Fire in Cairo -- Arrival Outfit -- Part Four - the skirts

For the past couple of days, I've been working too hard on my outfits to stop and blog about them. But tonite, I only have finishing work to do and I wanted to share with you a bit about the riding habit skirt.

Habit skirts were worn when riding side saddle, so the skirt had to cover the right knee that hooks onto the saddle horn as well as the left leg that hangs down fairly normally. This means the skirt must have a multi-level hem.

But if you have a skirt longer on one side than the other, how do you walk when you get off the horse?

Throughout the centuries, women evolved various ways of dealing with the problem, from removable trains to clever drapes. Our habit skirt involves a drape.

This is the skirt undraped (and unpressed *blush*). Note the extra length on the front right.


This is the habit skirt pinned into a drape as indicated by the pattern I used, TV264 -- 1883 Riding Habit Skirt .


Somehow the fabric I used isn't draping very nicely. And my heels are showing at the back when I drape it this way. So I tried something else. Pictures I've seen of riding habits in the 1880s often have the skirt simply pulled up on the right side and caught with a chain or hook. I tried this with my skirt to see if the hem would stay down and how the drape would look. This technique is also documented by the riding habit in the Manchester Gallery of Costume to which I referred in an earlier post.

Draped like the Manchester habit skirt


Next:   Photos from Belvidere!