Pleasure Me With Mary Wine

>I’ve known Mary Wine for a couple of years now, and let me tell you, this woman CAN SEW (see the picture below)! She makes the most exquisite costumes. The detail is unbelievable, and seeing Mary all dressed up, you’re left waiting with bated breath for your favorite romance hero to come striding through the door! I think you’re going to enjoy her post immensely. Please welcome Mary for today’s Pleasure Me With Romance guest post.

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It’s all about the Corset!

Those much talked about undergarments that have become a novelty today but haven’t lost any of their appeal. I love corsets, have several of them in my closet but not the sort you’d be able to purchase in a lingerie shop. Mine are historical ones, researched and constructed carefully to the instructions given by some long ago tailor. Now before you think I’m insane, let me tell you, corsets are getting an unfair reputation these days. Women wore them everyday for most of the last four hundred years. If they had been instruments of torment, I doubt many of them would have endured because these women had as busy lives as we do today. But I’m a bit of a hands on girl, so I’ve made many different eras and worn them to see for myself what it’s like.

Well…it’s an…up lifting experience…one which can make a girl feel very…supported. Not to mention…Secure. But not breathless, I’ve noticed a few gentlemen experiencing that feeling while I’m in the corset and I admit to liking it quite a bit!

The real key is proper fit. Just like a pair of jeans, every woman knows what size and style she is most comfortable in. The same goes for corsets. If it doesn’t fit you, it will pinch. Another overlooked fact of wearing corsets is making sure you have a chemise on. The chemise is made of a very lightweight fabric and it often went beneath the corset. The third essential ingredient is posture. Slouching and corsets do not mix.

As I was getting ready to write my newest trilogy for Brava, which begins with ‘Improper Seduction’, I did a great deal of research into the clothing of the court of Henry the eight. A woman was judged by the way she looked….some things haven’t changed so very much…lol. As Henry began changing the Church and so many other things, clothing went through drastic modifications. His first wife was more somber, his second outrageous and the next demure. Not that I can’t blame Jane Seymour, if the wife before me was executed for being to promiscuous, I believe I’d adopt a less flashy mode of dressing too. Women attending court had to keep up with the changes. Outfitting a daughter for court was very expensive and doing it well was key to gaining the attention of higher ranking nobles who might help your family climb in rank.

Improper Seduction takes place at the very end of Henry Tudor’s life. He was wed to Catherine Parr who barely escaped execution herself. The court was filled with vultures waiting for the king to die and whoever was wed to him when he passed would have family members included in the future running of the kingdom. Catherine suffered whispered accusations and investigation which might have led her to the Tower but she escaped. It was a time when marriage was used to form alliances among the nobles. Wise women followed the queen’s example of dressing demurely but they also kept their wits sharp. 

Improper Seduction

A Rearranged Marriage…Lord Curan Ramsden is home from war, and eager to claim his betrothed. And he arrives just in time—his bride’s father has summoned her to London, to wed another man. But Bridget’s father promised her to Curan, and Curan means to have her. Especially now that he sees the luscious young woman she has blossomed into. He’ll just have to convince Bridget, somehow, that her heart is more important than her duty.

Bridget Newbury has always done her duty—to her parents, to the church, to the man they selected as her betrothed. She knows what could happen if she disobeys her father. The king has put nobler women to death for lesser trespasses. But she was promised to Curan first, and his kisses are very tempting…

Through it all, corsets changed very little. Tudor era dresses often had sleeves which barely came over the shoulders. Many women pinned their bodices to their corsets or had a few well placed stitches. This left…the hills and valley…on display. For colder moments and in church and to allow for demure trends, a garment known as the partlet came into use. This often was made of black velvet, black was a very expensive color and many couldn’t afford an entire dress out of it. The partlet fit over the shoulders and tied beneath the arms. It was closed in the front, many women wore broaches over the closure. and they often had tall collars. Mary the first was painted in these very often but I adore this picture of her when she was a girl and no doubt flirting with the men surrounding her father.

Not all women wore corsets in the early years of Henry the Eight. His time marked a transition between eras in clothing as well as politics. While writing Improper Seduction, I wanted to illustrate some of the time periods extremes. I think we all tend to think that the people in these eras were all very straight laced but they were young and impulsive just like we are today. Couples still fell in love with the person their parents disapproved of. Young women wondered if they were pretty and suffered bad hair days too. But most importantly of all, they felt that rush of excitement when falling in love…it’s timeless and I think the corset is too. That’s what I wanted to capture in Improper Seduction.

Cheers! Mary Wine

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About the Author
Mary Wine has written over twenty novels that take her readers from the pages of history to the far reaches of space. Recent winner of a 2008 EPPIE Award for erotic western romance, her book LET ME LOVE YOU was quoted “Not to be missed…” by Lora Leigh, New York Times best-selling author.

When she’s not abusing a laptop, she spends time with her sewing machines…all of them! Making historical garments is her second passion. From corsets and knickers to court dresses of Elizabeth I, the most expensive clothes she owns are hundreds of years out of date. She’s also an active student of martial arts, having earned the rank of second degree black belt.

This entry was posted in Blog Event by Monica Burns. Bookmark the permalink.

About Monica Burns

A bestselling author of erotic romance, Monica Burns penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough.

49 thoughts on “Pleasure Me With Mary Wine

  1. >Very interesting, Mary! No matter
    how ideal the construction, I just don't feel that this chubby grand-
    mother would be able to be fitted
    comfortably into a corset!

    Pat Cochran

  2. >I have always liked looking at historical fashion and have collected fasion plates from the late 1800's. I enjoyed the explanation of corsets.

    linze_e at hotmail dot com

  3. >I think it is so cool that Ms. Wine enjoys making historical garmets. I would love to see more photos of these and wish I was talented enough to do something like this. I have to wonder though if the clothing was comfortable.

    June in KY

  4. >I think it is so cool that Ms. Wine enjoys making historical garmets. I would love to see more photos of these and wish I was talented enough to do something like this. I have to wonder though if the clothing was comfortable.

  5. >I've always wanted to try a corset, just to see what it's like. I do have friends in the gothic lolita community who own some, but none are really my size, so I guess I'll just have to keep looking. 😉 Thanks for an informative post!

    julieguan AT gmail DOT com

  6. >This was really interesting! I never paid much attention to period clothing beyond petticoat, chemise, corset, breeches, but now I'm going to be absorbing a lot more.

    jbrink83 at hotmail dot com

  7. >Hi Monica and Mary,
    Wow, you are definitely a very talented seamstress Mary. That dress and the colors are beautiful.
    Improper Seduction is on my TRL. Love your books.
    Carol L

  8. >Hello Mary and Monica!

    So glad I stopped by to read this post. I have been sorely tempted to try a make my own corset (Regency variety) I have sewn and quilted for years, but I've never done any historically correct clothing. I might just need to try it!

    Henry VIII and his wives and court have always held a certain fascination for me. I've been reading about them since I was ten or so. Can't wait to read your book!


  9. >June M. said…
    In some ways, I think corsets might be ok…I have lower back pain and keeping my back straight really helps so corsets might work for me.

    The new book sounds great. Love anything about Highlanders!

    2/03/2011 02:21:00 PM

    forgot my email

    June M. in KY

  10. >Hi Mary! What a great blog post about corset and clothing history. It sounds like your research is very intensive. Absolutely LOVE your dress that you made and wore at RAW in August 2010. It was so much more beautiful in person, as gorgeous as it is in the picture.
    Nancy E
    Wisconsin USA
    everitnm at hotmail dot com

  11. >Mary,

    Very interesting post. Impressive and beautiful dress. Am awed at the skills to make it, and the research necessary to get it correct. Thanks for joining this contest. Would love to win your books (in the process of collecting the books of the McJames Clan Trilogy so I can read them one after the other.)

    2much2reid {at} comcast {dot} net / Texas

  12. >Wow what a fantastic dress in the photo. Would be so warm right now 😉
    I love historical books!

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com
    MN – USA

  13. >Thanks for another great giveaway! What an exquisite dress, Mary! I went to your website to see other examples of your "handiwork" and saw a couple but you should create a gallery of all your costumes. I, and I'm sure others, would love to see what you've created.

    As for corsets, yes, you've got a point in that they're probably not the "instruments of torment" they're made out to be if women continued to wear them for so long but I don't even like wearing a bra so I can't imagine wearing something even more confining! But I did enjoy your post and hope to see more of your creations in the future.


  14. >I have a corset that fits comfortably. I wear it on formal occasions with a strapless gown. It stays in place and you don't have to keep pulling it up. I love the blurb for Improper Seduction. Running off now to add to my wish list!


    New York

  15. >I really enjoyed your post today. The dress you made is so beautiful! The corset is really pretty too. I've never worn one because I've always thought they would be uncomfortable.

    Also, I love the covers on your books! 🙂


  16. >Wow, Mary, you really rocked on that dress! I love it.

    [gives a standing ovation]

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  17. >wow corsets well umm I do like to look at clothing from that period but I sure wouldnt want to wear it its soo heavy. however since I never have maybe I would like it? I guess you never know till you try it! LOL 🙂
    the books sound lovely I havent read any of those in a very long time (from that period) I think I am getting stuck on pirates though! maybe I can move forward? all these new books all my free time is spent reading my daughter thinks i'm crazy lately!

    Kris b indiana
    Krysti33@ frontier dot com

  18. >Hi, Mary! Very interesting post! I look forward to reading your books!


  19. >Hi Mary and Monica!

    I really enjoyed reading your post Mary, and you look beautiful in your dress! I wish that I could sew like you do! I really love the Tudor period of history, and I look forward to reading your book!

    Best wishes!

    Chris Mead from Missouri
    christin.mead at att dot net

  20. >Corsets look good but I love spandex more. I like the give as well as the lift.

    As for sewing, I did that off and on for years. I love picking out fabrics but i've gotten lazy about the actual sewing. Maybe I'll go back to it one of these days.


  21. >Hi Mary,

    Loved your post today. You are a new-to-me author and after reading more about your book, I believe I would enjoy reading your work.

    I love reading historical romances not only for the characters, the eras and the stories but also for the clothing of the times. I really like it when an author takes the time to describe some of the outfits worn by her heroine. I also visit the website of Candice Hern just to keep up on her extensive collection of Regency costumes, heirlooms, antiques and treasures.

    kkhaas at bellsouth dot net
    NC, USA

  22. >I love reading about this time period and your book looks amazing.

    smccar1 at hotmail dot com


  23. >Ahhh I've had a few corsets in my day but that was a long time ago lol. It can only be flattering. Has anyone noticed that one of the most popular styles in wedding dresses is the upper half looks like a corset – I think they are gorgeous. Your book sounds wonderful and what a cover!!


  24. >In some ways, I think corsets might be ok…I have lower back pain and keeping my back straight really helps so corsets might work for me.

    The new book sounds great. Love anything about Highlanders!

  25. >Just popping on for a moment. Due back at my desk in 2 min. Ladies, I've seen Mary in her dress and hat, and she cuts quite a figure in it. It's breathtaking. Plus she carries it off so well.

    I would love to own a corset. Vonda let's ask Mary, but I think if they're custom made for you, they're quite comfortable. At least that's what I've heard!

  26. >The thing about fainting in the victorian era was true but only for a small percentage of the population. Sort of like runway modles today….most of us don't starve ourselves down to size 0, but that's what you see pictures or and represented in movies. When people look back a century from now, they might think most women looked that way…we don't.

  27. >Hello and good afternoon Monica and Mary.
    Mary, thank you for the facinating information on corsets and period clothing. I found it all quite interesting and will understand more next time I see it described in my books.

  28. >Fantastic post Mary! Wow…you are indeed quite the seamstress! I can sew but not like that:). I think your post about corsets is very interesting and I agree that it really is all about fit- if it doesn't fit right and you slouch…then yeah it will pinch and hurt. Plus some corsets can be made tighter by tightening the cords and that's just wrong (thinking of the scene in the Meet Me in St. Louis movie). Size really does matter with undergarments of any time period:)

    US Resident

  29. >I can't sew a stitch; so jealous! You look beautiful. I agree with the wearing of corsets.

    "…it’s an…up lifting experience…one which can make a girl feel very…supported. But not breathless, I’ve noticed a few gentlemen experiencing that feeling while I’m in the corset and I admit to liking it quite a bit!"

    The hardest part is just finding more than one that fits properly.

    cindersmaria @ yahoo DOT com
    South Carolina

  30. >Corsets = awesome.

    For well-endowed, ladies (like myself), corsets offer so much support and it's awesome. The only reason I was able to wear a strapless wedding dress was because of the corset I had on underneath. I was free to jump, dance, etc without any fear of my big bits falling out. 🙂

  31. >Wow that is a beautiful corset. I have to admit that even though I am small I would never want to "have" to wear a corset. They are really pretty but they can also be torturous. But then again we all don't need to be Scarlet O'Hara with an 18 inch waist :).

    vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com Ohio

  32. >I enjoyed this post very much. I always thought of corsets as pure torture. Fainting women and all. But I guess that it's like you said a good pair of jeans or even a nice pair of heels.

    Your book sounds great btw, would love to read it.

    lotsofgingers AT hellokitty DOT com

  33. >First,let me say Hello for Mary and Monica.Then,let me say I love Mary's highlander's,what not to love.I am so thankful we don't wear corsets today.Although,the clothes of that period to me was goreous.Have a wonderful day/week.
    North Carolina

  34. >Hello Folks…

    Wow…thanks for all the comments! I do enjoy picking at fabric. After a few fantasy gowns, I began trying to figuar out how they were put together in years gone past. My friends and I often pick at patterns, make a dress, wear it, refine pattern through more research and pratical notes before we get it right. It's been fun and really does help with my writing…lol…

    Mary Wine

  35. >I love the clothes from that time period! There is something to be said for your manly man having to peel a bunch of layers off you before getting down to business. 🙂 I've read a story, or two, where the author compared it to unwrapping a present. 🙂 All in all, I just think it was an elegant way to dress. 🙂

    julieboo817 at gmail dot com

  36. >Hi Mary. I really enjoyed your post. I think it would hard to wear a corset. Your book sounds amazing.


  37. >Very interesting post. I can't imagine wearing corsets b/c I'm all for comfort so I often wear workout pants and loose shirts. But I guess if I lived in those times, I wouldn't have much choice if I wanted to marry right. My pj's, my outfit of choice most of the time, probably wouldn't cut it 😀

  38. >Thanks for the great post! I like how you mention that the women during that period were just like us in thoughts about appearances and everyday problems, making your story more realistic and relatable.


  39. >Good morning, Mary!

    I really enjoyed your blog! I'm fascinated by historical clothing and I love the pictures you included. I'm not sure I could wear a corset everyday, so I guess it's a good thing that they aren't "required" these days. LOL

    Congrats on the start of a new series! The color of the sky on the cover of IMPROPER SEDUCTION is gorgeous! *ahem* Of course, the man in the kilt isn't half bad either. 😉

    dadaw1321 AT numail DOT org

  40. >Good Morning Mary and Monica,

    What an interesting blog post, I loved the picture of you in that dress, that's beautiful.

    I've never worn a corset and have wondered about them after reading so many historicals and hearing about the 'pinching' and 'pulling' ect.

    I can sew a little but not enough to make a full on dress. lol
    Nevada. USA

  41. >Good morning Mary!

    I'm so glad I'm not the only person who loves corsets! I buy mine from a woman in the UK. Steel boning and gorgeous raw silk. I agree about feeling secure when wearing them. I enjoyed reading the trivia for the Tudor time period.

    user1123 AT comcast DOT net

  42. >Corsets really do get an unfair wrap! When I was in highschool my best friend and I haunted the local Ren Fair. For her senior year prom we made her a historically accurate Tudor style gown. It was beautiful! We both went on later to play in the SCA for a while. I mostly did it because I wanted to masquerade as a Russian boy and joust, but I learned a lot about sewing. My best friend is disproportionate and before all that research we did about corsets she had a lot of back and shoulder pain. She's made corsets that follow historical directions – and they help a lot with her pain. I liked the earlier period cotehardies, personally – but that's completely off the point, and I don't think I even remember what the point was to begin with… Anyways – hurray for blog posts!

    Cid [ cid sound @ gmail . com ]

  43. >Wow, informative and intriguing post. I honestly did not know about the clothing details from that time period. I just remember from seeing a couple of episodes of 'The Tudors' that the clothing was impressive and looked like a challenge to get into/out of!

    BabsVick AT gmail DOT com

  44. >Hello, Mary! I enjoyed your post immensely, and "Improper Seduction" sounds like a wonderful romance read. The depth of detail that you invest in your story line is something that I cannot resist! I love history, and that is one of the reasons that I have been a lifelong reader of historical romance. The setting of the book, the era, culture, social mores, religious beliefs, fashion, art and literature of the times all affect the way the characters would develop as people. Therefore, they are very important elements of the story line details. I appreciate the amount of research and love of subject an author invests into a well-written historical romance.

    I have a great interest in fashions and costumes. I love to sew and work with fabric. My favorite era is the mid to late 1800s. I have done quite a bit of custom sewing, making hundreds of cloth dolls, quilts and pillows. Embroidered Western shirts with pearl snaps are a pleasure to complete. Western costumes and custom clothing is an art form in itself! As a child, I loved to play "dress up". I was very fortunate to have clothing from my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother to use as my costumes. I loved to entertain and put on shows with my family as my "captive audience" : )

    US Resident, GFC Follower, Subscriber

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  45. >Good morning, Mary & Monica! Mary, your post today was very interesting… I like to sew also… I used to make quite elaborate square & round dance costumes including the petticoats. I'd make matching sets for my husband and myself… that was many years ago (and I'm no longer married). I've always been amazed by costume creations and have taken the costuming tour at Disney more than once as I found it so interesting. Thank you for appearing her today and please enter me in your contest. It sounds like you have some must-reads for me too!
    Linda T.
    Florida, USA

  46. >Good morning everyone, I've notified Mary that her post is up. I'm not sure what her schedule is like, but I know she'll be here as fast as she can. In the meantime, enjoy her post, which is terrific!