Thursday, January 2, 2014

Naval riding habit inspiration

The time has come for me to make a riding habit, another one of those projects that I've hoped to make for so long, maybe even longer than any other project. As a child, much before I got into costume making, I used to be interested in pirates as well as naval history. So I've been hoping to make a naval inspired riding habit ever since I realized it would be a much better option than making a naval officer's uniform for myself. The design started to evolve when I stumbled upon a naval inspired riding habit on deviantArt but the original photo got deleted from the site a long time ago so I can't link it here. But I had to mention it anyway because I don't want to take credit from something that wasn't originally entirely my idea.

Anyhow, my major source for inspiration comes from the naval uniforms of National Maritime Museum, which I visited a few years ago. My favourite type of uniform is the full dress uniform of a captain, from 1774. If you've read my post about the floral robe à l'Anglaise, you surely understand why. The reason why I didn't start making a riding habit earlier than this is that I hadn't found suitable wool for it. But a few months ago I did, when I was out visiting the local fabric stores with Noora. I also hadn't found good linen for the habit shirt, but Couture Mayah kindly sent me some linen for it some time ago. The only material I'm still missing is the trim but I'm ready to start making the outfit now because I can order it later.

A Portrait of a Lady (1747) by Roberet Harvie.

At first, I wanted to make the outfit in the 1770s style so I had already bought a pattern for it from Reconstructing History, but after seeing this painting, I changed my mind. Especially because I still have some fabric left from the recent robe à la Francaise that I plan to use for the waistcoat. The details that I love about this painting in particular: The lace collar with a black bow.


And the mariner's cuffs, plus the golden trim.


 For comparison, here are some painting of men in naval uniforms.

Captain Horatio Nelson (1781) by John Francis Rigaud.
John Jervis, Earl of St Vincent (1769) by Francis Cotes.
Captain James Cook (1775-76) by  Nathaniel Dance.

Mrs. Epes Sargent (Catherine Osborne) also wore a blue riding habit for her portrait. But I don't like the wide ribbon tied around her neck with two bows in the front and back because it's quite large. And isn't that pale pink bow in her hair just a bit silly? Maybe she tried to add a feminine touch to the stiff, tailored outfit with it but I don't like it. I also prefer the coat open in the front so that you can see the vest. 

Mrs. Epes Sargent (Catherine Osborne) by John Singleton Copley (c. 1764).

Nancy Fortescue looks fabulous in her blue riding habit, though. I love the tassels!

Portrait of Nancy Fortescue (1745) by Thomas Hudson.

This picture is very small but you can see the lady in the blue riding outfit has got a coat with ermine cuffs and collar. 

Trevelyan family of Wallington, Nothtumberland, English school (1745-50).

For more blue riding habits and uniforms, take a look at this Pinterest board.

26 comments:

  1. It would be so awesome if you'd make it in 1740's style!! My (not even started) brown one would match it and we could stroll in them together when we get them done!

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    1. And Maija with her lilac one too.

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    2. Yes, I've decided it's going to be earlier in style than the 1770s! And it will look great if we all wear almost the same decade to an event! Looks more authentic than everyone wearing styles from clearly different decades, at least :)

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  2. Ooh, this is inspiring me as well!
    I have a bunch of silver antique military trim that is practically begging to be used in an 18th century riding habit. Now I just need to decide on a color.

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    1. Great! I guess we're having an unofficial riding habit along then ;) And lucky you for having antique military trim already! :) Not the easiest material to find, especially if you're on budget...

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    2. A 'Habit Along' sounds wonderful!
      The trim I have was literally found boxed up in a barn, and the man who had it didn't know what to do with it. So, he gave it to us on the condition that we give him a cut of any sales we make if we sell any of it. For the most part, he wanted it to go to people that could use it and not let it rot in a barn :-)
      There were boxes upon boxes of gold and silver braid and military lace from an old Hollywood costume department, still in it's original tissue and foil packaging. And, it's the real thing; German, British and some French. Most of it as old as late Victorian to WWI that still work for 18th century and Regency. There are a ton of buttons too.
      There was so much of it, my fiance actually opened up an Etsy shop:

      http://www.etsy.com/shop/GreyfellProductions?ref=ss_profile

      Not a lot of trim up at the moment, but we still have a trunk full of more waiting to get listed. I'm going to nudge him to list more in the coming weeks ;-)

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    3. That's just great, thank you for the link! I'll definitely keep on eye on the shop! :)

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  3. Gorgeous inspiration! I look forward to seeing your habit. :)

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    1. I can't wait to start! Or I did start drafting the pattern for the habit shirt already but I just need to do a couple of other things before I can start making it properly without any other projects distracting. :)

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  4. Can't wait to see the finished product! I've always loved Nacy Fortescue's naval riding habit - it's in my inspiration pile too ;)

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    1. Yes, Nancy Fortescue's outfit is just perfect! :)

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  5. hngg John Jervis and Captain Nelson are such cuties! I can't wait to see your interpretation of this garment!

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    1. Indeed they are ;) I've been looking forward to making a riding habit for so long so I'm glad to be finally able to start! :)

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  6. Wohoo! I can't wait to see the finished costume! Military uniform inspired fashions are so dashing! I'm so happy you chose an earlier 18th century style for inspiration, I'm sure it'll be an interesting project and those fuller coat hems and long waistcoats look great.

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    1. I agree! Like I told you earlier, I also like the earlier riding waistcoats, too. :) Oh, and the pockets that you can decorate with trim!

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    2. Pockets!! Just think how great it will be to have a costume with actual pockets! I'm kind of tempted to have a go at riding habits myself, now.... :)

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    3. Yes, Noora, you must join our habit along now ;)

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    4. Hehe! I'm imagining a all of us roving some costumed event in our riding habits, like some 18th century gang. I'm sure we would cut quite an imposing image ;)

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  7. My favorite is Marie Antoinette's red riding habit. I'd like to recreate that. I love the combination of masculine riding/naval costume in women's garb.

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    1. Marie Antoinette's red riding habit is just lovely! I hope you get to make it someday because I'd love to see it! :)

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  8. Ooooooh....this is going to be a fun project to watch come into being! All of our inspirations are so dramatic and awe inspiring! I cannot wait to see this project complete and on you!! Yeah!!

    Blessings!
    Gina

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  9. Hello. May you find inspiration here: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/mvmt/detail.php?id=12
    2000 rococo pictures, and growing!

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  10. I love the naval style uniforms of the day...I hope to make myself a regency naval inspired spencer, bonnet and dress. Just can't decide what rank to make myself. I think admiral might be too presumptious. Might settle for a Lieutenant or midshipman.
    I look forward to seeing the results of your endevours.

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    1. How fun! Naval spencer sounds just perfect! And yes, admiral might just be a bit too over the top - I tend to prefer the lieutenant and captain ranks in uniforms myself.

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