Here is my finished Macaron.
I made quite a few alterations to the pattern. The muslin did not fit me at all. I had to let the midriff out significantly (about 2 inches), tapered down to nothing at the upper bodice section. I lowered the midriff front (sweetheart part) half an inch all the way across, and raised the centre back half an inch, tapering to lowered half an inch at the side seams. This pinched an inch out of the back horizontally and got rid of all the bagginess I was having issues with. Part of the issue with the midriff band was due to me making it 1/2 inch wider, but keeping the taper. I ended up making the front band almost a straight piece instead of a curved piece.
The wrinkles are there because my dress form is not as pear shaped as I am. It fits me much better than the form.
One of the worries I had about the pattern was that the top would look like a different item than the dress, especially since I wasn't doing the midriff band in the contrast. To counteract this I put piping around the neckline and sleeves, which I think makes it look much more cohesive. I also piped around the waistband, and the bodice piece. I had originally planned on picking up one colour from the main dress fabric (red) and doing the piping in that, but thought it was more classic to make piping in the dress fabric itself. I got the idea for the self-fabric piping from Sherry's great post on piping. Here's a better picture:
Here's one last picture of the zipper, so you can see the piping around the sleeve, and that I matched up the midriff bands.
not too thrilled with my insertion of the zipper, it was pretty bulky
with the piping and all the fabric, but it's on my side, so I'll just
keep my arm down at all times. I think in the future I'd insert the zipper before sewing the side seam at all (before the sleeve is in) so that I can make sure it's all lined up perfectly.
Overall I love this dress, it's fun, the fabric is actually red, black and gold, the gold shows up much better in person. I would be proud to wear it out, and am happy that my sewing skills are finally improving :) . The pattern took a lot of work to make it fit, but it was well worth the effort.