The Elf Coat- I in late September of 2014 watching TV in my bedroom, folding laundry and feeling not so pretty saw this beautiful picture on my tv screen and posted it to Instagram. Leslie Ruby Randall contacted me right away with her request for me to make her a romantic 18th century riding coat for a shoot she wanted to do with a horse.

Tracy McElfresh

First we found a pattern, that is always the hardest part. We chose Reconstructing History’s riding coat. These patterns give lingo and directions for constructing in the time period it was from. This and construction made it incredibly advanced. Honestly, I stitched it together how I wanted to in a modern kinda way.

Tracy McElfresh

It’s a good thing there is no shortage of vintage books in Dayton, Ohio. I was able to look up the time period and get a good sense of why things were the way were and the proper names of parts of the garments. I learned about stays, why they had so many buttons, why the large vent in the back and the white wigs ladies wore.

Tracy McELfresh

After the construction and a few alterations. The sleeve armscyes were way to tight. Last were the buttons and fur! Buttons were a sign of wealth in the 1760s. Neither Leslie nor I are wealthy we went with 5 large buttons. Buttons are expensive and time consuming.

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I named it The Elf Coat because most days I like a little elf and I would wear this coat.

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Here is a couple more shots from the shoot. Photos taken by Sharon Caraway and Leslie Ruby Randall was modeling her new coat.

Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh is the owner of Tracy’s Sewing Studio LLC.
Tracy McElfresh