Welcome to my new blog!
I’m Bronwyn Parry and when I’m not writing gritty romantic thrillers, I love to play with fabric, thread and yarn. I sew, quilt, knit, embroider, spin, weave, tat – often when I should be writing. (It’s usually easier!)
I’ve always been interested in historical textiles and costumes. I did do the costume designs for several Canberra Rep productions back in the 1980s, and in 2000-2001 I wrote my Honours thesis on 18th century British worsted textiles, but I haven’t pursued my interests in a concerted way in recent years, and they’ve just bubbled away beneath the surface, like a dormant volcano.
Sometimes, volcanos become active again…
I’m seriously contemplating writing some historical romance novels in the not-too-distant future, and those ideas have given me an excuse to research, and have reignited the passion for historic costumes and textiles.
In August 2014 I presented a workshop for the Romance Writers of Australia along with fellow author Beverley Eikli, in which we discussed costume for Georgian ladies. Aimed at romance writers, we dressed in full costume with correct undergarments and talked about the practicalities of the layers of clothing.
For that workshop, I made a basic 1790s cotton morning dress, and the undergarments – a linen chemise, hand-stitched, and short stays. (I had originally pharmacy planned to wear the 1750s costume I made some years ago, but alas, I and it aren’t the same size anymore…)
My next challenge is to make a range of outfits for the Jane Austen Festival in Canberra in April next year. I have my tickets, I have plenty of enthusiasm, and I’m gathering fabrics, patterns, ideas, and trimmings. I’m hoping to make an outfit for each of the key events, and I plan to use this blog to chronicle the process – experiences, resources, suppliers, and what worked and didn’t work (although given my time frame and all the writing projects I must also complete, I’m hoping there’s not too much that doesn’t work!)
I’ve been sewing since I was a child, and am a competent seamstress, although I’m not known for my attention to detail 🙂 As well as my workhorse 1990s Janome MC3000 sewing machine, I now have two vintage Singer treadle sewing machines. One is a 1925 66k, and she sews beautifully. The other, is an 1891 VS2. She does go but she’ll need a little bit of work to get her running smoothly. She’s already whispering, though, that she’d love to sew an 1890s tea gown again…