A couple of weeks ago I attended my fourth week of training at The Saddlery Training Centre. Following my successful completion of Level 2 Bridle Making, I was now to go straight onto Level 3 (in Bridle Making).
So for my first practical piece I was tasked with making a stallion in-hand bridle with a fixed nose band, fancy stitching and a clencher brow band. I chose a rich brown coloured leather called ‘Conker’ from the store and decided to use brass clenchers and buckles as well as stitch it in a yellow contrasting thread. I like working with a contrasting thread because if you go wrong it stands out and I’d much rather be going wrong during my practical sessions than when I’m back home in my workshop, huh?!
Here are a few pictures I took during the week…
Making the individual pieces for this bridle felt very time consuming but I have to remember that by being taught in a class of six other students you have to share the trainer. Mark’s fab but there is only so much he can do in one day lol. I was really keen to just get on with it but I think that was what my problem was, I am far too keen to speed through this training (partly because of the cost) so I can get onto the next item. I realised by day three that this would in fact affect the quality of my pieces if I’m not careful and I am doing level 3 after all so I need them to look and be much more spectacular than just ‘fit for purpose’. I must start producing immaculate work that will be of a level 3 quality. Needless to say, I slowed down and concentrated more.
I really enjoyed making the pattern for the decorative stitching on the nose band, prick marking it and then stitching it in the yellow contrasting thread. Looks pretty impressive doesn’t it? 🙂
The brow band was tricky, Trying to make sure the measurements were all correct for each clencher and then stitch mark it perfectly was a task and a half. I have to confess, I did do this twice as my first one seemed fine until I came to stitch it then I realised pretty early on that I had not left enough room for the stitching and was veering too close to the clenchers. It would have looked shoddy had I continued, so I admitted defeat, checked with Mark the trainer and then prepped a new piece right from the beginning, by cutting a new strap from the hide. It cut into my time but was so worth it in the end. Apart from a slight kink in the stitching (which won’t affect my skills assessment) it also looks pretty impressive.
Slowly and surely I finished off each individual piece, put it all together and here you have it, my very first in-hand stallion bridle in ‘Conker’. I just LOVE it! What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments. 🙂