I love sewing so it was a natural to start making show clothes. I love the beautiful fabrics, crystals, beads, etc. I make my chaps too and have found a treasure trove of crystal conchos for the back belt.
I'm not the greatest of tailors but I do enjoy it. I love the creative process of seeing a fabric, figuring out how best to use it, how to embellish it. I'm too fiercely independent to pay gobs of money for someone else to make them.
I'm about to start work on a jacket using a shimmery gold and cream paisley brocade with just a hint of browns and reddish-rust.
I have a t-shirt that says "I ride western for the show clothes". Love all the bling!
I don't show right now (I'm an aged re-rider) but might do a little in the summer if I can get myself and very round QH in shape. If that happens, I'll definitely be making my own show clothes (maybe not chaps...). Love to sew! So many cool choices!
Love your name! Kind of says it all. Chaps are pretty easy. The hardest part for me was finding the fit that I could be comfortable in. I'm pretty round in the middle so the hip-hugger style didn't work for me...kept falling down. Now I know to measure the side seam length because I want them to sit just above my hip bones.
I buy ultra suede and hope in the spring to try some SunSuede which is a little thicker and has more body then ultra suede.
I use patterns from Suitability.com for western. Also made a Vogue jacket for cooler weather.
If you decide to do chaps, I can help you with websites for conchos and buckles, etc.
btw, I'm aged too and just now learning to ride after a career in carriage driving and before that, coaching my daughter in saddleseat and English pleasure.
That's funny--most people on this board probably have no idea what my name means. Sewing is definitely a lost art.
I have a few Suitability patterns--made DD an English shirt/choker from one. I like their patterns but they might be a little complicated for someone with less sewing experience. Guess that would depend on the pattern too.
Thanks for the encouragement on the chaps and your offer of help. I might just try it, providing I can find some Ultra-Suede that doesn't break the bank. (Yeah, good luck with that...!)
Before I start sewing, I definitely need to get to a few shows to see what's trendy these days. Otherwise I'm likely to show up at least 20 years out of style...! Blast from the past--the retro look!
It might actually be cheaper to buy light leather for chaps, than to do Ultrasuede. Last I knew it was over $25 the yard. Leather does hang well, with the added weight.
Try looking at a Quarter Horse Journal, they are the style leaders in all things Western. Hobby Horse is where a lot of folks get shirts made, so you can see what is being presented for next spring. They have a site if you do a search. Some zipper jackets are looking very good, not sure if the swirly braids and overlay patterns are still so big. Bling is still around, but you need to see what is current or old. Sometimes less is better.
We have done lower level Western, 4-H shows, where things are not so elaborately done. I made my daughter's shirts, though you have to hunt for fabrics. Kids were wearing lycra stuff, bright colors in her kind of shows. She has been out a year, so I am not current!
There is a new shape for hats in Halter and Pleasure, oddly flat front brim, with sharp upward edges on the sides. Maybe you could just have an older hat recreased in the new style, if you have a good Tack store nearby. Do check out boots as well. I didn't let daughter wear any of the low heel, crepe sole boots to ride. Halter and Showmanship was OK, but not in stirrups. Unsafe with low heels, sticky soles, though ALL the big name folks, winner's photos showed those boots the last time I checked.
We have local ladies who sew shirts, they come to tack sales and advertise in the local horse papers. Often they sell the fancy fabrics, jeweled trims you can't locate other places. Even had jeweled zippers! So that might help you find what you want for "the LOOK".
A suggestion is to have a Serger machine for seams. That is an IMMENSE help to making the clothes look professional. The new fabrics can be VERY difficult otherwise. Western clothes are NOTHING compared to trying to make swim suits!!
I haven't made anything from scratch, but I've bought several jackets and embellished them with crystals...and have then resold them after a season for way more money than I spent on them. Putting on the different crystals and stones is fun and oddly therapeutic, mindless, and relaxing! And it makes a pretty dramatic change in the outfits, too.
The ultra suede I buy is $50/yard. It takes 3 yards for a pair of chaps.
YIKES, guess it has been a while since I looked at Ultrasuede at the store! Or maybe they were having a sale at the time. There are various fake suedes, the Ultrasuede is a trademark name. My mom made a coat of the stuff, wore like iron, lasted a long time. THEN she made all kinds of things out of the fabric, like jewelry pouches, which I have two of. The case was greatly admired at the Jewelry store when I recently took in a necklace to be restrung. Jeweler said he couldn't think of any better way to store the necklace.
Fabric leather is easy to sew, lightweight, MIGHT be lots cheaper than the Ultrasuede.
We make some of our show clothes. I design the outfits, my sister sews them, then I paint and/or add stones. So much fun!!! I get ideas looking through the Equine Chronicle, show proofs on KC Montomery's website, and Show Me Again. I'm hoping to get my jr. filly shown next year, which means I need a new jacket I already have 2 or 3 ideas! My niece will need a new all day jacket and horsemanship shirt to go with her turquoise chaps and a new showmanship outfit (I found some beautiful heavy silk curtain fabric with floral embroidery that will look so cool). We even tailor my nephew's show shirts for the "perfect" fit!
We don't make our own chaps. To have them fit perfectly with no gapping or twisting is really hard. We are lucky to have a lady locally who is a "professional" show clothing designer and seamstress. She makes beautiful chaps for us when needed. Or, we buy Hobby Horse chaps--you really can't beat the quality at such a low price point.