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.|
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.
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.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City