Saturday, August 30, 2014

Riding Habit Construction

Unfortunately, I didn't take construction pictures of the entire process... I got too caught up in everything, and learning completely new ways of doing things! But here are a couple images of some of the early steps, and some pictures of it after it's done to highlight a few interesting things.

I must take a moment to acknowledge the incredible generosity of my husband and his master, Mark Hutter, for helping me with the construction of this. I feel blessed to have them in my life, as mentors and friends!

The very first thing I did was sew the center back seam of the jacket. This was done by putting all four layers together (2 wool and 2 silk lining) so that they could be sewn all at once. Make sure the two wools are right sides together, and the two silks are right sides together. 


I sewed the seam in non-matching (totally period!) silk thread with a tiny, tidy backstitch. 

Once it's sewn, you can unfold the layers like so, revealing a fully-encased seam.

Ta-da! Make sure to press it so it's nice and neat. Pressing is your best friend when it comes to tailoring. That, and chalk.

Another interesting (and very different from mantua-making!) aspect of tailoring is all of the interfacing! There's no pad stitching anywhere in this garment, just a heavy, coarse linen (I could/should have gone the extra step and put a couple layers of gum tragacanth on the linen to create buckram, but...).

The interfacing is tucked under the seam allowance of the front edges. Press, press, press!

Then I basted down the front edge so everything would stay in place. The lining gets folded under to meet the edge, and then is felled down.

On the outside of the jacket, the outer edge of the interfacing gets tacked into place with a very widely spaced backstitch. Yes, it shows, but it's helpful and period, and if done neatly, it looks quite nice!

All of the body seams (side-backs, shoulders, armseyes) were sewn twice: once with a back stitch, and then again with a spaced back stitch on top. I pressed the seam allowance to one side, and then did a spaced back stitch along the seam.

Eighteenth century stitching (in fact, stitching from ALL periods!) is NOT always pretty! Especially when it won't show. :) This is how the lining is attached to the back skirts. It is done from the outside with a spaced back stitch. The underside looks shoddy...

...but the outside is very neat and tidy! But no one will see it unless they are scrutinizing your bum...

The side-back seams of the lining are folded on top of the center back lining and felled down, just like on women's gowns. That was at least something I was familiar with!

Buttonholes... Oh, buttonholes. I love doing them now! I never thought I'd say that. But they are quite satisfying to do, making the little knots. These buttonholes were done using a "proper" buttonhole stitch, not a blanket stitch. I totally did not know they were different things before doing this project... I'd never needed to do buttonholes before! Now I do thousands by hand for work...There's a good tutorial here on Youtube. I can't remember if he says it in the video or not, but WAX YOUR THREAD! You will thank yourself... And use silk buttonhole twist, too. Having the right materials makes a world of difference, and it makes things easier!

I hope this has been useful! I don't usually do construction write-ups like this, but this was such a fun, different experience that I had to share. If y'all like this kind of thing, I'll try to do it more often. :) Cheers!


Caroline said...

Fascinating! And so relevant. A habit is next on my list. Lovely work. Especially the inside! I love seeing the funky stitches on the inside of original garments. It's so part of the era.


The Quintessential Clothes Pen said...

I love seeing how garments are made, what stitches each person chooses to do, etc. I'd be happy to see more of these sorts of posts.


Kura Carpenter said...

So neat, thanks for sharing!

Sarah Rachelle said...

Very interesting!
I love doing buttonholes too, actually. It's so satisfying because you can do them in such a short time. Thank you for mentioning those tips! I have never used buttonhole twist thread and didn't know it was different than a blanket stitch! Looks like I need to watch that tutorial.

Kleidung um 1800 said...

Thank you very much for sharing these interesting period techniques with us!!! It's very helpful :)


vintagevisions27 said...

I really enjoy seeing these kinds of posts. It's great to see the final, finished garment of course. But I love seeing how things are put together and learning new "tricks of the trade." :)

Lily said...

Thanks so much for putting together this post! :-)

Rose said...

there are so many things i'd like to make and a riding habit would be awesome... I really like yours! Thanks for posting the construction... very helpful - oh I've still got a lot to learn! :)