With so many conventions in my area having a British theme in 2013, I decided it would be the perfect year to finally make a Regency gown.Â I am a bit of a Jane Austen freak. I’ve read all her books and seen every movie made from them. Even the bad ones. I decided, since it was for a sci-fi convention, that instead of just making any Regency costume I would up the geek factor and go as Elizabeth Bennet from the Jane Austen spinoff, Â Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Â Because why not wear a pretty dress AND carry a sword, right? Precisely.
After doing some reading around on historical re-enactment forums I decided not to purchase a pattern from any of the popular commercial pattern companies. Instead I went with patterns from sensibility.com, a site devoted to Regency and other historical costuming. I purchased their Regency Underthings and their Regency Gown pattern. The Regency Underthings pattern is for all sizes, and is recommended to get the proper fit for the dresses. Â For the gown pattern you will need to purchase a supplement for $3.50 extra to extend the pattern to fit sizes 18-26. (or $1.95 if you download and print your own) I personally felt it was worth the extra few dollars not to have to extend the pattern myself. A task I hate only slightly more than hand-sewing hems. The website features a blog, sewing tips, and best of all a photo album showing models of all sizes wearing the clothes. So I knew the pattern I was buying would work on me and not just on the willowy actresses I’ve seen in the movies.
Sensibility patterns cost a little more than the ones you buy at your local fabric store. But they are oh so elegant. I highly recommend spending the extra money for a printed version as opposed to the download. The patterns are printed on real paper, not flimsy tissue. They come complete with a very detailed instruction manual written in plain English as opposed to sewing jargon short-hand. I am a lifelong cosplayer, but have no formal training in garment construction. I found some of the techniques in the making of my Regency costume to be a bit advanced. This was definitely not a beginner project. However, the instructions were so well-written that I was able to figure everything out and complete my dress without completely losing my sanity.