Today we took a look at the dress and I offered her two options: 1. move the zipper out just a hair by removing it and inching the folded fabric out a bit; 2. remove the zipper on the bodice, add eyelets, and make the dress a lace-up. She chose the lace-up option, which was my recommendation. Lace-up dresses are very popular and it will give her even more room for comfort. The dress has a great foundation, so she doesn't need to worry about the dress doing anything it's not supposed to.
While putting the eyelets in, I thought some of my readers might be interested in knowing how I did this. Most importantly, I first made sure that the dress has enough boning and interfacing to support this kind of change.
I carefully ripped the zipper stitching from each side beginning at the neckline and going down to about one inch from the waistline. I cut the zipper three-fourths inch above this one inch mark and folded it down on itself so that the raw edge is hidden under the zipper tape. I hand stitched the zipper fold so that it would stay and also to stop the zipper head from coming off.
I picked all bits of thread out of fabric and pinned the seam fold down then carefully measured the length of the bodice from the new zipper top to the neckline. I chose to put in five eyelets and marked the places with pins.
Interestingly, I couldn't find white eyelets, so I bought the silver ones and a bottle of liquid White Out (the office supply stuff) and painted the eyelets before using them and then touched up each one after applying them. The White Out dries quickly and is pretty durable.