Jaques-Louis David Portrait Doppelgänger: Making the Gown

Reconstructing the dress from Jacques-Louis David’s ‘Portrait of a Young Woman in White’, my sister’s painted doppelgänger.

Part 1: reconstructing the under layer:
Part 3:

Merja’s blog, Before the Automobile, which you should *definitely* be following if you aren’t already!

(@before_the_automobile on Instagram)

MATERIALS USED:Cotton lawn (2.5 yards): Fabric Garden, NYC
Cotton Sateen (1/2 yard): H&M Fabrics, NYC
Cotton tape (1 yd): Joyce Trimming, NYC

OTHER USEFUL TOOLS:(Please note that these are affiliate links)
-Clear 18-inch ruler:
-French Curve:
-Large Newsprint Pad (for pattern paper):
-Steel-headed straight pins:
-Every size & weight needle you will probably ever need:
-My most favorite (& stupidly fiddly) #10 sharps, the tiniest needles:
-Ye Trusty Olde 8” shears (tartan ribbon not included):
-Those wee bird snips that literally everyone seems to have:
-(But I’ve also just found these that are a unicorn and I am severely tempted; I should not be trusted with Amazon:

“The Closing of Summer” by Asher Fulero, YouTube Audio Library
Enchanted Journey by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (
“Shattered Paths” by Aakash Gandhi, YouTube Audio Library
Prelude No. 21 by Chris Zabriskie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

1. “Portrait of a Young Woman in White” by Jacques-Louis David, c. 1798. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC 1963.10.118

Portals to Other Realms:
Instagram, for real-time progress: instagram.com/bernadettebanner (@bernadettebanner)
Patreon, for more vloggish and bloggish content: patreon.com/bernadettebanner
Ko-Fi, if that’s more your thing: ko-fi.com/bernadettebanner
Prints of costume renderings:

For business enquiries only, please:


39 thoughts on “Jaques-Louis David Portrait Doppelgänger: Making the Gown”

  1. That blanket stitching process was something I didn’t know how to find! I have modern dresses I love but those loops ALWAYS break!

  2. I've never watched one of your videos but YouTube recommended this one. Let me just tell you: you are so, so beautiful. I'd be really jelous if you weren't such a nice human being!
    Greetings from Germany

  3. Just came across your channel and am binge watching. I teach people how to upcycle, repair and re-fashion their old clothes. What always surprises me is how many young women love hand sewing. I teach it and love the idea of it but can't say I enjoy it. I'm hoping your channel will get me inspired to pick up a needle and thread instead of always heading to the machine :).

    Keep up the good work, you're very talented.

  4. So facinating! Well done! Just some thoughts from a paintings conservator on the choosen fabrics used to replicate the sheer fabrics in the portrait. Oil paint, especially translucent oil paint layers, are known to become even more translucent as the painting ages. Your type of choosen fabric consequently seems like a very plausible option.

  5. Y would love Angela Clayton that is the name of her y tube channel , if y are unfamiliar start with her older work historical like y. Your work is very interesting as well . Hope y get a pattern sold for your cape y drafted. 😃✌🏿️

  6. Your 'blanket stitch' on the thread bars looks very much like a buttonhole stitch I use in tailoring (with the 'purl' and very close), whereas your buttonholes look like they're blanket stitched!

  7. you have the most lovely speaking voice and your voiceovers always sound like you’re laughing or smiling while reading them. you’re just a joy to watch and listen to 🙂 <3

  8. the number of times that i said "ohhhh, so preeetty…" is actually an appropriate number of times for a gown so gorgeous!!

  9. honestly, you could either leave it white or dye the fabric in light summer-y colours and wear this as a cute summer dress nowadays. also you really make me wanna deepen my sewing knowledge and skills, this is so beatuiful!!

  10. Hello! I love your videos, you hair and youre dresses. May I ask what you are doing in "real-life"?:) Historical clothing is my obsession to and now I am starting to struggle about university, I will be an history-teacher and I am not really sure if this is what I really want to do 😀

  11. I applaud you for using traditional methods, I could never do that much hand sewing and remain sane 😂😭

  12. Your hand stitching is really exquisite and I can watch it for hours 🙂 You would have made a very desirable 19th Century wife 😉

  13. Is it possible that the artist simply missed some of the details that would demonstrate how the gown closed?

  14. Every time I watch this (And it's been more than a few) I admire the steady hand require to draw a thread. One day I will be brave and attempt it. Today is not that day.

  15. I only wish I could create things like this as I like the lady in pic am a shapley woman & hate the clothes of today. I have a machine I have had for 6 months & still to scard to use it let alone hand stiching like you do. Bless you for what you do it incourages me to give it ago.

  16. HOW HAVE I JUST FOUND YOU AND YOU'RE AMAZING WORK….totally inspiration for me here….Ps can I ask, why did you use small point scissors to cut the panels after drawing the thread???

  17. Sounds like someone wishes they had a British accent a little bit 😋 I hear you slipping into it every now and then

  18. This isn't taking a joke too far. This is (adorable, amazing, beautiful, fun, excellent, awesome) take your pick 🙂

  19. I luv ur vids!! However, u speak so fast and its not that i cant heat what you're saying its just sometimes when im tired i cant process it… im only saying this tho cus i luv ur commemtary and how u speak, so im not intending to disrespect u at all!

  20. Damn it Bernadette! I’ve discovered you and your enchanting videos and I forgot to do my own sewing!! 🤭🤭 I am mesmerized by your hand stitching and you’ve inspired me to take a moment and stop galloping to get my garments ready, paying more attention to details

  21. To me it looks like there is a stiffer dress underneath the silk layer on the bust because if you look closely the under dress has some side support which is holding the breasts up and together which is why they look so pert. The silk front looks like it could be attached to the underlayer and looks like it's been twisted over itself to make the gathers over the cleavage. The skirt looks like an apron front and would tie at the back; so essentially this gown would be two parts, a silk and cotton under dress that would be light and airy and then a cotton or linen skirt that would be stepped into and tied, which would explain why the skirt looks so thick and heavy like there are more layers underneath it.

  22. I have liked two of your videos solely because you called yourself 'trash' but because the phrasing was funny. The first time was when you called yourself Sherlock trash. That was gold.
    But I actually like your videos and the information I am learning from them. You are a very informative and interesting youtuber. So, keep being funny and please please please do not stopnmaking these videos!!!!

  23. Indeed the risque diaphanous clothing in revolutionary France was astounding compared with the two thousand years of western dress before and since; matched only by ancient Egyptian fashion from which, I think, it was partly inspired.

  24. The problem with holograms is that there is no current technology, (that I know of) to retroactively "upgrade" existing photos.)

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