Saturday, February 26, 2011

How to make a thrift store Regency Spencer: Part 4

I finished my Spencer! I'm pretty pleased with it, and hope to post pics of my entire Regency ensemble someday.  Here's what the finished dress looks like:

Now, back to the tutorial:

1) After rolling the waistband to the thickness you want it (mine was only an inch, since I didn't have more usable fabric to work with), handsew the hooks where you want them. This will keep the coat closed and close to your body.

2) Handsew or machine stitch waistband to the inside of the coat.  Try to be even, though I don't always have much success with that.  I handsewed mine... while watching 4 hours of Jane Eyre!

2) Check the fit to see if there's any wierdness going on.  

This pic was taken with some pins still in it, so it's still a little bulgey,
and I might need to add another hook to close up that little gap in the front.

  3) Then, take a long car ride to Tulare (45 minutes away) while handsewing the lining in place.  


4) Then you're done! Try it all on!

My waistband doesn't seem to curve up as high in the back as I wanted, but I think it still shows off my train nicely. 


By the way, I finally figured out that pesky buttonholer!  I had to go to the school I work at to get the sewing teacher to help me. My machine's buttonholer doesn't seem to want to work on this thin fabric.
Practice makes perfect!
Here's the button design I planned on using, however, I think it sticks out too far with my Spencer over it. So, I might cover my own buttons.  However, I'm actually feeling a bit upset about my Regency attire right now, since the event I planned on wearing it to was cancelled. So I might not come back to this for awhile.

Edit: The dress and Spencer are done!  See the completed product here.


  1. It turned out so cute! Love it.

    Elizabeth's black velvet spencer has front tab/frog-thingies that I would do in tubes of the fabric. You could sew two rows together with a loop on the outer end and attach them by hooks and thread loops or place the loop end over a large button.

  2. What do you mean "in tubes of the fabric"? Would it be in the same velvet or in a black braid?

  3. The Regency dress is fantastic. I love the commentary. To bad about the event, can't wait to see a true '20's dress.

  4. This came out realy nice. Sorry to hear the event fell through, but at least you have it when you need it.

  5. I'm so sorry about the event; I know how that feels and how frustrating that can be. However, you now have a fab outfit for the next event. The spencer really looks great and everything looks so nice. And yay for buttonholes! Those buttons are going to be so pretty on the dress!

  6. Thank you for putting this up on the web! I had an idea to make a spencer from a modern jacket, but wasn't brave enough to just start hacking one up. Reading your blog gave me the confidence to try it. Bought the jacket for $3 at the thrift store and coverted it in one evening. It was already fitted so I didn't need to take any darts. Just cut it off right above the pockets and hemmed it. Didn't take long at all. I didn't even have to do buttons which I was able to leave on and still get through my sewing maching. The hardest part was hemming the lining which required careful trimming and handstitching. Thank you very much!

  7. Post a photo of it, I'd love to see what you've done!