How to make a riding skirt Including video tutorials

rijrok patroon

How to you make a riding skirt? I will explain the basic steps in drawing a pattern and how to put it together in this blog. Including video tutorials specially for you to guide you through the process.

how to make riding skirt
How to make your own riding skirt. In this picture I am wearing model 2 made out of 100% wool

Riding skirts, you see them regularly on social media, beautiful pictures of riders with a long woolen riding skirt in a snowy landscape. Magnificent! But is this also practical to ride with? Does it really keep you warmer and which model suits you and your horse best? and how do you make your own riding skirt?

Is a riding skirt practical to ride with?

It depends. A riding skirt is not practical when mounting or dismounting your horse, that takes a little more effort with such a long piece of cloth which has to be lifted over the saddle. It is also not always useful at full canter, because the riding skirt flutters a bit. Be aware that this might also happens with strong winds.

You do need a horse that is not afraid of a fluttering skirt on their back. It is also best to use a fabric that is water and dirt resistant and does not crackle. Wool or a wool blend is best to use.

Does a riding skirt actually keep you warm?

Hell yes! No doubt about it. A riding skirt keeps your legs nice and warm during the cold winter weather. Even almost completely dry in light to medium rain if you use wool. And it also protects you from scratches from branches scraping your leg as you ride through the woods.

Which riding skirt model suits you and your horse best?

I managed to find 3 basic models of riding skirts online. The full circle riding skirt, like the Mathilde of Klesarven. The semi-circle riding skirt with double split, like Hanna Engstrom explains in her video. And finally, a pencil riding skirt with a double split like one of the models from Arctic Horse Gear.

If you don’t want to make a riding skirt yourself, you can buy one online. I have bought a riding skirt from Klesarven and it is of good quality and I can recommend it for those who do not want to get behind the sewing machine themselves. Do take into account extra costs from customs for EU countries due to the import from Norway.

How to you make a riding skirt? I will explain that and to guide you through the process I have added video tutorials. Are you still unable to figure it out after reading the blog and watching the videos? Leave your question in the comments or send me an email. I am happy to help you so that you can make your own riding skirt to keep you warm.

Linda Lacos weerterbergen
How to make a riding skirt? The riding skirt in the picture is a Klesarven skirt made of a wool blend. This pattern looks like model 1

Model 1, the full circle riding skirt:

This is a graceful wrapskirt that falls generously around your legs and you can easily wear it over several layers of clothing and adjust the width every time. This skirt also covers your horse’s hindquarters. Great if you have shaved your horse this winter. The downside of this model is that it requires a lot of fabric to make it, the riding skirt is therefore heavy and it is more difficult to mount or dismount your horse.

Model 2, the semi-circle riding skirt:

This model is still graceful and roomy around your legs, but has a split at the front and back. This model doesn’t cover the hindquarters of your horse. Great for horses with a thick winter coat that quickly sweat while riding. I made this model for myself with a double button closure at the front. Therefore the size is not adjustable. Model 2 keeps your legs warm and is less heavy because fewer material is used. With this riding skirt it is a bit less difficult to mount your horse due to the double split.

Model 3, the tube riding skirt:

I have not tried this model myself because it does not appeal to me. Do you have this model? Let me know what you think about it in the comments. Model 3 is also more difficult to make, so I will not explain how to make a model 3 riding skirt in this blog.

When making a riding skirt model 1 and 2 there are a few measurements that are important. Namely the waist size and the length from the waist to your ankle bone. For your waist it is important that you take this measurement where you want the riding skirt to be around your waist. I don’t like a high waist, so I wear the riding skirt just above my hip. You also have to take into account that you wear the riding skirt over your sweater and riding pants.

Linda Lacos weerterbergen
How to make your own riding skirt?

Measure your waist size with your riding pants on.

Don’t make a riding skirt longer than your ankle bone. This may seem short for a long skirt, but if you walk through the mud to get your horse out of the pasture, you’ll be happy if it doesn’t drag. It also helps when climbing stairs if your skirt does not reach the floor. The Klesarven model is even slightly shorter at the front for this reason.

To make your riding skirt yourself you will need:

  • Waist size = your size at the top of the riding skirt on top of your clothes.
  • Length from the waist to your ankle bone, measured on the side of your leg.
  • Pattern paper or newspaper paper
  • Boiled wool, washed wool, wool felt. Preferably 100% wool. Possibly a wool blend. Length of the fabric depends on the model you are making. Count on at least 3 meters for model 2 and at least 4 meters for model 1 (with fabric of 1.5 m wide)
  • Sewing machine, fabric scissors, pins, thread, possibly 2 buttons for model 2

Pay attention! Do not use woven or patterned fabrics with these patterns

If you do want to use woven or patterrened fabric, it is better to adjust the patterns. Because then you have to take the straight of grain into account. If you don’t, the fabric will stretch unevenly. For a woven fabric I would choose to make the pattern for model 1 in eight parts and the pattern for model 2 in 4 parts. For every part you cut, keep in mind that the straight of grain runs from the waist over the center of your pattern in a straight line to the bottom. You cannot use the fabric fold and have to put more parts together, take that seam in account.

When using a fabric with a pattern, you cut the parts in such a way that the pattern is always in the same place, that way it flows nicely. You don’t want the riding skirt to become an eclectic piece with a random pattern.

How to you make riding skirt model 1?

How to make a riding skirt video tutorial for model 1

In this tutorial all measurements are in centimeters. If you don’t use the metric system, please adjust the calculations to your needs.

Model 1, a full circle riding skirt. For this pattern we use your waist size plus 15 cm overlap. So if your waist is 65 cm we will use 80 cm in the calculation. You need this mathematical formula to get your waist measurement on the pattern paper.

C = 2πr, or circumference circle = 2 x π x r

Your waist size is the circumference of the circle,this you can measure. Now you need to know what the radius of the circle is to get your waist measurement correctly on the paper. In mathematics, r is the notation for the radius of a circle. The formula then becomes

r = C : 2π, or radius = circumference : 2 x π

You may round the number π to 3.14. With a waist size of 80 cm you will get the following calculation: r = 80: (2 x 3.14) So first you calculate 2 x 3.14 = 6.28 Then you calculate the formula as a whole r = 80: 6.28 = 12.74 cm.

From the right angle (90 degrees) of your paper, plot 12.74 cm (or the measurement that comes from your calculation) along both sides of the paper. Do this also at a few points in the middle. Follow these points with your marker in one smooth motion. You have now plotted your waist size onto the paper. To check this, you could measure the waist on the paper with your tape measure and multiply this by 4. That should give you 80 cm for this example calculation.

From your waistline on the paper, plot the length of your riding skirt in the same way along the sides of the paper and then at a number of points in the middle. Follow these points again with your marker in a smooth line.

On a pattern we indicate what the straight of grain is or where the fabric fold runs. This is a symmetrical pattern so it doesn’t matter much. But who knows, you might be making more patterns and it is good practice to always indicate which pattern you have in your hands and how it should be placed on the fabric. Therefor write on the pattern “riding skirt model 1” and write on one long side “fabric fold / straight of grain”

Cut out this pattern with paper scissors. Your fabric scissors will become dull if you use them for paper.

For riding skirt model 1 we have drawn the pattern for a quarter of the riding skirt. You are supposed to fold the fabric in half by putting the selvedges together. In other words, you fold the fabric in half lengthwise. Usually fabric is already folded double on the roll, which is easy. You place the pattern along the fabric fold and pin it down.

hoe maak je rijrok
How to make a riding skirt

Keep in mind that you should not cut tightly around the pattern paper because you will need extra fabric for a seam and hem. Depending on how thick your fabric is, I would cut an extra 1/2 to 3 cm for a seam. The thicker the fabric, the wider the hem.

You place one side of the pattern along the fabric fold. If you remove the pattern from the fabric after cutting, you can unfold the fabric and you will have half a riding skirt in your hands. You do not have to cut the fabric fold and you do not have to take a seam into account along the fabric fold.

You will also need a waistband. This is a straight strip of 8 to 10 cm wide and 2.5 x or 3 x your waist size long.

You cut a riding skirt pattern twice. A left side and a right side.

Place the two parts right side facing together and sew along the center back seam of the riding skirt. Fold and iron the hem of the front sides and bottom of the riding skirt. If you have the luxury of a lock machine, you can first lock these seams and then fold and iron them. When your fabric is very thick, you can choose to finish the edge with a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine first. If you use thin fabric, I would fold the hem twice. This way, the frayed edge is incorporated into the hem.

Topstitch your hem, you could make a double stitch if you like.

Then fold and iron the waistband in half and fold and iron the hem on each long side of the waistband. Place the waistband with the center on the back of your riding skirt when you have taken 3x the length of your waist. If you have taken 2.5x the length, you place the waistband half a waist length on one side and a full waist length on the other side. Place the waistband on the waist of your riding skirt right sides facing and stitch it down. Fold the waistband in half over the top of your riding skirt and topstitch the waistband over the entire length of the waist band. By doing so you attach it to the top of your riding skirt. Fold the ends of the waistband inwards on the short sides and topstitch or handstitch to close the ends.

How to you make riding skirt model 2?

How to make a riding skirt video tutorial for model 2

In this tutorial all measurements are in centimeters. If you don’t use the metric system, please adjust the calculations to your needs.

Model 2 is a semi-circle riding skirt. For this pattern we use your waist size plus 2x 15 cm overlap for each split, so 30 cm. If your waist is 65 cm, we calculate it as follows. The sewing pattern consists of 2 parts, we divide the waist size by 2, so 65 cm : 2 = 32.5 cm. Add the overlap, so 32.5 cm + 30 cm = 62.5 cm. Since we are making a paper pattern for a quarter of the skirt, divide this by two again. 62.5 cm : 2 = 31.25 cm

We assume a total waist size of 4 x 31.25 cm = 125 cm for this pattern. Because it concerns a semi-circle riding skirt, you divide by π instead of by 2π. You need this mathematical formula to get your waist measurement on the pattern paper.

r = C : 2π, so radius = circumference : 2 x π; because it is a semicircle riding skirt the formula is radius = circumference : π

You may round the number π to 3.14. With a total waist size of 125 cm you will get the following calculation: r = 125 : 3.14 So r = 39.81 cm

Fold the short side of your pattern paper inwards, creating an angle of 45 degrees. From that corner of your paper, plot 39.81 cm (or the measurement that comes from your calculation) along both sides of the paper. Do this also at a few points in the middle. Follow these points with your marker in one smooth motion. You have now plotted your waist size on the paper. To check whether this is correct, you can measure whether this length is approximately 31.25 cm.

From your waistline, plot the length of your skirt in the same way along the sides of the paper and then on a number of points in the middle. Follow these points with your marker in a smooth line. You may need to lengthen the pattern paper by taping a piece to it.

On a pattern we indicate what the straight of grain is or where the fabric fold runs. This is a symmetrical pattern so it doesn’t matter much. But who knows, you might be making more patterns and then it is good practice to always indicate which pattern you have in your hands and how it should be placed on the fabric. Therefor write “riding skirt model 2” on the pattern and write on one long side “fabric fold / straight of grain”. Also indicate the overlap at center front and center back.

Cut out this pattern with paper scissors. Your fabric scissors will become dull if you use it for paper.

The making of my model 2 riding skirt. cutting the pattern and pinning it.

For model 2 we drew a pattern for a quarter of the riding skirt. You are supposed to fold the fabric in half. Unfold the fabric of the roll completely and then fold the short side inwards. You place the pattern along the fabric fold and pin it down.

Is your pattern larger than the fabric if you fold it as described above. Then, like me, you need more fabric than the 3 meters and you cannot use the fabric fold. You will have to make your riding skirt in four parts, or shorten it in length. The pattern is a quarter of the riding skirt, so for every half riding skirt you first put two quarter pieces together. Take a seam in account if you cannot use the fabric fold.

Keep in mind that you should not cut tightly around the pattern paper because you will need extra fabric for a hem on your riding skirt.

Depending on how thick your fabric is, I would cut an extra 1,5 to 3 cm for a seam or hem. The thicker the fabric, the wider the hem. If you like to make a very wide hem, add an extra 7 to 10 cm at the bottom.

You place one side of the pattern along the fabric fold. If you remove the pattern from the fabric after cutting, you can unfold the fabric and you will have half a riding skirt in your hands. You do not have to cut the fabric fold and you do not have to take a hem into account when using the fabric fold. Do cut a hem here if your pattern is larger and you cannot use the fabric fold. In that case, 1,5 cm of hem is enough to join the two parts together, right side facing.

Then you also need a waistband. This is a straight strip of 8-10 cm wide and your waist size + 15 cm overlap + 10 cm long. For model 2 that is 65 cm =15 cm + 10 cm = 85 cm

zelf een rijrok maken
How to make a riding skirt

You cut the riding skirt pattern twice. A left side and a right side.

Fold and iron in the hem of the sides and bottom of the riding skirt. If you have the luxury of a lock machine, you can first lock these hems and then fold and iron them. When your fabric is very thick, you can choose to finish the edge with a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine first. If you use thin fabric, I would fold the hem double. In this way, the frayed edge is incorporated into the hem. Topstitch your hem, you could make a double stitch if you like.

Place the two sides of the skirt in the center back at the correct distance on top of each other, pin it and stitch it.

Fold and iron the waistband in half and fold and iron the hem on each long side of the waistband. Place the center of the waistband on the center back of your riding skirt. Place the waistband good sides facing on the waist of your riding skirt and stitch it down. Fold the waistband in half over the top of your riding skirt and topstitch the waistband over the entire length of the hem hereby attaching it to the top of your riding skirt. Fold the ends of the waistband inwards on the short sides and topstitch or handstitch to close the ends. Make a buttonhole at both ends of the waistband.

Try the riding skirt over your riding gear and determine where the two buttons should go. One on the inside and one on the outside.

The final product of riding skirt model 2. Lacos and I show you how we use it in cold weather. Doesn’t it look great?

You could wear both riding skirt models by lining them with a double layer of the same material. I would only connect the double layers at the waist. That way, the fabric will not twist strangely and fall naturally. You can choose to show the lining fabric by cutting the top layer 10 cm shorter. This is a nice touch if you use two different colors of fabric for the top layer and the lining. In that case, I would also consider making the waistband from the lining fabric, for example. I assume in this case that the lining fabric is of the same strength and quality as the top layer fabric is.

Has this tutorial helped you? Did you manage to make a riding skirt? Or do you have any questions about how to make a riding skirt? Let me know in the comments or get in touch with me.

Curious about who I am and the adventures I have with my horse Lacos? Read more about us here.

Linda Lacos buiten ruiter
I am happy to help you out if you have any questions after reading this blog.

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