Regency Underthings Pattern

By Jennie Chancey

Here are the underpinnings you need to give you the proper Regency foundation! This package includes patterns for a chemise, short stays, and two chemisettes. The chemise was modeled from original garments in several museum collections and features an adjustable drawstring neckline and gussets under the arms for a comfortable fit. The short stays lace in the front and were based upon extant stays in museum collections as well as period drawings of these transitional undergarments. The chemisettes were drawn from portraits of the time as well as Janet Arnold’s excellent research in Patterns of Fashion I. Begin with the chemise next to the skin, then add your stays for the correct silhouette. To create a smooth line beneath your gowns, add a long petticoat over your stays, which you can easily make from the Regency Gown pattern above (omitting the sleeves). For daytime, put a chemisette over your undergarments, then don your gown. Voila’! A full Regency wardrobe!

  • Sizes 6-26D all included in one envelope.
  • Illustrated instructions make construction easy!
  • Notes on original undergarments of the time as well as tips for wearing the undergarments.
  • Click to download the Regency Underthings yardage chart.
  • Photo Instructions available as a downloadable PDF — Click HERE!
  • Also available for instant download as an ePattern in PDF format!

The stays are rated “intermediate,” but the chemise and chemisettes are simple enough for a beginner. I am always available through the Contact Form if you have questions! Do note that the short stays will not offer ample enough support for sizes above “DD” without serious modifications. I would instead recommend the excellent Regency Stays pattern by The Mantua Maker, which is for longer (hip-length) stays and can be easily modified to support larger cup sizes.

FITTING HELPS: Do not miss this excellent tutorial for help in fitting stays perfectly!

Note: If you purchased a copy of this pattern prior to April 2007, click HERE for corrections/revisions.

Paper Pattern $17.95
ePattern $9.95

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116 Comments on Regency Underthings Pattern

  1. Irit
    July 3, 2013 at 6:24 am (1 year ago)

    Hi Jennie,

    (I apologize in advance for asking such a thing…) I was wondering if the pattern can be modified for the bust to have more of a modern look (= not so high). I’m looking for something with good support, for my back too, for every day use under modern clothes. Something that would work well for nursing and holding babies…
    Thank you so much for working on all those patterns! ^_^

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      July 3, 2013 at 10:06 am (1 year ago)

      Hi, Irit! If you want the bustline to sit more naturally (rather than having the “shelf” look), you need to lengthen the stays about two inches and lengthen the gussets as well. I’d also lengthen the straps about an inch. TEST all of this in muslin first! You’ll have to experiment a bit to get the bustline at the correct height. I made soft nursing stays that were corded instead of boned and nursed twins in mine. Very easy and comfortable! Have fun sewing!

      Reply
  2. Tina
    September 4, 2013 at 5:37 am (12 months ago)

    Hi, I’m interested in wearing your regency dresses as my everyday dresses. Are the Underthings still needed? If so, I’m wondering if I can still wear your pattern, even though I have a D-DD bust? I looked at the other pattern you suggested and due to my Fibromyalgia, I don’t think i could wear that other one daily. Thank you for your time!!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      September 4, 2013 at 10:28 am (12 months ago)

      Hi, Tina! If you’re a D-DD, you would at least need a minimizer bra with good support to avoid creating a “bullet” look in the bust. Then you’ll need to lengthen the bodice pieces a bit on the dress patterns to accommodate a fuller bust without the Regency “shelf” silhouette. Experiment in muslin, and you should be just fine. I’ve made the drawstring dress from the Elegant Lady’s Closet pattern many times over to be worn with a modern bra–even cutting it to hip-length to use as a blouse. Happy Sewing!

      Reply
      • Tina
        September 5, 2013 at 11:13 pm (12 months ago)

        Hi! Thank you so much for your very fast reply! I’m so encouraged and excited to experiment with your suggestions! I’m fairly new to sewing, but luckily have a very skilled best friend, if help is needed! :) Blessings, Tina

        Reply
  3. Tina
    September 5, 2013 at 11:39 pm (12 months ago)

    Hi, I’m sorry to bother you again. Can I wear the other items in the underpinnings pattern with a D-DD bust size? Again, thank you so much for your help!
    Blessings, Tina

    Reply
    • Tina
      September 5, 2013 at 11:42 pm (12 months ago)

      *underthings

      Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      September 6, 2013 at 4:22 am (12 months ago)

      Yes, absolutely. And you can modify the stays to fit a “DD” cup size. One of my customers lengthened the stays and the gussets to fit a G cup, and it worked beautifully!

      Reply
      • Tina
        September 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm (12 months ago)

        Again, thank you so much! ;)

        Reply
  4. Brynn
    January 2, 2014 at 12:26 am (8 months ago)

    Question, if the short stay rides up when you wear it, does it mean they are tied to tightly or do I need to make the next size up? I have about a 1- 1.5 gap now. Also, what do you suggest for cording? I used metal boning for my first and I am thinking about making a second with cords. Whats the perks of using boning vs. cording?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      January 2, 2014 at 12:29 pm (8 months ago)

      Hi, Brynn! If your stays are riding up, it means you probably have a lower bust point, and your straps/gussets are too short. If the stays are pulling up over the mid-bust, you need to lengthen the straps so they stay where they belong (with gussets cupping the breasts). To lengthen straps on your next set of stays, just slash the piece horizontally across the center and add at that point (don’t add to each end, as the shape will not turn out right. Experiment a bit in muslin before you go whole-hog, as the fit does need to be just right. For cording, you can use any kind of piping cord sold by the yard. If you need firmer support, I recommend the thicker cording used in industrial upholstery, but if you are a “C” cup or less and don’t need as much strength, just go with regular cording. Have fun!

      Reply
      • Brynn
        January 4, 2014 at 7:34 pm (8 months ago)

        Thanks!

        Reply
  5. feathers
    February 26, 2014 at 3:54 am (6 months ago)

    The link for the whitebone isn’t working anymore. Is there another source for whitebone? Or another material you recommend for boning in your short stays pattern?

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      February 26, 2014 at 9:20 am (6 months ago)

      Yes, unfortunately, they went out of business. :-( I actually recommend purchasing a length of flat 1/4″ reed from a place like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, since you can cut exactly the lengths you need for your particular set of stays. Cut the ends into a slight curve and sand gently to prevent any wear around the tips. That’s it!

      Reply
      • feathers
        March 1, 2014 at 3:48 pm (6 months ago)

        Thank you!
        Are the reeds able to be washed?

        Reply
        • Jennie Chancey
          March 1, 2014 at 3:51 pm (6 months ago)

          As with all stays, hand-washing is best. Over time, reeds will warp if washed in hot water, so soak in cold and lay flat to dry. The bonus is that reeds don’t rust! :-)

        • Carol
          March 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm (6 months ago)

          I went to Michael’s and they said they do not have reeds… and I should have never mentioned a corset as they didn’t even try to look for them then.
          What department would I look for reeds in?

        • Jennie Chancey
          March 6, 2014 at 10:50 pm (6 months ago)

          Hi, Carol! All the wood supplies are over near the framing. If you ask for Balsa wood, they will point you to the right section, though I am surprised they didn’t know what you wanted when you asked for reed, as it’s used in basket weaving! Hope this helps. :-)

        • Carol
          March 7, 2014 at 12:46 am (6 months ago)

          I think they shut off their listening as soon as I said corset. LOL They said go to Joann’s. I know Joann’s has plastic boning. I told them reeds like you use in basket weaving but I think they were still hung up on the corset.

          Is reed and balsa wood the same thing? I saw balsa wood but thought it was too fragile for boning.

        • Jennie Chancey
          March 7, 2014 at 1:45 am (6 months ago)

          The lengths of reed will be in the same place as the balsa wood, but they are not as lightweight or fragile as balsa. Just give them a good feel and gently test bend to make sure the flat reeds they show you are flexible and not brittle. Those will be the correct ones! ;-)

        • Elizabeth
          March 20, 2014 at 7:24 am (6 months ago)

          Hi I’d like to chime in for Carol’s question about reed. You can order reeds on Joann’s website. :D I don’t know if the carry it in the store, as they don’t carry in mine.
          ~Eliza

  6. feathers
    March 1, 2014 at 3:36 pm (6 months ago)

    Question about the Short Stays (SS): I wear a size 38C bra. I measured across my bust and decided I needed a size 20 and made a toile of the size 20 SS with C cup and they were way to big so I used my chest measurement under my bust and decided I needed a size 16 with C cup. I made the toile and it seemed like the size was good so I added laces to the toile and when I laced it up the laces/stays form a ^ shape where I thought they should make a l l shape. Will this straighten out when I add my 3 layers together and boning or do I need to make some other adjustment?

    Thank you.
    Carol

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      March 1, 2014 at 3:43 pm (6 months ago)

      Hi, Carol! Sorry for the confusion. The gussets take care of the fullness in the cup area, so the under bust measurement is actually more important and you definitely want the size 16. If you find the front gap is more open at the bottom than at the top, then you can trim away a small wedge-shaped section at the top to make a more uniform gap. But if the gussets are hitting you correctly and the silhouette looks right, it’s not vital to have a perfectly uniform gap from top to bottom. Just have a look at yourself in the mirror, and if the bust looks nice and “shelf-y” and well supported, you are fine. Hope this helps!

      Reply
      • feathers
        March 1, 2014 at 3:54 pm (6 months ago)

        Thank you. I do think the shape looked nicely shelf-y. And I felt the rest of the fit was good. So I will leave it as it is.

        No problem… that is what muslin is for! The more I practice the better chance of my finished product looking better. :)

        Reply
        • Jennie Chancey
          March 1, 2014 at 3:56 pm (6 months ago)

          Absolutely! My seam ripper is my best friend, and muslin is, thankfully, inexpensive. Always better to rip apart muslin than to cry over fashion material later! ;-)

  7. emily
    May 22, 2014 at 6:07 am (3 months ago)

    Hi, I have a question.

    I wear a 30DD bra. It says that for full support at DD and above longer stays might be required. However, 30DD is not a particularly “large” DD (equivalent to a 32D, 34C, 36B, ect. as far as size goes.) According to my bust measurement, I am between a 12 and 14. But, my ribs measure 29″.

    Do you think short stays would be sufficient? If so, what size is “right”?

    Thanks!
    Emily

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      May 22, 2014 at 3:44 pm (3 months ago)

      Hi, Emily. If you are in DD, you may need to lengthen and enlarge the gussets on the short stays to get full support (without feeling like everything’s going to be squished out the top). One of my customers successfully lengthened the short stays to fit her “G” cup, so it definitely can be done! You can read her post about it on my original forum (which is now a read-only archive), and if you want to ask her any questions, she’s in my current forum as “Acacia.” Hope this helps!

      Reply
  8. meghan
    June 7, 2014 at 1:03 am (3 months ago)

    Hi there! I was just wondering if you have a ballpark measurement for how high the short stays are supposed to raise the bust point to? Of course I know it will be different for everyone, but I wondered if there was a “standard” estimate or something, as there is for the “natural bust point” (the 10-10.5″ measurement.) Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      June 9, 2014 at 7:25 pm (3 months ago)

      Hi, Meghan! 10.5 is the “standard” bust point (as if there was such a thing!). The stays will lift them about two inches higher, but it totally depends on your cup size. As always, make a toile to try on before you cut out all your layers. That will help you see if you need to lengthen or shorten the gussets, straps, etc. Drop a line if you have any questions. I’m always happy to help!

      Reply
  9. Erica Guadagnoli
    July 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm (2 months ago)

    I scrolled through the comments to see about breastfeeding or pregnancy and wearing stays. So this would replace a bra? are they safe to wear while pregnant? It doesn’t squish the belly? How far down the torso do they go? Thank you for your help! :)

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      July 18, 2014 at 11:35 pm (2 months ago)

      Hi, Erica! Short stays fit like a sports bra and don’t restrict the belly in any way. I wore mine while nursing twins. :-) Leave out the boning and use cord and quilting stitches instead. The result is comfortable and easily wearable while pregnant and breastfeeding. Happy sewing!

      Reply
  10. Sophie
    July 29, 2014 at 3:24 am (1 month ago)

    Hello! I just got your pattern, and I am so excited to make it! This is my first time delving into the regency era (usually a colonial sort of gal) and I have a question about cup sizes. I am somewhere in-between an A and a B cup size (A’s are always too small and I barely fit them, and B’s are always a little too loose). Keeping in mind that I want as authentic a look as possible, should I use the A gussets or the B gussets, or should I fashion an in-between (and how would I if so)?

    Thank you so much!

    Sophie

    Reply
    • Jennie Chancey
      July 29, 2014 at 12:57 pm (1 month ago)

      Hi, Sophie! As with all my patterns, I strongly recommend sewing up a toile in muslin before cutting into your fashion material. You’ll do this with the stays and will be able to see if you need the “A” or “B” gussets. I imagine you will most likely need the “B” gussets, but you might need to cut the body of the stays one size smaller. Fitting the toile will help you figure that out, and I’m always happy to answer questions via email, too! :-)

      Reply

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