread, then hand plucked it all out.
This is the inside of the dress with the lining panel removed.
The next step was the open up the seam in the fabric that I wanted to add into.
After pressing my new solid matching fabric, I cut 2" x 5" with a 1/2" seam allowance all around.
I cut two, because I needed one for the zipper side as well.
I then attached the panel to the bodice by pinning and sewing, using the old pressed crease as a guide.
Any loose floppy fabric ends can be pinned back out of the way.
Once the 2" strip was sewn into the bodice, I pressed down my seam allowances.
I folded over the seam allowances on the top and bottom to match the previous creases and pressed them down.
You can see how I planned to refasten the white armhole trim.
The skirt loosened up the additional 2" all on it's own.
All I had to do was pin it to the new bodice and sew it back on!
As you can see, sewing into a pre-existing dress is a little awkward.
It gets turned inside out back and forth so many times, you really have to keep track of what is folded into what!
The right half of the dress was now halfway complete, so I checked it's fit on my dress-form.
Time to fuss with the inside.
The facing needed a 2" wide extension. It was 1 3/8" tall, so I made two pieces of fabric with those dimensions with a 1/2" seam allowance.
I basically just pinned it in on both sides and sewed it in.
I don't have a better photo, but I double checked that the right sides were together and sewed it in much the same as a tiny version of the front panel piece.
I then attached a 2" x 4" lining piece to the removed lining panel, and pressed it all the way it was.
I pinned in and sewed the side seams to the dress lining.
It looked like this:
I then sewed the lining back to the facing, and then to the loosened skirt lining gathers.
The last step for the right side of the dress was to pin the arm strap back together and sew the white trim back into place, finishing off the arm hole.
For the other side, I basically only had to remove the zipper and add my 2" strips of fabric, lining, and facing in, sew the new bodice to the skirt, and sew it in to the zipper.
I used all the same methods as above, but with a lot of pinning straps and things out of the way.
Here are some finished shots, before pressing.
I still have to sew in the eye at the top of the zipper and the buttons for the waist ties that I had to remove to put the dress through the sewing machine. The zipper looks wavy, but it really isn't that bad. =/
It is now the most comfortable dress I own.