Friday, February 23, 2018

Literary Sewing Circle: Final Book Talk & Project Link Up!

Today is already our final day of the Literary Sewing Circle focusing on Dance, Gladys, Dance! I hope you've had the chance to read the book, and the inspiration posts, and are already 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 yours just pop a link to your project post into the linkup and we will all be able to visit your post and explore your creation -- remember, it can be sewn, or knitted, crocheted, embroidered... any textile art which you practice. 

Today's post also gives us the chance to talk about our reading experience a little more. If you haven't yet had a chance, check out our first discussion post for some specific questions and feedback from readers -- also take a look at the interview which Cassie Stocks did for us and see if it raises any questions for you. 

Did you enjoy this novel? Did you have a favourite character? Was there a theme which particularly resonated? What part of it stood out for you as your inspiration for your project? Was there anything you didn't like about this novel? Had you heard of it prior to this readalong? Did you recognize any of the character quirks in the story? Have you ever felt a disconnect between your daily life and your creative urges?

Here are some of my musings on my reading.

I enjoyed my reread of this book this time around -- I'd forgotten some of the details, which I enjoyed rediscovering. I really felt sympathy for Gladys & Miss Kesstle on this read, more so than most of the others. Although I liked the way all the characters play against one another. Perhaps my sympathies are a symptom of my own getting older as a reader! 

I also noticed more of the emphasis on clothes and what the characters wore as signifiers of their personalities, probably because I was reading with sewing in mind. When Frieda proudly wears her thrifted shoes, "without golf cleats!" to the art opening, and Ginny sneers at them, it says a lot about both of them. When Lady March swans in wearing a caftan and pronounces conclusions about Frieda's aura, you know immediately what kind of person she is. Whitman appearing all in black in his first appearance is almost a parody of a film producer. Each of them has their own presentation in the world, and their appearance communicates who they are. It was fascinating to notice these details.

I also enjoyed how even in the darkest or most depressing situations, there was always a thread of humour, even if it was low-key or sarcastic. I tend to see things this way most of the time, so this really rang true for me.

But the theme of the book, the focus on reclaiming your creativity and your right to love your art form no matter what it is, really spoke to me. Cassie Stocks doesn't overlook the psychological barriers to living up to your creative urges, and she also incorporates the systematic difficulties which women in particular face when desiring to live an artistic life. Gladys, Miss Kesstle, Girl, Ginny, Marilyn, and Frieda herself all experience these issues in their own ways. Not all of them can resolve the dichotomy of living well and living creatively. But Frieda picking up her brushes again and finding the courage to paint in her own style and manner is so hopeful. I believe the conclusion, though sad in some ways, also gives us a hint of resolution and forward movement in life. 

It's this moment that inspired me, and I picked out a fabric in my stash that I think will be just perfect for my project. Of course it will be a dress -- I am planning on using McCalls 6696, their most popular shirtdress pattern -- and adding some fun details. Do you know what you'll be making? Share hints in the comments!

I hope you've all enjoyed this round of the Literary Sewing Circle! I'll leave the link up live until March 23 to give us all a few weeks to get sewing and sharing. The next round of the Literary Sewing Circle will be announced later in the spring. Happy Sewing!


  1. Hi.
    I just finished reading DGD last night. These are aspects of the story that I related to.

    How disparate yet unrelated people become like family, particularly Frieda and Mr. H.

    How nearly every character finds some sort of redemption, but especially Norman, Marilyn, and Frieda. Even Gladys after she finally is able to have her story heard.

    The idea that women still feel subject to society's norms and expectations. For example, Ginny and her obsession with appearance. Only Norman’s mother seemed to be free from this.

    The links between these themes and Gladys and Girl. Their relationship was more than genetic. Both had no family support, both needed to be redeemed from circumstance, and both were beyond what society deemed acceptable. That is why Girls’ death was particularly sad. She was on the verge of changing all of this. She had the potential of family, redemption from circumstance, and a way to express herself in relationship to society.

    I had not heard of this book, and I am glad that you suggested it. I would definitely read it again!

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed it! There are so many themes to be explored here, and so many character arcs to follow. I agree that Lady March seemed to be the only one not overly concerned with society's expectations, but perhaps that's because she is so wealthy she doesn't have to worry about others perceptions -- maybe. Interesting!


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