Regency Spencer/Pelisse Pattern

By Jennie Chancey

I created this pattern by pulling research together from several sources (along with customer requests!). I studied a Spencer jacket in the D.A.R. Museum collection and one at the Valentine. I also drew from Janet Arnold’s wonderful Patterns of Fashion.

  • Sizes 6-26DD all included in one envelope.
  • Illustrated instructions make construction easy!
  • Options for double-breasted or “frog” closure and two different collar treatments.
  • Also makes up as a sleeveless pelisse or long coat with a skirt!
  • Photo Instructions online (available soon in PDF format).
  • Click to download the Regency Spencer-Pelisse yardage chart.
  • Also available for instant download as an ePattern in PDF format!

This pattern is rated “intermediate,” but I have had beginners use it successfully with a minimum of help. And I am always available through the Contact Form if you have questions!
Note: If you purchased a copy of this pattern prior to 2004, click HERE for corrections.
 

Paper Pattern $14.95

 
 

ePattern $9.95

 

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46 Comments on Regency Spencer/Pelisse Pattern

  1. Katherine Galloway
    May 26, 2010 at 7:44 am (4 years ago)

    Hello. I am getting married next September and have bought an empire-line wedding dress and have been looking for a jacket to go with it. Is it possible to modify the design so that it doesn’t fasten and is almost mixed with a bolero in it’s design?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      May 26, 2010 at 8:24 am (4 years ago)

      Hello, Katherine!

      You could certainly leave off the fastenings if you prefer, and there are already cutting lines for a non-overlapping front (which is similar to a modern bolero). I’d recommend experimenting with the cut of the front of the jacket in muslin prior to cutting into your fashion fabric to make sure you’ve got the look you want. Sounds like a fun project, and congrats on your upcoming wedding!

      Warmly,
      Jennie

      Reply
  2. Jenny Venema
    July 16, 2010 at 12:22 am (4 years ago)

    Would cotton velvet be a suitable material for this period and garment?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      July 16, 2010 at 12:28 am (4 years ago)

      Yes, indeed, Jenny! Just be sure it’s the soft, supple kind rather than the stiff kind. That will be lovely! Velvet Spencers weren’t terribly common, but I’ve seen them. There’s an amazing purple velvet one in the DAR collection, in fact. Have fun sewing!

      Reply
  3. Amber
    July 23, 2010 at 1:37 pm (4 years ago)

    I am looking at make this (as a coat) for my self for this winter. Using a wool. Can you recommend one type of wool over another?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      July 23, 2010 at 4:24 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Amber!

      By far, my top recommendation is merino wool, which is soft, lightweight, yet very cozy for winter. You do have to be careful with it, as it can shrink. There is also a new merino blend called “smart wool” that doesn’t shrink and is just as soft, but it is very hard to find. I’ve used merino successfully for many projects and just use dry cleaning to prevent shrinkage. There are other types of wool that are suitable for coats, but they tend to be very itchy. Finally, there are suiting woolens that are too thin for a coat, so you’ll want to avoid those. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  4. McKenna
    August 4, 2010 at 9:48 am (4 years ago)

    How do you make an open-robe out of this pattern? I’ve been dying to know!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      September 1, 2010 at 9:22 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, McKenna! There is a gal on my forum who created an open robe and has step-by-step instructions I will be posting ASAP. If you’d like to go ahead and read them, visit my message forum and search for “open robe.” :)

      Reply
  5. Lisa
    September 1, 2010 at 8:52 pm (4 years ago)

    I would like to make this jacket out of the lightest weight possible fabric, for a September re-enactment in Florida. What is the lightest weight fabric you would recomend? Thank you. Lisa

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      September 1, 2010 at 9:23 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Lisa! I have actually seen an extant Spencer made of dotted Swiss! It is sheer and meant to go over a white dress. If you prefer not to deal with sheer material, I’d go for a pima cotton or a linen-cotton blend (unlined with facing instead). Hope this helps!

      Reply
  6. Gina
    July 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm (3 years ago)

    I made this spencer 2 times, and both times it came out so fitted I think it’s too small. They fit like gloves. My younger sisters are very happy because they received the spencers. But I’m looking at the pictures and am wondering if it’s supposed to be fitted.

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      July 13, 2011 at 1:14 am (3 years ago)

      Hi, Gina! A Spencer jacket should be nicely fitted over top of whatever you’re wearing beneath. If you’ve got on full chemise, stays, petticoat, and gown, you’ll have a snugger fit than if you’re wearing the Spencer over a conventional bra and gown. But it should definitely be a good, close fit so that it doesn’t gape in front or hug the ribcage. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  7. CalLadyQED
    January 31, 2012 at 7:39 pm (3 years ago)

    What does the pelisse look like in the back?

    Reply
  8. CalLadyQED
    February 2, 2012 at 2:23 am (3 years ago)

    Thank you, Mrs. Chancey. Is it possible to make this with lace? I want a lace pelisse to wear over a dress that is too brightly colored to soften it.

    Reply
  9. Dawn
    February 4, 2012 at 12:19 am (3 years ago)

    Hi; So glad to have found your site-I have read many good things about it all over the ‘net; I recently saw a long Pelisse made out of a better-quality polar fleece, as a way of modernizing it (worn with dress pants and jeans)-I would love to do something like this, but am not too keen on polar-fleece-any recommendations for a fabric with a little bit of stretch-would Merino be good? Thanks

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      February 4, 2012 at 1:45 am (3 years ago)

      What a neat idea, Dawn! I’d love to see that polar fleece pelisse. Sounds fun! Merino wool would be a wonderful option, as it is so soft and has a bit of give to it. You could also try a heavy plush felt (I can’t think of the correct name for it, but it’s found at craft and fabric stores). Have fun sewing, and share photos when you finish, as I’d love to see what you make!

      Reply
  10. Catherine
    February 24, 2012 at 7:22 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi!
    I just purchased this pattern and I was wondering which size spencer jacket to make. I am exactly in between two sizes and was unsure of whether to go up or down. Which would you suggest? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      February 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi, Catherine! Always cut larger, since is is easier to subtract than to add. I always recommend making a muslin toile of the bodice to test the fit, so cut that out in the larger size, baste it together, and try it in over your dress with underpinnings to check the fit. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  11. Issy
    May 12, 2012 at 11:10 am (2 years ago)

    Hi, I am in the process of making a spencer using your pattern, but I am a bit confused over seam allowances. Is it a 5/8″ seam except when you mention 3/8″ seam? or is it all meant to be made using a 3/8″ seam?

    Thank you,
    Issy

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      May 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi, Issy! Sorry for the confusion. The seam allowance is noted on the bottom of the yardage chart. It’s 5/8″ except where noted. So just use the 3/8″ seams where indicated on the pattern pieces. Thanks!

      Reply
  12. Issy
    May 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you. :)

    Reply
  13. LDT
    July 18, 2012 at 3:26 am (2 years ago)

    hi I have two questions:
    1) is it alright to make this from crepe? (I can’t find any wool in my price range and I can’t stand the feel of velvet.)
    2) Is a supplement needed for bigger than a DD cup size?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      July 18, 2012 at 9:53 am (2 years ago)

      Hi! Crepe is fine as long as it has a substantial enough weight for a jacket. And if you are over a DD cup, you’ll just need to expand the front curve of the bodice on the DD pieces. Be sure to make the correct underthings first, as stays will help hold in the bustline nicely. Then fit your toile over those. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  14. Erica Shay
    August 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm (2 years ago)

    Hello!

    Just wondering… what is the material used for the brown jacket in the first few photos? Thanks!

    Reply
  15. Erica Shay
    August 31, 2012 at 4:51 am (2 years ago)

    Ooo! Do you think I could make it out of velour too? I haven’t had any experience with velvets or velours, so I don’t really what would work. I would think it would work the same. Thank you!

    Reply
  16. Jennie Chancey
    August 31, 2012 at 4:54 am (2 years ago)

    Hi, Erica! Velour tends to be a little stretchy, so as long as you are careful and use a walking foot to prevent it pulling, it should work fine. Have fun!

    Reply
  17. Erica Shay
    August 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you! Can’t wait to begin!

    Reply
  18. Alicia
    September 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm (2 years ago)

    The long blue overlay in the photos is why I bought this pattern. The sleeveless and collarless one. Is there step by step photo instructions for this?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      September 26, 2012 at 2:51 pm (2 years ago)

      Hello, Alicia! Yes, that is a sleeveless pelisse, and instructions are included for that option. Have fun sewing!

      Reply
  19. Tina
    December 31, 2012 at 2:38 am (2 years ago)

    Hi, I was wondering if the dress in these pictures is modest enough to wear on it’s own or does it need one of these coverings? Thank you so much for your time.

    Reply
  20. Lauren
    January 9, 2013 at 6:32 am (2 years ago)

    Hello there! I’m using the two below fashion plates (c. 1804) as inspiration for my pelisse. Your pattern has gone together quite wonderfully, but I’m confused with how to convert the high neck to the lower neckline in these plates. My issue lies with if it will still fit properly if I cut the neckline down. Additionally, should the top of the “diamond” be even to that of the bottom? If so, I’m aware that I will have to alter where the shoulders are sewn to the back. My problem is that none of the fashion plates show the seams on the back! They’re all covered with such glorious furs! Thank you for your help :)

    http://historicalfashion.tumblr.com/post/39118039344/historicalfashion-morning-dress-1804
    http://historicalfashion.tumblr.com/post/39506383560/damesalamode-ladys-museum-december-1804-the

    Additionally, there is this lovely plate from 1814 that I’m thinking of using as inspiration. The only difference between this and the ones from 1804 is the lace at the neckline! (And, though I can’t fully see, I suspect the angle of the skirt.)
    http://pinterest.com/pin/236790892879675680/

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      January 9, 2013 at 12:27 pm (2 years ago)

      Oooh! Those are beautiful inspiration plates, Lauren! I especially love the lace-trimmed pelisse. Cutting the neckline down is just that–cutting it down. ;-) I recommend cutting out a bodice (no sleeves) in muslin and experimenting with cutting the neckline to suit (remembering to keep enough space for the seam allowance). Try marking the neckline first with a fabric pencil or chalk and trying it on to have a peek. When you think it looks right, cut and try on again. You’ll know when you’ve nailed it, and then you can cut your real jacket’s neckline to match. Have fun sewing!

      Reply
      • Lauren
        January 10, 2013 at 4:07 am (2 years ago)

        Thank you very much! With that in mind, I can finally finish this pelisse :)

        Reply
  21. Tina
    July 6, 2013 at 10:46 am (1 year ago)

    Hi, Could you please tell me about the dress that is under the brown jacket? (which pattern, material, under garments-if any) Thank you so much for your time.
    Tina

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      July 8, 2013 at 11:07 pm (1 year ago)

      Hi, Tina! My model chose an embroidered voile to make the dress, and she used the original Regency Gown Pattern. I’m not sure which undergarments she made to go with the ensemble, but I’m sure she had the proper stays or bodiced petticoat for the correct shape. Thanks for asking!

      Reply
  22. ladydetemps
    July 15, 2014 at 1:44 pm (3 months ago)

    Hi I’ve been sewing this pattern up. Made it with unlined sleeves and whipstitched the lining in place where the armholes were. I made sure it was aligned. I’m noticing a restriction in arm movement. Is there a modification to adjust this or is it just part of pattern?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      July 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm (3 months ago)

      Hello! This is illustrative of the frustrations of fitting sleeves on different body types. I’ve had a lot of emails saying that the sleeves are too big in the head, asking how to size down the fullness (which is provided to create ease of movement). ;-) If you’re experiencing difficulty moving, can you be more specific? Is the difficulty when you raise your arms over your head or when you “hug” yourself? The design of this sleeve is specifically based on riding habit Spencers of the time period, which allow for a lot of movement. But if you have a larger bicep or wider shoulders, you may need to cut the armhole down just a wee bit to allow for greater movement. Let me know, and I’ll be happy to help!

      Reply
      • ladydetemps
        July 16, 2014 at 5:58 pm (3 months ago)

        Its the ‘hug’ motion where it feels like its restrictive. (TBH I have this problem with several modern bought coats) I have narrow shoulders but full bust -small underbust- and then large (apparently) biceps. I chose to do the spencer that meets in the middle rather than overlaps. Fortunately this is my wearable muslin so anything I learn I can translate onto my final spencer.

        Reply
        • Jennie Chancey
          July 17, 2014 at 5:11 pm (3 months ago)

          Ah, yes. If this is the case (narrow shoulders but still feeling restriction when you cross your arms), then I recommend making the sleeve cap (curve) about two inches higher. This will mean less of a pull when you cross your arms. Experimenting in muslin is always key–good for you!

  23. Renate
    September 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Do you have a tutorial (or know of any out there on the big wide web) that explain how to include one of those lovely peplums on the back?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      September 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Hi, Renate! I don’t have a tutorial for peplums (nor do I know of one), but if you can get hold of Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion I, you can see the riding habit with peplum laid flat on a grid (giving you a good idea of what the peplum pieces look like). Basically, it’s a semi-circular piece that is pleated to fit between the two curved back seams of the jacket. A little experimentation should get you there if you’re willing to try!

      Reply

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