First, the hair:
First, I divided the hair from above the ears - moving the sides of the hair (and bangs although they are almost to my chin now) to the front and leaving the rest back. I french braids the bangs and incorporated a slight braid into the sides of the hair - this is part of what I do normally and it looks like this:
...Once I take the braids back and put my hair into it's normal bun.
However, this time, I needed a thick braid as well as a bun and a cascade of curls. To accomplish this, I split the hair in the back of the head in half - the top part being the part that would be the bun and the bottom being the part that would be the braid. I took the slightly braided sides and incorporated them into the bottom/braid part. I only braided the sides far enough to reach the back of the head so you don't see a braid within a braid. Once I braided my hair, I tied it off and curled the ends (and plastered them with hairspray).
The braid had to be loose to give it that "big hair" look.
Next, I took the top part of the hair and split it to make some curls about half way down the length of my hair. Again, plastered with hairspray.
I then did the bun first, having the ends tucked under the bun so the cascade falls correctly. I then wrapped the braid around my head and bobby pinned everything into place.
Yes, my corset is Strawberry Shortcake print with red bias tape. It works. Sorry for the bad iphone pic.
The dress is out of cotton velvet, lavender silk I originally made a dress for a Poe event out of (but I made the sleeves too small so it went into the UFO pile because I only ecked a dress out of the fabric and didn't have enough to redo the sleeves), and gray linen. The linen is the base of the skirt. Oh, and white silk for the lining of the train.
For my first attempt at Natural Form, I think it came out alright. It fit, which was a big plus. :-) I used Wearing History's 1879 Bodice e-Pattern and only had to make a few slight changed. The collar was odd - the original seams to end at the shoulder seams. I made a back piece so the collar would go all the way around. The sleeves are a LOT longer than they look on the pattern's picture. I ended up not using the cuffs because they just weren't needed.
I used black netting to fill in the neckline. There is a photo from the same era showing a similar bodice design but with a scarf to fill in the neckline - which is where I got the idea:
Since I've had the cotton velvet since the early 2000's (I think 2002. I wanted to make Queen Amidala's Gray Kimono outfit at one point and never got around to it) and the lavender silk since 2008 or so, this outfit was very cheap to make. It was mostly stash (the only thing I had to buy, I think, was the bed sheet to make the petticoat and the hoop skirt). Even the buttons were stash.
I might get more photos later of me actually in the outfit - I know several were taken. We'll see!
I'm wearing it in this video: