Is officially done! I’m wearing it to church this morning. Which is a good thing, since we leave for China and the wedding (that this dress is for, at least in the short term – it’s impossible to buy a dress that allows breastfeeding access) in a week.
Without further ado. . .
And with the optional outer layer added on:
There were quite a few dramas along the way, as there always are due to my “spontaneous sewing” methods. The neckline of the outer top layer has been fixed now (you can’t see it clearly because I forgot to remove a piece from the next layer down), although there’s not much I can do about one of the eyelets in the standard layer being inside out. It was originally meant to have a zipper at the back (which it does have), but I can’t do it up myself. CJ described the zipping-up procedure as “not categorically impossible” when he assisted me. So I added lacing and a detachable modesty panel at the back (so when I lose a bunch of weight – likely in the nearish future – I can still remove the ribbon and zip it all the way up, and the eyelets become a decorative feature). The front modesty panel is also fully detachable – and easy to move aside if I’m feeding Louisette.
The main steampunk elements are the adjustability (the gathering at the front means it’ll fit me next pregnancy – and yes, I can now take it on and off by myself) and the different possible combinations (eg I can remove the modesty panels to highlight a contrasting undershirt). Hypothetically I will add more steampunk elements after the wedding – belt loops (on which to hang my keys, and perhaps a nice ladylike dagger or some such), more metal studs to attach different pieces together (or to be decorative when the pieces are apart) and so on. I’ll make a detachable waistband at some point, so as I lose weight I can cinch it in more.
Ultimately, it does the job it set out to do – give me breastfeeding access in a dress, hide my post-pregnancy belly, and have the flexibility to be a maternity dress or not, depending on circumstances.