Well, the ball is set in 1812. This sounds pretty easy. However, this means everything in Patterns of Fashion is either too early or too late. Sigh. Well, guessing at the shape of the skirt never hurt anybody.
So far, I've just been collecting images. I think I may shoot for an approximation of this lovely gown from the Costume Institute. It's simple, but it has some fantastic details. And, who am I kidding, I'm a sucker for that super-girly ultra-pastel pink. I think Astoria Bargain Fabrics has something remarkably close on the $1/yard rack.
http://www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/collection_database/the_costume_institute/dress/objectview.aspx?page=5&sort=6&sortdir=asc&keyword=dress early 19th century&fp=2&dd1=8&dd2=0&vw=1&collID=8&OID=80095494&vT=1&hi=0&ov=0
Umm, in other news, I've started a corded corset-thing to go underneath. Basically, I took the Laughing Moon pattern--the Silverado--let out the waist a little, shortened the bottom, shortened the bust gores to give a bustier silhouette, and guessed at where I needed some cords. This one really is a close enough sort of project. Pictures pending.