Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Duchess of Beaufort's Midwinter Feast

Last year's Feast of the Twelfth Night was a revelation.  This year, the chef is making an expanded menu and we are able to squeeze in a few more seats.  The venue is changed as well. Our organizer has picked a lovely farm in Dayton called Red Ridge Farm; which is a winery, Olive orchard and herb farm. It's a beautiful setting and the venue itself is a lovely space with a nice stone-mantel fireplace.  We are very excited.

The menu last year featured the following dishes:

First Course
Lobster Bisque topped with a Tarragon and Lobster Chantilly
Deviled Eggs with Fresh Ground Pepper and Dill
Creamed Leek Pie
Lavender Blueberry Trifle
Roasted Leg of Lamb
Boiled Potatoes tossed in Butter and Fresh Dill
Steamed Mussels
Strawberry and Chocolate Trifle

Second Course
Meringues filled with Strawberry Mousse
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Vol-au-vents
Glazed Ham
Honey Mustard Carrots
Roasted Asparagus
Glazed Pear and Rosemary Cake
Fresh Fruit Tarts

Third Course
Lemon Ice
Cheese, fruit, and Nut Board
Cornish Game Hens
Shredded Sweet Potato Pie
Glazed Lemon and Anise Cake
Crème Caramel

This year, there will be MORE dishes and we will also be featuring wines from area wineries, including Red Ridge's products.   This event can be an opportunity to make a weekend of exploring the wine-country here in the Willamette Valley. There are lots of really great lodging options in the area.

The Event's 'Write-Up':

An exclusive event, the Duchess’s Midwinter Feast is an extravagant and decadent evening of riches. Join the Duchess for a succession of sumptuous dishes created by the Duchess’s chef; and sip an array of wines made from the fruit of local vines. Indulge in an evening of society, pleasant diversions and perhaps even partake in a lovely dance.

The Menu will be expansive; larger than last year’s fine dinner. A larger selection of locally made wines will be provided as well. Set in a vineyard, herb farm and olive orchard, we dine by candle and firelight.

This event calls for Formal Regency Costume only – no daywear, please. Your dress should be appropriate for sharing a dining table with aristocracy.

There are only twenty-eight total spaces available.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Miss Charlotte's Shoe Tutorial

Greetings readers! Today we are going to follow a lovely tutorial created by ORS member and ORS leader Charlotte. She made her own regency slippers recently, and did a bang-up-job of it, so I've decided to unapologetically plaigiarize her work over here on the ORS blog so we can share this wonderful, and entirely manageable project.

Finding appropriate flats for regency costume is always a challenge. I've been prone to using soft dance shoes, khussa shoes and flats I find commercially. Regency dance-slippers should be flat and comfortable, with some measure of softness, and it's hard to find that at a store--except perhaps a pair of ballet flats, however they take it a step further by reducing the sole to nothing, and being ultra flexible. But starting with a basic pattern, and using some really minor modifications, Charlotte shows us that it's easy to make your own customized pair of regency shoes where you can go as simple or as elaborate as you like.

She begins with a pattern:

"This is a good basic pattern to start with." Charlotte writes.
"My second alteration involved removing the tongue and squaring off the toe, to match the length of the sole."
"My first alteration involved squaring off the toe and widening it a bit. I also lenghtened the tab for the ribbon casing."
Charlotte chose to use a soft, synthetic leather; however your options are unlimited when it comes to this project. You can use extant shoes as inspiration.  Here are some links gathered by some RSA members:

Purple late regency -

Pink Kid Leather -

Leather -

1870-1810 Satin -

Chartreuse Green Satin Half Boot 1818 -

Leather 1830s

Here is another collection.

On with the tutorial. ..

"Cut 2 lining and 2 facing for the sole and the top. Cut 4 lining of the tab. Use a 1/4 inch seam for all stitches."
"Right side together, sew the ends of the top of the shoe together, for each lining and facing piece."
"Right sides together, sew both tabs. Leave a space open for casing, as shown. Turn right side out."
"This particular lining was fraying pretty badly so I hand stitched the edges of the casing to keep this in check."
"Stitch a line above and below the casing to allow for a clear channel."
"On right side of lining, stitch the tab to the bottom at the back seam. Make sure the tab does not extend above the top of the lining, or it will show outside of the finished shoe."
"Right sides together, and matching the back seam, stitch around the upper edge"
"Clip the curve at throat of shoe."
"Turn lining to inside. Pin carefully so that the lining is secured to the inside and then edge stitch the upper opening to secure the lining."
"Another view of the edge stitching."
"Stitch the outer edge of the lining and facing of the upper part of the shoe."
"Add another stitch on the outside around the heel. I extended mine from about the middle of the shoe back around to the other side."
"Clip the curve of the toe."
"Trim purchased inserts to fit with a comfortable seam allowance."
"Stitch lining to facing, sandwiching the cushion between."
"Finished view of the soles stitched together."
"Right sides together, stitch sole to upper. Take care to match the toes and heels together and ease the sides to match. The heel is the tightest part to stitch, and I recommend a second seam there. I also recommend following the seam of the upper part of the shoe, to avoid showing that seam when turned right side out."
"Just a view of this as I stitch."
"Trim the toe."
"Turn right side out, check the seams and you're done!"
"A view of the ribbon in the casing."
The creator models her handiwork. Very nice!
They were so fun to make, she made two. :)
Thank you Miss Charlotte for this wonderful tutorial! Imagine what you can do? You can change your toe shape, add embellishments, long flowing ribbons, the options are limitless!  I hope this tutorial will inspire you to try for yourself.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Concurrent Picnics and Austen Fight Club!

The ORS Annual Picnic at Pittock was so fun this year!

The fabulous Portland Landmark overlooks the valley and the city of portland. This french-chateau style building was built a hundred years later than our desired period, but nevertheless, it's a lovely site for our picnic that feels very appropriate.

ORS Founder Stephanie in her troublesome gown and a borrowed hat (which she almost stole because she loved it so much).

A Seurat painting in the making?

Ensconced in the shade of the European Beech, we feast.

And some more romantic things happen as well. ;). The always beautiful and elegant Lady of Portland House offers her dashing husband a sumptuous stemmed cherry. (photos stolen from Aaron Marks, Stephanie Robertson and Charlotte Cunningham's facebook albums!)

Some not-so period texting.

Chef Steph R's beautiful array of delicious treats.

Charlotte, Nora and Stephanie R.

Le Bon Ton create a beautiful tableau.

Such a lovely day. :::sigh:::

Links to photo albums:
Stephanie R's Album
Aaron Marks' Album
Charlotte Cunningham's Album

And just for some more fun....

Whenever I stumble on a relevant link or movie that I know will make a Janeite or Regency fan laugh or smile, I am compelled to post it. So I end this post with this little thing that's gone viral...

ORS Central Valley also hosted a picnic on Sunday. Details will be posted on the ORS Central blog soon!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Some Regency fun :0)

Sex and the Austen Girl

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

Episode 3:

Episode 4:

Episode 5:

Episode 6:

Episode 7:

Episode 8:


Main Page:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An Overview of Regency Stays/Corsets

I know, it’s very soon to post a new topic, but I was sketching today, and found myself doing a little study of Regency stays--thinking about perhaps making myself a new set just for riding. So this is my new post. ;)

I gave away my customized transitional stays (click here to see photo journal of the project) to my dear friend because frankly, it fits her better. So did my 2008 Winter Ballgown… that brat.

I digress… So I started thinking about making a new set, and started looking at patterns, and I realized I hadn't done a good comprehensive post about Regency corsetry at all, and it was due time.

The Regency stay is unique in historical corsetry because it is one of the very few periods where the corset was designed for something other than shaping the torso/waist. The Regency corset was a lifting device; and it was designed to present a lady’s assets on a proverbial platter. The gown was supposed to fall in a long, columnar line below the empire waistline.

In my few years of pursuing projects in the period costume, I've learned a lot about making Regency pieces, so please read these tips if you haven't done any corsetry yet:

An important truth you must know in corset and stay-making… boning is not meant to hold you. All boning is meant to do is to keep the fabric of the garment taut and to prevent it folding or wrinkling. The *cut* of the corset is where the shape comes from…. And in the case of the regency corset, the gusseting is key. Gussets are not fun to do, but they are crucial in shaping your ‘platter’ to suit your assets, and in setting the long stays on your hips so that the rest of the taught fabric will continue to hold you while you go about your day.

How to sew a gusset (tips on a post-it).

A busk is a flat, wooden stick that helps to keep the front of a corset straight, tight, and keeps your gusset cups upright and separated. It was sometimes known that gentlemen would carve and smoothen a busk, and etch his nam into it for their favourite lady so she could wear his handiwork close to her heart. How romantic. :) The busk slides into a narrow, long pocket sewn into the front of your stay.

If a regency corset is made correctly to fit its wearer, you should never be so tightly trussed up that you are uncomfortable; as you would be in a corset from another period. A Regency corset should act as a really great supporting miracle-bra; and for some lucky ladies, that is all they might need. A miracle bra.

So, for those of us who cannot get away with just using a miracle bra to acheive the desired Regency silhouette... here is a breakdown of the period's corsets, some sample images and some pattern recommendations. If you know of good patterns, not mentioned here, please feel free to add links in your comments.

The three general categories of Regency stays:

* The Short Stays *

The short stay is in essence, the miracle bra of the regency period. It is small, and reasonably comfortable.
Best suited for these body types:
  • Smaller cup sizes. Not recommended for anyone above a C-cup; despite the option of going to a D on most patterns. Large breasts often push the front-closure forward, and the lack of busk or length causes the boning to angle into your chest, it can be uncomfortable, and look less than flattering. Recommend transitional or long stays for larger cup sizes.
  • Smaller body sizes. I don't recommend this corset if you are a plus-size fit. The boning just is not compatible with any padding on the tummy.
Easy to make as stays and corsets go. It was actually my FIRST costume project for the ORS. I was daunted at first, but once I got three layers together, I was very proud of myself to find how nicely everything sort of fell together. A beginner could pull this one off, with determination.
Recommended patterns for short stays:
  • Minimal boning required
  • Boning recommendation: zip ties, spiral steel.

Hovering between short and transition stay is the Kyoto Museum's wrap-around brassiere. This is an unusual design, and there is a pattern available for you to try (link provided above).

Kyoto Museum Regency Brassiere

* The Transitional Stays *
Best suited for these body types:
  • Cup size: Medium to larger cup-sizes (C & D+)
  • Body size: Small, medium to thicker body sizes. If you are a bit rubenesque, you might find that the boning on the front might cut a bit into your belly when you sit, and the belly might push the boning up when you sit as well as well, further pronouncing your ‘platter’.
Definitely more involved a project, mostly because most transitional stays have tabs or are wraparound projects. A beginner could pull this one off, with determination and care, but it’s definitely a project recommended for intermediate sewers.
Recommended patterns for transition stays:
  • Minimal to moderate boning, depending on your preferences.
  • Boning recommendation: cording, caning, zip ties or spiral steel.

The Daisy wrap-around stays
* The Full Stays with Busk *

Best suited for these body types:
  • Cup size: Pretty much any-sized cup with the right gusset-work and shaping.
  • Body size: From thin to curvy this corset suits them all. The busk is a wonder for the fuller-figured, more-endowed woman. I recommend this corset to all. It’s not half as complicated to make as you think, however you can challenge yourself with it by doing some intricate cording to make it really a work of art. Here is a helpful tutorial on how to do cording from Jennie LaFleur.

Difficulty:Definitely more involved a project, but easier than the wrap-arounds and the tabbed transitionals. A beginner could pull this one off. Seriously. An advanced seamstress could make it amazing.
Recommended patterns for Corset:

  • Minimal to extensive boning/cording, depending on your preferences.
  • Boning recommendation: cording, caning, zip ties, light steel or spiral steel.
The Shift

The shift plays a crucial role in tandem with any of the above undergarments. Your gusset cups will lift and cup your assets, however the shift's drawstring neckline is meant to capture and contain the upper half of your breasts; and act as a friend once said as the 'top half of the bra' so to speak. So when you are looking for shift patterns, be sure to pick one that has a drawstring neckline.

Achieving a Proper Fit

In order to fit your corset or stays well, you should probably read this post on fitting before you begin construction of your stays. It will help you make sure that the stays you choose are helping you achieve the proper silhouette.

I hope this little post will help you decide what works best for you, and also inspires you to make your own stays, they are not as difficult as you imagine, and you can customize them to be something extraordinary if you want. Good luck, leave comments and don't hesitate to ask questions... I'd be happy to help. ;)