Some of you may have seen that one of out the tags on the side bar reads LARRP. You might be wondering what this means and why it’s a tag. If you have well then this post will clear that all up, and explain why it has a place here on this blog.
This stands for Live Action Role Playing. Now when most people think of this they tend to think of people out in the woods whacking each other with fake swords. Ok well that’s what I think of first also….but it can also be mystery based or Vampires. It’s like super cool make believe but with some rules. Think if you could act out a video game.
Now we get to the LARRP part. This was a something we coined and has come to mean Live Action Regency Role Play.
What does this mean? Well to start it was just a play on the word LARP with the word Regency tossed in. However in the last few weeks it has come to mean any time we gather in costume, and do something like sewing by hand. We are still us, just trying to be as Regency as we can. So last hand sewing night we were in costume with candles going. Some letters were written with quill and ink. Good times all around.
So yes that’s what it means to LARRP like a GTRG.
It stands to reason that if I am writing in this blog, I would be embracing all qualities of the regency life. So it should come as no surprise that my interest have been peeked by social structures and rules of behaviour.
With a little digging you can find a wealth of info online. Some of it better then others, but all of it interesting. This got me thinking, how many of these rules of behaviour could a modern young lady really stick to? How long would some one who was more comfortable with Carrie Bradshaw, then with Lizzie Benett be able to manage even one night?
So this week I have started to see how far I can take this. It’s shown up in now in the fact I have been trying to sit properly. Up straight with my knees together. Easy right? Well yes for about ten minutes. After that I start to feel it in my legs. However it has forced me to sit up straighter. While my legs now hurt my back has never felt better.
Like anything it’s all relevant to what you are used to and slowly I am trying to get used to this. Even as I write then I am not sure why this seems like the thing to do, other then I find myself getting more and more involved in regency life style as part of the hobby. Make believe for grow ups.
This post came about when Lady Devon and I were talking about how handsome Robbie Burns was, and then I had the idea to give you a series of Regency men who cut a striking image back in the day!
George IV, The Prince Regent, or more affectionately…Prinny
George IV was born George Augustus Frederick in 1762, but when his father George III began to descend into “madness” he was named Prince Regent, and ruled in his father’s stead. It was those years which he ruled as Regent that gave us the Regency Era. He led an extravagant lifestyle, and was a patron of the arts, fashion and architecture.
He also drank excessively, had numerous mistresses and had horrible relationships with both his father and his wife. Yet despite these flaws of character, Prinny was somehow known as “the first gentleman of England”, of course that was until his frivolous spending began to create contempt from many people, and dimmed the prestige of the Monarchy as it had been in his father’s reign.
Regency Boyfriend rating: 3 – he could take you places, pamper you with fine silks and jewels, but you weren’t the only girl he was allowing to dote on him. Also, considering his wife Caroline’s constant and notorious affairs, Prinny might have been a bit of a cold fish in the sack.
Some where in Anne Of Green Gables she mutters over doing needle work. She’s making a quilt and finds it boring. I read this in grade three and the thought of having to sit with a needle and thread doing the same thing over and over….well lets just say that I had to agree with Anne.
I’ve never been good at sewing. My Mother used to work from home sewing so the machen would come out late at night. This was made clear I was not to touch and that it was nothing but work. Grandma sewed and like too, however she was always to busy. I think also I knew deep down that I would never be able to ask her about sewing things that weren’t practical. So help on a costume was out.
I had a Nana I was really close with though she saw sewing as a domestic task I as a modern woman wouldn’t have to learn. She thought that anything past knowing how to fix a button or a small tear was a waste. Better to read a book or do the crossword.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I have started with the help of Lady Jen and the moral support of Lady Kenzie have been learning to sew. Its been a bit slower then I thought…
While I have been working on a ballgown (more on that in another post) I have been most pleased with my work on a shift. You see I have decided that I am going to hand sew ALL BY MYSELF the whole thing. So far so good and I have been woring on it for a few days now in the evening.
Last night I think I hit a new lvl in how I regard my work. Up to this point on some smaller projects if a mistake was made I would sort of just let it be and sew around it. However as I settled down to sew I saw I had made a set of mistakes and before I could wave it off I reached for the scissors and pulled out the stitches.
I fixed a mistake, not just made one! Why am I so excited no idea, but I feel that as far as my sewing goes I have sort of lvled up. If it was a game theme music would play and a new item would become unlocked. Maybe that’s how I should be looking at this. So below your will find my new set of stats.
Lady Devon lvl 2 sewer, new item- shift
There is nothing more comforting than a good cup of tea. In fact I would defend that there is almost something magical about tea. Tea is used to celebrate good times, and it is offered as comfort for the bad times. And yet, in our modern age, we take for granted how precious tea was not so long ago. Okay, it was 200 years ago, but in the grand scheme of our universe, that doesn’t seem so long!
During the 1700s, tea was a pricey commodity, and for the most part, only the affluent among society could afford it. Tea was imported from “The Orient”, and heavily taxed by the British Empire. It was cheaper to buy gin then it was to buy tea! However the tea tax affected not only the consumers, but the merchants and in 1784 it was Richard Twining who participated in the creation of the Commutation Act, which reduced the tax in tea from 119% to 12.5%. He was also one of the heirs to the Twinings Of London. The only tea that this Lady prefers to drink!
So, by the time the Regency era came around most middle class households were drinking tea. And since it was now closer in price to gin, it was looked on as a wholesome, familial activity. Tea however was still held in wooden boxes known as tea chests, and either the lady of the house or the housekeeper wore the key to the chest on her person. Though tea was taken in the afternoon, it was not labelled as “Afternoon Tea” until later into the 19th century. Tea is the Regency was served by the hostess, and accompanied by savouries, scones and sweets – to be eaten in that order!
As part of the Good Time Regency Girls (GTRG), all of our activities, whether it be sewing, cards, etc, we always have a strong pot of tea and something delightful to nibble on. To me, there is little that can compare to sitting in my day dress, embroidery on my lap, and drinking tea in a delicate china cup!
Brienne of Tarth.
Now here is a lady I can identify with. Prefers trousers to skirts, leather to velvet, and is happy to make her own way in the world without the aid or hinderance of men. But something happens to this magnificent lady when you change the wardrobe.
She looks uncomfortable, awkward, a fish out of water. Somehow her short-haired androgyny stuffed into a pink velvet party frock seems wrong. And boy do I identify.
Because here is what I usually look like…
….and here are my party frocks…
I have had the opportunity to wear my dresses a good half-dozen times over the past year, and I still feel awkward in them. They are just so damn pretty and cleavage revealing. And the crazy thing is that I have plans to make even prettier ones in the near future. Prettier, more historically accurate, I have a thing for the tiny pleats that hang in the back of some gowns. I have turned into this strange creature that can spend a few hours in a fabric store, imagining how awesome a dress made out of this or a fichu made out of that would be. I’ve started making some bonnets and day caps to camouflage my super short-cropped hair, and I purchased a pair of pink leather slippers to do regency dancing in. I am not sure if I will ever feel completely at ease in this ultra feminine regency garb, but for some reason I am having (and attending) a ball in it. And at the end of the ball when my carriage turns into a pumpkin and my gown turns into blue jeans I do breathe a little sigh of relief, as Brienne must do when she gets to climb back into her armor.
For the last month I have been working on a hand sewn day cap. This millinery adventure came as a result of two events. The first was attending a Georgian breakfast, in which the only head attire I had was a scarf that I wrapped into a turban. The scarf was slippery, and the day involved constant trips to the powder room to re-wrap the blasted thing. I was envious of the ladies in attendance who had day caps and bonnets and made a mental note to acquire an easier and more comfortable type of head attire to wear to regency themed functions.
The second event was the happy accident of meeting two regency good time girls in dance class. Since that time we have taken to meeting on a weekly basis to sew a variety of regency clothing and accessories. Having recently finished a ball gown and a day dress I was looking for a new project, remembered the turban trauma, and day cap it was.
I did some internet research and found this tutorial page about Victorian day caps: http://www.darlinganddash.com/daycaps.html
The biggest issue I had was with lace. Initially I bought a straight-edged lace (shown on top of photo) which was extremely stiff and difficult to try to wrap around the curves of the cap. The second lace I tried was far superior (shown on bottom of photo). It was soft, and had a curved edge that not only wrapped easily around the curves, but also had the benefit of making the stitching used to attach it invisible. Being a beginner sewer this is a good thing. The entire cap only took one package of the second lace at a cost of $2.69 purchased in the craft section at Wal-Mart.
The cap took about 8 hours to make. While sitting in a small circle in regency costume, a cup of tea growing cold on the side table, the other ladies chatted away about family, books, and films, but I said very little. I was completely engrossed in the stitching and started to notice a quiet, calm head space that began to surface. Having spent a small fortune over the years on mindful meditation classes and instructional books, I was pleasantly surprised to trip over mindfulness while sewing a day cap. The head space was wonderful.