I've been fortunate to live close enough to Gettysburg to have taken quite a few classes at Genteel Arts (they're on the web, definitely check them out), but I'm still learning and probably will be forever! This is a technique that gets easier the more you practice. I've seen plenty of original dresses with the tape installed as well.
Here my latest finished project. It's a cotton reproduction print about 1850's or so. With this hook and eye tape technique, you can cut the fabric so that the right and left sides are going to carry over your fabric pattern smoothly like in this large repeat floral print.
After you get your new pattern pieces made (below) the left side of the fabric will be cut out first on single thickness of fashion fabric , and the right then will be cut in conjunction with where the pattern is on the left. Just remember that the left side's seam line will be sitting at the same point as your center front line on the right bodice...pin your left piece down to another repeat that is the same as you have in your left and place your right bodice pattern piece accordingly so the pattern continues across. It's not difficult, I just don't have any cotton prints going right now to show you so you'll have to take my work on that. Don't worry, it'll make sense soon...just follow me and I'll explain.
I'm going to give you instructions for making your new pattern pieces and then the left side construction first since I'm making a bodice as I go for this and haven't gotten it all finished yet. Please leave comments if you have any questions, and I'll answer them as I can.
Now place the fashion fabric on top of the lining with the hook tape inside. Match up your edges and pin. Adjust the pressed seam line if necessary so that it lines up with your lining, pin.
Don't be tempted to sew your darts yet, you'll do that when you're done with the hook/eye tape.
You'll want your fashion fabric to stick out ever so slightly over your lining or at very least be flush with it, again making sure that the seam allowance has been pressed or pinned into the inside of the sandwich. Now you'll whip stitch the two layers together by hand, making sure you put your thread through the eyes as you get to them. Sorry, those that hate hand sewing, but honestly it goes really fast and is easy. :) Use a thread that matches your fashion fabric, it's not going to show on the inside anyway. Now go ahead and do your darts on the left side. You've finished the left side, and we're ready to start with the right...