I've done it. They are complete.
The dresses look lovely. And now I can move on to other projects.
I have learned a lot of lessons from making these dresses:
1. I enjoy sewing formal dresses, 'couture' sewing, if you like.
2. I find it difficult to stick to a pattern, but like to alter it [same with recipes] as I always seem to find a way of improving it.
3. It is good to give yourself early deadlines, so that when the things of life come up [sick kids, funerals, unexpected crises etc.] there is still time to complete your project.
4. I do not enjoy sewing three identical items.
5. Chiffon is not as scary as I thought it would be to sew.
6. Chiffon is really difficult to cut out.
7. Making a dress for a lady who has just had a baby will mean multiple fittings and alterations.
8. It is essential to let your fitees know thay have to wear THE SAME undergarments [ie. bra] to each and every fitting.
9. Plan how long it will take you to hand sew the hem and linings and then multiply by 2 or 3.
10. Rolled hems are a great finish for chiffon.
11. Measuring hems from the ground up is the easiest way to get a straight hem. Use a ruler.
12. Invisible zips are not that difficult to insert, and give a far better finish than a regular zip in a formal dress.
13. Always make sure the base of your iron is clean BEFORE you press seams, or iron the finished garment.
14. Sharp pins are essential for any sewing, but even more important when sewing satin and chiffon.
15. If you have snags on your finger nails, file them before handling chiffon.
16. Read the pattern all the way through before starting to sew.
17. It is more efficient to sew the same seams three times in a row, than to make each dress one at a time [production line sewing].
18. I have now realised that I enjoy sewing for my family, but I would not like to sew as a career, it was not fun by the end.