I can't quite say yet that it's almost a finished dress, since I haven't cut out the lining yet. But it's no longer a 2-piece ensemble, at least!
Since my last post that directly related to the wedding dress, I've gotten quite a bit done. All of the skirt seams have been sewn, graded, pressed and catch-stitched to the underlining, except for the center back seam. The skirt and bodice are now attached to each other, as well! I ended up having to do a little sizing tweaking, because I've got the seam allowances from both the bodice and skirt finished towards the waistband, and that added a little bulk around my waist. In hindsight, perhaps I should have pressed the bodice edges up rather than down--I still think finishing the skirt towards the waistband will be better for supporting the weight of it--but what's done is done, and I tried to grade things so that there's as little added bulk as possible so I can't go back and undo that part and change that. Even so, this waistband is now holding seam edges from 5 layers of bodice (lace, dupioni, crepe de chine and 2 layers of organza), plus 2 layers of skirt (dupioni & crepe de chine, though there's also the actual seam allowances in there which doubles that). So I think I can be forgiven for needing to add a little extra in the back. Especially since I've been mostly consistent with at least getting in one workout a week since Christmas, and given my general lack of athleticism, that's actually really good for my track record!
Of course, this meant that I also needed to do some hand-attaching of the waistband in the back, since I hadn't quite sewn far enough to factor in that possibility. And I did need to add a patch of lace on one side, because I'd just barely had enough to cover on that side. Oops.
So, here's the picture of the inside (I was trying it on inside out to figure out exactly where this back seam and zipper need to go.)
And here's a partial shot of the outside-with-skirt! Notice anything else? That's right, the straps are now attached as well. I pinned those at the same time and hand-stitched them down, putting some beeswax on the thread for a little extra strength. (Perhaps I should have done that all along. The silk thread is still better about not tangling, but this was even better!)
That's the other thing I've been doing, finishing those edges, again minus the center back. I went with the majority vote from my poll and did the hairline seam finish, with a hand-stitched last seam. Brooke suggested wash/steam-away thread as well, so I did do that. I'm not sure it entirely disappeared after the pressing/steaming, since it was entrapped in those layers and I couldn't set the iron temperature very high for fear of scorching the lace, but it still looks better than I think the silk thread would have.
The center back seam is partially sewn closed now, and I'm currently working on figuring out the lapped zipper. I do have some wide seam allowances to work with, and a good-looking tutorial on my sewing pinboard, so hopefully that will help me out. (Yeah, remember that Check The Technique thing I've been doing? Lapped zippers are on that list of things I'm not entirely comfortable doing, particularly since I've probably attempted this particular type of zipper the least. Unless you count separating zippers. Come to think of it, I'll need to update that post for underlining after I finish this thing!) I do know that the trickiest part of this particular lapped zipper will be dealing with the sheer edges that start right above it, without making them look uneven. But I do plan on hand-picking this zipper, so that means I can take it nice and slow and hopefully do it right.
That won't finish the outside. I need to add buttons, particularly at the top of the sheer part where I do need a functional closure. I'll need to hem it. And I still want to put those lace sunflower appliques somewhere around the lower circumference of the skirt. But, minus that last part, it's looking like I may be able to at least finish the outside of this dress before I go back to work. Here's hoping!