Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Aloha to Mary Wine and HOW TO HANDLE A HIGHLANDER

How to Handle a Highlander

I signed up to host Mary Wine as part of her blog tour.  I suggested the following topic - Mary's beautiful Medieval gown she wears at readers' events.    Please join me in welcoming Mary Wine!

Mary, left, with two readers at the Scottish Fairy Ball, RT/2012.

Good Morning!

Thanks so much for hosting me!

Let’s see my dresses. I’ve always loved dressing up. I used to get into the rag bin and make things for my Barbie dolls. My mother was a basic seamstress and would often make my pajamas and sometimes vests and skirts for school for me. I learned the very basics from her and I recall one Christmas when I was about ten or eleven when I received my first sewing machine. Boy was that exciting. Well for me it was.

My first gown was one I made for a renaissance dinner at my brother’s high school. I looked up pictures from the era and did my best to make the dress using several different patterns. It was my Mom who helped me make onto the path of true historical costuming by giving me a book by Janet Arnold. Janet is an amazing woman who went out and looked at surviving garments and figured out what the shapes of the pieces were. She drew them out on a grid. Now I could see how to cut my fabric and put it together. Sizing was still a major issue as well as researching fabrics and techniques.

Today, I’ve amassed a collection of books on undergarments and historical sewing. I’ve got a wonderful collection of pictures from museums around the globe. Interestingly enough, I still sew on very basic machines. I’ve even got my eye on one from around the turn of the century because it’s powerful. I actually own a treadle powered machine that I have used. I wanted to see what the difference was, if any and I also challenged myself to make a garment with no power. I even used a pair of ions that I have to heat on the stove. It was a very interesting experiment.

A new dress begins with having some place to wear it. There are many designs I’d like to make. Once I have an event, I’ll decide on the photo or painting I’m going to try and make. Then it’s off to the down town garment district for the fabric hunt. Choosing your fabric is key. Through trial and error, I’ve learned to stick to natural fibers and even though that polyester might be attractive price wise, it is NOT the right choice. First off, polyester holds your body heat in, when you are talking a historical gown, you want it to breathe. Also, silk just moves differently and therefor, looks different.

It can take a long time to find the right fabric. I pay attention to details like what sort of fabric was popular during the period? Stripes? Brocades? Trims? What did they use? I end up going back to those photos over and over.

The first step in any costume is the undergarments. They need to fit and fit well. We all know how a bad bra can ruin your day, well it’s the same with a corset. Once you’ve got your foundation garments done, the dress is really the simplest part. Then it’s on to accessories. Gloves, hats, purse and all the little things that you need to use during the day.

Do these bring life to my books? Sure they do. I really do know what they have on under there and in many cases, what they don’t.

I hope you all get a chance to pick up a copy of my newest book…How to Handle a Highlander.

Cheers!

Mary Wine
MaryWine.com


Mahalo, Mary, for giving a glimpse into your gowns ... and books!  Sourcebooks is giving away a print copy of Mary's new elease, HOW TO HANDLE A HIGHLANDER, Book Three of The Sutherlands series:

Moira Frazer is betrothed to a man who is old enough to be her father, but it’s her duty to her clan to marry him, and she’s determined to see this through…until she meets Gahan Sutherland.

Gahan knows this match is designed to start a feud between the clans which is why he decides to stop the wedding. But when Moira awakens a passion within him that he never knew existed, he realizes that the outcome of this perilous situation will determine the future of his own happiness.

As trust and honor clash with forbidden attraction, manipulations, rivalries, and schemes will threaten to blow the Highlands sky high…

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about sewing - are you handy with a needle?  I am not ... thus I am dependent upon the seamstress at the dry cleaners on post.   

2.  Sourcebooks' giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 9, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 10.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

The Highlander's PrizeThe Trouble with Highlanders

34 comments:

  1. Yes, I am pretty handle with a needle. I haven't made any clothing in years, but I've adjusted a lot of things and done a lot of needlework (embroidery, crewel, counted cross stitch). I even have some things to sew for Christmas - so I have to get going on that. I'm even thinking about creating a costume to wear next Halloween. Putting together a whole historically accurate outfit would be a major undertaking.
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

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    1. It can go on and on and on! LOL....as my work room reflects!

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  2. Funny thing is I took home ec in high school, and we made pin cushions and a shirt. Other than that I basically forgot how... Outside assignments my mother had to help me with. We made some frilly pillows, some curtains for my bedroom (purple) and I think a table cloth.

    I know the basics... but there was no enjoyment in it for me. Now my grandmother she use to take scrap garments to make outfits for my barbie. She was appalled that barbrie did not have a bra... so she made her one. And underwear. I loved that woman.

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    1. Sewing is something that recharges me. I often deal with writers block by sewing. I also don't play video games. While the rest of the crew is engaged with the Xbox, I sew and listen to music.

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  3. I can do just the necessities like a button or hem or fixing socks etc. but not actually making clothes.

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    1. Basics are good. I'm just a basic and I mean ,really basic cook.

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  4. I'm okay with a needle, but my mom is the expert. She was a seamstress.

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    1. I had the opportunity to work with a very talented lady at our local renaissance fair. I learned so much from being around her. She was amazingly talented.

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  5. I've taken quilting classes, where I learned to hand quilt in addition to machine quilting/sewing, so I know my way around a needle. I used to do embroidery when I was younger as well, but these days I usually only get out the needle and thread to sew on a button, or repair a split seam, etc. It's hard when you get older and can't see those tiny stitches. :D

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    1. I adore quilts. Don't have time to make them these days. I love to make cotton shirts for myself and I take all the scraps to a friend of mine who is a Nun. She makes amazing quilts.

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  6. I can use a sewing machine. but I rather crochet

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    1. When my kids were younger, I did a lot of crochet. They loved those home made blankets more than anything I could buy.

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  7. I can sew buttons on a a pair of pants or top!

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    1. cooking is my down fall...I'm only a basic girl in the kitchen.

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  8. I can sew. I used to make all my kids Halloween costumes.

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    1. My mom did that too and I remember being so excited as she made whatever I'd decided to be.

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  9. Yes, I can sew. When I was very young, my grandmother made all my dresses, complete with the front smocking. My mother sewed all the clothes, including full length coats for the dolls that my sister and I received at Christmas. I sewed my first skirt in 7th grade and kept going from there. As the oldest daughter in a family of nine I learned real quick that my babysitting money could buy a lot more fabric and patterns than 'store bought' clothes. So, YES, I sewed. ;o)

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    1. I recall learning that lesson myself. I still make my shirts because I love my shirts the way I like them. One of the first jobs I had was working in porcelain doll factory. I learned a lot about making tiny clothing.

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  10. I am not unfortunately... I wish I am so I can make costumes and adjust my sleeves and pants...

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    1. That's me in the kitchen. Basic all the way.

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  11. I'm absolutely useless with sewing. I can barely thread a needle without the aid of one of those squishy bendy thingys to help thread the needle.

    I've read the other books in this series of Mary's, and really enjoyed them. I'd love to read this one.

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  12. Thank you so much! I just finished up the fourth book and am waiting on the editor's read.

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  13. Thanks so much for all the wonderful comment...I'm heading to the islands this December! Can't wait!

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  14. I am not the least bit handy with a needle. I can manage to sew a button on, but that's it. My daughter, however, is very handy and has made gowns for Renn fests.

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  15. My mother dutifully ensured I learned to sew. Thank goodness the Air Force did a better job teaching my husband how to sew on buttons.

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  16. I'm not very good with a needle.

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  17. Yes, I can sew both by hand and with a machine. I wanted to make my kids clothes, but ended up with two boys and that's not fun clothing to make. :D

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  18. I haven't the faintest idea of how a sewing machine works, but I can sew on a button or make a hem with a needle and thread.

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  19. I'm not too handy, although I've made a few blankets out of soccer scarfs. :)

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  20. I really admire Mary for making all of her dresses down to the undergarments!

    My grandmother taught me the basics of sewing (with a little extra help from my mother) when I was about 11. I didn't use it much until I started coordinating my kid's elementary schools book fairs. I did get a sewing machine and went wild with all sorts of costumes for book fairs -- most of which got donated to the school theater department -- and of course costumes for Halloween.

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  21. I am not handy with a needle. I learned to sew in home ec class in middle school and high school, but never really mastered it. I can stitch a fabric together and make it stay, but it will not look pretty. Lol.

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  22. I am not very handy with a needle although I can mend things.

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  23. I'm halfway decent with a sewing machine, but I've never been good at sewing by hand.

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