I have a confession to make. I don't have any formal training in patternmaking. When I was at FIT, I was a styling major, not a fashion design major, so I didn't have the opportunity to take any drafting classes. Luckily, when I worked for ASU's theater department making costumes, I had the chance to learn a lot about garment construction. Additionally, I learned a lot about working with many different body types.
Today, while I don't draft all my patterns from scratch, I do have the ability to take existing patterns and alter them to my specifications. That's going to be my approach with Miss W's dress. I'm using a pattern from my library and making changes to it, so that it not only corresponds to our final design, but also fits her body perfectly. I'm still waiting for the fabric to come in, but when it does, I'll be ready to proceed.
I've already drafted, cut, and stitched the pieces for the bodice foundation, as you can see. It's kind of like a built-in corset, and it gives the dress the proper structure and stability needed in such a heavy garment. I think I've gone as far as I can for now; I'll have to wait for the fabric before I can do anything else.