I literally drew a bodice shape, then held it up to my body to check that the neckline was where I wanted it to be, re- drawing it until I had the right shape. Next up, I made a quick draft version of the bodice. This showed me the final version would need to be longer in length, and with additional length in the straps.
You'll notice there are no zips or buttonholes at the back. Instead, the dress will be closed traditionally with a drawstring at the neckline, and another at the waist. The rest of the dress remains open. The drawstring is done by creating a channel with self fabric; this also serves to cover all raw edges!
The fabric I am using for both this draft version and the main under-dress is simply some very old bed linen. It is old, beautifully thick and crisp at the edges, but soft, thread-bare, and holey in the middle. The gathers didn't work too well in this thick fabric, so I've decided to make the under-dress smooth with darts and leave the gathering for the thinner more drapey lace over-layer.
For the skirt, I cut the fabric in a vague A-line shape, the waist matching the bodice's dimensions at the front, as regency dresses were mainly flat fronted, with gathers or pleats at the back. I cut the back skirts just over a hand's width wider than the back bodice to allow for pleats.
You can just about make out the pleats at the back. Though white on white is hard to see!
Next, I am attempting to create pleats at the bust with the lace. I had no idea how to do this; so, with the fabric on my mannequin, I pinned it to how I wanted it to look, and then basted the fabric in place.
The lace is a simple dobby-spot design; this design of fabric is Regency accurate. My fabric is a cheapo poly though, but I like it and think the teal colour is fun.
So that's as far as I've got to date. I now need to draft some little sleeves, and sew all of the overdress together. I have just under two weeks left to go! I also have to find time to cobble an outfit together for darling husband. Fingers crossed that it all comes together!