Friday, March 27, 2020

Literary Sewing Circle: Inspiration Post

It's time for another inspiration post, and this one will focus more on specific, sentence level inspiration that we can find in this book! (our last post looked more at the characters, if you missed it)

As I was reading, I was thinking about some of the imagery that stuck out for me, and also some of smaller characters and elements of the story.

If you look at it this way, there really are infinite directions you might go in with a project!

First, I'm looking at some of the places that this story takes place.

The obvious main setting is Long Island. That's where the Wilde House is and where most of both stories are set.

To reflect this setting, you could make the Long Island kids tee.

Of course, a larger focus on New York is possible, since both Charley and Lydia travel across the harbour to New York for their own reasons. There are various neighbourhoods in New York to work with

The Manhattan Peplum Dress by New Horizons could fit this setting well.

Or you might also like to try out the Brooklyn Knit Top from Style Arc 

The Soho Shorts & Skirt by Liesl & Co may also work! 

And Sam goes home to Rochester for Christmas, leaving Charley and Rachel snowbound in Millbank . This location definitely recalls the Rochester Dress by Maven Patterns for me.

Charley's family lives up in Toronto, so if you want to go that way, you could quickly make up a free pattern, the Toronto Tee by Rebecca Page

Then there are some pretty strong images to work with. One of these, at least for me, is the recurring image of Lydia in her bright yellow dress. The dress that immediately came to mind for me is the new and popular Vogue 1671. 

If you're inspired to make some costume related creations by the descriptions of Jean-Philippe or De Brassart's fine woolen uniforms, you could use the 1760s Frock Coat by Reconstructing History,  or even their entire Mid 18th Century Gentleman Package of patterns. 

Or of course you might go in the direction of using fabrics inspired by the book, maybe directly by the Bellewether itself.

Sailboats at Funky Monkey Fabrics

Liberty Sail at
Or perhaps you'll choose something more unexpected, inspired by Sam's beagle Bandit, or Don's dachshund.

Dachshund Scuba at
Or maybe Sam's occupation has you thinking of something in a different direction!

Alexander Henry "Heavy Equipment" print
Maybe you'll just let the idea of all those ocean voyages that the Bellewether makes down to the Caribbean influence your make. 

Tory Sevas on Spoonflower

Whatever you choose to make inspired by your reading, just share the idea or phrase that has sparked your plans. The linkup will go live in two weeks, and then there are 3 more weeks to make and post your project. I hope you are enjoying the reading and getting lots of ideas for your project already. 


  1. Lovely inspirations...but PLEASE don't recommend Reconstructing History patterns! They are notorious, trust me.

  2. I’m feeling inspired by the various mentions of fabric types and colors. She mentions linen, silk, and wool. And she also describes the colors of some of the fabrics, yellow, lilac, white, brown, red, and blue. Right now I’ve got my eye on some lilac linen in my stash.
    Loved the book—just what I needed at this time!

  3. So much inspiration! The one theme which stands out for me is the misunderstanding which can occur with translation between cultures. I am thinking of interactions between Lydia and Jean-Phillipe and between Lydia and Captain de Rio. Mind you, it is not only language translation which can cause confusion - this can happen between people who cannot read body language, or just differing backgrounds. Anyway, I am thinking it would be an appropriate moment for me to make a pattern from a source with no English written instructions, just to see how I interpret them.
    Another theme is the colour yellow, but of course we are meant to stay in our houses, so no quick trip to a fabric shop. There may be something in my stash!

  4. Here is another thought. Lydia notices the French soldiers uniforms. She comments to herself that she had heard the French were vain about their clothing, noting the deep cuffs that came nearly back to the elbow ...
    Assembly Line have a pattern for the 'Cuff Top. How perfect is that??


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