Kansas Bound

Travelling today listening to the usual eclectic mix of music of Elvis, Toby Keith, Darius Rucker; throw in some Australian Crawl, Lee Kernaghan, Dire Straits; sprinkled with a small dose of “not your grandmother's music” (or perhaps even your mother's!) Saddle Tramps and we were on our way to Kansas.

I had my moments in the backseat – not because I was naughty, lol! – to do some car projects behind a slightly more tinted window and away from the glare. Got quite a bit done and Jack could stil see me with his “check on the kids” mirror anyway. 🙂

We took a slight detour into the older part of Wichita and headed for the river. We found 'The Keeper Of The Plains' a 44 foot tall cor-ten steel sculpture that stands at the concourse of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers.

Before we headed to see that, we found ourselves inside Exploration Place. The equivalent to Questacon, in Canberra back in Australia. I had asked at the counter about restrooms and the girl at the counter pointed me to the right direction and for how to get to the bridge to the statue.

I came out of the bathrooms giggling. Here is what I found on the back of the bathroom door. (Sorry, I thought it was funny)

 

It's no wonder the lady at the entrance, waiting on school kids, was having trouble to round them up as they were probably reading all the doors too.

Anyway, Jack and I decided that it would probably be a good place to visit but the bright spark reckoned it would be quieter on a weekend??!!?? I don't know about that.

Off we headed to the bridge that would take us across the river to a small exhibit and the spectacular statue before us.

 

Around the base of the statue are two walls of an outdoor exhibit made from granite and other media portraying the American Indian life, culture and language.

 

The sculpture by Kiowa-Comanche artist, Blackbear Bosin features music in the background and small water mist jets as you meander around the base of the rock it is perched upon. Out the front of the statue on the river are fire pits known as 'the rings of fire' that are lit at dusk which would be a sight to see!

 

This was one of those places that gave an ambient and serene backdrop to a bustling city beyond the rivers edge.

A must see if you ever get up through Wichita, KS.

Kat xo

 

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Habit Forming

Riding habit that is!

After Land Run (not included in the previous blog) I set to getting a surprise job done for Annie D Vine. Her 1880-1890's riding habit in a Kelly green Melton Wool. Hawkshaw Fred and I had discussed the making of this for Annie's birthday without her knowledge which made me slightly nervous as we had only briefly discussed colour and thrown a couple of pictures her way.

Got the job done though, a full on week, trim hadn't arrived from Ireland and had to order more soutache which really put the pressure on. Not one to back down from a challenge though, it was game on!

The Victorian riding habit is an interesting skirt suited for ladies to ride side saddle and still be involved in the pleasures of equine sports.

A wider right hand side allows the wearer to sit upon their trusty steed and the skirt would drape nicely over their right knee and the saddle horn without revealing any knees or ankles. Keeping decorum to the max!

Once riding exploits have been had, the lady after alighting from her horse, can hitch up the skirt and fasten it in back on a button. This allows her to walk freely without tripping over the excess skirt.

 

Riding habits (as mentioned in the Truly Victorian pattern) were 'severe' in look and usually had no trim. I did however, find some old photographs of some with the military style braid work, so this is what we went for to add a little character at least.

 

The surprise worked! It fitted perfectly! Can't wait to see Miss Annie in her riding habit with all the accoutrements.

Maybe I'll see her doing some riding like this? Or not! From what I've briefly read, it took 2 men to get a lady up on her side saddle and there were many injuries and issues with restraining your horse BUT these are true pictures of women jumping their horses side saddle! Incredible.

 

Kat xo

 

The Liberated Woman

Now I say that very casually, as it was still late 1890's when 'Sporting Costumes' went through a change for women.

With women now being able to be 'wheel women' amongst other sports, came an introduction to ditching the petticoats and skirts.

This arose out of a 'safety' factor so you didn't end up A over T and being very unladylike during an untimely dismount from your bicycle.

I had looked at the cycling costume before but it wasn't until 'Tacky Jackie' asked if I would make her one that I got more interested in it again. I quickly bought the pattern and got fabrics and away we went.

In my research I had found pictures of ladies in skirts on their bicycles with large hats or boater style hats. Still looked a little impractical but I have seen a friend riding her original antique cycle in complete skirt ensemble! So it is possible.

 

Wasn't what we were looking for though. Wanting the more practical version of Turkish bloomers and basque, this would bring 'Tacky Jackie' and 'Kathouse Kelli' into practicality fashion of the late 1890's.

This picture found at the below link from the Metropolitan Museum, you will find a few other pic's at that site of this particular suit. It is original and I do love the detailing on it.

 

However, I feel this picture probably says it all! Probably more what I perhaps would have been like, had I been allowed out of skirts back then! Lol!

 

The pattern used for these is Laughing Moon Mercantile #110 Ladies 1890's Sporting Costumes – with Leggings. It has a great bibliography, descriptions and excerpts from fashion books from the era. Too much for here today.

So, Jackies choice was a small check print cotton. She didn't want a wool fabric so this is what we created,with a contrast belt and collar in black. She has cream lace dickie, black buttoned leggings and of course the ensemble wouldn't be complete without her new boater hat.

 

I had fabric that I had bought from the lovely 'Aspen Filly'. A small houndstooth wool, the perfect colour for keeping dust unnoticeable whilst out riding. I'm waiting on a neat buckle to go on this one.

 

Haa! Bloomers on with leggings! I'm now waiting on a button hook to come as this was a chore doing it without one!

 

I also had enough fabric for a Hunting Basque (included in the same pattern) so now I can interchange the two of them. Waiting on an antique hunting buckle for this one and have yet to make an appropriate hat. I want to put a dead bird on it but can't seem to find them yet. Will keep looking.

 

So there you go! Something different and unusual compared to my other gowns but now it's back to corsets and shooting outfits for now.

Will get photos of us wearing them later!

Have a good one! Kat

 

http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/159074?rpp=20&pg=1&pos=1&ft=bicycle+suit&img=1 1896-98 Cycling Suit. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ug02/hendrick/women.html The Possibility of Mobility: Women

http://www.lafnmoon.com/product_p/p110.htm 1890's Sporting Costume, Laughing Moon Mercantile