Miss H likes comfort and fashion. I love Regency style. I know this is really not technically close to Regency. Its my version of modern everyday Regency. I made this exact dress for her in a smaller size about 4 years ago, and she wore it out! She asked for another one and here it is….
I used a Laura Ashley McCalls M5039 pattern. Sadly its currently out of print, but keep your eyes open at yard sales & thrift stores, Ebay, and other online stores…and don’t forget to ask sewing friends who always have a large stash of patterns.
If you’re a somewhat experienced seamstress, this dress could probably be duplicated with a McCalls M2337 . The sleeve, neckline, and flare of the skirt are basically the same as the original. I would measure the recipient to find the proper place for the empire waist to sit on them, make a casing inside for the elastic, and cut the skirt to the desired length.
The M5039 pattern has a bodice front and back, raglan sleeves, & a skirt front and back. I made it one size larger than my daughter, left out the zipper, and added a ruffle to the bottom. The seam allowance at the waist became the casing for the elastic. I left it untrimmed, stitched it together to make a casing, and inserted a thin elastic.
She actually wears this one backwards since it makes the neckline a little more modest. I make a mark inside the “front” so it becomes the back.
For this dress I used fabric I had laying around….a lightweight cotton chambray and a blue & white checked homespun. There was just enough homespun for a sweet ruffle at the bottom.
The neckline features raglan sleeves with an elastic neckline casing. I stitched a pretty seam binding on the inside for durability.
This dress is worn at least twice a week. I think its nice enough for around the house, a trip to town, or even church. I’ll be making one or two more soon.
UPDATE: My daughter and I have each made a few more of these dresses. They’re extremely comfortable and super easy! I did make one more change from the post above. I now use the bodice back pattern piece for both the front and back. Just cut two instead of one. I did have to adjust the sleeves a teeny tiny bit. The original front bodice piece was just too low cut for our tastes and, as mentioned above, we solved that problem by wearing the dress backwards. Nobody can tell the difference.
I know there seems to be a lot of fussing around with this pattern initially, but believe me, its worth it in the end for a durable, all purpose, comfortable, economical, quick, and easy wardrobe staple. Of course, you can follow the pattern instructions without any changes and the dress will still be gorgeous and comfortable. I hope you’ll persevere in finding this great pattern.