For my train dress, I am using several images from my 1883 Peterson's magazine for inspiration. This fashion plate is probably the closest to what I want for the shape, but with a plaid skirt and solid bodice like you see here. I could probably just drape something that looks similar, but I thought it would be fun to use one of the 19th c. patterns in Francis Grimble's "Fashions of the Gilded Age".
I thought the Sateen Dress from 1880 might do the trick, so I made it up exactly as the pattern shows. But as usual with these period diagrams, the illustration and the actual results don't always match up very well.
My main complaint is that the front of the skirt is so much longer than what you see in the picture. Having petticoats and an underskirt to fill out the bottom would help this a little, but it still seems too long to me, and I really wish the folds across the front would be more distinct. The slightly asymmetrical bustling in the back also bugs me. I know it is "right", but I can't help thinking that it just looks like I have a lopsided butt.
But it's still a good start, and I think these problems are easily fixed. I'm going to redo the front with much deeper pleats, which should take up the length and make the folds more obvious. And for the back, I think I'll make both sides match, and I'll add a pleat in the center back at the bottom to make the tail into two points (like my inspiration pic) instead of the squared off look.
And let me tell you - I'm so glad I basted this thing for the fitting instead of just sewing it up on the machine while hoping for the best (like I usually do)! I guess I am capable of learning from past mistakes after all. :)