I'm the newest member of the Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society, and we ride in a lot of parades. I am mainly a carriage rider, but I'm learning to ride a horse now. This holiday week, I was fortunate to be in my very first parade on horseback. Our group has discussed wearing patriotic costumes during these summer rides, and some members are beginning to make them. Of course, this was a great opportunity for me to finally make one.
One of our co-presidents, Dyan, has a beautiful outfit. I first saw her wear this in the Coronado Fourth of July parade last year, before I even thought of joining the Roses. I saw her a few weeks later at Costume College, when she wore it again. It was at Costume College where we discussed my interest in joining the Roses, and a year later, here I am! A photo of Dyan in her lovely costume. She and a few other members ride side saddle, something I admire in experienced riders. I will be lucky if I stay on the horse at all!
I chose the following patterns for my outfit.
Skirt - Truly Victorian Grand Parlor Skirt, perfect for spreading out over a horse's rear if I am lucky enough to ride. If I am in a carriage, I can wear my bustle petticoat.
Jacket - Truly Victorian tail bodice. Although a different era than the skirt, it should look nice spread out on a horse.
I LOVE this hat. My dear friend April has made several hats for me, including my all time favorite Regency patriotic hat. For this Victorian hat, she used the Lynn McMasters riding hat pattern. She was kind and gave me starred ribbon to use on the hat. I just added some roses to it.
I used a red and white stripe for the skirt, and added a ruffle with flag trim around the top.
The jacket fabric is navy blue with tiny stars. Here is a photo where I'm fitting it to my dress form. I still need to iron the back pleats in place. I added trim to the cuffs, and am experimenting with a lacy jabot. I lined the lower part of the jacket with the same fabric so when the tails fly, its the same front and back. Since the fabric is a nice sturdy cotton in two full layers, the back was heavy. I added a waist tape, which attaches inside the back and sides of the bodice, and ties in the front. This prevents the heavy tail from dragging the bodice backwards, and keeps the front of the bodice in place.
I also covered a parasol to match. I don't have a pattern to cover parasols, but this is what I did: I traced a section on paper, then cut six sections out with a small seam allowance. I had to piece a few sections because I was literally down to scraps of fabric. Next, I sewed them into a circle shape, with the center open. I draped the piece over the parasol, centering the seams on the parasol spines and over the existing nylon cover. I pinned the edges to the nylon cover, and stretched each section up to the top, and pinned. Once the stripes were pinned on, I was actually able to get the edges under my sewing machine foot. The bottom is now secure, and the top opening still pinned. In the photo below, I am still pulling some of the sections tighter and repining at the top opening. Next I hot glued patriotic ribbon around the topside edge, and hot glued ball fringe around the underside of the edge.
Once I got all my sections pulled up tight to the top, I hand stitched them. I also put a few stitches along the spines to help hold things in place. I added some ribbon and roses to the top and done!
Parade day came. I got up on my sweet "adopted" horse Storm, and spread the skirt out. Oh no! It was not round enough in front to cover all the saddle and down to my feet in the stirrups. It spread nicely on the back though. It worked out by me tucking the front edge under my knees but it was tight. Next time I make a horse skirt, I will use Truly Victorian Ripple Skirt, which some of the ladies use. My mistake was thinking all the length needed to be in the back, but you really do need fullness in front.
I made the roses and ribbons hair clips for Storm's mane. She looked so pretty!