Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Smoothing Out The Lines..

Reflections from the last show:

This was the first time I wore my new sidesaddle suit.

Although each of my riding outfits is unique in it's own way, I think I like this one the best. It was designed after this antique pattern: If you search further back into my blog, you will find a few other ladies who have the same design of a riding suit and it is easy to see why I wanted it!

In the future I plan to have another one made, maybe in brown...but before I do, I want to address a few issues. Okay - I'll be the first to say it.. I AM PICKY! I am also detail obsessed. I am not rude about it.. but I love details and I want things to be just so. I know that I am NOT 25 anymore .. in fact I am FAR from it and while I think I have taken good care of myself.. well.. I am NOT 25 anymore! My waist is a full 2 inches larger than it was a mere 5 years ago and my muscle tone is not as good either.

In looking through my pictures, I noticed something. First, that my suit jacket was not laying flat against my upper body and second, the folds were worse after I rode and was quite sweaty.

I'll be the first one to tell you that the 'folds' are not just in the fabric, but also in my body.. but who wants them to show??

In this picture after my ride, I remember sweat running down my back. The jacket pulled at me and stuck to me. This jacket is far from being tight.. but you cannot tell it by this picture! Beneath it I am wearing a sports bra, which is also not giving my body a particularly flattering look either.

So - there are 2 things to address: the riding outfit and my body.

The outfit:
When it was made, I chose to have it lined with a grey cotton fabric, siting that satin would be too slippery. My next suit will have a cotton lining in the skirt, but I am going to change the jacket lining to satin.

The body:
I would love to lose 15 pounds, I would love to lose 15 inches, Heck - I would love to lose 15 years... but lets get real here. I am a stress eater, and if you read my other blog, you know my life sometimes defines the word STRESS. For this reality, I purchased this:..and while I do like it, it is not cut high enough on my hips and it does not cinch in my waist the way I wanted it too. It also really pushes your breasts in an odd shape out from under your arms and from below. That combined with wearing it with a sports bra looks ... well ODD, which is why I chose not to wear it under my grey suit. It does however, give wonderful back support for those of us who need that, I would highly recommend it.

I have always wanted to have a corset made for me.. specifically for my body. I even knew the right person to make it for me, Karen Trevor. Well, I am thrilled to say that my riding corset is in the mail and on it's way to my door. Karen replicated her own wedding corset as she had enough vintage material left over and I am just counting the days until it arrives!! This is Karen's wedding corset:

..and here is mine in the stages of completion:


sidesaddlegirl said...

Is there boning in your riding habit bodice?

I ask as that is why the Victorians sewed boning in their bodices to smooth out the lines in the fabric caused by body bulges and to hide the line the corset makes underneath as well. :) No matter how skinny you are, a corset will always make a flat roll above the corset and beneath it!

You need to sew bones at every seam inside the bodice, the more heavily boned it is, the flatter the fabric will lie.

You can see in the brown 1880's riding habit that I used to have in my collection, the amount of boning it had in the bodice: http://www.sidesaddlegirl.co.uk/2010/01/brown-1880s-habit.html

The pattern your habit is made from, is from about the same date as my antique habit and would have had all that boning it it.

Many people that boned bodices WERE the corset but they weren't, they were there to help the fabric lie flat against the bulges of the body.

SillyPony said...

I agree that boning would certainly help, but I might also be seeing that the waist of the jacket is sitting lower than your natural waist when riding and therefore the bottom is riding up. It's hard to tell since I can't make the image bigger, so I might be incorrect.

The boning will cause other problems if the jacket pattern isn't properly fitted to your body and riding position.

It will be most helpful for your next pattern-maker to measure you wearing your new corset, sitting atop your horse, or at least on the saddle. It's nearly impossible to get a garment like that to look perfectly tailored without checking the fit in the saddle. I would suggest having a mock-up of jacket done before cutting your choice fabric. A little more money and time but it will be worth it.

It's still lovely, though!!! I do think a reddish brown tone will be a very striking image on your gorgeous red horse!

Anita said...

It has been really interesting to read about your experiences with you Victorian habit. I would also love to look like the postcard - so if you find some way of removing 15 years and adding back muscle tone let me know!

I have emailed Karen and she is working on my riding corset now. I would love to have Cindy make that habit for me, but reading what Leila says I wonder if I might be better to find someone in NZ to make it, who could bone it & custom fit it as we go...

Michelle said...

I still think you looked perfect! Sometimes we're too critical of ourselves, I bet no-one else noticed!
I have been wanting to get a similar riding habit made too but I really do want the bodice to have boning in it. I think it just holds the structure of the garment much better. Why not ask Cindy if she could put some boning in the bodice for you?

Hayley said...

Anita, my friend Leimomi is a historical seamstress and makes killer corsets and period dresses. Her blog is here http://thedreamstress.com/
If you were thinking of getting something tailormade, she is in Wellington.

Anita said...

Thank-you Hayley :)

Robin said...

I do have this exact habit in brown, also made by Cindy, and it definitely needs to be boned. When these habits were designed that was part of the contruction.
I boned my own, using artificial whale bone over each of the vertical seams and darts, and now I can wear it without a corset if needs be (like when it's over 90 degrees out.).
Another addition I had to make was adding hook and eye closures at the bottom of the bodice and top of the habit skirt. This is another period construction feature that keeps your jacket from riding up.
Finally, there's no avoiding the fact that wool is the best fabric for habit design due to the draping properties and "cutability" of the stuff.

Julie said...

Thanks everyone. I love the hook and eye idea Robin. My habit is made from 100% wool. It is a very light weight wool though, probably the kind used to make a man's suit.