The first thing I had to do was make an adjustment to the dress pattern. From my measurements I was a size 18 hip and waist, and a 16 top.
I'd like to mention here something that I'm sure people know but I want to put my two pence in. You have to measure yourself and use these measurements to choose your dress size. I'm usually a size 12 in dresses, and have fallen into the trap before of just going for it and making this size... only to find it is then three sizes too small. This is much more depressing than measuring your body, and matching this to the (clearly mental) sizings on the pattern packet. Do not be depressed! You have not put on 6 stone since you got up this morning, the pattern people just live in a strange bubble of sizing. So... rant over.
Back to the point, to match up the pattern pieces I just drew a line after the waist point, following the curve of the pattern piece as much as possible, starting from the size 16 line and ending on the size 18.
First to the mistake... I cut out my skirt pieces (the biggest bits of all) upside down! This was kind of irretrievable, I cut out new pieces in the end and had to buy more (stupidly expensive for my first go at this dress) material. I then cut out as many pieces from what I had left as possible, being a bit haphazard with the pattern, but at least not upside down. The next day when I cut out the skirt, I went back and started thinking again and doing things properly. I started by lying out everything I had on the floor to see where I was up to, how it was going to look etc. I recut my skirt pieces, matching up the pattern to the top piece (which the pic above does not do... I was going to attempt to use the back as the front... the pattern was far too higgledy piggledy). And then cut out my lining pieces. Everything was going to be ok!
Because of the trauma so far on this dress, I decided not to take any chances on the sleeve (which I've never done before... the sleeve, not take chances) so I made a muslin. Which basically means that I cut a sleeve out of cheap fabric, tacked it on to see what it would look like, and how sleeves work without ruining my fabric. This worked really well, as you can see from my pleased face in the picture.
This is where I am up to so far! I'm so proud, and cant wait for my next challenge... a lapped zipper! wish me luck!