The Sewing Place

Riding Habit

Syrinx

Riding Habit
« on: May 29, 2017, 16:52:07 PM »
I've agreed to go to my first affiliated side saddle competition. I'm borrowing one of my trainer's horses as mine aren't ready yet. However, I need a habit. Nothing fancy, just a nice modern habit.

There's only one pattern for this that I can find commercially - a Suitability one. One pattern for the jacket and one for the apron skirt. The jacket is an ok pattern according to some, but the apron is a bit of a nightmare, lots of darts, hard to fit etc.

Side saddle habits are fitted over a riding corset and they need to be elegant and flattering, not to mention very well fitted. Buying one new is pretty much only a made to measure option, buying second hand can be good but will need re-tailoring to fit. I figured, why not make one myself!? So I've committed to the show, and committed to making this outfit.

I'm currently having trouble sourcing my wool as it needs to be 32oz cavalry tweed. I'm not making matching riding trousers, but I'll be wearing some breeches as I'm not yet doing a class that needs a traditional or period costume (although I have found a jacket at the V&A that I am definitely going to be making once I am a professional jacket maker!).

I have never tailored anything to fit before and I've never made a jacket. I do make complicated quilts so I'm not too worried about piecing everything together, but I'm sure I'll be crying for help a great many times, especially when it comes to darts, and attaching sleeves, and getting my lining fabric (I think traditionally it's silk?) attached...

So I am feeling very crazy, but positive. You only live once and I feel like being able to make my own habits is a skill I can gain and will only be helpful. I can make all sorts of jackets afterwards with confidence.

Any help greatly appreciated, any books to read, or stitch types to look up, or anything else that might help my manic sewing (it needs to be done by the beginning of July!).

I will keep this updated as I go along, ups, downs, roundabouts, and unpicking included.

I'm hoping to look like an elegant person, but that depends entirely on my sewing!

DementedFairy

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2017, 18:53:51 PM »
I'm no professional jacket maker or a horsewoman, but I made a 'riding jacket' for my steampunk wardrobe last year.  [And breeches, and a 'ride astride' skirt.  There's nothing you could want to make that doesn't have a YouTube vid or tutorial somewhere!  Have you checked out Pattern Review yet?

Is the modern sidesaddle skirt radically different to the historical ones?  I considered making one just for fun, as they look so lovely when bustled up for walking.

Where have you hunted [geddit] for your cavalry twill?  [And how is the 32oz criterion achieved?  How much of it weighs 32 oz?]
C'est moi!

Syrinx

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2017, 19:17:08 PM »
So the historical ones are full skirts that you sit on and button up to make a level skirt when walking. You can make them with a "safe" seam which is poppered or velcroed so will come undone if you fall. Modern ones are more of an apron - so you don't sit on it, but it does button up to give the impression of a skirt. Very odd shape as it's an apron marauding as a skirt. Some good pictures here https://dressedintime.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/hsf-2-innovation-side-saddle-safety.html about 1/3 of the way down.

I haven't looked at Pattern Review - are there tutorials on there?

I've been failing to find the cavalry twill - I have a thread going in the fabrics board for help! It's a very heavyweight fabric so that it hangs right and you look elegant ;) if it's too lightweight it looks silly and flaps all over the place, doesn't last so well and doesn't hang right. As a lot of the judging is on the elegance and poise of the rider, a good well fitting habit that sits right is essential! The go to weight is 32oz cavalry twill but my search just takes me to websites selling m2m trousers or jackets in 32oz cavalry twill!

It's 32oz per m (I think! I'm not a dressmaker) but whenever I do see some it is far too light at 2-300g which is way less than 32oz (900-1000g).

I definitely want to make a historical one (the V&A jacket is amazing) with a full skirt and petticoats etc. There are classes just for historical habits and concours d'elegance classes so it's well worth it. But you have to do a research and info write up to hand into the judges for your outfit and know all about the design and original wearer etc.

The more I write the more worried I am feeling!

DementedFairy

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2017, 19:25:22 PM »
Don't worry- but I suspect that it may be hard to find other than begging an outfitter to sell you yardage [and they'd make you pay through the nose]
Maybe a specialist woollen mill?

I found a lovely navy, but as you say it was 'medium weight'

Would underlining work?  It's a brilliant way to add weight to fabric, and would also be a good way to reduce the sweaty factor- ie wool twill on the outside, underlined in a cotton twill for cooler total weight.  Historically appropriate too, and less itchy!

When you come to look for historical patterns, go to Truly Victorian first, and don't go near Reconstructing History!

C'est moi!

Syrinx

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2017, 19:33:51 PM »
haha, I do know to steer clear of them!

Vena Cava do some lovely period equestrian riding outfits as well. Not like I spent a lot of last week drooling over vintage patterns or anything haha

I'm going to try a friend who's a professional costumer and see if she could locate some for me or if she knows anywhere to look.

I don't know, I do know it has to be wool twill with (probably) silk lining, no lining is absolutely not allowed and the skirt needs weighting appropriately as well to keep the hem straight and sat nicely. I do know people have a problem with lighter fabrics not standing up to the work and not sitting quite right and being very obviously not the correct weight. And sweating will happen in the mildly warm (and even the cold) with horses so it's a case of suck it up and look fabulous!

DementedFairy

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2017, 19:38:20 PM »
I would underline, and line in whatever to hide the guilty secret.  There is a beautiful medium weight navy cavalry twill on one of my fave eBay sites 'The Italian Textile COmpany', they always sell very high quality stuff [by the half metre, watch your yardage!]

Here's a review of your pattern from PR

https://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/73825
C'est moi!

Syrinx

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2017, 19:59:17 PM »
Thank you! I'll have a look :)

sewing in oz

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2017, 23:00:53 PM »
I'm with DF - make normal fabric into 32oz by adding enough interfacing/underlining inside and hide the evidence!

Could you also conceal a "Chanel chain", but heavier weight than used in jackets, in the bottom hem between the fashion fabric and the lining?  That would help add "drop" and stability to the apron hem.  I think chain might work better than individual weights to give a smooth heavy finish.

elisep

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2017, 14:31:02 PM »
A woman after my own heart!! I'm into side saddle riding, but due to the fact that I live in Australia and have a difficult to fit horse (Morgan), I don't yet have my own side saddle. I'm hoping to finally have one this year.
I did, however, start my own modern habit. I  found some lovely navy italian wool at a factory sale. 5 metres will do a jacket and apron, it shouldn't be too difficult to find - I don't know what cavalry twill is, but something around about a wool melton weight should be suitable. As the other ladies have said, it is all in the inter-construction.
Get yourself a good book on tailoring (this one is my bible). I love the hand tailoring methods (pad stitching the hair canvas down etc), haven't actually tried the fusible methods yet but I will at some stage. I love sitting in front of the TV with my hand stitching! This is the ultimate as it gives you so much control. But it depends how much time you have!

For a pattern, I used the Suitability Hunt Coat and the ISSO apron pattern (supposed to be much better than the Suitabiliy one). The Hunt Coat will need to be lengthened for SS appropriate length - it should be grazing the back of the saddle. I recommend you make a toile or two for the coat - I had already made it for a regular riding coat so only needed to lengthen it and mark the cutaway - I recommend you toile it to test how the cutaway looks.
I made a couple of changes to the pattern when I made it as a riding coat. The undercollar is supposed to be cut out of felt or melton wool (I can't remember at present and I'm warm and cosy in bed...!) and is drafted without seam allowances... I added seam allowances (and altered the order of construction) to construct it like a regular collar. Also, the vent linings were drafted strangely so I changed these so that they made more sense and were easier to work with. I also made the collar a little bigger from memory, as the points were a little too small for my eye!

For the Apron, I ordered the ISSO apron pattern from here. I haven't finished it yet (I can't hem it until I have a saddle to sit in to check the hem length and that it hangs correctly), but all indications are that it will be a good fit. I have underlined my fabric with a medium weight muslin/calico, as long as your lining colour is very close to the wool fabric, there is no reason you can't use an underlining between. Also, weight the hem using curtain weights/pennies etc to stop any flapping about. I'm fairly sure you'll find that most modern habits have a lined apron.

Hope that helps you. Feel free to ask me any questions about the two patterns or the tailoring methods - I'm definitely still learning myself, but hope that my experiences might help you!
I'll try and get a photo of the habit for you and a photo of the riding coat I made from the pattern last year as well, to give you an idea  :)

elisep

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2017, 14:37:26 PM »
Forgot to say - are you on Facebook? The "sidesaddle riders" group is an excellent resource. There are quite a few experienced dress makers on there if you need help with anything side saddle related.

Syrinx

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2017, 20:38:12 PM »
Thanks, the ISSO is hard to get in the UK without being prohibitively expensive.

I've asked my neighbour's partner and he is 100% certain she can help with locating the fabric as she has been doing an awful lot of military uniforms and uses a tonne of the stuff generally. She's away until the weekend so I'll pop over for a chat then. I'm hoping she can help with the fit of the toile and any alterations to the pattern to make it better/easier/less difficult to sew! I'll also try and get her guidance on linings and interlinings and generally try and absorb all of her knowledge :)

It will all be lined, don't worry! And the hem will be weighted. My SS trainer is a stickler and reminded me that in some classes they are allowed to check the make up of your habit!

I'm hoping my machine can cope with the thickness of everything as it's just a bog standard Janome. I don't have an overlocker, or any of the other fancypants machines, though I may be able to have access to some.

I'm happy to tailor properly and hand stitch the canvas pad things that I think go in the chest/shoulder area (see my lack of knowledge!) but beyond being confident in my cutting out skills I'm a bit wobbly!

DementedFairy

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2017, 20:41:48 PM »
I doubt if anyone checking could tell if you had used underlining or not

Hope you get it sorted without being bankrupted!
C'est moi!

Syrinx

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2017, 20:55:32 PM »
I don't know, some of these judges are terrifying!

We were at a driving show a few years ago and got nailed because one of our lamps still had some unbuffed (not fully buffed) brasso on it. They do look that closely and check all the niggly places (and under the driving apron to see what shoes you are wearing!). In ss classes, especially the period habit classes they can (and do!) life skirts to check you have the right petticoats underneath and they are allowed to keep rootling through the layers to check everything matches date wise, style wise etc. They are pernicity. And I like to win ;) or at least attempt to win.

This habit will be my first in the hope of making more, including historical (though not historical sewing methods, I don't like hand sewing that much!) and hopefully I can make a few different aprons - general wear, and smart. I'd also like to tailor a couple of hacking jackets (the pattern comes with ss as an option on a normal hacking jacket), one in tweed and one in black for my other riding pursuits as my tailored AJ one is over a decade old now and though I haven't grown much, I could definitely do with a new one.

I think my neighbour can get fabric for me wholesale so that would be a bonus, or she might even have some spare knocking about as she's working on a big project for a film at the moment. I'll know more on Friday. I should get away with 3m to make up apron and jacket so not too much. And then the other bits - interlining and lining. But I've never ever done that before.

I did make a pair of shorts once. I made the fabric as well - a big patchwork of batik and applique squares that I made into shorts. I remember it being tricky but not impossible, and that they fit. No lining though. That was probably 11 years ago though... Oh and I made a cloak 6 years ago, which I still have and still wear, though I never did get around to lining the hood...lining scares me!

I'm getting slightly worried about the tailoring bit now, having watched a few youtubes and read a couple of tutorials :S

DementedFairy

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2017, 21:06:14 PM »
Meh- your first tailoring attempt might be far from perfect, but with Dark Side pernickety skills, you'll be fine.  Lots of handbasting, slow stitching, and you'll be fine.  FITTING is a different matter, but if you have someone to help you out, you'll be fine.
For period stuff, go for Truly Victorian, they are amazing.

Here are my 'riding' clothes [I can't stand horses, nasty big bitey things.  Might manage a hobby horse though...]

http://i.imgur.com/c8c2Ax2.jpg[/img]


C'est moi!

Syrinx

Re: Riding Habit
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2017, 21:21:43 PM »
Hah, hoping the pernickety skills will come in handy! But how does one attach a sleeve?!

Definitely getting my lovely pro clothes maker neighbour to help with the fitting! Would not be attempting that one my own. How does one even fit oneself when wearing a corset?!

Love that green jacket. There's a lovely braided riding jacket at the V&A that I desperately want to make, looks gorgeous. But that would be hurdling before I can crawl!