Things are coming along nicely with the gown. Except that I ran out of the second most important embroidery thread very quickly. I've since ordered more and will get other things out of the way while I wait. I have the gown assembled, the sleeves embroidered, and the first three (of twelve) sections almost completed with embroidery. No sequins on the skirt yet, sadly.
I did a full mock-up first, so that I would know just how much fabric I needed and could work out any tiny kinks. The bodice is terribly forgiving, so not much changed there (I think I rounded the neckline slightly more on the final version). I did end up making a second pair of sleeves since the first didn't have enough sleeve head.
The biggest problem, however, was the skirt. I tried two panels, but it just wasn't enough. The train turned into a tiny fish tail instead of fanning out. So, in the silk version I used three panels and then continued to cut the two backs narrower at the side seams until it felt right. I think I started with around 81" per side, cut it down to 72" (6 designs per side, 12" apart), then removed just a little more to reach 66".
The first, small bit of embroidery on the train. I used nice silk thread, some is wrapped with metallic. It's all very shiny.
The train fans out nicely now. Still a bit fidgety, but I think it's because the taffeta is rather stiff. A few pounds of sequins around the hem will force it down! I also had to expand the placement of pleats at the back. Forcing them all into the space of the back width wasn't working. It just formed a funny lump over my rear.
I did the embroidery on the sleeves by hand, since it was so tiny (and much easier to manage after it's stitched and hemmed).
You can see all my little marking threads for placement of the hoops. Much more reliable than chalk.
The sketch for the design. It's expanded a bit since then (adding in extra hem). I then used tracing paper to do detailed inked sections, splitting it apart. I scanned those in, colored them, and converted them into embroidery.