What's the difference between a seamstress and someone who knows how to sew? A seamstress makes clothing that fits. If I can get this dress altered to fit my daughter I will consider myself a seamstress. Right now I am just a gal who knows how to operate a sewing machine.
I haven't admitted defeat. I've been trying to build up my nerve. I had my daughter come over and try the dress on so I could determine how much altering it needed. Come to find out it was 3 1/2" too big around. That's a lot. The front of the dress is so busy, with pockets, pleats and ruffles, I decided to limit my alterations to the side seams and back darts. To accomplish this I would need to do some serious dismantling of those areas. First I had to remove the black ribbon which also involved detaching some of the lining from the zipper.
I needed to take the side seams in 1/2" under each arm and decrease that seam to 3/8" at the waist and then taper that down until it met the existing seam at the top of the pocket. Here is how that new seam looks.
You can see that I have not yet altered the lining to match the dress.
Then I set about taking in the waist 1" at each of the back darts and extending the darts a total of 5 1/2". This photo shows the existing darts and the marks where I'll sew the new ones. The holes along the new markings are from the basting stitches. I basted the proposed seams and darts then had my daughter try the dress on before removing the basting and sewing the final seams. See! I CAN be taught.
Here is a photo of the new super long extended dart.
And here is how the top of that dart looks from the right side.