To help me get started with the construction, I found 2 yoked bodice patterns and several narrow overskirt diagrams in Fashions of the Gilded Age, Volume 1: Undergarments, Bodices, Skirts, Overskirts, Polonaises, and Day Dresses 1877-1882. Although I changed these patterns up quite a bit to make my own dress, they were a huge help as I figured out the overall shapes.
I used cotton velveteen for the collar, cuffs, and belt, and I edged it with natural linen rickrack, which really made these features stand out nicely. The buttons are vintage and slightly mismatched, which is a fun little detail that seemed appropriate for a prairie dress. I'm always amused when I see Victorian photos of women who have a mismatched button on their dress. It happens more often than you would think, and I love imagining a practical frontier woman just replacing a missing button with something "close enough" and not wasting any time worrying about it.
I also wore a silk bow at my neck, and a mourning rosette at my waist. The rosette was a lovely gift from 2 friends, and I made a faux tintype of my husband to use for the portrait. Similar mourning badges were quite popular after the death of Abraham Lincoln, and you can see a similar style here.
I only got a few posed pictures of my dress at Costume College, but I'm hoping to get some more fun ones in a pretty setting when I wear it again this winter. But if you'd like to see a few more, you can check out my Flickr album.