Friday, February 4, 2011

A happy birthday to me present??

Perhaps if I find a briefcase full of money in the near future... lol Otherwise I'll have to dream (and pretend I can suck my tummy in to a 24" waist...).

I found this stunning victorian sidesaddle habit on Ebay today. Listed to start at $999.00.

It's an orignal Victorian era, 3 peice riding habit. Breeches and all. Made by Delury, N.Y. The seller says "Helping to date this habit, the New York City directories of both 1885 and 1890 list John F. Delury, Tailor, at 214 Sixth Avenue. Furthermore, the name John F. Delury turns up twice in NY Times Archives. Once on Jan 17th, 1883, when the NY Times denouced an allegedly frivolous indictment for his arrest , and again on April 16, 1897, making reference to an "assignment of assets" by John F. Delury on Jan 25, 1894, when Delury seemingly lost his business. In the Census of 1910, John F. Delury shows up as working in insurance. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude that this riding habit dates to the years 1883 ~ 1894, the 11 year span when it can be certain JF Delury was working as a tailor in New York City."Isn't that neat that the seller took the time to look into it's history a bit. If only we knew who it was made for!

I love the seller's description of the habit, you can tell they appreciate the fine quality of it.
"The habit itself is a thing of hardy beauty. It is exquisitely tailored. The lines of the jacket make for a stunningly curvaceous silhouette. Wide shoulders taper to give the illusion of a tiny waist, accentuated by two perky tails. The voluminous skirt swells out over curving hip lines."

And now the sizing... "The jacket is lightly boned in the center back and sides, and three pieces on either front. It is approximately 38 inches when buttoned across the chest, and 25 inches at the narrowest part of the waist." I would fit the bust measurement of this but certainly not the waist! I think you'd have to corset me in so tight I wouldn't have a hope of being able to ride & breathe! LOL

Apparently the skirt is asymmetrical, which I'm guessing is a "knee pocket" style skirt and not a safety apron. It measures 60" at it's longest point over the right hip seam.
The skirt had "Three fabric covered weights at the base of the 42" left hip seam hold the skirts demurely in place."
The seller says that the hem is approx. 81 inches around. Or 6 3/4 feet of material. That's a LOT of material! "It has a 33 inch total waist, with perhaps two inches taken up by the overlap: however the eye for the hook is now gone. Still present are two stretchy straps on the inside of the skirt, probably used to hook th" Oh oh! That would fit me!

The description of the pants "The pants measure approx. 32 inches at the waist. 44 inches at the outseam, and 29 inches at the inseam. They have two straps to go around riding boots, each with two brass buttons marked Delury. There is a brass buckle to take in the rear waist strap: the buckle is marked "Paris"." (Yup, they'd fit too!)

The seller says that it's a deep navy blue and has a hook & eye closure belt along the inside that was used to keep the jacket to the skirt. The breeches also have a chamois seat-reinforcement (victorian full seats?) that was partially replaced at some point. The jacket had a total of 14 buttons on the front, 3 on each cuff and two on the tails. They were replaced at one point but the originals retained and will go with the habit.

This habit appears to be in immaculate shape for it's age. What a find! I hope a museum or sidesaddle connosieur ends up with it so it can be properly appreciated and taken care of!


  1. I saw that on Ebay too today! If I wasn't having to shop for a new side saddle, I would have considered buying that, lol!

  2. Oh darn! It would be neat to know who ends up with it.
    I still think the brown habit you had was nicer though! btw question for you, did that habit have a knee pocket skirt or was there a small slit in the skirt to allow it to wrap around the pommels?

  3. My 1860's habit had a knee pocket and do did the brown 1910 habit I had. The brown 1880's one had a slit so you could insert the pommels into it without the bulk of the knee pocket but it was still a full skirt.

  4. Ahhh interesting! A friend found a pattern for a historical sidesaddle skirt from 1909 I believe and it's definitely not an apron so we were trying to figure out if it was a knee pocket or if it would have the slit.

  5. John F. Delury was my great grandfather. Fun to see his work!