V259: Starting on the Snowshill 1730-50 Riding Habit

You know when you have tons of stuff to get done for a major costume event or trip, and yet Costume ADD strikes and despite being ridiculously short on time, you simply must get into something totally new?

Yes, that.

Going into Autumn here in Northern Nevada, we sometimes have the rare opportunity to enjoy both blazing golden aspen trees *and* snowfall at the same time.  Usually the leaves are all gone by the time the snow comes, but maybe, just maybe, this year we will get a concurrent leaves+snow day, maybe even two days, and I aim to be ready for a potential American Duchess holiday photoshoot on that elusive day.

Enter the riding habit.  With most costume events taking place in the Summer months, I don’t have much/any Winter gear.  I’ve had this fabric for more than a year, though, with the plan to make the well-known Snowshill riding habit jacket found in both Patterns of Fashion 1: 1660-1860 and Costume in Detail: Women’s Dress 1730-1930.  Here is the original jacket in the National Trust collection:

Snowshill Manor © National Trust / Simon Harris

This is Janet Arnold’s (Patterns of Fashion 1) rendition:

And these are Nancy Bradfield’s (Costume in Detail):

There is also this gorgeous traveling outfit from Marie Antoinette, made up in blue-grey velvet with silver trim, and a matching taffeta skirt worn over side hoops:

One of the reasons I’ve been procrastinating for so long on making this jacket up is because I wanted to have the time to really niggle in on the tailoring.  I’ve never done any proper tailoring, but I would like to try, as I know it has a profound effect on the way a jacket hangs and fits, particularly around the shoulders.  I’ve acquired some hair canvas, and have been reading up on Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing, in Couture Sewing Techniques, and The Practical Work of Dressmaking & Tailoring, the last written in 1902 and available for free on Google Books.  I would also like to try The Victorian Tailor: An Introduction to Period Tailoring, and apply the techniques to women’s coats and jackets like this one.

The original jacket bodice is lined with stiff linen, with additional canvas stiffening the front edges of the jacket.  The skirts of the jacket and the CF facings are pink silk.  No other mention of tailoring techniques is made, although from what I perused last night, these “guts” are right in line with those interfacings used in contemporary men’s frock coats.

My velveteen is fairly thin and actually has some funky stretch in it, so I plan to start off by interfacing the bodice pieces completely with the hair canvas, then going from there with stiffening the front edges further, and applying all the linings by hand.

The tailoring is a new thing for me, so I will blog along on anything good/bad/ugly!


Leave a Reply

Discover more from American Duchess Blog

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading