Darling daughter came to visit and I was able to do a full fitting. The ties were tightened and the dress fit perfectly! The variety of bodice options were pinned and analysed, and in the end the lace overlay with pearls sewn in place was the choice. We finished the empire waistline with a tidy satin ribbon, and reworked the gathers in the skirt to the design in the last photo. So far they are safety pinned in place, but I will stitch them in place with some pearl beads to hide the stitches. I was able to finish the seams and stitch down the facings, so everything is in place and there are no more pins in the dress! Next step is the pearl (and sequins if I can find some) added to the lace bodice, then stitch the gathers, then sew the bottom hem!