My version of the dress is made of black silk taffeta and lined with black linen. It's hand sewn with silk. The pattern and construction are both based on the gown with a front fall opening, c. 1780-90, in Patterns of Fashion. I love the pattern (nicely low cut neckline, a little rising back waistline) and the construction method is my 18th century favorite. Under the dress I'm wearing two linen petticoats and a small rump.
I wanted to create the same look as in the painting, so I got a blond hedgehog style wig to go with the dress for a more glamorous look.
I also wanted to make a large cap for more modest look. The cap is one of the beribboned caps by Country Wives.
I really like the late 1780's and very early 1790's back seam lines.
First I sewed the skirt panels together using a running stitch. I used six panels as in the dress the pattern in based of but decided to avoid a center front seam and I placed the cb and cf in the middle of a panel. Then I started the bodice. As I've done it before, I had existing pattern pieces ready. I usually just place the pattern pieces on the fabric and draw around them, but now that the fabric is black and I didn't have any chalk, I pinned the pieces and folded the seam allowances under using the paper edge as a guide. The gap was left so I could sew a line to mark the tuck placement with a bright color thread.
Then, after both silk taffeta and linen layers had folded down seam allowances, it was time to put them on top of each other and sew around the edges with running stitches. I made them in a way that only a little dot shows outside and longer line on the lining side. I sewed the false seams, tucks, with a back stitch. Later I realized that I had turned one side too many on the back pieces where I need to have the seam allowance for the sleeves and straps, but that was an easy fix.
Then I whip stitched all the pieces together.
Then the sleeves. I sewed them up first. The bodice has separate straps. I joined the strap lining and cover on the neckline edge with the point à rabattre sous la main. Then I sewed the linen strap lining on the bodice from both ends. Then I sewed on the sleeve underside from the inside using back stitching. Then I sewed the top sleeve from the outside on the strap lining. Last step was covering the strap lining with the silk and sewing it on from the outside using back stitches.
Then the bodice was almost finished.
Then I turned down the top of the three back panels and whip stitched them in to the bodice. The front panels were treated the same way except I attached them in to a waist tape.