Monday, February 6, 2012

Ruff'n It

I've had a couple of comments from ladies that also enjoy sewing sidesaddle attire, so I thought I'd show you a casual sidesaddle turnout that I have admired for many years, and which inspired me to attempt a leather apron.

These pictures are of a trail riding apron made by my friend and long time sidesaddle enthusiast Barb Thelan.  Barb is one of those riders about whom you tend to hear little, because she dedicates her sidesaddle time to the trails.  It's ladies such as Barb that I think we really need to trumpet about because, while you'll never see her picture in a horse show magazine, she quietly promotes riding aside by the sheer numbers of people she interacts with on the trail.  She rides out with the cowboyz in their tough astride saddles...and she keeps up over very tough country.  She literally spends hours in the saddle at a time, so if there is any sort of fit or comfort problem, she'll know about it.

Here's the apron sitting on a stand.  I'm pretty sure it's cowhide...tho' it may be deerskin.  She didn't have a big enough hide to get the entire primary pattern on and had to piece.  While I added a seam down the front thigh dart, Barb ran a vertical seam about 6 inches from the back edge.  Like me, she used handcut fringe.

Barb looking sportin' in her cowboy hat and leather apron.  You can see her Steele sidesaddle on her horse, Beau, in the background.

However...Barb values her cranial contents more than her appearance, so she wears a helmet once mounted.  Her apron is fastened with a velcro strip, allowing for infinite adjustment.

Barb also has this cool matching suede jacket with Native American style beading to go with her apron.  She's all geared up to hit the trail with matching saddle bags, etc..

Barb has had this apron for many years and it has held up beautifully.  Given the rough type of riding she does, there is no way a fabric apron would have lasted as long.  When they take a break out on the trail for lunch, Barb just pulls off her apron and spreads it on the ground to use as a picnic blanket!  She says that she has little trouble cleaning her apron...the dirt and mud brush off the leather once dry.

Truly a multipurpose garment.


  1. Nice! I would try ultrasuede.. but don't think I have the equipment (or nerve)to work with real leather.

    1. It's suprisingly easy to work with, and sometimes it costs less than ultrasuede...of course, ultrasuede is machine washable!