So, here's what I've done over the past couple weeks:
- put the main bodice pieces together.
- figured out the shawl collar, which was one of the parts I was least enthusiastic about doing. It's not perfect, but acceptable.
- re-cut and fit the sleeves. Again, I wasn't really looking forward to this part. Back when I was doing this project for class, I had fit and re-cut the sleeves so many times I don't even remember. They're still not perfect, but much better than any of the other versions.
- adjusted the darts.
Let's analyze some of the progress and issues that are still going on, starting with the darts. Notice on the left side (your left), the two darts spread apart from each other on the bottom. This gave me too much room in the front hip area, and wasn't accurate to bodices from the period, so I changed them to look like the right side. The bottom line no longer matches up, but I can easily re-cut that since the whole thing is a little long at the front point anyways.
Moving on to a worn front view. The collar isn't rolling as far down as it should be, but part of that has to do with pressing and how I pinned the front together. It should resolve itself. The shoulders look uneven from how I'm standing (ignore that), and notice they're dropped slightly from my actual shoulder line. I didn't have this in my original bodice/sleeve trials, but kept seeing it on bodices from the period so I changed it. There's wrinkles along the sleeves, but when I re-adjust the sleeves I lose range of motion. I'd rather not have such large wrinkles in the upper arm area, but I want to move my arms and am not willing to fight with the sleeves yet again. I'm hoping the bunching on the side seams goes away with some boning. I can pull the lower edge down some and they go away, forming again once I move. I know there's other things I could try to fix them but I'll wait and see what happens.
Time to look at the back. The biggest thing that bothers me here is the tail. I used a contrast lining for a little bit of fun (it's cream with multicolored flowers, including ones the color of the bodice) not expecting it to peek out so much. It's a bit late to change out the lining, so I might have to live with it, or figure out another way to mask it. The center back and shoulders are looking pretty good - I changed the shoulder seam a bit from my mock-up because it was bulging out too much. There is a lot of wrinkles left in the underarm and side seams though, like I mentioned in the front. Again, I'm hoping they at least get a little better with boning. Having boning and a waist tape on the inside to support the weight of the tail in the back might help reduce pulling on the sides. Right now the whole bodice tends to pull back because of how heavy those pleats are. I have them held together with the large white stitches you see for the time being.