Monday, November 20, 2017

A Navy Wool Riding Habit

Being that I ride horses almost every day of the week, it's amazing to me that it has taken this long for me to actually make a riding habit! 

This habit started out as one of my classes at Costume College this year. I took a riding habit fitting workshop with J.P Ryan and Feather Tippets, which was great, because I came home and had a pattern to get started with right away. The jacket is mostly unaltered from the J.P. Ryan pattern. If I remember correctly, I think I changed the lapels a little. Also, I opted not to add hooks/eyes all the way down the front. The two waistcoats are modified from the waistcoat that came in the pattern.

For years, on my to do list, was the idea of a riding habit done in the style of George Washington's uniform at the Smithsonian. Navy with buff lapels and cuffs, and buff waistcoat patterned after a man's. I started this out with that plan in mind. As I moved further along with the project, I changed my mind and decided to keep the jacket one fabric. That way, in the future, I could make and wear any waistcoat I wanted, and the outfit would be more versatile. I tried to keep the habit in the style of the 1770's.

The whole outfit went together much faster than I would have thought. I actually finished it back in September, I believe. I finally got around to finishing the hat last week, and it was finally cool enough to go out back and take some photos! 

I had made the habit shirt years ago, so that was already done. I just added some ruffles to it, this time around. I followed the instructions in Costume Close Up for the jacket and waistcoat construction, filling in any blanks with period dressmaking methods, and also tips from other costumers who have made and shared their habits. Samantha, The Couture Courtesan, made a note of tacking down the buckram, which I found no where else. When I got to that step it was very helpful, as otherwise, the buckram would have been floating about. So, thanks, Samantha! 

The lacing at the back of the waistcoat was inspired by a couple original women's riding waistcoats, like this one at the V&A, which I think is genius, because you can grow and shrink a bit and it will still fit! 

The hat was a little adventure in itself. I'll share more on that in another post. 

Haha, and you'll have to excuse the path lights! If I had been paying better attention, I would have pulled them out for the photos. Doesn't that drive you nuts when you take some good pictures, and then there's like a car in the background?! It's like the penny in Somewhere in Time!

The buttons were by far the most time consuming part of making this outfit, but they do look pretty cool. Oh my gosh I went through so much thread!

Next up, the insides and construction!


  1. Wow, this is amazing. It's absolutely gorgeous, and the buttons totally finish it off.