La Belle Assemblée, March 1807
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Interview with Wareeze Woodson
Susana: Tell us about your writing journey and what it took to get published.
Wareeze: I’ve been an avid reader for years and have always rearranged the ending of the story to suit myself, especially if it didn’t end in the proper manner. Only happy ever-after endings are allowed, and even those do not always end as I would like.
Years ago, I forgot how many, I attended a seminar on writing. We were encouraged to submit a few pages for the agents to review. When my turn arrived to talk to an agent, he told me I was too fat and unattractive to continue writing. He suggested I give up. In his opinion, it was a waste of my time as I’d never make it.
That was certainly discouraging, but after attending writing classes and growing much older, I joined the group Romance Writers of America. One would say, I am a glutton for punishment and stubborn to boot. I joined a critique group in my local chapter of RWA and polished my craft. I met a publisher at The Lone Star convention who decided to take a chance on me. Now I’m a published author. A long and sometimes very hard journey, but I made it.
Wareeze: A neighbor lost her husband during the war, but he returned. Instead of going their separate ways, they worked to build a life together again. I admire that effort.
Susana: What’s the most interesting fact/tidbit you learned while researching your book?
Wareeze: Most of us realize how few rights women had in the 1800s, but tons of readers still expect the heroine to act as women do today. Fat chance! A husband had total rights of ownership of the children, crudely put, but true. He could forbid his wife the privilege of even seeing her children if he decided to do so. When a woman married, even a wealthy woman, every dime became her husband’s. He could spend it on anything he so desired, even gamble it away and deny her a new gown at his whim. A family could arrange a trust fund for her children, but her wealth passed from her father’s or brother’s hands to her husband.
Susana: What do you like most about your hero?
Wareeze: I admire a man who does the honorable thing regardless of the cost to himself. Rhys thought his wife was dead, and he moved on. He struggled to find his love for her again, a man of strength and conviction.
Susana: What do you like most about your heroine?
Wareeze: I admire her ability to live through the pain of rejection with pride and dignity. She made the very best of a bad situation.
Susana: What are you working on next?
Wareeze: A Lady’s Vanishing Choices is my work in progress, my 4th period romance set in the Regency era.
This one is a romantic thriller, complete with a serial killer/spy all rolled into one. Taking the gig without her uncle’s permission, she views a man burying a body. In her haste to escape, she nearly runs over the hero. He’s trying to find a traitor, and her family is under suspicion. Is she innocence, a mere dupe, or is she involved? Can he save her or should he even try? Will she let him?
About An Enduring Love
Born and raised in Latvia, Rebecca Balodis marries Rhys Sudduth, an English diplomat. Shortly thereafter, he is summoned home to attend his father’s deathbed. Rebecca cannot accompany him at the time and becomes trapped in the turmoil plaguing her country. He is informed she died in the upheaval.
Nearly four years later, she escapes and arrives in London with their son in tow. Arriving in the middle of his sister’s ball is very awkward, especially since Rhys plans to announce his betrothal to a young debutante later in the evening.
Trouble, tangled in suspense and danger, follow her from Latvia. Can this pair ever find or even recognize an enduring love? Is it worth keeping?
The gangplank of the Dragon’s Stirr had been lowered ready for Latvian passengers to board. The creak of the ropes tying the vessel to the dock rasped Rebecca’s nerves, reminding her that soon Rhys would sail back to England without her. Devastated by the thought of such a loss and at such a time, she swallowed hard. How can I bear to let him leave me behind?
Standing on the dock in the mid-day sun, she tried to hold back her sobs and for a moment, she feared her knees might give way beneath her. She clinched her jaw, trying to hold steady and caught the lapels of Rhys’s finely tailored jacket with trembling fingers. A rising ocean breeze stirred his dark hair and swirled her skirts about her ankles as he placed his hand over hers.
When Rebecca gazed into Rhys’ deep blue eyes, Gorgi Weister’s words intruded. Sudduth is almost believable when he claims undying devotion. I admire his talent. Her chest burned with apprehension and she gulped a deep breath. What if Weister is correct? Does Rhys wish to abandon me as Weister implied?
Weister’s sly innuendoes and the sound of his mocking laughter circled in her mind, but she pushed such negative views aside. Guilt for allowing a moment of doubt to fester filled her with shame, but that too, she brushed aside. Ne! I refuse to believe Rhys would desert me. Although we have only been married a few months his love is strong and will endure forever, as will mine. Nevertheless, doubt crawled into her head, impossible to completely deny. Still, why would a government official such as Gorgi Weister attempt to stir trouble with lies? It made no sense!
About the Author
I am a native of Texas and still live in this great state. I married my high school sweetheart, years and years ago. We raised four children and have eight grandchildren, and grandchildren are Grand. At the moment, all my children and my grandchildren live within seventy miles of our home, lots of visits. My husband and I still love each other after all these years the stuff romance is made of, Happy Ever After!
Regency Dressmakers and Their Fabrics
By Wareeze Woodson
Dressmakers, historically known as mantua-makers or a modiste fashioned custom garments for her clientele. Sewing everything by hand took several hours of labor, and the more elaborate the gown, the higher the price. Many times these women sewed well into the night to finish a gown for a special client. A modiste or dressmaker sewed a fine seam. A straight stitch is hard to make, but the best dressmaker’s of the day sewed twelve straight stitches in an inch of fabric. What an artist!
Fabric, available and most often used during the Regency period, were varied. Silk, satin, wool, velvet and cotton each had its place in the construction of a garment. Satin weaves, twill weaves, and plain weaves are the three basic types of weaving by which the majority of woven products are formed.
Some of the names of these fabrics in the finished state are as follows:
Silk, the most favored for the soft feel and the easily draping properties of the fabric, was much in demand. Satin and velvet were woven from silk. The differences rest with the weave of the threads.
Satin was much in demand as well. There are several types of satin made in different ways. Satin is usually a warp-faced weaving technique in which warp yarns are “floated” over weft yarns, although there are also weft-faced satins.
Baronet or baronette has a cotton back and a silk front, similar to georgette.
Charmeuse is a lightweight, draping satin-weave fabric with a dull reverse.
Double faced satin is woven with a glossy surface on both sides. It is possible for both sides to have a different pattern, albeit using the same colors.
Duchess satin is a particularly luxurious, heavy, stiff satin.
Faconne is jacquard woven satin.
Farmer’s satin or Venetian cloth is made from mercerised cotton.
Gattar is satin made with a silk warp and a cotton weft.
Messaline is lightweight and loosely woven.
Georgette is a sheer, lightweight, dull-finished crape fabric named after the early 20th century French dressmaker Georgette de la Plante. Originally made from silk, georgette is made with highly twisted yarns. Its characteristic crinkly surface is created by alternating S- and Z-twist yarns in both warp and weft. Georgette is made in solid colors and prints and is used for blouses, dresses, evening gowns, and trimmings.
Crêpe or crape is a silk or wool fabric with a distinctively crisp, crimped appearance.
Cambric or batiste, one of the finest and most dense kinds of cloth is a lightweight plain-weave fabric woven in greige, then bleached, piece-dyed and often glazed or calendered. Initially, in the 19th century, it was made of linen, then cotton. Cambric is used for linens, shirtings, handkerchieves and as fabric for lace and needlework. Cambric was originally a kind of fine white plain-weave linen cloth made at or near Cambrai. White linen cambric was used to fashion fine shirts, underwear, shirt frills, cravats, collars and cuffs, handkerchiefs, and infant wear.
Nainsook is a fine, soft muslin fabric. (cotton)
Lawn cloth or lawn is a plain weave textile, originally of linen but now chiefly cotton. Lawn is designed using fine, high count yarns, which results in a silky, untextured feel. The fabric is made using either combed or carded yarns. When lawn is made using combed yarns, with a soft feel and slight luster, it is known as “nainsook”. The term lawn is also used in the textile industry to refer to a type of starched crisp finish given to a cloth product. The finish can be applied to a variety of fine fabrics, prints or plain
Lawn is a lightweight, sheer cloth, crisper than voile but not as crisp as organdy. Lawn is known for its semi-transparency, which can range from gauzy or sheer to an almost opaque effect, known as lining or utility lawn. The finish used on lawn ranges from soft to semi-crisp to crisp, but the fabric is never completely stiff. Lawn can be white, or may be dyed or printed.
Batiste is a fine cloth made from cotton or wool or a blend, and the softest of the lightweight opaque fabrics.
Kerseymere is a fine woolen cloth with a fancy twill weave.
Trims used for decoration: Ruffle, frill, or furbelow is a strip of fabric, lace or ribbon tightly gathered or pleated on one edge to add as trim to a garment or bedding and such.
The term flounce is a particular type of fabric manipulation that creates a similar look but with less bulk than a ruffle. A flounce is created by cutting a curved strip of fabric and applying the inner or shorter edge to the garment. The depth of the curve as well as the width of the fabric determines the depth of the flounce. A godet is a circle wedge that can be inserted into a flounce to further deepen the outer floating wave without adding additional bulk at the point of attachment to the body of the garment, such as at the hemline, collar or sleeve.
Fringe is an ornamental textile trim applied to an edge of an item, such as drapery, a flag, epaulettes, or decorative tassel.
French bead edgings, worked muslin jaconet, embroidery, knotted ribbons and pearl rosettes were also used to enhance a creation.
Terms for apparel: Gowns, day dresses, walking-dresses were all dresses and includes a ball-gowns, riding apparel along with travel garments.
A pelisse was a short cape, shawls and cloaks, many fur-lined were worn to protect the wearer from a chill in the air or on occasion to display a new purchase.
A caraco was a jacket like bodice worn with a petticoat and had sleeves to the elbow, a popular style.
Panniers were side hoops worn under the petticoat with a caraco.
A redingote was a gown with a tight bodice and long sleeves with a collar much like a man’s jacket. The petticoat formed the front of the gown with an overskirt to match the bodice.
Gloves, some short to above the wrist and some covered the elbow, were always worn in public or gathering outside the home.
Hats and bonnets of every description were also worn for any outing. Dressmakers often made hats as well.