This section is from the book "Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction", by Laura I. Baldt. Also available from Amazon: Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction.
The dress should be tried on before stitching, but little fitting should be necessary if a trial pattern has first been carefully worked out in muslin. If the skirt and waist are to be worn as separate garments, each should be fitted with a separate belt, the skirt to a piece of belting, the waist to a tape or belt of soft lining. Where linings are being used, the dress must be fitted over these and adjusted to belts and parts of the lining where needed, all such points being marked as soon as the dress is removed from the figure. If they are to be placed on the same belt as a one-piece dress, with a girdle as waist trimming, pin the skirt to the belt first, fit, and mark the line at the bottom correctly. Then place the waist on the figure, adjust the fulness to the belt after the manner of your design, look over the waist to see if any adjusting is needed. If so, place pins to indicate changes. Pin the sleeves to place. Adjust so elbow sets in elbow of sleeve and the inside seam of sleeve falls in the correct position; mark line of seam at top and points for gathers. Mark line at bottom. Note whether too large or too small. Indicate alterations. Place collar and trimmings also. Remove dress from figure, mark and baste alterations. Mark also on the belt or lining the points where seams of waist and skirt touch it, the line where the top of the skirt comes and where the waist gathers will come. Gather the waist or baste plaits if you have laid fulness in this way. Mark points at which you have placed the sleeve, collar and trimmings, with colored thread. Remove both skirt and waist from the belt or lining, if necessary to make alterations. Fit dress again when alterations are completed, make necessary re-adjustments, remove from figure and begin construction.
Apply the principle of facing plackets that you have learned on the tailored skirt. Remember that your chief concern must be to keep the placket from being bulky, yet stay it so that in wearing it cannot stretch out of shape. If no outside stitching is used on the skirt, this must be omitted on the placket. Use instead small carefully made running stitches to keep the upper side from turning out. Press the placket carefully before sewing the snaps to place.
Follow the rules given for tailored skirts Heed carefully the rule for stitching seams with bias edges.
Judgment must be used in selecting the best method of finishing seams of woolen dresses. The edges may be pinked where they will not fray, i.e., challis, albatross, broadcloth. Overcasting may be used on serges or diagonals. In making up transparent woolen material, such as voile, which requires a silk slip or lining, it is better to bind the seams with bias strips of the lining if overcasting shows through. Baste the bias strips on and stitch with the seam. Trim seams to three-eighth inch and turn binding over and hem to stitching. The same method may usually be followed for both waist and skirt seams. Press seams before and after finishing. When pressing seams open, use small seam board so that only edge of seam receives the hard pressure of the iron. Then lay on flat board and press whole seam lightly, if necessary.