Friday, September 20, 2019

Literary Sewing Circle: Inspiration!

It's the first week of this round of the Literary Sewing Circle and time for some inspiration! Have you got your hands on a copy? Have you started reading yet? 

I thought I'd start us off with the most obvious inspiration -- the setting! This book has two primary settings, Tokyo and a small island on the BC coast. 

Let's start with Japan. If you take that as your source of inspiration, you can go in many directions. 

You might think about using Japanese fabrics to make your project. Nani Iro, Lecien fabrics, Kobayashi, Echino, NekoNeko -- there are many brands, lines, or shops that specialize in Japanese fabrics. Here are few lovely ones.

Probably the best known source for Japanese fabric is Miss Matabi. Lots of choice and great shipping rates too. There are a wide variety of designs to choose from, from cute to elegant to colourful.

 There are also some wonderful Japanese shops, like FabricTales. Gorgeous fabrics shipped from Japan from traditional to modern, florals to "japanesque" designs. She even sells fabric cords. I'm coveting some of that!

Then there is our own Canadian online shop FabricSpark, who sells a line of Japanese fabrics along with all the other wonderful things she stocks.

If you don't want to include Japanese themes just in your fabric choices, you could think about incorporating some Japanese inspired techniques into your project, like Shibori

photo by Agistadler via Flickr

or Sashiko

or even fabric origami! There is a whole book on this, and lots more out there online.

There are many Japanese patterns you could use also. Any of the very popular Japanese Pattern Books are a good start! There are also Japanese pattern magazines, though those will likely be easier to use if you can read Japanese.

Or of course you could take a look at the patterns by Japanese pattern designer, and our Literary Sewing Circle sponsor, Yuki from Waffle Patterns. Don't forget, anyone who posts a finished project by our due date of November 15 will be entered into a draw to win a 30 Euro voucher from Waffle!

There are lots of patterns at Waffle that match with this book, from fabulous outerwear to delicate daily tops and either slim or wide leg pant options too.


There are also other areas to explore for your inspiration. If you are caught by the elements of the story that take place in B.C., you might want to use a pattern from a company based in BC as well. Of course there is Helen's Closet to inspire you. I can imagine her Suki Robe in a soft Japanese cotton lawn for summer!

You could explore In House Patterns from BC too -- her soft bow blouse would mix well with some luscious printed Japanese fabric.

You might want to make a jacket for hiking in the rainy outdoors, as the characters Ruth and Oliver find themselves doing often. A good choice might be the Minoru Jacket by Sewaholic, also a BC pattern company!

And of course, for lots of outdoor suitable clothing especially for men, check out BC based Thread Theory

If you just want to get your fabric from BC, you can always take a look at Blackbird Fabrics -- who, incidentally, has some nice Japanese non-stretch denim in right now!

Do you have any ideas yet? Are your plans jumping to mind or are you waiting until you've read the book to the end before you decide what to make? I hope lots of ideas are sparking for you already. If you have any favourite shops, fabrics or patterns that I've missed in this post, feel free to share them in the comments!


  1. my book arrived yesterday, but has to wait its turn as my absolute favourites author's long awaited new opus beat it to the door! I have some inspiration already to hand in my frequent FB posts from Dogstar. Have you taken a peek? This could inspire me to following through on my 'paper wasp' project!

    1. I know what it's like when a book you've been waiting for arrives ;) Enjoy! I hope that you will get a chance to start reading this one soon and that your inspiration and the projects you've been thinking about all work together nicely :)

  2. Melanie, you seem to find the most amazing links to designers I have never heard of! It is fabulous to see designers from other countries, you realise the subtle differences and ideas in garments.
    I have a couple of the books you suggested above.
    Have you considered the 'Asymmetric skirt' from The Great British Sewing Bee fourth series? It is described as follows - "... Banka the famed fashion school in Japan, has influenced and transformed Western fashion in the last few years. Their clever patterns create unusual shapes and silhouettes that require the maker to truly understand the construction of clothes. This skirt looks like a puzzle when all the pieces are laid flat, but the complex geometric shapes of the flat pieces combine to make an interesting, contemporary skirt....."
    Whilst not really somebody who wears skirts, I could be very tempted with this. I think it could be a bit of a challenge.

    1. I'm glad I could share some of our Canadian designers with you! We have some really active pattern companies here. I had forgotten all about the GBSB's Asymmetric Skirt. I recall that challenge. I think it would be very tempting to try out!

  3. I only just found out about this literary sewing circle (thanks to some belated blog catch up with Helen's Closet) and I immediately ran to the book store on my lunch break. I guess the themes in the book and the patterns you suggested really spoke to me yesterday. :)

    I already have a few Japanese sewing pattern books but I think I'd like to make a jacket. I'm on the east coast in Canada and it's already getting chilly at night so I'm inspired by cozy makes. I've been obsessed with the Tamarack jacket (Grainline Studio.) Although I'm also torn by the Serra jacket (Pauline Alice). The Serra jacket really gives me the B.C.-hiking vibes. I would make the short version but it's such a great pattern, I'd like to some day try the other versions, too.

    I'll give myself a few more days to think about it but I'm a slow sewist so I should start soon. Neither jacket it as at all simple, so this is a bold choice for me haha. To be fair, if I really wanted to complete something, my Japanese pattern book has a few basic makes I could tackle so we'll see.

    I'm so glad I found this group! I love this idea. Thank you for organizing it!

    1. P.S. If anyone is curious about my pattern book, it roughly translates to "Big Clothes Small Clothes" by Yasuka Hamada. I love it because it explores the same basic style in two silhouettes - one smaller and more fitted and the other oversized. I haven't tried any yet but I love the concept. Unfortunately it has a pretty limited size range, so some creative grading might be required.

    2. Hello Liz! I'm so glad you found the Literary Sewing Circle. (thanks Helen's Closet ;) )

      Sounds like you have some great plans in mind already. How wonderful. I haven't seen that Japanese pattern book before, thank you for sharing. It sounds quite intriguing. I hear you on the sizing, but the styles are all so tempting in these books.

      Hope you are enjoying your reading so far!


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