Thursday, May 12, 2011

Simplicity 4055

This is my "review" of the Regency Dress that I made last summer.

The owner of Sense and Sensibility Pattern company created this pattern so you have your choice. Purchase the S & S one or the Simplicity one.

I know my photos are a bit revealing. I know that I need a shawl, or kerchief, a sweater, something to cover the bodice area when I wear the dress. I don't have any of those on for the photographs--that way you can see the construction of the dress. I think it's a bit immodest without one more layer to conceal the top.

Pattern Description:

Regency Dress circa 1795-1825

Pattern Sizing:

14 through 20
Eur. 40-46
Fr 42-48

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes. I'm a fan of the Jane Austen movies and it looks like I wanted it to look. I made dress "B."

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes, they were okay. I have seen much better instructions but it's really the sketches in the instructions that were not very helpful. You would want to be experienced at sewing and at fitting yourself before trying this pattern.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

The bust is not very deep. I allowed for more room in that area and it still rides up. I would not make the facing (bodice) if I sew this again using a normal weight cotton. If you are using a very light weight fabric then you would want to have that double bodice. I also skipped having a lining for the skirt portion. My "quilt store" fabric has plenty of body and weight and for an every day dress I do not need it to have a double skirt.

Fabric Used:

Cotton from a high end Quilt Store. It's a dark blue paisley with bits of dark fushia, yellow, and green.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

The pattern is very long because it is a costume; it even has a little bit of a train in the back. I did not sew this for a costume but for a regular, daily dress so I hemmed it about 3 inches above the ankle so that it would be practical.

I used elastic around the neckline and the empire waist line which I HIGHLY recommend doing. I also applied a bias tape style facing to thread the elastic through.

I did sew it according to the directions and I did thread through a black cord but I did not like the two big gaps in the back. I would have had to wear something under it like a black slip. After I sewed it (as directed) I pulled out the cord, added the bias tape, inserted the elastic and sewed the entire back seam shut. Now I put it on overhead (as I would have before) and it's big enough to go right on. It did not need the gaps to get it on my body and I did not want to have to tie two cords in the back every time I wore it.

I also added more fabric to the front of the skirt. The pattern was designed to be VERY full in back and completely flat in the front. I don't mind a little extra fullness and I really like gathers so I added more fullness to the front by cutting the front skirt part bigger.

I sewed 5/8 inch seam allowances on everything but the sleeves. I sewed 1/4 inch seam allowances for the sleeve seam and when inserting the sleeve into the bodice too. Good thing I did that because I have a perfect fit. I try on my clothes and alter the fit while I sew and if I doubt myself then I baste, try on and then commit to the actual seam using the correct stitch lenght.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes, I would. I would skip the double bodice and use only one layer on top. I would allow EVEN MORE room for my bust and yes, I recommend to others who have sewn before.


I make it sound like I totally re-worked the pattern. I didn't. My changes were easily done and I do highly recommend you consider the elastic over the cord or drawstring with this pattern.

If by any chance your garment does not look nice then you could use it as a nightgown. The way the back is constructed you get full range of motion in your arms.


  1. Do you enjoy it? I know that sometimes when we make a garment, you either enjoy it or not!

    I like yours though...but I have some of the same concerns as you when I made mine. I ended up giving it away.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Mrs. M.

  2. Good question. The honest truth is that I'm not getting much use out of it because of the fit. It fits correctly but the "feel" of the fit is different to me.

    I like an empire waist but there is something too close fitting about the bodice.

    I like how the back is truly fitted to your back due the construction of the pattern.

    I think it's all about what I'm use to.

    I've always liked my clothes to be too big for me and to not feel them. That, I think, is the issue with my Regency dress. It's just too easy to jump into my jumper or skirt/top.


  3. here is a free pattern for a chemezette like modest regency ladies used to wear. Also, here is a more modern regency dress pattern. You have to adjust it though if you have a big bust like I do because it will not cover it properly. She has it under her Peasant top, Clara dress, nightgown pattern. You only see the cutting lines on the pattern for the Regency dress. I never tried to get the real Regency dress because at Sense and Sensibility patterns she said you had to wear a corset. That is just something I never want to do. I'm like you Clevsea. I like things loose and comfy.

  4. No corsets for me either. Loose, comfortable and concealing.

    Dress as a woman professing godliness, the Bible says.