Friday, March 10, 2023

Literary Sewing Circle: Sisters of Grass Sewing Inspiration

 It's the first week of our Literary Sewing Circle featuring Sisters of Grass. Have you found a copy yet? Have you started reading? If so, how are you finding the opening chapters? 

Today's inspiration is going to look at some of the characters and places in this story; we'll find ideas based on their names and personalities. There are many evocative names, both personal and geographic, in this book, and here are a few suggestions of projects you could make based on these elements. 

Let's start with the main characters! 

The story starts with our modern day museum curator, Anna. There are many patterns you could use inspired by this character. Of course I couldn't help thinking of the sewing world classic, the Anna Dress by By Hand London 

If you wa
nt to go a little more casual, you could give the Anna Shirt by Wardrobe by Me a try. It's a good one to roll up your sleeves in and get to work! 

Next is our historical main character, Margaret Stuart.  You might want to make a 
Margaret Dress by La Petite Mercerie for a day dress style, maybe in pink like Margaret's fancy frock she wore to Madame Albani's concert. 

Or you could put together a more everyday outfit by combining the 
Margaret Stretch Pants by Style Arc with a pretty summer Margaret Cowl Neck Cami by AnnaTheTailor on Etsy

Now looking at Margaret's mother Jenny, we might consider a useful outfit for rustic work, with the Jenny Overalls by Closet Core. Make them in denim for sturdy usage or a lighter fabric for a more city wear kind of style. 

Or put together a streamlined outfit with the 
Jenny Skirt by Homer & Howells alongside the Jenny Essential Tee by In-House Patterns

Jenny's mother, Grandmother Jackson, is an important part of Margaret's life. You could make something in honour of the Jackson family, like the Jackson Tee by our sponsor Helen's Closet. Or make something casual, like these Jackson Joggers by Peek-a-Boo patterns.

You might want to take your inspiration from another character, Nicholas Byrne, who appears later in the book. You could try the Nicholas Shirt by CreativeFabrica for a relaxed camp shirt silhouette, tthat might reflect the more laid back atmosphere of his work in BC.

Maybe you're thinking that you are more taken with the horses in the book! You could find your inspiration in Margaret's horse Daisy, and make the cozy Daisy top from Misusu Patterns

Or maybe a cottagecore Daisy Dress from Rosery Appeal

Could be that you are more intrigued by their new horse, Thistle, who Margaret rides home from their city visit. You could make a Thistle Kilt, a free pattern from Mood Sewciety, in honour of both Thistle and the Stuart family's Scottish heritage. 

Or maybe you'll rustle up a quick Thistle Necktie by Sunflower Seams for a menswear inspired project.

Or you could look more at the place names in this book for your inspiration. The Nicola Valley is a big part of the story, and there are many Nicola inspired ideas. You could go with the classic Sewaholic Nicola Dress  -- a pattern named for geographic places in BC by a BC company!

Or you may want to try another style of dress by another Canadian company, the  Victory Patterns Nicola Dress

If you were thinking more about having a handy bag to gather wild plants in, for example, you could grab the pattern for the Liberty Crossroads Nicola Pouch. This is a hands-free purse/bag that could be really useful! 

William Stuart comes to the Nicola Valley from his childhood home of Astoria, Oregon. The opening pages of the book evoke that place strongly. You could take Astoria as your inspo with the fog-friendly Seamwork Astoria Sweater, or the even cozier Peek-A-Boo Patterns Astoria

There is also the Astoria Knit Dress by StyleArc or McCalls Astoria Coat to keep you cozy too! 

Whatever you decide, I hope you'll enjoy the read and come away with some ideas. Stay tuned for our second inspiration post in a couple of weeks. And if you're already contemplating some project ideas, feel free to share them. 


  1. Hi Melanie, As per your usual style, an amazing amount of inspiration. Oddly enough I really like the Nicola bag - it has so taken my eye! I am up to about Chapter 5, and the first inspiration that hit me was Chapter 4 introduction where there is discussion on items for the museum collection, particularly the Japanese padded blue jackets with white stitching - shibori dye patterns. I immediately thought to myself how would I do this?
    I am enjoying the book, it is a very gentle read. There is an interesting transfer of thoughts between the now and then, but it all fits and flows. The history is interesting. I really look forward to picking it up each time to read.

    But I will have to look further into the Nicola pouch!
    ....... Sara

    1. I've never been much interested in sewing bags but this year they are really calling to me! Glad you are inspired by the Nicola pouch. I like the sashiko ideas too. Lots of inspo in this book!

  2. I am inspired by all the imagery of grasses and flowers, as well as the horses theme. When Margaret finally gets a nice pair of trousers for riding in a soft green whipcord, it seemed like she is really stepping into her adult self. Perhaps a pair of trousers inspired by riding skirts or trousers of the 1900's will be good? Since zippers weren't a thing yet they would have to be a buttoned style. I'm currently looking at Merchant and Mills Quinn trousers, with the strap at the back waist like men's fishtail trousers of that era. Nothing is decided yet...

    1. Definitely lots of great imagery to work with here. And the different clothes that Margaret wears and talks about are great starting points - I'm also thinking of the fancy dress she wears to hear Emma Albani sing. Lots to think about!


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