A Spencer to Pelisse Conversion – prestidigitation with fabric

Well, I could have sworn I have a pattern for a pelisse, but no. I do, however, have this…

Period Impressions #461 - 1809 spencer jackets

Period Impressions #461 – 1809 spencer jackets

…and immediately thought how hard could it be to put a skirt on it? And how much more fabric would I have to buy? (A confession: whenever things like this pop up and I think the solution is blindingly obvious and so easy an eight-year-old could manage it is the first step down a rocky road. I know this, yet I continue to operate in [short-lived] denial. Go figure.)

Anyway, I started my online search.

regency skirt on a waistband with two arm straps

regency skirt on a waistband with two arm straps

First, I double-checked online to confirm my intuitive solution for the strapped petticoat is correct. I was pretty sure the fabric is gathered at the back, and it is. In addition, I learned that I should be calling it a skirt and not a petticoat, since it’s not an undergarment. In any case, It’s on the calendar for tomorrow.

18120 pelisse-carriage-walking-coat

This is the shape I want.

Next I started investigating the spenser-to-pelisse conversion strategy. Someone had to have come up against this before and I am loathe to re-invent the wheel. I found a post by Jennie Chancey (of Sense and Sensibility Patterns) that not only explains the process clearly, but also includes instructions on how to calculate the additional yardage. Here’s the link: http://sensibility.com/blog/patterns/regency-spencerpelisse-pattern. Read down the page and look for the links in red.

Although the instructions are specifically for her Sense and Sensibility spencer pattern (also a good choice), they’ll easily translate to my Period Impressions pattern. For decades I have cobbled together pattern pieces-parts from different companies to make clothing so I’m not anticipating any major obstacles, other than those I usually encounter on a first-time-I’ve-ever-made-something-like-this adventure.

As I mentioned in the last post, I purchased 5 yards of the white fabric before I understood the construction. As it turns out, I need 5 yards for the petticoat and 5 yards for the 3/4 pelisse. Fortune has smiled. which I’m taking as a good sign for this project.

At least for now.