|The Grandma Carole Pose - all the 50s/60s-era pictures of her and her sisters show them standing like this, all in a row.|
The dress pattern itself wasn't terribly complicated - it was all the details that took so long. The pattern I have is made for a gal about a size and a half smaller than me, but I was actually excited to learn about pattern grading. The article I found most useful was from Threads Magazine - it has a good reference picture for cut lines and a chart with common "spread" amounts.
This is the first time I've made a muslin, also. For the most part, I've just done a pin-fitting with the pattern pieces and for simple modern patterns, that's fine. However, since I had to grade this pattern and transfer the pieces onto muslin anyway, I thought I'd give it a shot. I was glad I did, because the waistline needed to be let out more and the bust needed taken in (those 50s girls with their tiny waists and big busts!). Also, the sleeves ended closer to the shoulder than I wanted, so I was able to adjust that and make them into a longer cap sleeve.
The pattern had no instructions for a lining, so I just made a second dress out of lining and attached it at the neckline interfacing. It ended up working and made the dress feel "finished". Other time-consuming, but ultimately good things I did: twill tape at the neckline to help the notch lay flat, hand-stitched the hem and the arm openings, and "hand-picked" the side zipper for an added vintage touch.