Saturday, January 7, 2012

Showmanship Outfit Re-Vamp

I don't know what it is about this time of year that makes me itch for show season. Even though I don't know if I'll be able to show this year, I'm still thinking about it.  AND I got a new digital drawing pad from my BFF/SO and I need to practice with it!

And even though last spring I said about my outfit " I'm pretty happy with it. Hopefully I won't feel the need to make yet another outfit for next year!" I am considering making another one.  I know, I just can't leave well-enough alone!  In my greatest fantasy I'd have a completely different outfit for Showmanship, for Horsemanship, and for Western Pleasure, but that's just not practical for the type of shows I go to.  There's not really time to change that many times! And I seriously don't need anything else to have to haul the shows!

I had been pondering the idea of designing a new showmanship outfit in a COLOR rather than the black that I've been wearing. I thought about using Hobby Horse's (now discontinued, but they still have some available) Green and adding tan(like the hat) and some sort of other accent color. The 2011 Color of the Year from Pantone was Honeysuckle and I LOVE the color.  Maybe a little bright for an adult, but I really like it.
I can imagine it with my current hat color and I think it would be pretty with Junior's roan coat. I could envision using the hat color and a darker pink like the gradation of the flower petals.

But after pondering the idea long enough I realized that not only will this create some expenses that I don't want to have, this will cause logistical problems for me at the shows. There is simply not enough time between my Western Showmanship class and my first Western riding class.  If I changed colors, I'd have to go all the way to a bathroom or my tack stall to change the outfit, THEN put on the chaps and spurs and tack up the horse.  Even with a Groom last year I was late to my first riding class - thankfully KAT was kind enough to tell them I was doing a tack change otherwise I would have missed the class! And with how terrible I am at memorizing 4 patters in a day, I need all the time I can get between the classes!!!

If I was only doing showmanship and not riding I might go ahead with a fun color since I wouldn't need to keep the black pants for the black chaps or need a new saddle blanket.  I could keep the black and just make a new top with the Honeysuckle colors mixed in, then I'd have to still have another top for riding or get a new saddle blanket.  I think that using the same top for both is worth the time it saves both in construction and in tack change time.  I did that the previous year with the embroidered lace jacket and I found the additional changing stress this past year was awful.

So then I'm back to my existing outfit I made last year and figuring out how I can make it improve it visually and functionally.  After wearing it a few times I'd like to make some modifications and I can do these with VERY minimal cost:

1. Remove the closed "invisible" zipper from the back and put in an invisible separating zipper. Currently I have to put the thing on over my head and squeeze my shoulders into the circumference of the hem which is rather difficult and time consuming. Having the jacket able to slip on and off more easily will allow me to take it off if it's really hot between classes or if I need to do a task that might get it dirty. Separating invisible zippers are not available locally, but I have finally found them on line so I might be able to have the best of both worlds! A new zipper is the ONLY expense on this project.

2. Shorten the Hem just a little so I can wear it for halter and riding. I gave it a removable crotch strap so it would stay smoothly tucked in for the riding classes.  Not only was this rather uncomfortable (I'll spare you the details) but it added time to the change.  If I shorten the hem I can use the jacket for both showmanship and riding, and only have to put on my chaps and spurs for the riding. I hate putting a horizontal line at my hips, but I think with the black-on-black it'll be okay.

3.  Add more appliques down the center front to vertically lengthen the visual contrast. The inverted triangle will hopefully be flattering/slimming. The increase in the non/black color will also allow the hat to blend more. I can easily cut the new pieces from the extra ultrasuede/gold and apply them while the zipper is out.  I'll add in some more crystals down the front, of course, to match the amount on the existing areas....maybe I should bling up my hat??? Kidding.  Kidding. That will not happen.

4. Make pants?  This vexes me.  The fabric I bought for the jacket looks like the same black as my Hobby Horse pants in person and in photos, but on my videos it's a different shade and I don't know if it's noticeable in person since I can't see myself.  I'm pretty sure I can get more of the jacket fabric, but there's still a chance that the dye lot will be different and I'd have the same problem so I don't know if it's worth the effort/cost of fabric.

So this is what I think it will look like:
I don't think it's super trendy, but I really don't like the trendy textured and crazy look.  I like a little more retro/subtle I think.  It might end up a little different when I actually go to lay out the new pieces on the jacket. 

What do you think? Here's the way it is now for comparison - remember the jacket will be out over the chaps.


  1. Wow, that jacket you linked to for "textured" is possibly the single ugliest piece of clothing I have ever seen in my life! I can't believe people wear that. I rather like your top though, I like the patterns and earth tone-y colours that remain tasteful, even in your "enhanced" version.

    1. Yes, I selected that one as the most brilliant example of Show Ring Hot Mess.

  2. I think you are very talented! If I showed I would probably think about getting or making a new outfit each season. It's fun!

  3. I like the additional "bling" and appliques on the front very much, and I don't think there is a visible difference between your jacket fabric and your pants. And I'm with E79, that contraption with the one sleeve and fringe is HID-E-OUS! If I see someone wearing something like that at a show I'm gonna fall down in the barn aisle laughing (unlikely, though, since I am currently boycotting all AQHA events). Usually I'm a bit jealous of the cool stuff Western folks get to wear vs. our boring English habits, but not that, no sirree!