Thank you everyone, for your comments on my black dress.
Although I have been gone for ages, I have done quite lot of sewing.
A lot has happened around here since I last posted: my mother-in-law had open heart surgery, which didn't initially go according to plan (but she's now recovering well), Nick's closest friend (of more than forty years) unfortunately died (we were expecting it, but it was still a very sad occasion), and I had to have an op on my eye, as I got something stuck in it. This all happened in the first week of March. Instead of making me feel depressed (depression being a totally different thing to feeling sadnes, of course), times like that seem to really bring home the fact that anything can happen at any time, and we'd better blooming enjoy ourselves while we can!
I think I have never enjoyed making a skirt more! The skirt came together so quickly. First you sew the rectangle of the front and back together, then insert the zip. Next you baste the pleats in place - this probably took longer than anything else, as I basted them to about four inches down, on both sides of each pleat - and then you attach the waistband (I love slipstitching things like waistbands and plackets, especially now I have an "old person's" spotlight aimed over my shoulder, behind the sofa, so I can sew in front of Masterchef or whatever). I really did like the look of the skirt with the top of the pleats stitched in place, so I may make another, but in a silk taffeta or something, with a matching top (weddings to attend!) but leave the pleats partially stitched.
Underneath, I am wearing my petticoat, which was made from a piece of silky black lining fabric, and some very stiff net. The stiff net is perfectly fine, but I have just bought some soft, bridal quality net for next time. Oh yes, there will be a next time! I already have the fabric. I so enjoy wearing this skirt, with the petticoat just giving it a bit more oomph. Next time I might go for lots more oomph, if I can be bothered with gathering up all that net, which I found a little tiresome. Net is a weird thing to hand sew. It totally has a mind of its own...keeps slipping and wriggling all over the place. Having said that, the petticoat didn't take more than about an hour and a half from start to finish.
I have also made a cowl-neck maxi dress from knit fabric, denim halter dress, and a strapless dress, amongst other things. Will blog about them asap.