Sunday, December 23, 2007

An Update

Yes, it's been a while since we've upated. We've been working on some events and developing new ones for this coming year. Our P&P marathon was a bit of a washout since it occured during one of Oregon's wettest weekends. However we did have fun, the few of us that persisted, and we certainly plan a do-over at the first opportunity.

In the meantime, we're planning an event in Lake Oswego on February 10th; a Regency Party to celebrate the advent of Spring. We hope you will join us. It will be an elegant affair as usual.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

The ORS Pride & Prejudice 1995 Marathon! Be there!

The Pride and Prejudice 1995 Miniseries Marathon is On!

Who & Where:
Thanks to our new friends and; sponsor; the Holy Names Heritage Center, we have a beautiful location for our event (and hopefully more)!
(See the website for more information on this stunning venue).
17425 Holy Names Dr.
Lake Oswego, OR 97034

What & When
On Sunday, December 2, 2007;
join us at 2:00 PM for a full 5-hour viewing of Pride and Prejudice; BBC/A&E 1995
with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.

How and ultimately, Why?
This is a BYOS&R event (Bring Your Own Snacks & Refreshments) and it is very informal, so feel free to dress comfortably. You can also bring a pillow, a little blanket, or anything else that will make you comfortable for the five straight hours of Colin Firth-Imbued Bliss. Nothing like lots of stand-offish brooding to make anyone’s Sunday better!

Please be kind enough to drop me an email or a call to let us know if you plan to attend, and if so, how many of your friends and family you will be bringing with you. This event is free of charge thanks to our wonderful Sponsor; Holy Names Heritage Center.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The ORS Winter Ball was a great success!

We were thrilled with the way the ball turned out. There were about 40 people in attendance; and they filled up the floor to dance the better part of the night. The ball began with the tea on Friday; which was well attended by 16 people; almost all of whom were in costume (ironically, the only people who weren't were myself, my husband and my aunt, who'd arrived in town too late to find a place to change clothes).

The group of organizers spent a good part of Friday evening preparing the venue, the food and in my case and that of Lisa, our husbands' costumes; which were significantly more work than our own. To top it off, I had made an extra tailcoat (and handed down the green trouble-waiscoat to the 'livery'), and a second waistcoat for my husband. I hadn't sewn on a single button on any of these items. So I sat down Friday midnight, and sewed and sewed and sewed. I had prepared two costumes for some people we had hired to be 'servants' (neither of whom bothered to show up, what a surprise). I'd also finished the drop-front breeches for my husband; and I dare say the pattern, although not for beginners, was very easy to modify to my needs, and made a fine pair of breeches. I recommend that pattern very much. Portraits will be posted as soon as they are available.

On Saturday morning, we had breakfast together, and we all charged down to the temple to finish things up. We brought our sewing, of course, and finished up details, like folding the napkins into lotus flowers, adding last minute touches, and Robert made sure the food was ready to go. We rushed up to the hotel to change, and were back in time to see that none of our 'servant staff' had shown. But we made do... and we greeted arrivals, and ferried them into the portrait room, where we captured them in their Regency Finery.

The musicians had already arrived and were practicing during the meal. Everyone had a lovely dinner, and a dessert and then onto the dance-floor they went; and there was dancing right up until Midnight.

Click here to see images and more.

It was lovely.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Outfitting a regency man isn't easy!

((Update June 2010: There is a much more detailed post on Men's Costume here, which includes a broader variety of images, patterns and tips.))

As I have been toiling over costumes for the upcoming ball, I’ve realized how much more work a man’s Regency costume can be. I only have a total of two pieces really (not including the shift and the corset/stay; once those are made, they are well used). I have a white gown, and a silk pelisse I plan to make for it. I suppose the turban might be considered something extra, but frankly, it’s not rocket science. However my husband’s costume includes:

1) A ‘Poet’ shirt (Simplicity Pattern)
2) A Cravat (Created sans pattern)
3) A Waistcoat (Rocking Horse Farms or Past Patterns)
4) A Tailcoat/Frock Coat (Wingeo, Reconstructing History)
5) Breeches (Eagle Fire or Rocking Horse Farms)
6) Stockings (JAS Townsend or if worse comes to worse... use women's calf-socks).

Go to the ORS Resources page for a comprehensive listing of pattern sellers.

Poet Shirt:
Need: simple white bone buttons, white/off white cotton, some iron-on interfacing. ~ Comments: The shirt was extremely fast and easy to do; although I admit rushing it a bit, and overlooking a few details, but I figure most of those flaws will be hidden underneath the waistcoat and cravat, so no biggie. I can always make another one; white cotton is not expensive and the pattern was fairly easy. This pattern from Simplicity was quite workable; the hardest thing was hunting down the right pieces on the sheets.

Need: 4 feet, at least of white cotton fabric (crisp)
Comments: I just ‘winged’ the cravat. I had some 56” cotton and I just cut about an 8” wide panel from it (doubled) so I had two of them. I then sewed the sides, and one end, turned it inside out, folded in the edges on the open end, sewed that shut, and then ironed it flat. It goes on fairly easy (I will add a diagram as soon as blogger's image uploads start working again) You center it on the front of the neck, cross it over on the back, bring ends back over the shoulders and tie a simple knot. All you have to do is make sure you ‘ruche’ or crease the fabric attractively around the neck.

Rochester Contra took the lovely "Neckclothotania" compilation of Cravat tying styles, and created this really great guide on how to tie Regency neck cloths/Cravats. You can get find this resource here:

Need: A good quality silk or brocade/jacquard, lining material, tons of nice buttons, interfacing. ~ Comments: The waistcoat pattern I used also went together very well. My only problem with that project was my own fault, and that was my choice of fabric. I bought something for the pattern and colour instead of for the type of fabric, and I will never do that again. I used sari fabric, which was not an organic fiber and it was horrible to work with. It frayed, was slippery and shows every flaw. I will remake one for my husband in a Dupioni silk or a fine brocade for the next event, this one is going in the garbage after the ball. I hate it. If I had time, I’d make him a new one now.

Frock Coat:
Need: 4 yards of a nice quality summer wool (A yard of velvet if you want the collar & cuffs to be in velvet), the same amount of liner, two yards of heavy interfacing, six inches of boning, and thirteen self-coverable buttons. If you go by what they recommend, you won’t have enough ~ Comments: This pattern is very good, but the directions are awful. I had to ‘wing’ the pleating and the vent because the image provided doesn’t really tell you how to do it, and if you are a beginner, you’d have no idea what to do. I think the bottom edge of the front is too high, and reveals too much of the waistcoat, I recommend you measure and adjust accordingly. Oh, and pay attention when attaching the sleeves, they have specific sides, and it’s easy to put them on backwards; yes, I put them on backwards and had to do it again.

I haven’t done the breeches yet. You’ll hear my opinion soon enough! I’m using a fine-pin soft tan corduroy (I know it’s not period but I didn’t want to use anything shiny and it was all I could find that was the right thickness. J I also have 18 buttons or something of the like for this particular pattern.

I may cheat on the stockings and find some good stretchy football socks.

I still have to make my gown as well ::eep::. Fortunately I’m experienced in gowns, and I’m not too scared to take those on after dealing with the complicated costume required for a man. My advice to anyone planning to attend a Regency Ball; start EARLY on the costumes, the man’s costume is very involved. Lots of button holes, and interfacing, tons of ironing and fussing.

I dare say, however, my husband looks fabulous in his getup so far. My own Regency hero. J He’s even grown the sideburns for the occasion. Photos will be posted after the ball.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Costume Consultation Workshop

One of our new members is volunteering her time and expertise on costume construction using existing modern garments, and also for those working on an existing from-scratch project. She writes:

Dear ORS Members;

I will be available during the workshop for consultation on individual pieces people are interested in making work for the ball. First come first serve basis, so I will be there for the allotted time slot.

Please bring the items you have questions about, and I will talk about options.

I will be available for hire on alterations for $15 per hour.

I am also happy to offer advice to anyone sewing a new garment, or needs a little help.

The workshop will be held at:

B-Sharp Fabrics
4830 N. Lombard St.
Portland, OR 97203-4481

October 10 from 7-9pm.

Write the ORS for my contact information.


Angela Holland-Sniff

There is a 10% discount at B-Sharp Fabrics for all card-carrying ORS Members

Monday, September 24, 2007

Striving for Excellence (and Elegance too)

The ORS Organizing Committee had a meeting this past weekend to put together a selection of events that will keep the Regency Obsessed happy for months. :) We also fine-tuned our plans for the Winter Ball in Astoria on November 3rd; which is going to be an elegant affair. The Masonic Temple in Astoria is a beautiful historic building with a large, imposing ballroom. It has exactly the ambience we were looking for when we decided to organize the ball. Astoria is one of the oldest settlements on the west coast, and has a host of historic sites for visitors to explore. There will be plenty to do if ballgoers decide to make it a weekend. Astoria, a beautiful coastal city, sits on where the columbia river meets the pacific, and the region has some amazing sights, including the longest uninterrupted beach in the world.

We will have a string trio to play our music on the night of the ball, and the ORS will be providing English Country Dance lessons the morning of the ball for those who have little to no experience with ECD. There will be a magnificent buffet of delicious food, whist tables, tea, a silent auction, on-site photography and more. Don't miss this event!!! Please get your tickets early, for it will determine whether or not you are included in the meal. Go to the site for carpooling ideas, costume tips and more.

There will be a tea held on the Friday prior (November 2nd) at half-past two at the Windsor House of Tea. Please reserve your ticket to the tea, availability is limited.

During October, we will also be holding a workshop or two to help members construct their costumes. If you have tips or you can hold your own workshop, let us know! Making a costume, retrofitting modern clothes to look Regency, turbans and hair, fans and accessories; we're always looking for experts! October will also have us participating in the "Keep Portland Weird Festival" at the Central Library in Portland. This will be on the 20th.

December will feature our first Pride & Prejudice A&E miniseries (1995) marathon! This is an extremely informal non-costume event; where you will bring your own snacks and refreshments, come clothed comfortably, and sit with a pack of Regency enthusiasts to watch our favourite adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, and swoon collectively over the deliciously broody Mr. Darcy (Firth).

January; More workshops! Why? Because February is going to play host to our Lovers' Tea Party; possibly at the Ainsworth House & Gardens again--details to be announced.

So that's the rundown so far. If you have any questions or suggestions, we are always available.

A Stylish Inauguration for the ORS

August 24th marked the first ORS Event, and it kicked off with a resounding success. The Oregon Regency Society's sponsor, the Ainsworth House & Gardens in Oregon City opened up their beautiful facility to our membership for our first Regency Party.

Although planning for 25 attendees, we had over 40. It began with a period of general socializing, some games of whist, and members took advantage of the lovely late afternoon to stroll about the immaculate English Gardens in their lovely costumes. Then everyone came in to dine. The buffet featured spring greens salad, pork pie, quiche, red-bliss potatoes, a tray of cheeses and meats, a honey-ham, two fruit tarts, cake, and a bowl of punch.

The dancing began soon after dinner, and kept on until ten in the evening. Miss Laura Plett called the dances, and the sets filled the room.

All in all it was a wonderful, civilized and diverting evening of good fun and excellent society. We are looking foward to more such events. Pictures of the event can be found here. A big thank you to Rev. Kevin Yell of the Ainsworth House & Gardens for such a lovely venue.