Jessamyn's Regency Costume Companion: Women's Outerwear Patterns

~ Women's Outerwear Patterns ~

In which we look at the patterns available for cloaks & shawls, spencers, pelisses and other long coat styles, and riding habits.



Patterns for Cloaks and Shawls.


Period Impressions' Cloak with Hood Pattern. Straightforward pattern for a hooded cloak.

Price: About $9.

What You Get: A multisize pattern for an unlined, hooded cloak.
  • Pattern for a basic mid-calf-length, unlined cloak.
  • Pattern for hood.
  • Optional arm slits.
  • Multisized 6-18.

What's Good
  • Plain, simple pattern.
  • Useful not just for Regency but for many periods.
  • Make in plain red wool for everyday Regency wear, or dress it up with finer fabrics and trim (frog fastenings in front would be nice).
  • Good price.

Caveats
  • I myself would never make an unlined cloak. (But if you have reasonable sewing skills, it's easy to make up the cloak once in outer fabric and once in lining fabric, stitching together at the edges.)
  • You could probably find a pattern from Simplicity or McCall's that would be slightly cheaper and easier to get hold of.

Bottom Line: Recommended for those who want an exceptionally simple cape, or who can fudge the lining themselves.


Shawls.

There aren't any patterns that I know of, but you don't need one; they're very easy to make. You can either put a small rolled hem around the edge of a length of fabric, or sew two pieces of fabric together on three sides, turn right sides out, and sew up the remaining seam. For variety, add a gathered ruffle all the way around, or topstitch ribbon or braid about an inch or so in from the edge.



Patterns for Spencers.


Pattern envelope of La Mode Bagatelle's Regency Wardrobe Pattern.

Spencer made from the La Mode pattern by Sense & Sensibility.

La Mode Bagatelle's Regency Wardrobe Pattern: Spencers. Part of the La Mode package described at top.

Price: About $50 for the whole package.

What You Get: As part of a wardrobe of patterns, a spencer with variations.
  • Spencer pattern with smooth front, attached belt, and closed neck.
  • 2 sleeve patterns.
  • 2 collars.
  • Optional tail in back.

What's Good
  • Attractive, flattering style.
  • Options allow for variety.
  • If you're buying the La Mode pattern anyway, it's essentially free.

Caveats
  • The round collar is more period-appropriate than the pointed one.
  • This is better for mid- to late-Regency, when garments were more structured.

Bottom Line: Recommended. Not too difficult, adds a lot to a wardrobe, and works well in a variety of fabrics from wool to linen to velvet.


**period impressions pattern here**
Pattern envelope of Period Impressions' Spencer Pattern.


Spencer made from the Period Impressions pattern.

Period Impressions' Spencer Pattern. I've successfully used this pattern (see left).

Price: About $12.

What You Get: A spencer pattern with variations.
  • Spencer pattern with smooth front, fairly high neck, and ultralong sleeves.
  • 2 collar patterns.
  • Optional decorative belt.
  • Optional tail in back.

What's Good
  • Attractive style.
  • Options allow for variety.
  • Easy to vary the pattern. (I substituted a standup collar from a commercial pattern, piped the edges of the garment, and used a "kilt buckle" instead of hooks and eyes or frogs to fasten.)
  • Reasonable price for what you get.
  • Good for both early Regency, when styles were less structured, and later, when belts and fancy collars came into style.

Caveats
  • Regency sleeves were extremely long--over the knuckle of the hand--but these are ridiculous. (Easy to cut down, though.)
  • I found that the pattern called for at least three-quarters of a yard more 60" fabric than I needed...try it in muslin first.
  • limited sizes in one package.

Bottom Line: Recommended. Not too difficult, well-priced, easy to vary.



Rocking Horse Farm's Spencer Pattern. I don't know much about this pattern.

Price: About $10.

What You Get: A multisize pattern for a high-necked spencer.
  • Pattern for a spencer with waistband and puff-top, extra-long sleeves with bands separating puff and cuff sections.
  • High, standing collar.
  • Choose S-M-L or XL-Q.

What's Good
  • Slightly different styling than either of the above patterns.
  • Good price.

Caveats
  • I don't know of anyone who's made this pattern. I've heard slightly mixed reviews of this brand of pattern.
  • Puffed sleeves, banded down at upper arm, limit the type of dress sleeves you can wear under this.

Bottom Line: No Strong Feelings! Personally, I think one of the other patterns is a safer and more versatile choice, but if you're in love with this style, give it a shot. Make it in muslin first.


Patterns for Pelisses and other long coats.

Pelisse.A pelisse is a long coat that could be lighter weight, made from linen, or thick and warm with fur edging. In construction it was either essentially a spencer with a long, tailored skirts attached, or more of a one-piece fitted robe.

There are no pelisse patterns per se, but by attaching a gored-skirt pattern to the waist of a spencer pattern, you create a pelisse. You can use either spencer pattern mentioned above, but La Mode Bagatelle's, with its built-in waistband on the spencer and gored-skirt pattern included, would be much easier to use.




Rocking Horse Farm's Redingote Pattern. I don't know much about this pattern.

Price: About $15.

What You Get: A multisize pattern for a high-necked, caped redingote. (The redingote--derivative of "riding coat"--was a practical outdoor garment for all temperatures and weathers, based on a man's garment.)
  • Pattern for a redingote with shoulder cape and standing collar.
  • Frog or tab fastening.
  • Back can be fitted or full.
  • Choose S-M-L or XL-Q.

What's Good
  • If you are going to be going out in inclement weather, this is a very practical garment.
  • Styling seems accurate--from what I can tell.
  • Could work as a pelisse pattern if you skip the cape.
  • Good price.

Caveats
  • I don't know of anyone who's made this pattern. I've heard slightly mixed reviews of this brand of pattern.

Bottom Line: Recommended With Caution. I don't know how well this particular pattern works, but it's a very period-appropriate, attractive, and useful style. Make the top up in muslin first.


Patterns for Riding Habits.


Rocking Horse Farm's Riding Habit ca. 1808. I don't know much about this pattern either.

Price: About $15.

What You Get: A pattern for a two-piece riding habit. (Riding habits were worn as practical travelling garments as well.)
  • Pattern for a tailored, high-waisted, side-buttoned jacket.
  • Pattern for a jumper (skirt with simple attached bodice meant to be covered by jacket at all times).
  • Choose S, M, L, or XL.

What's Good
  • Two-piece construction is a period-appropriate method (although not all were made that way).
  • Attractive, practical styling.

Caveats
  • I don't know of anyone who's made this pattern, but I've heard slightly mixed reviews of this brand.
  • Unlike a pelisse or redingote, which you put on like a coat over your other clothes, this you must change in and out of.

Bottom Line: Recommended With Caution. If you want a riding habit pattern, this is the only one, and it seems fairly accurate in its details. Make the top up in muslin first.



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