I divided the majority of the fabric into three sections which would make the skirt. I then measured what was left to see if it was feasible to cut part of the bodice and sleeves. I used patterns which I had developed from Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion and other original garments. The entire sleeve pattern would not fit on the fabric so I reduced the pattern as much as possible to fit the fabric. I decided this would be a good place to do some insertion detail to expand the pattern piece out again. I cut some strips from the striped muslin which I am using for decoration.
The rest of the spare fabric was used to cut the bodice front. You can see above that there was little to work with and I had to place a seam under the arm. The shape looks strange but I will add some pleated detailing using the striped muslin to fill in the centre front neckline.
I shaped the top of centre front panel as above by cutting away rectangular pieces to create an 'A' shape. This gives a smooth shaping to the front which you see in dresses from this period. I have found that if the centre front panel is too wide without gathering then it tends to wrinkle over the stomach area.
The pieces that were cut off the top will be added to the bottom half of the centre front section to add some extra fullness to the skirt section.
The cut of the side sections of the skirt left enough spare fabric to make the centre back of the bodice and the shoulder sections (thank goodness!). Usually, I would not have such an angle on the side pieces but I needed to use the full width of the muslin available!
Thank you for your comments. I do really appreciate them! I will post soon with the next stages of construction.
My inspiration for the bodice decoration has come from the example above from the 'Fashioning Fashion' exhibition. However my dress will be a fixed shape with a back fastening rather than a 'bib' front style.