What can I say, peeps? You're the best. Yesterday I let you decide how I should proceed with the 1948 McCall's dress and the results speak for themselves. The fabric belt is a big improvement. I thank you.
Cathy, relieved that her torso won't be sliced in half by a big, black-velvet horizontal, thanks you as well. She's a happy girl.
The fabric belt was actually quite easy to make.
I interfaced my strip of fabric (there was a pattern piece for a belt), folded the seam allowances under (the belt is roughly one inch wide) and topstitched it directly on top of an old belt I'd found at the Salvation Army.
I cut a buckle off a fake patent leather belt I had and voila! -- a matching fabric belt with a shiny black buckle.
I'd like to share another first with you, peeps: I finished my first hem by hand! I found a You Tube video that showed how to sew a simple hem stitch and I just gave it a try. It didn't take as long as I feared it would and from the outside it's practically invisible.
It feels like a big leap forward for me, as I had a real fear of hand sewing (primarily because I didn't know how). I even hand-finished the sleeves!
If the weather holds out, we'll do our photo shoot tomorrow.
Oh, one last thing: this is a cocktail dress hence the black accessories. We're going for more of an early evening look.
Thanks again to everyone who voted and/or commented. I think you may have saved my relationship with Cathy as well as her career!