Thanks for all of the input. I believe I might be over thinking this. The princess seams for the bodice would be an excellent choice, and stretch velvet would be a great fabric. I'm just afraid that for an event at the end of September velvet would be much too hot. So, I'll still have the dress made, but save it for winter. I've decided to go with a 1920's fishtail design for Sept. from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library (a terrific website, by the way). Thanks again, everyone. (Maybe I'll get my husband to build me a leaning board to take along when I decide to wear the White Christmas dress ).