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The Elegant Lady’s Closet pattern has 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 ePattern.
  • 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
  • Available for instant download!
  • This pattern is rated intermediate, but I’ve had beginners make gowns with minimal assistance from an experiencedΒ seamstress.

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.

(Looking for the paper version rather than the ePattern? Purchase from one of our many retailers worldwide! Please note that Patterns of Time carries my entire line and is well stocked.)

187 Comments on The Elegant Lady’s Closet

  1. 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,

    • Hello, Victoria!

      A half robe is just the crossover gown cut to hip length. πŸ™‚ 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!


      • Hello Jennie,
        I have bought The Elegant Lady’s Closet Pattern and just saw the above comment about making an open robe with the crossover pattern – am I right in using the lining pattern piece for the outer/ inner lining of the open robe with the skirt piece? Any help would be really appreciated! Many thanks

        • Hi, Amanda! Yes, if you check Instagram, you will see that I reposted the open robe made exactly this way by @arlemhawks on January 14, 2019 (scroll down until you see the blue gown shown from the back, then use the arrow keys to see the front and side views). She used the “lining” tabs that are meant to cross over the stays inside the gown to create the tabs that cross over on the outside. Brilliant! To make this work, you need to cut down the crossover bodice so that it doesn’t cross over but simply frames the bodice on either side. Then you will fully line each tab before attaching on either side (I recommend using your fashion fabric to line them). Let me know if you have any further questions, and I will be happy to help!

  2. 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?

    • 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!

  3. 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).

    • 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! πŸ™‚

  4. 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.

    • 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!

  5. 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!

    • 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. πŸ™ 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!

  6. Hello,
    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!

    • 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!

  7. 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…

  8. 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

  9. 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)?

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

  10. 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. πŸ™‚ thank you so much.
    I love all your patterns. πŸ™‚

    • 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!

  11. 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!!!

    • 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. πŸ™‚ The crossover gown in the photos does have the additional panel, yes.

  12. Hello Mrs. Chancey πŸ™‚ 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!

    • 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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

  15. 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. πŸ™‚ Thanks for asking!

  16. 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)?

    • 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!

  17. 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?

    • 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! πŸ™‚

  18. 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!!!

  19. 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.

    • 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!

  20. 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?

    • 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. πŸ˜› 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!

      • Do you know of (or have you considered making) a drawstring regency dress pattern available that does not require period undergarments? My first dress I made with the Simplicity pattern and accidentally made it almost too small even to begin with and so now I’ve long since out grown it (lol – odd way to phrase it as an adult, but I’m still only about a modern 6 – I just was still a tiny thing when I made it) my bust fluctuates more than the rest of me with weight changes, and I don’t want to spend so long on a dress again only to have it not fit at times, but I’m also not interested in taking the time to sew the period undergarments for a dress that won’t get much wearing sadly.

        • Hi there! The Simplicity pattern is way too short, because they chopped off all the longer cutting lines for B-D cups, so it’s too short for all but A cups. Very frustrating! The reason for period-correct stays with this pattern is to avoid a “bullet chest” look in the bust. However, I have made many tunics for myself (particularly for maternity wear) from this pattern, wearing a regular bra underneath. All I did was lengthen the bodice front by an inch to add the needed depth for my cup size. If you check the online instructions for the Romantic Era Dress patterns, the appendix has illustrated instructions for adding length to the bodice to accommodate a larger bust. That’s all you need to do! Cheers!

  21. 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.

  22. Hi,
    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.

    • 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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. πŸ™‚

  26. 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…

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


    • 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! πŸ™‚

  28. 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!

    • 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. πŸ™‚ 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!

  29. 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.

    • 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!

  30. 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!

    • Hi, Patty! Yes, when ladies had maids or sisters to help them with back fastenings, it was a breeze to dress. πŸ˜‰ 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!

  31. 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?

  32. 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!

  33. 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?

  34. 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 =)

    • 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! πŸ™‚

  35. 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. =)

  36. 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.

    • 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!

  37. 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.

  38. 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?

    • 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. πŸ˜‰ 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!

  39. 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,

    • 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. πŸ™‚ 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!

  40. 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,

  41. 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. πŸ™‚ And there is no need to lengthen the bodice for an A cup. It will fit fine over a conventional bra. Have fun sewing!

  42. 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.

    • 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!

  43. Hi Jennie,
    So after looking at the pictures, I went with the Regency gown and it came out beautifully – much easier (and quicker!) to sew than I had anticipated. So thank you for a beautiful pattern!

    It does seem a bit big so I may size down the next time I try. But this is just for halloween so I’m not too concerned.

    I am considering trying to surprise my best friend from high school with a Jane Austen weekend at One Hundred Main next spring – if I am able to pull it off would you recommend a drawstring gown since I wouldn’t be able to fit my model? I’m thinking it might be a bit more forgiving.


  44. Hi Jennie,
    A silly question, but I’m trying to decide between this pattern and the original Regency gown pattern. Is the Regency gown duplicated in this Elegant Lady’s Closet pattern or are they entirely different?

    Many thanks πŸ™‚

    • Hi, Serena! Nope, this is a completely different pattern — totally different shape to the bodice back, armholes, sleeves, everything. The bodice pieces are also shorter and do require the proper underpinnings to fit correctly. Hope this helps! πŸ™‚

  45. Thank you so much Jenny for such a prompt response! I ordered the original Regency dress (the underpinnings as well)and will definitely be back for the Elegant Lady’s Closet and Spencer patterns soon.
    I can’t wait to go fabric shopping!! πŸ™‚

  46. hello, i love these dresses but i have a question about the yardage. i have cut fabric from many years ago and it is just about 3 1/4 yards. i am short, 4ft 8 and i wanted to know if it would work. thank you.

    • Hi, Mollie! Yes, you will have plenty of yardage, as the skirt length will be shorter. You won’t have enough for the optional extra skirt panel for the crossover gown, but you can always make that from another material (similar in color and type). Hope this helps!

  47. I see that you have to have proper underpinnings for the “gowns.” My question is regarding the maternity blouse that is pictured. Does that require special underthings as well? How many patterns in this package are meant to be worn with standard issue lingerie? It is so hard to find pretty and modest clothes. Even maternity clothes are too low cut or too short in the skirt. I love the elegance of these dresses but I don’t want to deal with underpinnings.

    • That’s the crossover bodice, Hannah. If you have a ballerina neckline (low bust point), you may need to add length to the bodice. However, since this pattern calls for period correct underthings (chemise and stays), you will probably find the low bust point “fixed” by stays, as they lift the bust. Always measure over the undergarments you intend to wear with the gown before cutting or altering. Hope this helps!

  48. Hi, Kelly! The smooth skirt front is from my original Regency Gown pattern. You substitute it for the drawstring skirt front, then gather the lower bodice front to fit it. Some ladies can pull the dress over their heads without the additional ease in the empire waist, but you can also make the gown button up the back instead. Hope this helps!

  49. Hi Jennie,
    I have some questions about making a regency ball gown that I hoped you’d be able to help me with.
    First, the ball I’m attending is from 10:30-3:00, instead of an evening ball, so would it be appropriate to make my gown from calico? (like a day gown)
    If it should made out of a more formal fabric, would a ribbon taffeta like this one be appropriate? ; (mine is in a hot pink, I’m wondering if the color is anti-period?)
    Also,I read in a “regency ball attire” article that a balconette bra would be acceptable to form the correct regency silhouette, instead of the short stays. Do you agree with this?
    Thank you so much,

    • Hi, Chloe! It all depends on how the ball is billed. If it is a fancy dress ball that is just being held in the daytime for convenience, I’d make a formal gown. If it’s a country dance for intimate friends, you could get away with a cotton print like the ones seen on (check the 1775-1825 “shelf”). Hot pink is actually a color I have seen many times over in museum collections, so it’s entirely appropriate! The fancy taffeta looks more like 1818-1825, but that still works. Finally, you can get away with a balconette bra if it truly creates a “shelf” look by pushing the bust in a bit rather than just hiking it up higher. πŸ˜‰ If you are a “B” cup or smaller, it will be perfect. If you are a D or more, I’d recommend a minimizer bra to help hold things in. Have fun preparing for your event!

  50. Thank you so much for your advice and such a very prompt reply! Your advice was very helpful and I really appreciate it. πŸ™‚
    Thank you again so much and God bless you!

  51. Oh that’s wonderful! Which options did you use? Maybe it would make more sense if I saw the actual pattern but I’m trying to decide which pattern to get first! I’m loving the Regency, Elegant Lady’s Closet and the 1912 Kimono. I am a beginner. I also live in a pretty warm area and summer is upon us so I want something I won’t have a heat stroke in hehe. What would you suggest?

  52. Both, actually! You can easily nurse in either option. With the drawstring option, you just loosen the neckline ties for access. With the crossover option, just open one side for access. You still need a cover-up, but it’s not difficult to nurse that way. The 1912 Kimono Dress has nursing access instructions in the pattern for a lift-flap access. But for comfort, the drawstring dress from the Elegant Lady’s Closet is my favorite. I even make hip-length blouses from it!

  53. Well, well, Ms. Jennie. You’ve struck again, haven’t you? With purchasing the 1914 dress, the romantic blouse, and the Simplicity Regency pattern with your logo I thought our relationship was over. But, noooooooooo, you had to strike again.

    Not only do I want/need/have to have the pattern being discussed here, but now I had to go and get into the underpinnings thing. Geesh. I reallly didn’t want to be bothered with those things, but now, they all I can think of (hey, anything that can lift these girls up needs to be considered).

    Lady, you are the business! I am SO glad I found S & S and your forum is truly a godsend.

    Cheers, keep ’em coming, oh and when are you coming home and when will the site be completed?


  54. LOL! Thanks for the grin today, Lyric! My tech guy is apparently out of the country for a bit, so my menus are still broken. So I’ve got someone else looking at them and hope to get the site fixed soon! We’re in Kenya for the long haul and love it, but we do have plans to visit back home again from time to time. πŸ™‚

  55. Getting ready to make a fitting muslin for the crossover dress and noticed that the cutting line for the “A” cup is drawn only for sizes 6. 8 and 10. My bust measurement is a size 14, but I still need the “A” cup, not the “B” or “C” cup that you have drawn for that size. Should I just continue the “A” cup cutting line to the lower corner of the size 14 side seam?

  56. Hello! Yes, just continue the “A” line over to the 14. That will work perfectly unless you have a very low bust point — but you’ll catch that when you try on the muslin if that’s the case. πŸ™‚

  57. A general question about sleeve seams: Usually when I set sleeves into a garment I stitch the seam and then stitch a second line a quarter inch inside the seam allowance, then trim just outside the second line of stitching, This removes the excess fabric from the sleeve seam and eliminates the need to clip curves. Your instructions for setting the sleeves do not mention either double stitching and trimming or clipping curves. Is this a “period” method, or are you just assuming that we already know to do one or the other?

    • Hello! There are all kinds of seam finishes correct for the Regency Era. The most common I’ve seen is a very narrow French seam, but it’s harder to do those around curvy elbow sleeves. The other common method is to stitch the seam, then trim it down and overcast it to finish. I’ve never seen double seam stitching, but I wouldn’t worry about it, even if you’re trying to be period authentic, since no one will see the seam finish outside the sleeve. πŸ™‚ Hope this helps!

  58. I love this site and am just putting an order together so I can sew for a good friend.

    I have one (very small)correction to suggest: the word for handbags from that era is ‘reticule’ not ‘ridicule’. If you only hear the word, they do sound similar, though. Hope you don’t mind.

    • Hi, Beth! The purses are actually called both in the letters and fashion journals of the time. πŸ˜‰ “Ridicule” is the earlier word, which referred to the ridiculously small size of the bag. “Reticule” appears about ten years later and seems to have come from the earlier word. Fun bit of fashion history!

  59. I have loved working with your patterns – so much fun! However I am now wanting to make the crossover dress for myself in a bit of a rush, as usual. I am full figured, but I believe the largest size will work with some minor adjustments (bust 50). Will a good fitting underwire bra, cinched up high, work as underpinnings since I have no time to make proper stays? Also, would a flouce at the bottem of the 3/4 sleeve be appropriate? I’ve been to many webcites and it appears there were many sleeve finishes. Love making your garments for clients but this is my first undertaking for myself – got roped into a period church play and waited to make my costume last.

    • Thanks, Blythe Ann (I love your name, by the way!). Yes, you can use a good, firmly supportive bra if you are in a rush. I just recommend lengthening the bodice front as shown in the Romantic Era Dress appendix. Do this in muslin (even if you are in a rush!) to make sure you’ve got a good fit before you cut into your fashion material. And, yes, flounces at the end of the elbow-length sleeves are totally appropriate for an early Regency gown. Have fun sewing!

  60. Just whipped crossover gown in a little over 3 hours. Didn’t even lengthen bodice and changed ball gown sleeve to 3/4 length so I’d have room to move. It worked perfectly for the play and had time to review my script! I had so many compliments,including my husband, who is picky about being historically correct. I just love your patterns – the fit is amazing! Can’t wait to move on beyond Regency era….

  61. Hi Jennie! I absolutely love all your Regency designs (I’ve bought all the patterns, but haven’t had time to make anything yet, unfortunately.) I was just wondering how you add the braid trim to the crossover gown. It’s such a lovely detail.

    • Hi, Zoellen! It’s just hand-stitching. Cut the braid to the proper length, leaving about 1/4″ at the ends to turn under, pin in place, then stitch with thread the same color as your trim. That’s all it takes!

  62. I recently found out that I am pregnant again and it popped into my brained to head over here for this pattern to make my own maternity wardrobe. I have looked over the question/answer section but I cannot find out how the underpinnings would work for nursing/pregnancy. Do you have a section or blog post devoted to augmenting for pregnancy/nursing? I think it might be really helpful if you don’t already (and I am just missing it).

    • Hi, Shanna! Sorry it took me so long to reply to this–it got stuck in the spam filter for some reason! At any rate, when you create the stays for nursing, you do not bone them. Instead, you use cording and quilting stitches. This makes it easy to fold them down out of the way (when unlaced) for nursing. I even nursed twins in mine! The neckline of the chemise just loosens and pulls down for nursing–very easy. Hope this helps!

    • Hello! I haven’t had the time to put together the step-by-step photos for that option yet (only the drawstring option), but if you drop a line to contact [at], I’ll be happy to help!

  63. Dear Jennie,

    I have just bought this pattern but have a question – Does one need significant bust to look well in the drawstring dress? I am slightly concerned that because I am not very well endowed (only a b-cup when I’m in my stays) that the drawstring dress will make me look like the 1995 Caroline Bingley, but the pictures are so pretty! What would you recommend?


    • Hi, Hattie! The drawstring gown is actually very flattering to a slender silhouette, as the gathers add fullness in front. I personally don’t think it looks very flattering on anyone over a “C” cup, as it creates a very “busty” profile — but it will be great on you. Happy sewing!

  64. Hello!

    I have recently made this dress, with a dravstring bodice and elbow-length sleeves, and I think it looks lovely. But the lining confused me. Is it just supposed to be laid crossed over the bust? Of course, I may have misunderstood the instructions, being a beginner at this, and English not being my native language.

    Kind regards,

    • Hi, Joanne! Yes, you did it correctly. The word “lining” throws off many people, as it’s not a lining as we think of it in the modern sense. The flaps are meant to smooth the line of the stays and chemise under the dress, so you cross them firmly one side over the other and pin or hook in place. Enjoy wearing your gown!

  65. I’m new to sewing period clothing, but finished the stays fairly well. The crossover gown is what I’m tackling now, but I’m having a bit of trouble with attaching the ballgown (short) sleeve. I’ve matched the * to the bodice side seam. But does the sleeve seam need to match up with anything (like the shoulder or back side seam) at the back? Thanks for your assistance!

    • Hi, Shayna! Nope — if you match that * you are all set. The “leftover” fabric will all be pleated or gathered to fit the top and back of the sleeve (between the shoulder and the dropped seam). The front is completely smooth. Happy sewing!

  66. Hi!

    You wrote, “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!”

    I love the idea of having an assortment of pieces, but being on a bit of budget, I don’t think I want to tackle period undergarments too. Would I be able to make dresses that fit well just by sizing down a bit? (And perhaps wearing some skirts underneath for fullness?)

    Thank you!!!

  67. Wow, this really looks like an adorable set of patt
    Would it be suitable to make a bridal gown from? For I will marry in September 2016 (yes, I know, its still time a lot of time to go…) and dream for a long time to do it in such a beautiful regency dress (hoe could a woman ever look more beautiful, feminin and gentile?).
    If not: What would you recommend and how should I choose the colours? For my first husband died some years ago I do not want to wear a plain white dress.
    Nice regrds, Karo

    • Hello, Karo! Many of my customers have made Regency gowns for their weddings and for renewal of vows. This pattern works beautifully for that, and you can use practically any color you like, as white wedding gowns didn’t become de rigeur until the late Victorian Era. Check my Diary of a Dress, which showcases a chocolate brown and peach wedding gown I made years ago from a customer’s drawing. πŸ™‚ Congrats!

    • It sure can! You can create a train with the center back skirt panel, as shown in my train tutorial at Diary of a Dress. I’d recommend adding the extra skirt panel for the interior of the skirt (as explained in the instructions), which will help keep the skirt front from flapping open too far and revealing too much. Have fun!

  68. I am trying to make the drawstring dress and I am confused at what to do with the drawstring. I made the bodice and put my liner in my skirt, now I am confused at the next step from the instructions in the pattern. Help would be appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi, Megan! I hope you got my email reply a few days back. Basically, once you have bodice and skirt together, the seam allowance inside the bodice front becomes the casing for the drawstring. You will bind the allowance, then topstitch it in place to create the casing. The drawstring runs from one side seam to the other, through this casing, entering and exiting through the openings you left in the side seam in an earlier step. Hope this helps!

  69. Hello πŸ™‚

    Bear in mind when reading my questions that I am a beginner seamstress and that my mothertongue is french (from Belgium) so I hope my questions won’t be too silly …

    I’m making an attempt at the drawstring version with short sleeves and I’m having difficulties understanding the drawstring on the bodice: I am assuming this runs on the front and the back of the dress (making a full circle) ? I am also assuming the drawstring is sewn on the “bodice” and not on the lining?

    i am attending a reconstitution of the Battle of Wavre 1815 (I live next to Waterloo) and I would love to be nicely dressed πŸ˜‰

    Thank you and sorry again if the questions are too basic πŸ˜‰


    • Hi, Stephanie! No questions are too basic! Always feel free to ask. The drawstring at the waistline only runs through the bodice front, and the casing is made by topstitching the waistline seam to the bodice. The drawstring tape exits the casing at each side seam through the opening you leave in a prior step. When the dress is finished, you’ll run the drawstring tape into one side seam opening, through the casing you created in the seam allowance, and out the other side seam opening. Then the tape passes through the self-fabric loop on either side of the bodice side back curve just above the waistline seam. If you’d like some photos, drop me a line, and I’ll send them! Happy sewing!

  70. Hello! I bought two fabrics that I love together and think I would like to make one drawstring dress and a crossover half-robe so that I can wear the two fabrics together. In your opinion, do you think the short puff sleeves would fit under a longer-sleeved half-robe? Or would they just get crushed /look bumpy underneath? I like the idea of having short sleeves because it would be comfortable, but also want to be able to wear the two garments together.

    Thanks! I love the patterns and have been eying them for a while– I am excited to get started!

    • Hi, Betsy! Yes, the short puffed sleeves will fit under a long-sleeved half-robe, though they would be a squeeze under the elbow sleeves. If you use a thinner cotton (like pima) for the short-sleeved gown, the sleeves will fit even better. Hope this helps! Enjoy!

  71. I have a question regarding the drawstring dress. There are instructions for gathering the back skirt but not for the front skirt – and there is more skirt to bodice material – if I pinned it correctly. Does one gather the front skirt as well before sewing the bodice to the skirt? Thanks!

    • Hi, Mairi! Are you sure you’re following the correct cutting line for skirt front? The skirt and bodice fronts are identical widths, because the skirt front is drawn up with the bodice front when the waistline drawstring is pulled and tied. Hope this helps!

  72. I was wondering… I have a tea in April with my local JASNA chapter. Which option and fabric combination would you suggest for that event.

  73. Hi
    I’m presently trying to make a(n approximate) replica of the empress josephine coronation gown(based on the portraits) and have been looking at patterns to use as a basis. I’m good enough to adjust them to suit what i want to do but like to have a pattern to start with. I was wondering whether the elegant lady’s closet or the original regency gown was the best pattern to buy to work with? I’m particularly interested in if either pattern has a train included (i’ve never made a dress with one before so really want a guide for that bit). I was also wondering whether the gowns include linings, and if they do whether that is just for the bodice or is it inclusive of the skirt (the fabric i have is a lovely white voile with hand embroidered gold stripe – a bit of a variation on the stuff in the portrait but will look lovely. the obvious problem being its also rather transparent so will need another layer underneath for certain).

    • Hi, Cecilia! What a marvelous project, and I wish you all the best as you stitch. You’d actually get a much closer silhouette using my original Regency Gown pattern, and I have a tutorial that shows how to add a train at THIS LINK. The Regency Gown pattern includes full lining, so you’ll be covered for your gorgeous voile. Happy sewing!

  74. Hi! I recently purchased this pattern but was having issues with the bodice back being too tight and as a result making it difficult to move my arms. I already sized up but it didn’t help very much. I was wondering if you had any advice on how to fix this problem?

    Thank you so much!

    • Hi, Lindsey! The bodice back is quite fitted and is designed with the armholes set further back to encourage the shoulders to roll back for perfect posture. Did you make stays to wear beneath the gown? Without them, it’s much harder to wear the dress, because the stays do the work of pulling the shoulders back the way they need to be for a proper fit. If you have made stays, the issue could be a simple one of having broader shoulders. In that case, you’ll need to cut out the center back piece half an inch to an inch away from the fold of your material to provide extra room for movement. Please feel free to drop a line if you have photos or other questions. I’m happy to help!

  75. Hi there,
    I love your patterns, so beautiful. I’m interested in making one of these or both, but am unsure of how they would look on me. I have a small waist 30” and a large bust HH, so would this be unflattering on me? I don’t want to put the commitment into making dress and undergarments if I wouldn’t be pleased with how it looks on. Or would it be more flattering with my normal undergarments?
    Thank you for any help you can give.

    • Hi, Elizabeth! You definitely want to make undergarments to give the correct silhouette for this time period. Without them, the fit is really not flattering unless you are a B cup or smaller. πŸ˜› There’s a customer of mine who took the short stays up to a G cup and shows how to alter the pattern to allow for larger cup sizes. You can see her post in my old read-only forum at THIS LINK. You’ll have to register to read the post, but you won’t get any spam as a result — I don’t save email address, and the forum is closed to new posts. Once you have the correct support in place, you can lengthen the bodice of the gown to match the length of your short stays (otherwise the empire waist will cut across the bust). I show how to do this in the appendix for my Romantic Era Dress pattern, and the principles are the same for this pattern. I hope this helps! I’m always happy to answer questions, so don’t hesitate to drop a line!

  76. I just got this pattern and am eager to sew! Could you use the crossover bodice on its own as a spencer pattern?

    • Hi, Melissa! Yes, you could, but I’d recommend adding a waistband, as the pleats on the bodice need an anchor. There are many extant examples of crossover Spencer jackets, so go for it!

      • Thanks – I did end up making it, although instead of using the lining pieces I just did copied the bodice for lining, and sewed bodice and lining together at the shoulders and lower edges right sides together and flipped. It seems to have come out okay, although I may add a band to the lower edge as well. I’ll post a pic once I get my dress done and closures on the spencer. Thank you!! Now on to my dress …

  77. I have a comment on the directions. I did long sleeves, and the directions say “all gathers will fall between the dropped shoulder seam and the side back seam of the bodice”. The directions for the short sleeve and the pictures indicate the gathers fall between the top of the shoulder and the side back seam. I pinned and repinned and switched sleeves and repinned trying to get all the gathers to fall between the dropped shoulder seam and the side back seam, then realized that was only about an inch or so of space and couldn’t possibly be correct. Looking at the photo I convinced myself it was okay between the top of the shoulder and the side back seam.

    • Hi, Melissa! There’s no hard and fast “rule” for the gathers–as long as the majority of them are towards the back of the dress bodice to allow for maximum movement, it’s fine. The way sleeves were set in this time period wasn’t by exact instructions or rules but by pinning and eyeballing. πŸ˜‰ So you’ve done exactly the right thing–whatever works for you! πŸ˜€ Well done!

  78. Me again … I’m on my third dress from this pattern! I have conquered setting the sleeves. Anyhow, this time I’m doing a short sleeve. Do you really just turn up 1/4″ on the sleeve band and leave it like that without tacking or any kind of finishing? Why not use a two-sided band to have a more finished look? I know that they weren’t as finicky about finishing seams as we were, but it seems like something just ironed up won’t stay. I’m planning to add some lace onto the edge of the sleeve.

    • Hi, Jessica! The drawstring through the waistline runs through the inside front, then exits through openings in the side seams to tie around back (this is straight out from a gown in the Snowshill Collection). The neckline drawstring ties inside the front neckline. πŸ™‚

  79. Hello,
    I’m about to cut pattern pieces for the dress but I don’t know which size to cut. My bust is 90cm so I’m just in between size 12 (88cm) and size 14 (92cm).
    Which one should I choose ?
    (I know I can retrace the pattern between markings but the lazy me would rather just choose one of the two sizes…)
    I thought I could make the bodiced petticoat in size 12 since it should be tight enough to be supportive (I’m not making stays) and the outer dress in size 14 since it should allow for this extra layer. Good idea or not ?
    Thanks πŸ™‚

    • Hi, Angelique! If you are between bust sizes, go ahead and cut the 14. If you are making a drawsting gown, it will pull up to adjust to your bust size perfectly. If you make the crossover gown, you will pleat to fit exactly as well. I’d also make the petticoat in a size 14, because you will pin it to fit exactly, and the back overlaps as snugly as you need. It’s best to make the petticoat first, then fit your gown over that. I hope this helps!

      • Great, thank you for this super quick answer ! I intended to make the petticoat first as you said, so it also serves as a wearable muslin.

  80. What’s the difference between this pattern (the round neckline option), which I already own, and the Regency Gown pattern? I want to make a white dress for a Jane Austen ball with a low wide neckline and a button back. I know this pattern doesn’t have a button up back but that is a fairly easy adjustment I think. Which of the dresses has the lowesr and widest neckline?

    • Hi, Marjolein! This pattern has totally different pieces that are shaped for earlier gowns (1790s-1800), so the back neckline has a very different shape. Neckline depth is a matter of bust point, so it will be different on each wearer. You can easily cut the curve lower to suit if you like (on either pattern). Hope this helps!

      • Thank you for your reply. Another question, I would really like a smooth skirt front. Is there a way to redraft the skirt pattern, instead of having to buy the Regency Gown pattern just for that one pattern piece?
        Getting the dress over my shoulders won’t be an issue as I’m putting a button closure in the back of the bodice.with a placket in the skirt back.

        • Hi, Marjolein! You do not need a skirt front pattern piece; it’s just a rectangle. To figure out the width, make the bodice and run gathering stitches across the bottom of the front to pull up when you try on the bodice. Once it looks right and fits correctly (with the back pinned to take up the overlap there), measure from one side seam to the other. That’s the width of your skirt front. Ta da!

        • Hi Jennie,

          Doesn’t the skirt need to flare to accomodate the difference between the width of the bodice and the hips? Even with the width of the back panel, I think a rectangular piece would not drape beautifully…

        • Nope. The skirts of this period were not shaped (not until the 1820s). The look of this time period is columnar–not curvy. Waist and hips are de-emphasized with the focus on the bust, collarbone, and shoulders (it’s all about regal posture!). The fullness of the back allows plenty of room for the hips, even if you make the skirt front narrower, because the skirt falls from under the bust–not from the natural waist. I hope this helps!

        • Thank you, that is surprising but very helpful. I will try it out with some cotton before I cut into my pretty silk though!

        • I’ll send you a picture when it’s finished! I’m making it in an off white silk and will be finishing it with gold trim. I want 2 rows of trim down the middle of the skirt front, so I need a smooth front. Also cutting the neckline to be lower and wider.

  81. I would appreciate some advice on making undersleeves. Can I use the regency gown undersleeves with the ball gown sleeve together or should I create a pattern with the elegant ladies closet long sleeve for the purpose ?

    Thank you

    • Hi, Anna! You can use the long sleeve piece from this pattern to create an undersleeve. Just measure the distance from the ballgown sleeve band to your wrist (or longer). then add enough room to hem at both ends and cut the long sleeve to match. The rest of the instructions are identical to those in the Regency Gown pattern. Enjoy!

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