1778-9ish Riding Habit(ses)

Zoffany, detail from "The Sharp Family," 1779-81

Read The Dress Diary

The Concept

A riding habit for Colonial Williamsburg!  Very late 1770s, basically following this lady from Zoffany’s “The Sharp Family”… except in green.

The Fabric & Trim

Habit:  forest green wool (crepe? suiting? can’t remember!) from Mood Fabrics, lined with green silk shantung and white linen.  Waistcoat:  off-white silk taffeta, trimmed with gold trim from Florence.  Brass buttons from Burnely & Trowbridge.

The Pattern

Draped by me, based in part on the 1750s habits in Patterns of Fashion and Cut of Women’s Clothes, as well as the 1760s-95 men’s suit coat in Costume Close-Up.

Useful Links


  • Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction. Vol. 1: c. 1660-1860. New York: Drama Book Specialists, 1972.
  • Baumgarten, Linda. Costume Close-Up: Clothing Construction and Pattern, 1750-1790. Williamsburg, VA: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1999.
  • Blackman, Callie. “Walking Amazons: The Development of the Riding Habit in England During the Eighteenth Century.” Costume, Vol 35, 2001.
  • Waugh, Norah. The Cut of Women’s Clothes 1600-1930. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1968.


  • Reply Phyllis metcalfe October 5, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Could you possibly help l am trying to find a pattern of Lady Wolsey riding habit,like the one in red or something similar with the lapels,would be very grateful if you could.

    • Reply kendra October 5, 2016 at 10:27 am

      I’m not sure of any commercially available riding habit patterns that are GOOD — I would suggest checking JP Ryan to see if her line has anything?

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