Christmas Gown, 2016 - Jane Austen's Regency Style - Part II, The Foundation

Jean-Baptiste REGNAULT French 1754-1829 Empress Josephine (Portrait de laimperatrice Josephine) (c. 1810) oil on canvas, courtesy Fondation Dosne-Thiers (Institut de France), Paris Bequest of Frederic Masson, 1923
What I need to start: Seamstress mannequin, garbage bag, packing tape.

My mannequin is protected with a plastic garbage bag. Packing tape is used to redefine the shape.

Next step supplies: paper, tissue paper, white glue, water, paint brush. Because the neck, shoulders, chest and upper back will not be covered by greenery, I used a 'papier mache' technique to cover those areas. First with white paper, then with rose patterned tissue paper.
Water and white glue mixture (50/50) and a large brush is all you need for this step. If my garbage bag had been white, the white paper under layer would not be necessary. Let dry completely.

Supplies for the next step: 1" and 2" chicken wire, mesh, pliers, measuring tape.
I've been recycling my garden chicken wire for several years now.

The 2" chicken wire is more supple and can be wrapped tightly around the bodice. I make sure it's very tight as it will serve to hook other wire pieces as I go along and will eventually carry most of the weight of the greenery.

 The cut of the Regency dress is high waisted, therefore the waist won't be defined. To help support the top layers of chicken wire, I created a cone shape "undergarment."

 Measuring the length desired, I hooked the two side panels starting from the line under the bust.

I filled in the front and back with pre-cut pointy chicken wire panels
and secured them along the edges.
When cutting the chicken wire, I make certain I'm wearing gloves, long sleeves, and non-snagging clothes like denim. Cutting this stuff is like being attacked by feral cats.

To make sure the hem would keep its circular shape, I used three metal garden tutors which were bent slightly and weaved along the bottom. 
I gathered from my garden, some hydrangeas, pine cones, sedum stems, fine branches, etc...
I also got some gold spray paint and glitter. 
Most importantly, I have to go out to trim my evergreens.