Once upon a time long long ago…

Hi guys and thanks for taking the trip to my blog. As you can tell I’m new to the whole blogging experience so please bear with me and i’m sure I will muddle through.

I wanted to start a blog mainly to share my experiences and encourage others to take up the needle and thread and give historical costuming a go.

For those of you that don’t personally know me but have followed Park Lady (or even those who have just stumbled upon this) I will give you a quick intro to me my background and how my costuming mania started.

For those of you whom a life story and costuming confessionals are of little interest I apologize and promise that my next couple of posts will be more costume making based.

So here goes … once upon a time long long ago… well it feels like forever but in reality it was about 6 years ago my mum (Clare Barnett from Bearhouse saddlery) came back to riding sidesaddle after having learnt in her teens and I as the dutiful daughter dragged my then boyfriend ( now long suffering husband) off to take photos of her first competition. And to say I was hooked on sidesaddle at first site was not too much of an exaggeration. Mum promptly lost her side saddle horse to me and I joined the sidesaddle association (SSA).

I came to sewing not too long after and it all came about by a private viewing at the V&A.

Did you know that you can organise private viewings at most museums of items not on display that they have in their storage? Well you can!

I have now been to a number of these at different museums, for example the V&A and the Bath Fashion museum. To any one interested in doing this I would highly recommend it! Just ping the museum an email.

After going to the V&A for the first time and seeing many of their Gorgeous riding habits I thought eh… can’t be that hard! I promptly got myself a sewing machine and a pattern and away I went. 

I must just stress that prior to this I had never NEVER done sewing before in fact during middle school I was actually forcibly removed from that class not because I was naughtly but because I somehow managed to break 7 machines. I there for sat in the corner and did “other projects”

Now many of you may be thinking… She’s mad! Well yes that is quite possible but I can honestly say that sewing is not as hard as it looks! With a bit of research, a lot of mock ups and trusty blogs and youtube videos it becomes well not simple but not impossible. For those of you who have sewn before i’m sure you have come across the Simplicity patterns and Butterick patterns. And for the first time sewers I highly recommend them. They give you easy step by step guides on how to make them up. There are also a number of sources of historical patterns but I will be going into this in another blog post.

After my epiphany at the V&A I decided to make a costume for my second side saddle show. Well I decided to ignore the pattern and make it up as I went … oh and to confirm your oppinion (is she mad?) yes I think at this point I was as i decided that this jacket was going to be made out of a beautiful jade pure silk. Its really lovely i still have some in my stash… need to find a use for it… I will go in to this further in another blog post as i could honestly go on for ever about materials but silk and horse slime is not a great mix. Oh and at this point of time i hadn’t done research and i didnt know about foundation garments or interlining or overlocking fabric! So as you can imagine the fit was… interesting and my gosh did the silk fray! (heres a photo for you)

My second costume marginally more successful on the fit ( again something for another blog post)

Park Lady came into existence about three years ago as a hobby and became my full time occupation as of a year ago. 

(This is me and my fantastic sewing companion Sprocket)

Through the world of sidesaddle I have had the most wonderful experiences and met some truly inspirational people along the way some of whom I will tell you their stories and include chats with them in other blog posts

Historical costuming isn’t just for horse riding although this is what I have most commonly done to date through this blog I will show you some bits to help your own costuming journey and you will join me in making a complete outfit from the undergarments up. This will be for myself and will not necessarily be for equestrian use … not decided yet.

The learning process has definitely been an uphill one (Its character building they tell me) and there has absolutely been a lot of heart ache along the way but costuming is not just a job to me it’s not just a hobby it’s my passion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *