Winter Indulgence SWAP. I had planned this dress quite a while ago, but left it to last, as it is more of a project than some of the other items and I did not want to be pressured when making it. I wanted only to make it for the SWAP if I felt I had plenty of time. I finished an alternate item earlier in the week, so that I could work on this dress calmly and with enjoyment. The pattern is McCalls 5177 in linen with silk lining. I have changed the dress a bit from the pattern. The skirt and sleeves are cut on the bias, and the sleeves have a lower cap and are considerably wider.
The insert is smocked, and contains much more fabric that allowed for in the pattern, and I have used a gathered panel as the lining for this bodice section, to maintain the elasticity of the smocking in the completed garment. I blocked the smocking to a similar width to the pattern lining piece, then drew around the edges of this piece, on top of the smocking, with tailors' chalk. I then sewed a fine zig zag stitch all along this chalk line, before trimming the smocked piece to size. The smocking was then treated as flat fabric, although I was careful to maintain straight, tight pleats when stitching the bias band at the top, and the waist seam at the bottom of the pleating.