Ok let me tell you prepping your dress material is really important. and its not as easy as it seems to be.
take your material and fill a large bucket/laundry sink with a mixture of 2 cups water to 1 cup white vinegar. make sure the entire material is submerged in this mixture and leave it for a few hours.
reason: you need to get the colour to stick in your material. you would hate to make the dress and the first time you wash it it runs
wrinkle your nose, ignore that slimy feeling and transfer the material to the washing machine and wash it as regular for the material. in my case 100% cotton. then dry as normal.
reason: well obviously you want to get the vinegar out but as well you want to get all the stretching and shrinking out of the way before you cut out your pattern.
take your huge swatch of material out of the dryer and slowly and patiently iron out all the creases and wrinkles. make sure you have chairs or tables to drape the ironed end on, whats the use of ironing it if you wrinkle it right up again by putting it in a pile.
reason: any wrinkle will mean your pattern does not lie flat. which mean it will not sew right.
special note: a good iron will make your life easy, sadly my iron was ... geriatric...it sucked. this took a long time.
carefully refold it to minimize wrinkles and put it aside.
next up pattern prep