This is the latest dress I sewed for my sister back in October for the fall reenacting season. The fabric is a cotton homespun from Wal-Mart and just goes to show that yardage for Civil War dresses does not have to be upwards of $5 per yard :) `
To make the yoked bodice, all you do is take your darted bodice pattern slash it in half from the armscye horizontally across to the center front. It does vary on where this slash line should be but the only stipulation is that it does need to be above where the darts end and I would also recommend experimenting with fabric that you do not care about. Once you have it slashed, the top piece of the yoke is finished. That is the easiest part :D
Now for the bottom part of the bodice, just slash it vertically in several places and move the pieces apart to make it wider. Again, experiment with fabric that is not your fashion fabric to figure out the look you want. I usually do between a 1.5 and 2 ratio to the original darted bodice. For example, if the original bodice piece (half of the entire front) was 10 inches, I would start out with adding 5 inches and then maybe 10 for a total of 15 to 20 inches and see what works. Just spread your pieces evenly. You should end up with a rectangle with a funny curve on one end because of the original arm hole shape.
Once you have those two pieces, just cut out two of each, one for each side. Do not forget to add a seam allowance to the bottom and/or top of the yoked pieces! I put the top of the yoke on the bias for an interesting effect and inserted piping in between the two pieces. The bottom part of the yoke is gathered to the top part but you could also pleat it.
This dress also has a waistband (covered up by belt) and bishop sleeves on the bias. You also cannot see it very well but the skirt has a contrast panel that is on the bias to mimic the effect in the top yoke and sleeves.