Friday, March 31, 2023

Literary Sewing Circle: Sisters of Grass Inspiration


Time for a little more inspiration for your Sisters of Grass sewing project! Today we're going to be looking at some of the imagery and the themes of this book to see how we might pull them out to inspire a project. 

Starting with the opening of the book, there is a constant focus on the landscapes - in the beginning, there is a description of "grass like uncut hair" that I found striking. The golden light and grasses might suggest a prairie dress style like the Champagne Field dress by the Matchy-Matchy Sewing Club.

Or  maybe your project will take shape more literally, using this kind of print:

Landscape Medley Wild Grass cotton from
Lindley General Store

Maybe you'll find something in the flowers that Margaret names as she's wandering the woods, or even the birds she sees. When she's showing Nicholas around the countryside, she points out some Mariposa Lilies, Rose hips, mint, and more. Around home there is lavender and apple blossom mentioned a few times. You might take these elements and make one of the projects from pattern company Wildflower Design. Or you could put together some Wildflower Cargo Pants by Lauren Van Der Mast with a Rose Tee by Blank Slate Patterns for a whole floral outfit! 

Or you could just decorate an outfit with some wildflower embroidery, like these from Twig & Tale. Or of course freehand some!

When Margaret and Nicholas camp out with her father, the night scene with the firepit and the endless night sky is evocative. Perhaps you'll take the mentions of the stars and constellations and try something inspired by the night sky. The Star Struck bodice by George & Ginger perhaps?

Or for something a little bit cozier for a camp-out, try the Constellation Hoodie by Love Notions

Margaret's late-adopted hobby of photography also opens up some great areas of inspiration. Will you make something inspired by cameras or photographs? Or by the idea of the past in the present? 

In a nod to vintage cameras, you might choose the Brownie Dress by Waffle Patterns

Or, you could make the Hosta Hobo Camera Bag by Blue Calla to carry your field camera in!

There are also the scenes with many of the horses on the ranch, and Margaret's connections to both Thistle and Daisy. Lots of wonderful horse inspired patterns/fabrics to use here! Some examples can be found at The Sewing Shoppe -- my fave is the Multi Horse Stampede Cotton - love the colours!

There are also descriptions of clothes in the book, some that are particularly important to Margaret at various moments. When she buys some cord riding pants, utility overcomes gender expectations to allow her to continue her riding and ranch work. You could try SuitAbility to make your own women's riding breeches, or shirts, helmet covers and more. Plus many patterns for your horse to wear, as well! 

Or maybe you'll just make some casual Ranch Pants (found at Mrs. Depew) inspired by Margaret's workwear. 

It could be that you're more intrigued by the pretty dresses that the family wears to hear Emma Albani sing in Kamloops. Margaret's gown of rose muslin, Jenny's one formal gown of grey taffeta, and even Jane and Mary in their white organdy dresses accented with blue and pink sashes, may inspire you. Madame Albani herself could be your focus, with her operatic presence. 

You could try the Roseclair by Cashmerette, even though Margaret's gown would likely have used the ankle length option! 

Or maybe you'll just want to make something extravagant in grey taffeta! Check out this pretty option at The Fabric Merchant.

And don't forget about the items that Anna receives at the museum in our present day timeline. Are you inspired by the hand embroidery on the tea towels, or the sashiko stitching on the Japanese textiles that arrive for her exhibit? Does the idea of Irish linen (go to the source!) or historical samplers bring something to mind for you? 

If you like the idea of sustainable sewing, you could check out the Zero & Zen course by Kate Ward & Liz Haywood; they make a zero-waste, upcycled denim jacket and then cover it in sashiko stitching. 

Or check out this very pretty vintage tea towel shift dress made by an Australian blogger -- if she can do it, so can we! 

There are a few more ideas about what to do with old linens at this Peppermint Magazine article, too. 

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Your inspiration can come from any small moment in the book -- maybe it will even be the brief quotation from the Skye Boat Song that Margaret's father shares near the beginning, as part of their Scottish heritage. The free Crowning Glory from aptly named Waves & Wild could be just the thing for this inspo!

I hope that with all these different ideas you're starting to see the potential for a project of your own. If you have another idea, or a part of the book that has jumped out at you as your own inspiration, please feel free to share in the comments! The closer we look at the book, the more there is to work with, and your vision might add to someone else's too. 

Next week's book discussion post will be our wrap-up post for the reading part of the Literary Sewing Circle. There will be 2 more weeks to get your project done and posted, on the link up that will appear next week as well. I'm working on developing my own project ideas, from the many things I shared here and in our first inspiration post, too. Look forward to seeing all of yours. 


  1. I love the inspiration ideas!! I was really taken with the Nicola bag from the last inspiration post, and bought the pattern, but the camera bag here looks great too. So many ideas.
    .... Sara

    1. I have picked out some lavender lawn to make a simple top with a drawstring neckline - something like I imagine the characters would wear.

    2. Yes, I am thinking about bags as well...
      Shoes15, the lavender colour and the style will definitely reflect the storyline!


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