I decided to use a cheap, drapey fabric that would accurately mimic the flow of the required top fabric, instead of cheap calico (which is too stiff, but is what I might normally use due to economy).
There was nothing for it but to get started so I spent a morning draping and re-draping. I have not created patterns in this manner for over a year (during the 'Candide' project in second year!) so it took me a while to get used to in but in fact I discovered that just as with flat pattern drafting, with or without systems, there was nothing to it but to keep trying. After a while, and a few changes, I managed to achieve something which I felt bore resemblance to the design. However what I did discover was that, as I had anticipated, in fact it was not possible to completely transfer the illustration onto the mannequin (that I had padded up according to my model).
Firstly, it was impossible to create the exact same line across the side of the thigh as they didn't match up to be a continuous line! I therefore just had to make a decision and came up with something as close as I could which retained the same feel.
Secondly, if I created the same flared elements at the skirt hem on the front, with godets inserted as suggested by the illustration, the silhouette of the skirt changed completely. I decided to eliminate the godet idea and keep the skirt pieces whole.
I also found elements of the bodice difficult to drape, but hope that this could be changed at the fitting when it is on an actual, moving figure.
Additionally, lthough I did not want to make the dress have a train, purely for practical reasons, I left the hemline very long so that it could be set at the fittings.
Difficulty was found when I un-pinned the pieces and set them on paper to trace them but I measured all pieces carefully, checked them against grains, and made adjustments as I felt best.
Here are selected photographs of my draping progression:
Adding more pleating across the bodice:
Cutting into the seam allowances releases tension and allowed me to get a smoother, more accurate fit to the mannequin.
Godets in the skirt hem give the wrong silhouette. The skirt is altogether too wide:
Raising the bust and releasing tension along this seam line: