Jenny La Fleur
a plea - Jenny La Fleur — LiveJournal
adventures in costuming
a plea

So I need an 18th century riding habit. I won't name names but *coughkendracough* I was totally inspired make one after my trip to Williamsburg earlier this month.

Thing is I really don't need another 18th century cold-weather wool outfit. Especially since I potentially want it for UTR (VA + June + 99% humidity) & CosCol (LA + August). I know wool wicks away moisture and it good in the heat, blah, blah, blah. Yes I've found to be true, when it's a light color. Unfortunately I have no light-weight, light-colored wool in the stash and I have no money to spend on any.

I do have some lovely red linen in the stash that would be cute though. I've found lots of red riding habits but they are all wool or wool/silk blends. I could have sworn I'd come across a linen 18th century riding habit but can't find it in my files/books. I have found a "cotton" riding habit in cream from the Millinery Shop in Williamsburg but that is it.

So my questions tonight for the LJ brain-trust are:

1. Have you ever seen any evidence of 18th century riding habits made out of linen?
2. Have you ever seen any evidence of 18th century riding habits made out of colored linen?
3. What do you think, is the assumption that in warmer climate they could might have used linen too far a stretch?


19 comments | comment?
koshka_the_cat From: koshka_the_cat Date: March 24th, 2011 05:43 am (UTC) (link)
I found a natural linen riding habit trimmed with green silk om the 18c woman list. There were no pictures, but I'm using it as the basis for my natural linen and blue silk riding habit that I hope to have for UTR.

I also found a white linen/cotton riding habit in the V&A. No pictures though.

I'm also going on in Williamsburg they have records of using lighter fabrics because of the heat.

I have links to the above habits in my LJ under the 18c habit tag. I'm on my phone or I'd get them for you :)
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 24th, 2011 03:19 pm (UTC) (link)
I forgot you were making one... I don't know how that is possible. I went back and found your referances - thanks to much! Glad to know it wasen't my imagination after all! :>
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jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 24th, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks for the referance!
my_stitching From: my_stitching Date: March 24th, 2011 12:18 pm (UTC) (link)
Looks like you have two sources above. :) But I was going to comment that as gowns were made of linen, it wouldn't be completely out of the realm of possibility that some habits were also made of linen especially in a warmer climate. I mean, I know wool wicks, but I can't imagine wearing it in Atlanta in the middle of the summer without keeling over!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 24th, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC) (link)
Yeah, thanks to all the layers and the close fit riding habits are warm by nature, I really can't imagine wanting to wear a wool one in the heat and humidity of a Virginia or Carolina summer! Even the linen seems hot compared to my normal summer event gear.
nuranar From: nuranar Date: March 24th, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC) (link)
Ah, good, you do already have a couple examples. This is something I've thought about for 1860s habits, since again, the very few surviving examples are wool, as are contemporary articles, while fashion plates seem to show some white fashionable ones. While Atlanta itself wasn't around in the 18th century, Williamsburg was, of course. And I also thought of other Crown possessions, say in the West Indies. Barbados, Antigua, the Bahamas - I suppose it would be hard to find the info, but that's certainly another place heavy wool habits would be completely inappropriate.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 24th, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC) (link)
Yeah I don't know where to start to research that but it makes sense to me too. Virginia is hardly the warmest and most tropical English colony but it's warm enough! As Katherine mentioned I have heard of lighter fabrics being used here and I've seen examples of men's linen coats. Tailor's traditionally made riding habits so that works logically.
bauhausfrau From: bauhausfrau Date: March 24th, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC) (link)
Isn't there one in costume in detail? I think it was a sort of tabacco color.
bauhausfrau From: bauhausfrau Date: March 24th, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC) (link)
I meant fashion in detail but after looking the one I'm thinking of is "camlet" I do have pics from an article on habits in a Washington antiques show of a *cotton* twill habit at the Smithsonian...but I know I've seen linen before too.

I think you should go for it - linen riding habits DID exist and red was always a very "in" color for habits.

And hey, you could always email Mark Hutter!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 24th, 2011 03:10 pm (UTC) (link)
Yeah I know the one you are talking about. I think the website has it as a wool blend. Thanks for the other references! So glad to know it wasn’t my imagination!

I'm pretty convinced linen is an acceptable fabric, I'm just not sure about the color since most of these non-wool habits seem to be in the cream/neutral family. Red was very popular though (I've found lots of examples) so I'm trying to decide if it's too big a stretch or not. *ponder*
nuranar From: nuranar Date: March 24th, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC) (link)
It's a tricky question, I agree. Linen is consistent with a warm-weather habit, but red is (and was seen as) such a warm color that it doesn't quite seem right in this case. Definitely something we want evidence for. :/
tayloropolis From: tayloropolis Date: March 24th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC) (link)
I did hear somewhere that red linen was very rare in the 18th century, because dyeing linen red was notoriously hard without our chemical mordants. It was good on cotton and wool, but really tricky on linen. Off my head I can't think of any red linen extant garments from the 18th century, but I'm not very good at memory recall :)
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 25th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC) (link)
I've heard that too. Well not red on linen specifically but red in general. Heck red dyes are still a tricky thing even in modern clothes. I can't think of a red linen extant garment offhand but then again I've never looked specifically for one...
demode From: demode Date: March 24th, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC) (link)
1) I deny everything!

2) Keep us posted on what you find -- it's an interesting question! I agree, it does seem logical that there would be linen habits... but logic isn't evidence! Re: color -- and hey, fabric too -- don't forget that YOU get to decide if you want to make the most authentic outfit ever, or if you're willing to fudge a little bit. It's okay to fudge, provided that's not harshing your mellow! It's about what YOU want. If you want a red linen habit, and you're comfortable doing it without documentation, or even if Mark Hutter appears on your doorstep and says, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" -- you can still do it!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 25th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC) (link)
Wise, very wise! I know you can't help being fabulous (it's just the way you are) but still - it's all your fault. :P

I will keep you ‘all posted I promise. You are totally right of course. I haven't decided if I care of not yet. I also can't help thinking about the time I made a dark green 18th century gown when the prevailing wisdom was that they never wore dark green except in riding habits. I made my dress anyway ('cause that is what was in the stash) and less than a year later someone on the Yahoo list posted 7 or 8 examples of dark green dresses in portraits. It was a great moment. :>

I always like to know when I'm straying into the "gray" though (and how far in I'm going), hence all the questions. *grin*
twilatee From: twilatee Date: March 24th, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC) (link)
I've heard that someone else maybe might be making a linen habit for UTR as well.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 25th, 2011 02:36 am (UTC) (link)
Could her name start with a "K"? :>
girliegirl32786 From: girliegirl32786 Date: March 25th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC) (link)
I say go for it! But then you knew that already. Seriously though, stop talking about this project. You are making me want to be bad and buy fabric. *must not spend money*
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 25th, 2011 02:39 am (UTC) (link)
Hey the whole point of the post is that *I* shouldn't spend money on new fabric and my stash is being only so helpful. See I'm a good example.

19 comments | comment?