Sprucing up a Riding Jacket

Hi! Has anyone tried updating/sprucing up an older coat? I traded a pretty dressage coat that didn’t quite fit me for an older hunt coat that fits better, but is VERY boring (charcoal gray with dark gray buttons). I am a pretty good sewer (can make pants, put in zippers, ease in sleeves, etc) and I’d love to add a little style/bling to this coat: maybe add something to the collar & pocket flaps, possibly add a detail to the back (one of those “straps” with buttons?). I have looked online & haven’t been able to find anything from someone who has done this (probably using the wrong search terms, but I tried several). Has anyone done this, or any suggestions on where to look? Thanks!

If it were me, I’d add piping to the collar edges and pocket flap Then if you are really feeling ambitious, replace the lining with something dazzling. Some interesting new buttons might be nice too.

1 Like

That’s what I’m thinking :), just wondering if anyone has done this and has any tips? (is there a way to put on piping without opening the seam? Do I need to make a finished edge on the collar & lay on top, or can I wrap the fabric under & whipstitch? Things like that…)

Some companies make removable collar covers. If you could do that you could make them with piping. I think I heard about this on the hunting channel. There were different levels of membership or formality and you could get collar covers with hunt colors or something like that?

I would start with new buttons and a low key collar piping

I replaced the buttons on my show coats. I found them on etsy. There are all kinds of horse-themed buttons there. Anyone remember the old Pytchley hunt coats with the neat horse head buttons? The ones I found have a similar look.

Swapping out the plain ol’ boring buttons with ones that are unique yet still discreet is an easy way to add some personal style.

Now, if I could just figure out how to cajole a tailor into adding some piping to the lapels and collar… :thinking:

1 Like

Have you done this? I’m really looking for specifics on doing it - did you open the seam to put in the piping, or was there an easier way?

no have never done it. If fine enough I wonder if your could whip it along the edge. I have done that for large bulky saddle pad, but the fine points of a collar would be a challenge.

To do it properly you would have to deconstruct the collar attachment as piping is usually put down as the first step in bringing the 2 fabric pieces together. A tailor might be able to accomplish this. If the coat is not well made in the first place you might wind up with a ruined coat. I remember my Mom making repairs on my first coat, bought used for $4 in 1968. I still have it and it is a beautiful piece with a hand stitching. There were generous seam allowances which gave her fabric to harvest and patch some moth and cigarette holes

You may be best off with new buttons and perhaps a new stock tie?

1 Like

The only piping I have done was during jacket construction not after. However, if adding piping by neatly stitching to a completed collar, I would use cord, not piping and carefully attach with an embroidery needle and matching thread. Do a pocket first and see how it looks. If satisfactory, attempt the collar. As u are not cutting the fabric, u can remove if u don’t like it. Not sure how/when u will wear the jacket, but if only in the ring, it need not be perfect. On a moving horse, a missed stitch would be hard to see. Try it and if u don’t like it, take it off.


I’m no seamstress, but I’ve added custom upholstery cord to dress up plain white pads to match my showjacket. As @Foxglove suggested, neatly whipstitch the cord by hand and it’ll look fine! I’m sure no one is going to stick their face 6" from yours to eyeball your collar’s handiwork - especially these days! If they try, you can clear your throat or fake a muffled sneeze :laughing:


That sounds perfect! If I decide to do an overlay on the collar, I suppose I could use piping because the “tail” could go between the overlay & the collar… but I like cord & just use matching thread, that’s brilliant :smiley:

I LOVE this XD

How wide or thick of cord would be best? And should the thread color match the cord or match the jacket? (I’m handy and crafty but not a good seamstress!)

I would take jacket and visit a store that has such material. See what looks good. I would buy as small a cord as I could reasonably see, and then the next size up. Try both. I think one will be suitable and do able. Do use embroidery needles and a thimble!!!


Definitely match the thread color to the cord.


Thanks for the tips! :+1: I feel a project coming on!

1 Like

Please post pictures once the bling has been applied!!

Ha! Don’t be mixin’ your descriptive terms for embellishments. “Bling” in my world = crystals and sparklies. I’m gonna’ call my collar cordage “decorative flair.” :laughing:

And I’m definitely going to try it first on the $100 Ovation hunt coat I use at schooling shows.

There is an equestrian sewing group on Facebook, if you do Facebook. Lots of knowledgeable posters on there.

1 Like

Tack of the Day has the Tredstep Solo exchangable collars on sale for $12.50. Maybe a cheap cheat if anyone is interested. They have other colors as well is you search “collar” and narrow it to rider items.