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Making a Harness Bag and Driving Apron

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  • Making a Harness Bag and Driving Apron

    First off, my plan for this summer is to make myself a driving apron for summer shows. What kind of fabric would be best?

    Also, has anybody ever made their own harness bag? I have to truck my harness to and from the barn and would like a nice bag to protect the harness as well as make it easier to carry around. I figure I can make a make-shift one but if there is a real pattern that would be great.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Duffle bags can work well. They can be really inexpensive, available from Goodwill, garage sales. Get one with the wheels on one end, in case you over load it like I do! With our big horses, I get bridle bags from the tack store or tack sales. They have some padding, a fastener at the top to keep bridle and reins in place. Usually pretty cheap at the tack sales. Chaps bags are good because they are longer for my large headed horses. Take your bridle with you, to try inside before purchases. Get a deeper one, so the blinkers are not twisted flat inside. Padding or fleece, foam, helps keep patent shiny and dent free. I do find driving bridles with the shanked bits, need more length than riding bridles.

    I always try to keep to keep my bridle bag on top in packing, or hung up, so blinkers stay undamaged. Depends on your trailer and vehicle, how you pack your stuff, what room you have to work with.

    I made a bridle bag once. Turned our alright, but I did not have access to the better fabrics the commercial companies do. It was difficult to sew 4 layers of heavy and thick material with a zipper. For me, I would rather buy now, than put that kind of time into it.

    Some folks like a harness bag cover, so that they can hang up the harness like a suit bag. Bag is just covering the hung-up whole harness inside. Does keep a harness very neat, dust free. That probably would not be hard to make.

    Comment


    • #3
      My mom just made me a really nice driving apron. (I posted a thread on this a couple of weeks ago) The "proper" fabric is wool or suiting fabric. I went with a synthetic suiting material and a striped cotton lining. Got the pattern on-line, the whole thing cost me less than $30. Not including mom's labor. I got the pattern at www.suitability.com
      Click here before you buy.

      Comment


      • #4
        There's a suitability pattern to make 1/2 hay bale bag (for mini harness?) or a full bale bag for a horse size. With a little modification, I bet you could come up with a way (an interior rope at one end, as in a luggage garment bag) to keep it hung up as you might at home on a board or harness hanger.

        http://www.suitability.com/ProductDe...oductCode=7280

        Here's a pic of one someone made.

        http://www.suitability.com/v/vspfile...ar%20photo.jpg

        Wendy/yip
        "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Yip- That's a good idea!

          I also came across these: http://www.advancedequine.com/Zilco-...210-101006.htm
          and this http://www.advancedequine.com/Zilco-...210-101004.htm.

          Are they worth it? I wish they had pics of the bags open.

          I also think this is pretty nifty! http://www.advancedequine.com/Stubbs...p/590-0956.htm But the price is bit .

          Comment


          • #6
            Good Harness bags have 2 sturdy straps in them to hang things from, one for the harness and breast collar and one for the reins and bridle. They should be deep enough to not smash the bridle flat and the straps heavy enough to not pull out from the weight of the harness.

            Honestly I would spend the $85 and get a RaDon Harness Bag http://www.radoninc.com/accessories1.htm made with 1000 denier cordura, flannel lining, heavy zippers, straps and snaps it would be hard to make one like that on home equipment. It has grommets at the bottom of the bag so the harness can breathe. The $69 Quilted Harness Bag here http://www.bennettstack.com/showharness.htm is almost as nice, but it is nylon with nylon lining and i like the cordura with flannel just a bit better, also it only has 1 strap, i like to have 2.

            If you are going to go with something made for another use I would definatly pick a suit bag over a duffle bag. Take a piece of flannel and tie it in a loop and half hitch it around your harness and bridle and hang it from a tack hook and then put the suit bag over the top. I have done this, the problem comes when it is not hanging up and the loop falls down inside the bag and you waste time fishing it out.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm a dressmaker, by trade, and currently build costumes for the movies.

              admittedly, I don't have a driving apron atm,

              What do they look like then they're laying flat? just a rectangle? Does it have a waistband? I'm pretty sure that I don't need a pattern for that.

              Aren't they usually a drab colour, with a checked lining, and a leather panel at the bottom???? How long should it be?? and how high up on the waist do you wear it?

              Comment


              • #8
                They're not rectangular--tapered at the top. Supposed to sit above the waist, and come down to roughly mid-calf level. Do a Google Images search--lots and lots of pictures out there.
                Click here before you buy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                  They're not rectangular--tapered at the top. Supposed to sit above the waist, and come down to roughly mid-calf level. Do a Google Images search--lots and lots of pictures out there.
                  I was told that aprons should come all the way to the top of the foot. Your toesies can stick out but no more than than when you are seated.

                  The apron is definitely not square or rectangular shaped. There should be --for the lack of a better term--butt flaps!!! It is a flairing out of the material in a semicircular fasion where you can catch them and tuck them under your derierre when you are sitting.

                  The only thing I would definitely change in my apron is a larger/longer waist band. I can sew but did not make my aprons. A friend had a sewing business made them for me. She measured correctly but did not add enough allowance for expansion of my middle section!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The harness bag I bought has a stiffener in the top, as if a garment bag had a strong hanger sewn into the upper part. That way when it's hanging you can unzip it and everything is easy to access, without the bag "collapsing" or "sagging". Inside are a series of strong velcro loops, one beneath the next, so each item of the harness can be attached, in sequence - so you can remove one part at a time to put on the horse without everything tumbling out.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by twofatponies View Post
                      The harness bag I bought has a stiffener in the top, as if a garment bag had a strong hanger sewn into the upper part. That way when it's hanging you can unzip it and everything is easy to access, without the bag "collapsing" or "sagging". Inside are a series of strong velcro loops, one beneath the next, so each item of the harness can be attached, in sequence - so you can remove one part at a time to put on the horse without everything tumbling out.

                      That sounds good. Where did you get it and how much did it cost?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RidesAHaflinger View Post
                        That sounds good. Where did you get it and how much did it cost?
                        I got it for about $60 from the rack at a booth at Equine Affaire. It was a booth selling harnesses and accessories mostly geared to the Fine Harness market (Saddlbreds, etc.) but they did have a big stock of these bags. I don't remember the name of the store - maybe someone else will know it? They would have been from New England.

                        I can try to remember to check the brand name next time I'm at the barn. I remember choosing it because it had the stiffener at the top and lots of loops inside, which not all of the models did.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Cartfall - ROTFL!

                          IF ONLY dressmakers had crystal balls to consult!

                          Wendy
                          "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by twofatponies View Post
                            I got it for about $60 from the rack at a booth at Equine Affaire. It was a booth selling harnesses and accessories mostly geared to the Fine Harness market (Saddlbreds, etc.) but they did have a big stock of these bags. I don't remember the name of the store - maybe someone else will know it? They would have been from New England.

                            I can try to remember to check the brand name next time I'm at the barn. I remember choosing it because it had the stiffener at the top and lots of loops inside, which not all of the models did.
                            If you can check on the name that would be great. I would really like to find a harness bag with the loops inside. I've been using bridle bags that have three sets of loops each to protect my good riding bridles and they're just nifty! That's a feature I'd definitely want in a harness bag.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RidesAHaflinger View Post
                              If you can check on the name that would be great. I would really like to find a harness bag with the loops inside. I've been using bridle bags that have three sets of loops each to protect my good riding bridles and they're just nifty! That's a feature I'd definitely want in a harness bag.
                              If I don't post tomorrow by mid afternoon, PM me to remind me!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Will do. Thanks!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Cartfall View Post
                                  I was told that aprons should come all the way to the top of the foot. Your toesies can stick out but no more than than when you are seated.
                                  That's what I thought too, I borrowed one from someone shorter than I, and the judge maked me down on it for being too short.

                                  Originally posted by Cartfall View Post
                                  The apron is definitely not square or rectangular shaped. There should be --for the lack of a better term--butt flaps!!! It is a flairing out of the material in a semicircular fasion where you can catch them and tuck them under your derierre when you are sitting.
                                  I don't see semi-circles...

                                  http://www.smuckersharness.com/harnesses/2090.jpg
                                  http://www.momentintimehorseaccessor...80_240x180.jpg
                                  http://www.rideanddrive.co.uk/access/tnails/aprons.jpg

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Well perhaps, semicircles are an exaggeration, but there is a definite curving outward, something like the last photo, and then my apron does curve back in a little. There is a definite place to tuck in under the derierre!!!

                                    The one thing I do know is that a lot of folks make them too skinny--meaning that they do not wrap around the legs enough. Some folks around here who have just made a rectange to go from hip bone to hip bone find themselves a little exposed once they get in the cart!!!!

                                    Yip--Perhaps she should have made the waist band with some elastic in it!!!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      A driving apron that curves outward below the waistband will definitely tuck in better around your rear when seated in the carriage than one with straight sides. One of the best pieces of advice I've received is to have someone check your 'rear view' when you're seated in the carriage (if your rear is visible-depends on how your carriage is built). You might look gorgeous from the front and side but if you thought you could get by with wearing your ratty jeans under the driving apron and they show from the back, it will kind of ruin the effect. And guess how I know this...

                                      And I have the same understanding that Cartfall does- the driving apron should cover everything but your feet. And don't forget how THEY look! They are visible to the judge from the side. Wear decent-looking (but safe) shoes. Not your Nikes. And guess again how I know this!

                                      Sue- the same friend who made your aprons also made a bunch of mine. Most of them have a pretty generous cut and a sufficient amount of velcro on the waistband to accomodate a 'variable' shape. But I do have one of hers that is a pretty slim fit! So I guess you have to ask for the more forgiving version.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Apron styles have changed over the years, and continue to do so.

                                        When we started, they were just below your knees, probably copied from laprobes in Coaching. Those are more of a blanket to go across the lap, keeping you both warm and covered from dust. Just no one had aprons that were longer than midcalf.

                                        However nothing stays static in showing, and with many newer folks coming in, there were changes in attire, apron "shaping" as already mentioned. All the old aprons are really square or straight edged. Reasons for changes were mentioned, straight edges don't always fit well, don't stay tucked in on every body shape.

                                        Length kept getting longer, for various reasons. Some think it makes "a better line". Others wanted "total coverage" so they COULD do the jeans, shorts, less casual dress underneath, to save time or for comfort. More length allows BIGGER monograms! It was actually dangerous for a shorter time, when aprons covered the shoes. People tripping on the edges, catching a foot in them entering or leaving the vehicles. It got so there was someone standing next to a vehicle BECAUSE we always expected the person getting in or out with an apron WOULD trip or fall!! I have caught more that a couple people who stumbled over their aprons.

                                        EVERYONE saw the other people with long aprons, so they kept wanting the long aprons too. Even AFTER have tripped or almost fallen wearing them!! Kind of a vicious circle there in Fashion For Driving. Folks do seem to have gotten more sensible about the safer, SHORTER lengths needed nowadays.

                                        But younger Judges, Driving observers, have gotten a mistaken notion that extreme length is REQUIRED to be correct on an apron, with the scores marked down to penalize the shorter lengths. Certainly not so in the Rules of classes. Aprons are STILL supposed to be for keeping the Driver and clothing clean, not designed as the main articles of Attire. Maybe that is "Judges Opinion" in marking a Pleasure Class.

                                        Older Judges, going by Traditional rules, WANTED the skirt or slacks, to show at the lower edge of apron. They mentioned it at several Clinics I attended, specifically. Skirt check requirment at shows was MUCH easier if they could see the skirt when turning back the Apron edge. Some mentioned getting the way shorter skirt along with the apron edge on the turn back check, revealing more leg than they wanted to see!! Of COURSE they said that DID NOT influence their choices!! Their preferred apron length then was mid calf or lower calf, not ankle or foot length.

                                        The pattern I see used most often now, has flared sides, with straight across on the top and bottom. Narrower at waist, with wider width at the bottom edge. Monogams have moved from the center of apron to the lower outside corner.

                                        / \

                                        Above is extreme example, just to show flared angle well. The top area SHOULD go around your whole body, hip area, to meet or overlap in the rear, then flare a bit more to hang well at the lower leg. They often have darts, shaping over the hips, so you are not dealing with huge wads of material when seated. Apron should sit above your natural waist area on front for coverage protection. Coat over or under, seems to be equal among drivers except in the big carriages, with Multiples in front. Then the apron or lap robe is always over the coat or jackets. A short skirted ladies jacket is not going to stay tucked under well, if using your arms with reins much.

                                        Above all, the apron should be comfortable, something you forget about having, when you start the driving part. Should not flap or annoy you, need to be retucked constantly, as you go along.

                                        Lot to ask from a piece of cloth! Sure glad I am usually the Groom, no call for an apron.

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