Here are the French seams.
First you have to sew the pieces together, wrong sides together, with a seam allowance of about 1/4 inch. Then you trim the raw edges down to less than 1/4 inch. Then you iron the seam and fold the pieces with the right sides together, encasing the raw edges.
Then you sew the seam again, at about 3/8 of an inch, so you get the full 5/8 seam allowance, with the right sides together, so you end up with the raw edges enclosed in the seam itself.
Here's what it looks like, finished and pressed, from the right and the wrong sides.
The bodice is gathered where it meets the midriff and from what I learned with the prom dresses, I now gather by hand. I simply sew a long, running stitch along the gather line and it is just easier to gather up than a machine sewn line.
The bodice also gathers into the yokes that form the shoulders. This is the back, which has a Vee where the yokes meet the gathered part of the bodice. I've got one of the yokes up and one down, just to show the construction a bit.
I am also noticing that I am going to have to be a lot more picky when I make the real gala dress. I put the ruler in the photo because the stitching line is supposed to be 5/8 inch (1.5 cm) from the end of this point on the yoke and from each edge and I am out of alignment. I think I will have to make accurate tailor tacks on the real dress, to ensure that the dots all line up.
This looks like a jumble of pieces (there are three) all coming together at one point.
Here is the bodice with the yokes coming together at the gathered parts from another angle. This time, I have got the yoke facings sew on as well, so now I have all sorts of pieces all converging.
I have sewn the yoke facings down by hand on the inside. This is what the bodice looks like, draping on the judy, from the back.
Here is the bodice from the front. It looks like the Vee in the front will be quite low. I am not sure if this will be too low. For this dress (muslin), should I wear it, I may have to put a triangle of fabric in the front, like a camisole - or just wear a camisole under it. I am now thinking of how I would alter the pattern to prevent this from happening when I make the real dress. I can't just hike it up at the shoulder seams because then the midriff will be too high. I want the seam line where the midriff meets the bodice to be right at the bra band line.