Friday, May 6, 2022

Literary Sewing Circle: Finale & Project Round Up


Today is already our final day of the Literary Sewing Circle focusing on Elizabeth C. Bunce's Premeditated Myrtle!

I hope you've had the chance to read the book, and both the first and second inspiration posts, and are getting lots of ideas for a project of your own. 

The project linkup will be added to the bottom of this post: as soon as you are done your project, just pop a link to your post into the linkup and we will all be able to visit your blog/instagram etc. and explore your creation -- remember, it can be sewn, or knitted, crocheted, embroidered... any textile art that you practice.

I shared a lot of my thoughts on the book in our earlier book talk post, and I reviewed this novel on my book blog when I first read it. You can explore those for some of my thoughts; today I'll share an overview of my impressions of this novel. I hope you will too!

I really enjoyed this book each time I read it. The clever chapter headings and footnotes, the variety of characters, the well plotted mystery, and the Victorian setting were all pluses for me.  I found Myrtle reminiscent of some of my other favourite girl sleuths like Flavia de Luce or even Harriet the Spy - especially in the relationship between Myrtle and Miss Judson, one of the most pleasing bits of the series for me. 

The story held up to rereadings, as it was both clever and full of detail that could be enjoyed on the second go-round. I appreciated the attention given to the setting and domestic details, which were added in so naturally but grounded the story in its place. Seeing Myrtle's reactions to clues and facts and other characters was also richer the second time, when you know what's going to happen and can slow down a little and take in all the elements of the narrative. 

Of course I loved the clothing and household descriptions; as one of our participants mentioned previously, the clothing adds to the development of each character when you notice that what they are wearing expresses them in varied ways. 

Also, the emotional element of Myrtle's connection to Miss Judson as a mother figure is touching. I loved the addition of Miss Judson's background, which adds depth and nuance to her as a person and to her role in the family. And Myrtle's much hoped-for romance between Miss Judson and her father is a great touch. I have enjoyed the additional books in the series and hope some of you will too!

Questions for you all:

Did you enjoy this mystery for younger readers? Are you intrigued to follow up with some of the other titles in this series? (heads up, book two has some sewing related content as well...) Did you connect with Myrtle's character? How does she compare, for you, to other young female sleuths?

Please share your thoughts on the book, its themes, characters, or anything you noted about it -- either in the comments here or on our first Book Talk post, or on your own blog with a link to your longer thoughts in the comments so we can find it. I love to talk about the experience of reading so feel free to comment no matter when you're reading this post; if you've read this I'd love to hear your thoughts.

What project have you made, inspired by your reading of Premeditated Myrtle? Share a link to your project on this post as soon as you're done! The linkup will be live until May 31 --  you have another 3 1/2 weeks of sewing time to finish and share.


  1. I enjoyed the book well enough. I don't normally read children's/young adult literature so it was a nice change of pace. I can't compare Myrtle to other young female sleuths because I've never read any of them. I found Miss Judson to be the most interesting character. Her relationship to Myrtle and her approach to education were just what Myrtle needed at this time in her life.

    I don't have a blog or do postings on social media so can't post my make. I made a boyfriend shirt out of white cotton lawn with lavender pinstripes. It's very comfortable with an oversized pocket. Perfect for working in the garden. The lavender stripes called to mind the upright stems and purple flowers of the foxglove plant from which digitalis is derived.

    1. Thanks for commenting and letting us know of your project! It sounds very nice and very suitable for gardening :)

      Glad you enjoyed this different kind of read as well. I agree that Miss Judson was just great!

  2. I am rather intrigued by this author - Elizabeth Bunce. I do wonder with a number of Myrtle books, whether there is a bit of a formula to them. I have borrowed an audio book (as the audio book was the only way to borrow it) from my library by this author, 'A Curse Dark as Gold', which has completely different characters and story line, to see if I can see similarities in the style of writing. I will see if I can borrow/find Book 2 - How to Get Away with Myrtle.

    For my project I am making an Apron. Mine will be a gardening apron. I did purchase an etsy pattern (which was suggested in a previous post), although I have had problems printing it out, but they are my issues, not an issue with the pattern. However I have calculated pattern pieces and measurements.
    It is fascinating, an apron is only mentioned nine times in the book, and yet it features largely for me. I was very aware of it's use to signal events or emotions. And the inclusion of the 'apron', a simple garment, speaks so much more about what is happening at any particular moment. It all started with Miss Judson wearing an apron in the garden when the cigar cutter was found. Removing the apron, signalled the end of searching in the soil. The Cook wore an apron with a pocket for her spanner, signalling the potential need for serious business with the hob. When Myrtle was searching the house next door for clues she found a cracked door concealed by a rack of smocks and aprons, once again identifying that work was usually done at that house for so many utilitarian garments to be warranted - probably gardening. And finally, Trudy 'smoothed' her cook's apron when Mr Hamm reappeared, signalling her desire to look neat in this presence (or at least as neat as a cook in an apron can look without removing the garment).

    Usually when I go down to the community garden I wear old clothes, but of course, if I took an apron down it wouldn't matter what else I was wearing! And I can carry secateurs in a pocket with bits of string. It will have lots of pockets, and I am going to machine embroider my perception of the mythical gilded lily, with white and gold colourings.

    Melanie, thank you again for a great LSC choice, and SO many resources to add to the whole reading pleasure. I love all your installments, author's discussion, book discussion and sewing inspiration posts. I shall eagerly await the next selection, but in the meantime .....

    Now to get stuck into the sewing!

    .... Sara

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Sara! I find that there is a bit of a formula to these kinds of series, but not so much that the stories aren't still enjoyable and fun. Especially when the characters are well made and we love to learn more about them in each installment! I particularly enjoyed the second book in this series...

      Love your apron inspo. It's true that aprons do show up an awful lot in the story, even as backdrop. I think a nice pocketful apron will be a great addition to your community garden togs. I hope to see your embroidery at some point too :)

      I'm glad to hear that you enjoy the posts and the content I share. I really have fun putting together the posts and sharing some great books and authors. I'm just working on my own project now and will be excited to share it soon.

  3. Premeditated Myrtle was an enjoyable read and I always appreciate finding a good book series. Young adult fiction can be entertaining and relaxing to read, and I found this book to be both. I enjoyed the characters in the book, especially Myrtle with her curiosity, precociousness, and disregard for social norms. I also love a good cat character and was happy for Peony’s helpful presence. I did not think that the first and obvious suspect apprehended, Mr. Hamm, was the perpetrator, but I was not able to fully solve the mystery on my own. I’m glad Myrtle was on the case!

    For my Literary Sewing Circle make for Premediated Myrtle, I’ve made the Flora Blouse by SBCC Patterns. With the importance of the lilies and the focus on the gardens, I felt a nod toward plant life would be appropriate. The fabric for my Flora blouse was a travel purchase (brings back good memories) and it has little flowers and leaves, another nod toward the garden.

    Thanks for hosting another round of the Literary Sewing Circle, Melanie! I always look forward to your book choices and posts.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it -- I also feel that young adult/middle school fiction can be a really fun read. I love the characters in this series (like you, I love a good cat!) and she really carries them through the books. I'm looking forward to books four and five!

      Love the choice of the Flora Top for your project - both the pattern name and print are very suitable for the themes :)


Share your comments, ideas or suggestions here -- I am always interested in hearing from readers. It's nice to have a conversation!