The Elegant Lady’s Closet


Here is a pattern with something for everyone! I took some designs I’d played around with years ago and turned them into a “mega pattern.” All of the pieces are totally correct for the time period (ideal for 1790s-1805) and can be mixed and matched to create an entire wardrobe of gowns! You’ll be able to create day gowns, half-robes, visiting gowns, and evening gowns with ease. Best of all, this pattern is ideal for expectant and nursing mothers, since the drawstring gown accommodates a tummy, and both gowns are nursing-friendly! More photos are below to give you an idea of how you can use this pattern. Important: The gowns in this pattern were designed to be worn over period underpinnings and will not fit correctly over modern undergarments. Please make sure you have your proper underpinnings before you use this pattern!

  • Sizes 6-26DD all included in one envelope.
  • Illustrated instructions make construction easy!
  • Options for long sleeves, fitted elbow-length sleeves, and short puffed sleeves, as well as two different bodice styles.
  • Bonus: Includes authentic embroidery motifs as well as patterns for two “ridicules” (Regency era purses)!
  • Click here for the Elegant Lady’s Closet yardage chart
  • Also available for instant download as an ePattern in PDF format!

Note:If you purchased a copy of the paper pattern prior to May 2010 or the ePattern prior to March 2012, click HERE for corrections/revisions.

Paper Pattern $17.95

ePattern $9.95

141 Comments on The Elegant Lady’s Closet

  1. Victoria
    July 10, 2010 at 11:40 pm (5 years ago)

    I have this epattern, and am currently making a drawstring dress with it. You mention here the possibility of making a half-robe, and I was wondering whether there were instructions somewhere for this. I’d love to make one! Thanks,

    • Jennie Chancey
      July 11, 2010 at 12:15 am (5 years ago)

      Hello, Victoria!

      A half robe is just the crossover gown cut to hip length. :-) It can be worn as a morning robe over a drawstring dress if made up in a cotton print or stripe (the latter is really striking if you cut the bodice on the diagonal).

      Hope this helps!


  2. Victoria Rose
    July 13, 2010 at 12:12 am (5 years ago)

    Thanks! Perhaps that will be my next project.

  3. Sarah
    July 14, 2010 at 12:08 am (5 years ago)

    What kind of fabric would you recommend for an evening type gown?

    • Jennie Chancey
      July 15, 2010 at 7:01 pm (5 years ago)

      Silk or silk taffeta is best. If you’d like a traditional early Regency white gown, go for voile or organdy. Hope this helps!

  4. Alexandra
    July 22, 2010 at 2:44 pm (5 years ago)

    Does this dress have the option to be short sleeved (the crossover gown)? I am attempting to make a dress similar to Keira Knightley’s netherfield ball gown and this pattern is the most similar. Would it be difficult to make the gown a crossover but with a belt and sash rather than the way it is open in the front?

    • Jennie Chancey
      October 15, 2010 at 10:02 am (5 years ago)

      Hi, Alexandra! Sorry I missed this until now. You can use any sleeve type you’d like in the armhole, and crossover ballgowns with short sleeves are correct for the period. It’s easy to add a waistband/belt that fastens at the side. Just measure around your underbust and add one inch for overlap. Width is up to your personal preferences. If you don’t want the skirt open down the front, you can tack it closed all the way up to the last six inches or so (you do have to allow room to get the gown over the hips or shoulders). Hope this helps!

  5. A Thornton
    October 14, 2010 at 10:23 pm (5 years ago)

    Hi Jennie,
    Would you send patterns to Australia? If so how long would the delivery take and how much? I live in Brisbane (the middle of Australian West Coast).

    • Jennie Chancey
      October 15, 2010 at 10:00 am (5 years ago)

      Hello! We ship to any country in the world. Just add the pattern(s) to your cart, then enter your postal code, and the cart will tell you how much shipping costs. It takes a week to ten days for air mail to reach Australia. I do have retailers in Australia who can ship things via standard mail, too, so be sure to check my Retailers page for those! :)

  6. Gina
    November 5, 2010 at 1:00 pm (4 years ago)

    I’d like to see line drawings of the fronts and backs of all the garments in this wardrobe pattern. (the others you offer also) I am considering other patterns and wouldn’t want to duplicate or misunderstand what I’m ordering.

    • Jennie Chancey
      November 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Gina!

      The back views are shown in the little vignette boxes on the pattern covers (except on the original Regency Gown pattern, which has a full-length model turned to show the back). Pattern cover art is last in each slide show. Click the image to get the large view. The back is the same for all options in this pattern. Hope this helps!

  7. Angela
    November 7, 2010 at 9:57 am (4 years ago)

    I am as confused as Gina. I’m sorry, I still don’t understand how I can see a drawing of all the option in this pattern. I need a pattern for an evening gown, but I don’t know if it would be better to go with this pattern or the other. I know the photos are at the top of the page but I’ve searched and searched and don’t see any other views. Looking for a traditional “back of the pattern envelope” line drawing of the options for this pattern. Thanks!

    • Jennie Chancey
      November 8, 2010 at 9:58 am (4 years ago)

      Hi, Angela! Can you see the slide show of images from the pattern? If you click the “>” next to the little thumbnails underneath, the slider will move, showing you the rest of the pictures in the slideshow. Click on the black and white image of the cover art, and that gives you all the views you can make with the pattern, plus a little vignette that shows the back view of the gown (which is identical for all views). If you’d like a larger version of the cover art, click “enlarge,” and that will give you the bigger view of the pattern envelope. I do not have the full technical drawings of each pattern like you get on computer-generated patterns from the “Big Four” companies, as I do not have the software to produce accurate line drawings of each option. The Simplicity version of my Regency Gown pattern has those, but the drawback is that Simplicity’s version leaves out steps from the instructions and omits some cutting lines. :( My cover artist does create accurate images of each pattern option, however, including the back vignette so you can see what the view is like from the back. Hope this helps!

  8. Emily
    November 28, 2010 at 6:35 pm (4 years ago)

    I struggle to find the silk to make my dress as shown here, the crossover with 3/4 sleeve. I love the colour you have chosen for the gown in the photographs, do you have a source? What is the name of the colour of this fabric? I have silver hair and need rich contrasting fabric colours, such as this bronze/gold.
    I am itching to make my dress! Need to find mail order fabric so I can take the plunge!

    • Jennie Chancey
      November 28, 2010 at 7:33 pm (4 years ago)

      Hello, Emily! I got the dupioni silk from Silk Baron, which has the best range of colors and the best prices online. I am pretty sure this color is “pumpkin,” but it would be a good idea to check the complete color range and order swatches so you can see the fabrics before buying. I hope this helps!

  9. Emily
    November 29, 2010 at 10:13 am (4 years ago)

    thank you Jennie for the name of the Silk Baron, I think Pumpkin Pie is better for me, and I love their black cherry red, and the indigo, oh my I want them all!
    now on to making a choice and sewing to heart is content…

  10. Diane
    December 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm (4 years ago)

    I have the pattern for the crossover gown and wondered if I could make it in a panne velvet – I know it’s probably not period but they have such beautiful colors now

    • Jennie Chancey
      December 6, 2010 at 5:28 pm (4 years ago)

      Hello, Diane! If it is lightweight enough, it will work. Velvet with the long sleeves would actually make a beautiful crossover pelisse. Lovely!

  11. Micheline
    December 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi, Mrs. Chancey

    I was wondering if you had ever considered giving tutorials on how to make your own patterns from finnished products(such as dresses and or just from patterns)?

    • Jennie Chancey
      December 13, 2010 at 5:00 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi! I already have a tutorial up in the Tips section that shows how to make patterns from existing garments. :) If you’d like to learn to draft patterns from scratch, drop me a line through the Contact link above. Thanks!

  12. Micheline
    December 13, 2010 at 7:28 pm (4 years ago)

    Okay thanks.
    I obviously missed that

  13. Jessica
    December 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm (4 years ago)

    Hello I was wondering if you had instructions for turning any of the dresses into a maternity shirt. I would like to have something that would go with the skirts that I already have. :) thank you so much.
    I love all your patterns. :)

    • Jennie Chancey
      December 28, 2010 at 10:22 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Jessica! Yes, it is VERY easy to turn the Regency dresses into maternity blouses. For the Elegant Lady’s Closet, the drawstring dress works as-is up to about six or seven months. Beyond that (if you carry out front like I do!), you need to add two inches to the center front. And just cut the skirt off at hip-length to make a blouse. If you visit my England blog and click on the 2009 posts, you’ll see pictures of me in my blue and white drawstring maternity blouse from this pattern. It was SO comfortable and became my favorite top. I also have a tutorial that shows how to convert the regular Regency Gown into maternity and nursing wear. Hope this helps!

  14. Donielle
    December 29, 2010 at 8:49 pm (4 years ago)

    Hello Mrs. Chancey,
    for the crossover gown you have for the optional panel 3 5/8 yards. Is that 4 yards for the dress without the optional panel plus 3 5/8 yards for the extra panel? Also the crossover dress in the photo, does that have the optional panel? Thank you!!!

    • Jennie Chancey
      December 29, 2010 at 10:30 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi! The 3 5/8 yards is just the dress as-is. To calculate the additional panel, simply measure from right below the bust to desired hem length and add a couple of inches to allow for hem and seam allowance. So if that measurement is 44″, you need that much more material in addition to the 3 5/8 yards. :) The crossover gown in the photos does have the additional panel, yes.

  15. Kerry
    December 30, 2010 at 6:43 pm (4 years ago)

    Hello Mrs. Chancey :) I have just placed an order with you – which is most exciting and have spent quite a while looking at all the inspiration on your site – so beautiful! In the ‘Show and Tell’ section a number of ladies have said they used the “Simplicity” version of your Regency pattern … would that be the Regency dress pattern as opposed to this full closet version? Thank you for any insight and *many* blessings to you for the New Year!

    • Jennie Chancey
      December 30, 2010 at 9:18 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Kerry! Simplicity’s version is the original Regency Gown pattern with the neckline supplement included (back opening drawstring option). This pattern is very different–shorter bodice pieces and different sleeves entirely. Hope this helps, and have fun sewing! So glad you like the site!

  16. Kerry
    December 30, 2010 at 10:38 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you *so* much for your help – and for answering so quickly! I didn’t purchase the supplement to the other pattern (so will have to come back again:)) but will have the original pattern soon – most exciting!

  17. Micheline
    January 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Mrs. Chancey

    We ordered some of your dresses from off of Vision Forum (because they had the 1780’s women’s portrait dress), and I was wondering if those versions needed the specific period underthings or not?

    Thank you

  18. Jennie Chancey
    January 21, 2011 at 5:55 am (4 years ago)

    Hello, Micheline! The patterns Vision Forum carries are identical to the ones in my store, so, yes, you do need the Regency Underthings for the Elegant Lady’s Closet. :) Thanks for asking!

  19. Diane
    January 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Jennie – getting ready to make my muslin for fitting purposes. Now my question is how long should my dress be – grazing the floor, showing a shoe… and should the back be longer than the front (like a little train)?

    • Jennie Chancey
      January 23, 2011 at 11:41 am (4 years ago)

      Dress length depends on the time period. If you are doing early Regency (1795-1805), you want the skirt front to brush the shoe tops and the skirt back to have a demi-train. If you are going for a mid-Regency look, it will need to come to ankle length all around. Late Regency (late 18-teens) will be about three inches above the ankle, and the skirt should stand out a bit all around (that’s when padded hemlines came in). Hope this helps!

  20. Diane
    January 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm (4 years ago)

    Well I made my muslin bodice and it fits so on to my design fabric. One question I had was about the pleats to the shoulder and under the breasts. When I pu tin the pleats the shoulder was shorter than the back shoulder and the front bodice was still wider than the skirt front. Am I missing something?

    • Jennie Chancey
      January 23, 2011 at 11:35 am (4 years ago)

      Hi, Diane! The pleating lines are guidelines only–not exact (as they won’t be precise across all sizes). Just pleat to fit the back shoulder, and that’s that! When you join the bodice to the skirt front, you will pleat or gather it to fit the skirt front, so, yes, it will be wider when it is not pleated up to fit the skirt front. Hope this helps! :)

  21. Diane
    January 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks – that’s what I though but wanted to check before I messed something up. Can’t wait to get started.

  22. Katie
    March 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m trying to figure out how to use self-fabric binding for the Crossover gown on the bust. I’ve never used this method before. I’m sorry, I tried looking it up on google and it only furthured my confusion.

    Thank you!!!

    • Jennie Chancey
      March 10, 2011 at 9:25 am (4 years ago)

      Hi, Katie! Self-fabric binding just means you make your own bias binding out of your fashion material rather than buying it in a package. For a quick tutorial on how to make self-binding, pop over to Once you’ve made enough binding to go around the neckline edge (and interior seams if you wish to finish them that way), you can sew it on as directed. Have fun!

  23. Cherry
    April 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm (4 years ago)

    Dear Jennie,

    This is my first dress I’ve made for myself, so I’m a bit lacking in experience. I am at the spot for the crossover gown in which I am told to place the right side of the lining down on the wrong side of the bodice front, but I don’t see a place where I will be flipping it right side out. Could you help me understand why the right side of the lining is not facing out on the inside of the bodice? Also, I am going to put a piece of lining on top of each front bodice piece, right?

    Just wanting to make sure before I proceed further.

    • Jennie Chancey
      April 5, 2011 at 12:27 am (4 years ago)

      Hi, Cherry! The “lining” in this dress is not a conventional, modern lining at all. Instead, it serves as an inside wrapper to smooth the line of the stays beneath. So you are never going to turn it right side out. The neckline edge is finished with binding instead. I recommend reading through the entire instructions before starting, as that will show you where this is going. You’ll see an explanation for the inner “lining” and the binding. Hope this helps, and have fun sewing!

  24. Elizabeth
    May 11, 2011 at 12:09 am (4 years ago)

    I just found your lovely site and am very excited to attempt some of these patterns but I wanted to check about the ‘underpinning’ warning for the Elegant Lady’s Closet…
    You said the gown won’t fit properly over modern undergarments…however I’m a nursing mom and REALLY hoping that the dresses would work with a nursing bra. Could you advise me?

    • Jennie Chancey
      May 11, 2011 at 5:17 am (4 years ago)

      Hi, Elizabeth! You can actually nurse in short stays made without boning. I nursed twins in mine, in fact. I used the quilting stitches option shown in the Regency Underthings instructions instead of hard boning, which allows the stays to fold down easily for access once the laces are loosened. The bald fact is that, worn over a conventional bra, these gowns will give you an unflattering “bullet bust” look if you are a “B” cup or larger. 😛 So I strongly recommend making short stays instead of trying to wear your gowns over conventional underthings. If you are an “A” cup, you can wear a conventional bra if you add an inch to the lower front edge of the bodice. Hope this helps!

  25. Elizabeth
    May 11, 2011 at 10:44 pm (4 years ago)

    Mrs. Chancey, It helps alot and thank you for the quick response! I know virtually nothing about wearing this type of dress but I am so excited to purchase a few of your patterns and get going. It seems like I’m always either nursing or pregnant but I’ve yet to sew a dress tailored for nursing and I never dreamed that I would find patterns for such lovely dresses that can accommodate nursing. (It doesn’t seem to be figured into mainstream fashion very often…).

    Thanks again and may God’s blessing and protection be with you in Kenya.

  26. Sophie
    May 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m considering your pattern for an early regency frock. The bodice has to be very gathered and I wasn’t sure how gathered this gets. Sometimes it’s hard to tell from the pictures.

    • Jennie Chancey
      May 27, 2011 at 4:31 am (4 years ago)

      Hi, Sophie! This has about five inches of gathering in the front. If you want to make it more, that’s easy to do. You simply cut the center front bodice and skirt center front further away from the fold of your fashion fabric (so, for example, if you want to add three more inches, back the center “fold” line 1.5″ from the fabric fold). Hope this helps!

  27. Katie Hughes
    June 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm (4 years ago)

    I just finished a new regency dress using this pattern and I LOVE it! I couldn’t have planned it to come out any better than it did. I hope to post pictures in the show and tell soon. I just wanted to say “thanks” for making your patterns available for others to use. Looking forward to sewing more.

  28. Jennie Chancey
    June 29, 2011 at 4:57 am (4 years ago)

    Wonderful, Katie! I can’t wait to see your photos. It’s always a joy to see the beautiful things customers make! :)

  29. Katie Hughes
    June 30, 2011 at 10:25 am (4 years ago)

    ok Ms. Jennie Chancey.. I think I’ve been bitten by the Regency dress sewing bug! haha.. I’ve finished yet another dress this week. both are cotton day dresses that I plan to wear for church. They’re great! You’re a genius.. the pattern is so simple to follow once you understand how it fits together. Contemplating starting a 3rd dress this week.

  30. Jennie Chancey
    June 30, 2011 at 10:43 am (4 years ago)

    How exciting! It is VERY addictive–I warn you! I’ve made the drawstring option into three maternity tops (cutting off the skirt at the hipline). SO comfortable and pretty! I’ve got plans now to make the crossover bodice into a morning wrapper (which would also be cut off at the hipline and worn over a skirt. :)

  31. Katie Hughes
    June 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm (4 years ago)

    WONDERFUL! I know a lady at church that is expecting.. She’d love the maternity top option. I had thought that if I took the bib front option and cut the skirt at the hip then you’d have a lovely maternity/ nursing top…for those mothers who have children back to back, like a friend of mine. her son is barely a year old and she’s already expecting her 2nd child. I don’t know that I’d have them so close but if that works for her…

  32. Sarah
    July 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm (4 years ago)

    Mrs Chancey,
    What is the difference between the elegant ladies closet drawstring dress and the 1780’s portait drawstring dress.


    • Jennie Chancey
      July 6, 2011 at 10:58 am (4 years ago)

      Hi, Sarah! Here is a list:

      • The 1780s pattern has a natural waistline; the Elegant Lady’s Closet has an empire waist.;
      • The 1780s pattern was designed to go over a Georgian corset (flattened bustline), while the ELC was designed to go over short or long stays with a “shelf” bosom silhouette;
      • The 1780s pattern is fuller through the bodice than the ELC;
      • The skirt for the 1780s pattern is much fuller than the ELC’s;
      • The bodice back for the 1780s dress is entirely different, having two side back pieces instead of one;
      • The armhole for the 1780s dress is a squared angle in back with a totally different sleeve style to match.

      It’s really an entirely different pattern altogether, but that gives you the major highlights! :)

  33. Sarah
    July 6, 2011 at 2:49 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you so much Mrs. Chancey!!! The list is very helpful.


  34. Katherine
    July 9, 2011 at 10:11 am (4 years ago)

    Mrs. Chancey,
    I’ve been borrowing the Elegant Lady’s Closet patterns from a friend, and I just ordered and received my own. I’m a little confused. I am sewing the drawstring gown with short puffed sleeves. The instructions say to baste and gather the top and bottom of the sleeve. However, my pattern only has a dotted line along the top (not on the bottom) which I assume is the gather line though it is not marked so. My friend’s copy as dotted lines marked for gathers on the top and bottom, but the cut of the whole sleeve is a little different from mine. I’m not sure if it would be a good idea to try to copy the bottom gather line from her’s onto mine. What should I do? Is there a mistake on my pattern, or am I just not seeing something? Should I just copy the borrowed copy’s whole sleeve and use it instead (even though the cut is a little different)?
    Thank you!

    • Jennie Chancey
      July 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm (4 years ago)

      HI, Marybeth! The short sleeve was redrafted late last year, so it is definitely different from the one in the older pattern (which it sounds like your friend has). I just went and checked the sleeve piece, and you are right about the missing line for gathers on the lower edge! That’s a bona fide “oops,” and I’ll post a correction ASAP and fix the pattern on file at the printer’s. Thanks for the alert! As a thank-you for finding an error, you’ve earned a free ePattern. :) Drop a line through my feedback form to let me know which one you’d like and where to send the download link. Thanks again!

  35. Nell
    July 25, 2011 at 1:40 am (4 years ago)

    Dear Mrs Chancey,
    I’m really enjoying making this dress and have two queries:
    If I want to make it without the train, do I cut straight across the curved bit at the top of the skirt Back, making it a simple rectangle, or do I sew it in with the curved bit (where the gathers are) , then level it off at the hem?
    Also, I am planning to make it sleeveless, do you foresee any problems with this?
    Thank you for your help.

    • Jennie Chancey
      July 25, 2011 at 2:15 am (4 years ago)

      Hi, Nell! This dress does not have a train, so don’t cut anything off the skirt back! That curve is there to match the upward curve of the center back bodice and is definitely needed. If, when you try on the gown, you find a slight dip to the skirt, you can always trim it straight around the bottom. But definitely don’t change the top!

      Making the dress sleeveless will not affect the fit, but it will allow your undergarments to show through at the back of the armhole, since it curves inward toward the back (a common feature in this period to make the back look smaller). Definitely try on a muslin toile over your undergarments before proceeding with your fashion fabric, as you will most likely need to adjust the armholes for full coverage.

      Have fun!

  36. Patty
    July 25, 2011 at 2:29 pm (4 years ago)

    Hurray, I’ve searched and searched and I think this is the pattern for me. I have made the Simplicity Regency pattern and find that the back draw-string closure is really inconvenient. I can’t dress myself. I can’t tell by looking how you get into these two dresses. Can you give me a description. Also, are these dresses appropriate for 1820. Thank you!

    • Jennie Chancey
      July 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Patty! Yes, when ladies had maids or sisters to help them with back fastenings, it was a breeze to dress. 😉 The drawstring dress in this pattern slips over the head, then you pull up the neckline drawstring to fit and tie the waistline drawstring behind. Very easy to do yourself. The crossover gown just goes on like a blouse or jacket and fastens in front–no help required. As for the 1820s, this pattern is too early for that date. These styles were popular up through about 1817, but then came the late Regency period with its smoother bodices and fussier trims. By the 1820s, the waistline was starting to creep back down toward the natural waistline, so the ultra-short bodices of the early-to-mid-Regency looked dated by then. You can use my original Regency Gown pattern for the 1820s, though. All it takes is adding extra trimmings (as described in the Appendix). Hope this helps!

  37. Patty
    July 26, 2011 at 9:19 am (4 years ago)

    I was thinking I might be able to get by with styles that were a little out of date. I am doing first person interpretation at the Daniel Boone home in Missouri. Since we were out in the frontier/wilderness, the local ladies might not have been up to date with fashions. Do you think it would work for me to drop the waistline about an inch? Also, would the back buttons that are shown on your original Regency dress have been period correct for 1820, or should I replace them with drawstrings like the Simplicity pattern I used before? I love the front crossover dress pattern…. would that not work for 1820?

  38. Jennie Chancey
    July 26, 2011 at 9:23 am (4 years ago)

    Ah ha! If you are doing a frontier impression, you can still get away with the earlier drawstring dress. You can use the crossover option to create a hip-length short gown, too, which was a common “farm” or “laboring” garb in the rural US at the time. Hope this helps!

  39. Kelly
    August 10, 2011 at 9:17 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Mrs. Chancey! I have already made a crossover gown with elbow sleeves from this pattern and absolutely love it! Now I am going to make one for a friend with the ballgown sleeves, but I cant find where to gather the bottom of the ballgown sleeve. Am I missing something?

  40. Kelsey
    August 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm (4 years ago)

    hi. i really love this pattern! I was wondering if either of the drawstring dresses are a neckline drawstring or are they both waist drawstrings? Also, what is the optional skirt panel on the cross over gown that the yardage chart explained? Thank you =)

    • Jennie Chancey
      August 13, 2011 at 11:33 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Kelsey! There’s just one drawstring dress option (with different sleeve types shown on the envelope cover), and there are drawstrings at both waistline and neckline. The dress slips over the head and ties inside in front at the neckline and outside in back at the empire waist. The optional skirt panel on the crossover gown basically adds a skirt side back that fastens inside to prevent any “exposure” if the front crossover panel blows open. Hope this helps! :)

  41. Kelsey
    August 14, 2011 at 6:38 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you for answering my above question so fast!! I am so sorry, but I have one more question. Do you think I could use the cross over gown pattern to make this gown from pride and prejudice 2005…

    or this one….

    Thank you so much! Again I am sorry for all the questions. =)

    • Jennie Chancey
      August 15, 2011 at 3:00 am (4 years ago)

      Yes, Kelsey, you can use the pattern to create either of those gowns, keeping in mind that you’ll need to add a waistband, as both of Jane’s gowns have them. :)

  42. Lanai
    August 19, 2011 at 8:24 am (4 years ago)

    Hello, Jennie!

    I have made a dress from your Simplicity pattern. Since I’ve lost weight and it needs to be re-worked anyway, what do you suggest for fitting to keep the gown looking historically accurate but make it a bit more flattering for my shape?

    For reference, I am 5’4″, with rounded shoulders, an unsupported bustline of 37″ (larger when lifted with foundation garments) and a waist of 29″. Victorian silhouettes are flattering and show me as more hourglass-shaped, but I find the Regency silhouette makes me look rather roly-poly. Should I adjust the sleeves somehow? Maybe do more gathers at the dress’s waist? I am open to suggestion.

    Thanks for a wonderful site and for all your helpful responses to people.

    • Jennie Chancey
      August 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Lanai! I’ve got photos in the Vintage Images section of extant gowns from Paris and Denmark that show a beautiful “hourglass” shape even with the empire waist. This is done by nipping in the skirt at the side seams just below the empire waist to create more of a curvy shape. Keep the skirt’s back gathers in the center back between the side back seams, as that also helps to slim the skirt. No need to add more gathers–that will actually accentuate the “round gown” look that was coveted in the late 1790s. Definitely go with correct undergarments to give the right uplift to the bust. Without stays, the bustline tends to, ahem, bust out all over, which isn’t flattering on any body type! As for sleeves, I recommend the fitted elbow-length ones from this pattern, as they are far more flattering than short, puffed sleeves. Long sleeves also work nicely if you tailor them a bit for a really nice, close fit (but one that still allows you to move freely). I hope this helps, and have fun sewing!

  43. Lanai
    August 23, 2011 at 8:51 am (4 years ago)

    Thank you so much, Jennie, for your suggestions! I will definitely give those a try. I think pulling in the sides below the waist of the dress will be just the thing.

  44. Amelia
    August 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Jennie!
    I have a party coming next year, and i want to make my own dress. can this dress be tweaked to fit tweens.
    Is orange the only color you can use?
    I Really like light pink.
    One more thing, is it possible to hand sew any of these dresses?
    I have rather large shoulders and the puffed sleves don’t really appeal to me- is there a way to alter the straight sleves?

    • Jennie Chancey
      August 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Amelia!

      This pattern works very well for tweens–particularly the drawstring option, as it has an adjustable fit and works great on a tween shape. You can use whatever colors you like; the copper-colored silk in the photos is just something I had on hand that worked well with my model’s complexion. 😉 Popular colors in the Regency for young girls included pastels of every shade and white. Stronger colors (like reds and deep blues) tended to be favored by older married women. As for hand-sewing, you can certainly do that if you prefer. I always call for hand-finishing of hems and drawstring casings to get an authentic-looking finish on the exterior, but it is really fun to create a gown by hand from the get-go. Finally, this pattern includes both fitted and puffed sleeves. The slight puff at the back is to allow for ease of movement and doesn’t add fullness at the top of the shoulder. Hope this helps!

  45. Katie
    August 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi, I am hoping to use this pattern to make some comfortable maternity dresses. Unfortunately my underpinnings will not fit at this point. Will this pattern work without modifications for everyday maternity wear with regular undergarments? Aside from the extra belly room of course. Thanks,

    • Jennie Chancey
      August 25, 2011 at 3:45 am (4 years ago)

      Hi, Katie! If you look at the last photo in the lineup, that’s me in a maternity tunic I made from the drawstring dress option in this pattern in 2009. :) I wore it all the way through the ninth month, and it was SO comfortable. To make it work through the entire pregnancy, I set the front fold line for the bodice 1.5 inches away from the fold of the fabric, which added a total of three inches to the bodice at the center front. I did the same for the skirt. That gave room for a big belly. I also lengthened the bodice front by an inch to accommodate a regular bra (or nursing bra), though I wore my short stays (soft and unboned and totally comfortable!) most of them time. The amount of length needed depends on your cup size. If you are a “B” cup, then you need an extra inch. “C” needs 1.5″. “D” needs 2″. Testing in muslin over the bra you intend to wear will give you an accurate length for your bodice. You can make the full dress, or you can cut the skirt off at hip-length as I did to make a comfy tunic. Hope this helps, and have fun sewing!

  46. Kelly
    August 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Jennie! I am making a drawstring dress but i want to make it so that I could wear it to school. Would it be possible to use the front skirt panel for the back? Also, I don’t want to wear the underpinnings since I’m shortening the skirt. I am an A cup and am wondering how much I would need to lengthen the bodice.
    Thank you,

  47. Jennie Chancey
    August 26, 2011 at 2:49 am (4 years ago)

    Hi, Kelly! It won’t work to use the skirt front as the skirt back, because it will not give enough hip-room. You will need to widen the panel enough to provide room for comfortable walking and sitting. Giving it a slight A-line shape over the hip will also help. A better idea is to take the skirt back *lining* piece from my original Regency Gown Pattern and use it as the skirt back for this pattern. :) And there is no need to lengthen the bodice for an A cup. It will fit fine over a conventional bra. Have fun sewing!

  48. Kayla
    September 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm (4 years ago)

    I am considering using the drawstring dress for Wendy Darling’s blue nightgown for Halloween. Can you tell me how difficult the pattern is to sew? I’m not a beginner, but I don’t have a whole lot of experience working with patterns. All of my garment sewing to this point has been for my baby.

    • Jennie Chancey
      September 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Kayla! If you have sewed for your baby, you can handle this dress. I recommend leaving out the inner bodice lining for the bodice front, as it is used only over stays and not needed if you’re making this up as a costume rather than a historical reproduction. You will need to lengthen the bodice to accommodate a modern bustline unless you are an “A” cup. Hope this helps!


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  1. […] when I began designing this jacket I mainly used pattern pieces from Sense & Sensibility’s Regency Patterns, mixing and matching various sleeves and drafting a few pieces myself.  I cut out the bodice using […]

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