To that end, I chose two very large blooms and foliage for a well-defined bodice followed by a corset-like structure for the waist, accented by a 'flower' belt buckle. All pieces are adhered to the base fabric with 'steam-a-seam 2.'
Moving on to the skirt, I again went back to the very showy flowers to create a peplum, and kept the skirt flowers pretty uniform but then set the skirt off with a very stylized 'hem' of violets. The 'dress' lies on a base fabric and the next step will be to form a quilt sandwich with batting and a backing fabric and to decide how to go about quilting to show off the 'dress' to its best advantage.
I'm not sure when I'll get back to completing the project, but will keep you posted.
What I have finished is the Laura Heine "Chirp" pattern below. For this pattern, she makes recommendations on how to cut and piece the various background fabrics. She then provides drawings of the bird cages which you can copy onto your base fabric. A light board makes this part much easier. Finally, she provides the bird drawings for you to cut out of fabric and place onto the background (again with steam-a-seam 2. All fabric choices are yours as well as any embellishments. I've done my 'cages' in a variety of ink, and stitching (some by machine and some by hand). For my birds, I've used a variety of fabrics, buttons, and other embellishments. I've added in other elements such as the butterflies for some variety and some machine quilting as well.
Once I was happy with my 'collage', I made a quilt sandwich of top, batting, and backing and quilted with a walking foot and straight lines spaced about 1/2 inch apart. When making my quilt sandwich I used a fusible batting which I fused onto my backing material. I then used a 'spray baste' to attach my top saving me from having to do any pinning while I quilted. I started quilting from the center and alternated left and right from that spot.
The finished collage is hanging happily in my daughter's dining room!