Paisley Zeena Dress

Hi everyone! Today I have to show you my first post-op make. For those of you who don't know, I had my upper and lower jaw broken in surgery 2 and a half weeks ago to correct my overbite. The swelling has gone down a fair bit, but there is still a way to go. It's weird to look at these pictures, because I haven't quite come to terms with my new face and smile yet but I have to remind myself that it's not about my face, it's about the dress!
So, this is my version of By Hand London's latest pattern; the Zeena dress. I thought the pattern would be great with several of the fabrics in my stash but it turned out that I didn't have enough of any of the fabrics to make the dress. The only thing to do was to buy some new fabric! I was looking for viscose for the drapyness and found this paisley beauty on ebay. 2m of it promptly ended up in my basket.
My overlocker had decided to give up on keeping the thread in any fabric it stitched through so it was out of action. That meant that I had to find other ways of finishing the seams. I was originally going to do french seams for everything, but after french seaming the bodice to the skirt the pleats were all out of sync which just wouldn't do. Instead I sewed the seam right sides together as normal, lining up the pleats properly that time. Then I trimmed the seam allowance of the skirt piece, folding the bodice seam allowance on top over it and slipstitching. I think the weight of the zip is dragging the waistline down in the center so maybe next time I should add a waist stay?
After playing around with finding enough fabric for the pocket pieces, I got carried away with french seaming the side seam, completely forgetting about the pockets existence. I'd already unpicked one french seam, and I decided to sacrifice the pockets rather than unpicking another. 
 The center back seam allowances were pressed open, the raw edges tucked under and slipstitched for a clean finish. For the hem I tried something new. I machined a line of stitching 1cm from the edge and ironed it so the line was visible from the wrong side of the dress. That made it super easy to turn the raw edge under and slipstitch. There was a lot of slipstitching in this project.
The neckline was far too low for me so I remedied that by cutting quite a wide bias strip from the scraps to make a neckband, which was sewn right sides together. I folded the raw edge under about 0.5cm and ironed. That edge was then slipstitched to the wrong side of the dress to create a neckband. Ideally I should have inserted the zip before the neckband for a cleaner finish but I was in a hurry to see whether it would work or not!
After sewing the invisible zip in as I usually do I was disappointed with how visible it was. So, I thought I'd try sewing it again, trying to get closer to the teeth. Having 2 lines of stitching made all the difference. I've lost a bit of weight from having a liquid diet (4 weeks to go!) so I made a tie belt to cinch it in a bit.
I cut the skirt to the longest length, but removed 2 inches which ended up being used for the tie belt. I love the pleats, and I think it would be interesting to make the dress in a slightly heavier fabric and see how it sits.
That's all for now! Thanks very much for reading and to Dad for taking photos!
Lauren xx