One year, I saved all my white plastic bottles, took off the labels, cut them down so I had a flattish part, and cut out various sizes of stars to hang on the evergreens around the house for Christmas. Free and almost indestructible.
I really like your choice. It has a raised waist, diagonal gathers and a drape which, to me, all work for your size and body shape. I'm a not exactly petite pear too, and the only worry I'd have with this dress is that there was sufficient boning in the bodice to keep it securely up. It's a great dress, one you won't shudder at in 10 years when you look at your wedding photos.
I use the polyester lining from the fabric store mostly. Sometimes I use Bemberg if/when I can find it. And sometimes, I use a printed polyester that's blouse weight, esp if I'm making a jacket and lining it with the print, too. I've used cotton to line dresses, and I find it hot and hard to press, but that was 100% cotton, not polycotton blend.
Check out the info on interlining the coat for warmth. Some people use thinsulate, but thinsulate doesn't drape, so your coat will end up boxy if you use that. Some people use heavy flannel which has to be preshrunk, some add chamois in the upper body to block wind. My personal favourite is lambswool bonded to a very thin layer of foam as it's more flexible than Thinsulate and stops the wind, but I haven't seen it in years, ever since Thinsulate arrived. I'm making a coat this year, too, and I think I'll underline then interline with the lambswool. I'm in Toronto where the weather sometimes goes to -30C plus windchill, so it's got to be warm.
That's just totally GREAT! Who knows what you'd have to pay for something anywhere near that nice in a store! Hmmm, second calling as a custom furniture painter? With work this good, I'm sure you'd get offers from half the mothers in town to make something special for the kids' room - or theirs. Wow! I want it!
I've made curtains out of all kinds of fabric. I guess it depends on what look you're going for, i.e., how formal you want them. You could do something cool like line them to the edge with a complimentary colour or pattern to either make them reversible or just to tie/pin back to show the lining. Whatever you line them with should match the main fabric in fiber content and weave if you're planning on washing them. Sheets make great casual curtains, lined or unlined, esp as you can get co-ordinates to make other things for your craft room like a chair cover or basket liners.
Is the blackout fabric you're looking at washable? If it is, I'd like to know what it is/who makes it as the only sunblock stuff I can find (in Canada) is dry clean only. BTW, I've interlined curtains with flannel to give them more body and keep out the northern cold. It's fine as long as it's really well shrunk and just allowed to hang inside of the curtain in case it decides to shrink some more and take up the hem with it.
So, as far as I'm concerned, you can use anything you please as long as it's no so thin you can spit through it (as my mum used to say.)
Yup, easy. You can see how it's put together as you take it apart. One tip: before screw the wires onto the new socket, split enough of the new cord into two parts (with insulation intact), and knot them, then attach the wire to the new socket. That's called an underwriters' knot as the wires don't come loose if someone tugs on the lamp cord and possibly cause a fire.
Take a look at Simplicity pattern 9575 and, probably McCall's, 4120. They're on eBay right now under the crafts/sewing/patterns. You can see the construction even if they are for children's sizes. The last time I looked at one of those patterns, they used massive amounts of polyfoam stuffing.
Something like this, from a guy in Toronto who is still selling bean bags and curved all foam 60s furniture, is stuffed with shredded foam. Here's the link, scroll down to see raft furniture which is tubes strapped together. http://www.curvedspace.biz/raft.htm