Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Mill Farm Riding Habit (sort of) - Green Wool, 1750s style.

Pattern: The Mill Farm Riding Habit, but with significant alterations. In fact, the only piece I didn't heavily alter was the back. 
Fabrics: 100% wool, hunter green. 100% linen, tartan pattern. 

Chest: 41-42"
Waist: 37-38"
Hip: Free
Sleeve length (outside curve): 25"
Sleeve length (inside curve): 17"
Bicep: 15" max
Hem: 38.5" at front, 41.5" at back (shown over large false rump)

Pattern Alterations
The Mill Farm pattern is a good one, especially since it comes with the coat and a waistcoat but it has some issues so I do recommend it for those with alteration skills. (For this particular example, I made so many alterations, to design as well as fit, that this post probably won't be very useful to someone who is just trying to make the pattern as is.) 

I started with the size 16/18 pattern, which according to the pattern chart covers chests 40-42". Considering how form fitting this coat should be, a 2" range was already troubling. Would it come out in the middle, 41'"? Or be more suited to 42"? Did it have excessive ease built in to accommodate the waistcoat, shirt, etc.? Patterns with this kind of wider size chart always require you to do a mock-up first, just so you can see where the final size will actually end up. 

In my case, the final came out to a comfortable 42" chest that would be too large on a 40" for sure. The waist, however, was far too big. Even after I took in the waist to begin with, it still came out a 37", when the pattern chart said it would be 33-34". Even if you consider the coat building in ease to accommodate the waistcoat meant to be worn under it, this is still far too much. 

End result? The pattern runs large, but this is much better than a pattern running small. It's always easier to take something in than to let it out. 

I ended up drafting totally separate sleeves for this one, since I was trying to replicate the deep folded cuffs of the early century, so the pattern sleeves are not like these at all. The pattern sleeves have a separate cuff piece that is closed, rather than hanging and open, and the instructions call for buttons to just be stitched in place, holding the cuff folded. As someone who has seen untold dirt accumulate in the stationary folds on some garments, I decided to make mine with functional buttonholes so the cuff could be undone and cleaned/ironed properly in the future

Lining and Inner Construction
Unfortunately, I'm terrible at taking pictures of the construction process. Everything just happens so quickly, lol. But, I've shown how to do front interfacing, padding, etc. on 18th century garments in multiple other posts, so please look those up. 

As often happens, the Mill Farm pattern does not call for 18th century interfacing materials or techniques, but they're easily added. I used a lighter linen buckram to face the front leading edges of the body, roughly 6" deep at the chest area. This is to provide extra material/base for the buttonholes as well as to help shape the front and give it some more stability than you would get with just wool and linen, which tend to be quite drapey. 

I also faced the front leading edges with the same green wool, which provides another layer to serve for stability. The cuffs are also interlined with buckram. With hanging cuffs, it's important to use some kind of stiff (not necessarily heavy) interlining, otherwise you get floppy cuffs all over the place lol. 


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