Regency gown and spencer

A lot of time has passed since my last blog post, ladies and gentlemen. I have a huge backlog of costumes ins & outs to share, but I decided to not dwell on the past and start fresh with my most recent creation. The backlog will be cleared eventually. I hope so.

I was browsing stories on Instagram earlier this week and someone (I can’t remember who, arghh!!) shared a new Regency gown & spencer pattern by Black Snail Patterns. I knew the company as I have their 1830’s gown and stays patterns in my wishlist on Etsy, but I had never tried any of their patterns yet. Since she was having a sale on Etsy, I decided to give the gown and spencer pattern a try.  The printed pattern pieces were easy to put together, the pattern maker added a lot of markings for perfect alignment and I am very grateful for that.

The pattern is available in a huge range of sizes — US 8-30 (EU 34-56). According to my measurements (with Regency stays!) I was a size 44. I cut and made a size 44 with no alterations, however, I could have possibly added about 2 cm in length to the front pieces. The gown fits right, but I do have a rather large bosom it seems and I’m just missing a little bit at the front. It’s a detail I’ll keep in mind for the next gown. Yes, I know, make a mock first. I was in a hurry, I just wanted to get this gown done ASAP. Why the rush? you might ask. Well, the past few months have been mostly work work work with not much play and I was finally going to have some free time this weekend. I wanted to use this free time to the fullest!

I followed the instructions for the most part when it comes to the gown, including period construction methods which were new to me – such as aligning the main fabric pieces on top of the assembled lining with seam allowance turned in, and stitching in place from the outside (like a top-stitching). There was quite a bit of hand sewing involved that I still did by hand, but I chose to sew most of the gown with my machine. Including serging some seams. As for the spencer, I didn’t follow the instructions and I constructed it the way I wanted (i.e. not historical whatsoever and all machine-sewn).

I changed the recommended hook & eye closing of the spencer for three small pearl buttons. I added hooks & eyes at the center back of the gown to help keep it closed, the ties I’m using seem to be loosening up all the time. I added decorative buttons at the sleeve’s pleat and at the corner of the front piece. For fun. I changed the ‘waistband lining’ for a twill tape for more stability – I had twill tape in my stash that was the same width as the waistband pattern piece.

I love the sleeveless spencer, it can be made super quickly but it also opens up the possibility of turning it into an open robe, which is something I’ve been looking into making. The gown is super comfortable to wear (as all Regency gowns in my opinion), and I can see it made up into a fancy ballgown or for something more simple, like the cotton print I chose.

My fabric is a cute cotton print I bought in Orange, France. The fabric shop was a stone’s throw from the Roman theater ruins. The owner was incredibly nice, I spent quite a bit of time chatting with her about historical costuming and she explained a few things about Provençal costuming. I could have spent hours talking to her!

My conclusion:
I think it’s a very versatile pattern to have if you like the fashion of the early 1800s. I’m really happy with this new addition to my stash of Regency patterns!

You can read my review of this pattern on