Reenacting Dress: Part III: Game Change?

So, after fiddling with the pattern illustration the other day, I realized that I'd redrawn the bodice yoke wrong when I lowered the shoulders.  It occurred to me--finally; sometimes I'm a bit slow on the uptake--that I should consult an actual, historically-accurate, pattern.  I even have one such pattern in my ridiculously-large collection.  So I got out Past Patterns 803: Round Dress, which is drafted from an original 1850's work dress.

I wasn't going to use this because I assumed it would be too much work, because the bodice is lined and boned.  Once I looked at it, though, I realized that it wasn't.  The bodice lining is simple and the boning is just sticks of boning sewn into the waist darts.  It's not that big a deal.  Much more of it can be sewn by machine than could the Lowell Mill Girl dress (which is gorgeous and extremely well-drafted, but not machine-friendly).  I'd change the pagoda sleeves for bishop sleeves so I could roll them up to play the guitar, but otherwise . . . I don't think it would be much more work than would a far less accurate dress, and it would be a lot more period-correct.

Here are some Round Dresses in real life, and Buns and Baskets, a Mormon history blog.  Miss Emily was very helpful to me when I emailed her to ask some particulars about the Round Dress pattern.

Another thing that I ran across in her blog was this post about a self-drafted dress based on the Elizabeth Stewart Clark Dressmaker's Guide, 1840-1865 (a book I think I'll have to get).  The dress has double waist darts and a three-piece, kind-of-princess-seamed back.  

It looks kind of familiar.

I started McCall's M4548 (2004) last year.  I was going to do some major rebuilding because I wasn't sure it had anything going for it but, now that I've seen the self-drafted dress, I think there might be hope.  The shoulders still need to be dropped, the back reconfigured a little bit, and it should not have an attached collar but, otherwise . . . it could be a lot worse.  It would be less baggy and somewhat more flattering than the Round Dress, too (also, lest you think I'm all about appearances, baggy bodices get in the way when you're playing the Appalachian dulcimer.  You get a fabric "beer belly" impeding on your strings).

I would still have to customize the fit, but I would have to do that with any dress and, if it's already at least attempting a measure of accuracy--no bust darts, for instance--it might be worth another look.

This French homespun dress, circa 1840, is very close to what I want.   Note the double front darts, a la M4548, and plain back.

This Quaker dress from Indiana is estimated at 1850-1872 and is also very similar.  The back piecing appears to be almost identical to M4548, although it still has the plain piped neckline and dropped shoulder seams.  This has coat sleeves, which I won't be using as I need to be able to roll them up.

That's it!  That's the bodice I want!  I just want bishop sleeves instead of coat sleeves.

Here's another good one.  I'm too old for short sleeves, though.