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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 ePattern.
  • 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.
  • Click to download the Regency Spencer-Pelisse yardage chart.
  • Available for instant download!
  • This pattern is rated intermediate.

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.

(Looking for the paper version rather than the ePattern? Purchase from one of our many retailers worldwide!)

58 comments on “Regency Spencer Jacket/Pelisse Pattern”

  1. 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?

    • 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

    • 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!

  2. 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?

    • 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!

  3. 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

    • 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!

  4. 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.

    • 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!

  5. 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

    • 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!

  6. 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!

    • 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!

  7. 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

    • 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!

  8. 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?

    • 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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/

    • 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!

  13. 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

    • 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!

  14. 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?

    • 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!

      • 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.

        • 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!

    • 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!

  15. Hi, I’ve been looking for a full length pelisse pattern for ages. How easy is it to adapt the original pattern to include a skirt?

  16. Hi!
    I can’t see the sizes anywhere? Does it go up to a size 16 by any chance?
    Also:
    I want to make a modern, unlined Version out of a thin wool fabric. Do you think that would work?

    Thank you,
    Dalia.

  17. I am planning to make the Spencer as part of a steampunk costume for an event. I am planning on wearing it over quite a bulky corset (the decorative kind), so I was wondering if I need to make it a size bigger or something so that it fits properly.

  18. Does the bodice need to be cut larger to accommodate a double breasted closure vs. just meeting in front and using the frog closure? I also don’t see pattern pieces or directions for doing lapels.

  19. Looking at the pattern pieces I see there are two options on the bodice front now, sorry. But still don’t get how to do the lapels shown on the far right jacket in the picture. Is that done by adding the collar, and the middle picture doesn’t have a collar?

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