As promised, here is my really big post of pattern notes and adjustments for Simplicity S8941 1790s to Regency Round Gown and Open Robe pattern.
This pattern was originally designed in the 1790s style, with a peaked back and full gathered skirt. As is Simplicity’s preference, it was designed to be worn with a modern bra, but can also be worn with a 1790s or Regency corset.
This period of dress is an “easy” one to pattern because there is no tricky waist fitting – BUT, there is still the bust, sleeves, and overall length to consider. So let’s get into how to make these adjustments, along with a few others. I’ve made some handy diagrams –
The biggest check and adjustment many report for Simplicity S8941 is the bust depth for the round gown. Though 1790s necklines were *very* low, the amount of decolletage you wish to show will depend on your bust size as well as personal and design preference. For my 1790s Vigee Lebrun round gown I wanted a higher neckline, so I made the above adjustment for a look closer to the original portrait.
The next adjustment was for skirt length. Simplicity patterns are sized for about 5’3″ to 5’4″, the average height of an American female (apparently.). I am 5’6″ so I needed to add on, plus I wanted an epic train. It’s an easy fix, shown above.
Above is one design adjustment and one pattern fix. The design adjustment is to straighten out the back if you don’t like the 1790s peak. Not all ’90s gowns had that peak and later Regency gowns lost it as well. I will admit that it’s a pain to keep a sash in place (I added thread loops to the center back on mine), and much easier to keep it tied with a straight back.
Lastly, for those of us with narrow shoulders, here’s a multi-staged adjustment. This one works best for when you are fitting shoulder straps and sleeves on the body, in the 18th century method (see The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty for step-by-step instruction with photos). It’s important to add shoulder strap length as well as extra to the sleeve head to accommodate for setting the shoulder straps further back.