I'd say I'm about halfway through this project. Gotta get a jump on it, as there's a party Saturday!
The dress is comprised of two major parts: the cuirasse bodice, and the bustle skirt.
The bustle skirt I kind of improvised by estimating the 5 front panels off a finished skirt I did from a pattern for an earlier period (TV216, if you're curious), and then fully improvised a back panel by taking the full width of the fabric, making it rise slightly at one end (to go over bustle), and creating a slight train at the bottom. In retrospect, it would have been better, given the narrowness of my fabric, to use a double width, so I could create a proper train, or skip the train entirely and just have the extra curve at the top.
Sewed together all 5 front panels, then attached the straight panel to one side only. Then started in on the lace ruffle.
FML, the lace ruffle. Please, look how much there is. And I made it in the laziest way I could possibly do without ponying up for premade trim. This is literally strips off a bolt of lace, unhemmed, and "gathered" by adding a tuck every couple inches or so as I stitched it. It's hanging at an angle for the most part, so some fullness is acquired there. Still takes a very long time to do, so either pony up for pre-gathered lace, or plan to invest a lot of time if you try this yourself.
Laid out as best I can, it covers my living room floor.
As you can see, I determined the diagonal across the front by starting with the straight part (the back panel) and running those rows across the fanned-out front. I've cut a waistband, but haven't gotten to that part yet (still debating the merits of using fusible interfacing, which I am pretty sure the skirt needs, but am feeling very lazy about applying). At any rate, the front will either be sewn straight to the waistband, or may receive a tuck or two only. All the fullness will be focused on the back panel, which will be gathered to the waistband, with a side opening for the skirt along the one seam I haven't done yet.
As far as the bodice, I've been working on a cuirasse pattern I drafted up out of Period Costume for Stage & Screen by Jean Hunnisett, which required a good 3 drafts to come to something resembling a fit (how good of one remains to be seen), due to sizing up to plus size issues. I don't have a lot to show for it just yet, but here's the center front and side front lining pieces, shown next to the center front in the fashion fabric:
As you can see, I'll still have to reshape the bottom edge to get it to come to a point.
There's yet another piece to the costume that I've not even begun yet -- the butt bow. In some versions it's merely a very large fabric bow attached to the back edge of the bodice, and in others it tops a pulled-back bit of satin train. I'm opting for the simpler, older version of just the bow, and I'm opting for the less simple, older version of the trim on the bottom edge of the bodice, which consists of three folded strips instead of the single trimmed-out one you see in the inspiration photo below (which is the newer version of the dress from the 25th Anniversary concert production)