1778-9ish riding habit, 18th century, projects

On Target for Williamsburg!

I am totally on target for getting everything done in reasonable time for Williamsburg, which, yay! I have finished most of the big stuff, and am now down to fiddly bits. I think I’m even going to have a day or half-day to pack, which is SUPER exciting.

I have been motoring on the riding habit, and I have to say I’m kind of rediscovering the joy of sewing machines — in that I am SUPER excited about this outfit, and if I hadn’t decided to machine sew it, it never would have happened in time. So, sewing machines ARE good when you need them!

I finished putting the jacket together, attaching the collar and the skirts. I did screw up slightly in the jacket skirt pleats, in that I decided to round down the bottom of the back hemline, and just added from the pleats to the CB — but didn’t change the pleat hemline… so the pleats don’t line up with the jacket hemline. I started trying to futz with them to make them line up with the hemline, but it totally threw off the width of the pleats, and meant that the skirts no longer matched up width-wise with the jacket. So I decided it was okay less than perfect, and just went ahead as patterned.

The sleeves were SLEEVIL. EVIL EVIL EVIL. I looked at the riding habit pattern in Janet Arnold and thought, “Okay, wrist-length two-piece sleeve, that’s doable.” I looked through my pattern stash to find something to start with, and realized that I had made a similar style pattern for my chemise gown. So I started futzing with it, and futzing with it, and futzing with it, and FOUR HOURS LATER (okay, I might be exaggerating) I had a pattern that I was close to happy with. Then, I looked at the riding habit pattern in Norah Waugh, where it finally dawned on me that the sleeve top and bottom pattern are supposed to be exactly the same. DUH. Somehow I hadn’t read that in the Arnold layout. So I took my sleeve top pattern, which looked closer to the period cuts, traced off two, and fit those making sure to make even changes b/t top and bottom. Took me less than an hour. Le sigh!

The skirt was relatively quick, except I was lazy and didn’t measure my stash ON my body for my waist measurement — so the skirt is a good 3″ too small in the waistband. It fits, due to 18th c. waist finishing techniques, but if I can find the time, I will unpick it and repleat it a bit wider — otherwise you can see some of my red quilted petticoat showing through!

Warning: these are TERRIBLE pictures, I know, but you can see where I was at a few days ago. Winston really wanted to participate in the picture taking, hence my blurry arm:

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  • Reply The Aristocat March 4, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    It’s absolutely gorgeous!!!

  • Reply Andrew March 4, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    It’s just fierce to death.

  • Reply Kim March 5, 2011 at 6:02 am

    It is just wonderful! Hopefully you will have time for a hat- I am rather enamored with this one….. https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-3wntAfC9lBE/TW27v0RVxAI/AAAAAAAAHC4/vV0vj4WSNpw/s1600/October.jpg
    (I hope this link loads – if not, take a peek at The Duchess of Devonshire’s Gossip guide and her post titled “Robert Dighton’s Calendar Girls, 1785 ” Ms. October is your girl….and she’s wearing your hat!)

  • Reply Kat March 8, 2011 at 5:07 am

    I love it! Beautiful really isn’t the word. Portrait-tastic!

  • Reply Isabel March 8, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    WOW! It looks amazing, I wished I had a modern equivalent of your beautiful jacket! It is on my sewing planes but don’t know how to go about it, do you think this shape will only work with 18th century stays? I have to say the last decades (1770-90) are my favourite re 18th century garments!
    Can’t wait to see the finished outfit (and how you will have your hair) :)

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