Friday, April 19, 2024

Literary Sewing Circle: To Say Nothing of the Dog Inspiration!


It's the first week of our Literary Sewing Circle featuring To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. 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 in this story; we'll find ideas based on their names and personalities. We'll also see what place names might inspire projects. Here are a few suggestions of projects you could make based on these elements. 

Let's start with the main characters! 

Verity is our leading lady, and we could make something inspired by her modern self, or her time in Victorian England. 

You could try the Verity Knit top from Style Arc for a modern look

Or go for a Victorian vibe with any of these garment patterns from Verity Hope, a pattern shop on Etsy. 

Moving on to Ned Henry, our narrator and protagonist, well it's a bit harder to find something directly linked to his name despite it being a suitable moniker across the years. 

Maybe you'll just make a comfortable outfit for time travel duties by using the Jalie Henri joggers, and perhaps a colour blocked sweatshirt inspired by the Henry sweatshirt by Oh Me Oh My Patterns.  

There are plenty of side characters to inspire you as well! How about Lizzie Bittner, widow of Bitty Bittner, either in her aged 2057 years or her youthful years in the time travel lab? 

Lizzie might wear the Lizzie Dress by Sew Simple as an easy day dress! And the Style Arc Lizzie Wrap would be a nice addition for all weathers. 

Or how about this pretty Lizzie skirt by Sew Over It patterns? 

You could add the Jimmy tee/bodysuit by Makerist to the Lizzie skirt, in a nod to Lizzie Bittner's own lab partner, Jim Dunworthy. 

Or you might want to try these workaday Jim Overalls by Ready To Sew, inspired by Mr. Dunworthy -- not for him, alas. 

Mr. Dunworthy's able assistant Finch, who finds his metier later in the book, might inspire a make or two as well. Try out the Finch button up by Common Stitch, a classic that Finch himself might have happily worn. 

Or go more feminine with the unusual Finch Fold Skirt by The Sewing Revival

You could try a pair of trousers -- maybe the Callahan trousers by Seamwork, in honour of a character late in the book. 

Or you could take the poor frenzied net technician Peggy Warder as your inspo, and use this free pattern to make a pair of Peggy Trousers by Posner & Posner. 

Maybe it's the very capable Maud Peddick who interests you. You could put together a practical outfit that would suit her if she travelled to the 21st Century, using the Maud Trousers by Homer & Howells, along with the Maude Tunic from Style Arc

You could even be inspired by some of the minor characters, like the flowery Chattisbourne sisters, Rose, Iris, Pansy & Eglantine, adding in the church lady Delphinium Sharp for a full bouquet. Try the Dusky Rose Dress by Made Label, the zero-waste Iris Blouse & Dress by Fibr & Cloth Studio, the Pansy Dress by Rosery Apparel, the Eglantine Coat by Wissew, or the Delphium Hobo Bag by Blue Calla Patterns.

Or you might go more meta, and make something inspired by the author's name! Like this free Connie skirt from Swim Style Patterns -- maybe paired with the Willis Waistcoat by The Printed Pattern Company!

Maybe it's the place names that will catch your attention. You could try out a pair of classic Oxford bags as a nod to Terence, and to Ned's fictitious college. Reconstructing History has a pattern. 

Or you could go for another classic, the Oxford button down shirt. There are many options for this. Perhaps you'd give the "Old Money Style" classic Oxford oversize top by VictorinoCo on Etsy a go. 

Or just make a Classic Men's Top from Jalie 2111 -- it has all the details of a real Oxford shirt, including the button down collar and the front pocket. You'd use real Oxford cloth, too, of course!

Or you might decide to go in a totally different direction and just make yourself the Oxford Dress by Treize Coquelicot! 

Or you could just literally take the river itself as your inspo, and make the River Dress by Megan Nielsen 

If you're a knitter, take a look at this View From the Thames Illusion Knit! You'll make a view of Westminster and the Thames if you look one way, and only static straight on. Kind of like looking through the Net! Check out the product listing on Etsy to view to full effect, it's very cool. 

I hope that some of these projects have given you ideas! If you have a favourite character, hopefully one of these patterns will fit right into your style. Another inspiration post will be coming in two weeks so if nothing sparks your interest here, just wait ;) 


  1. As usual, great inspirations! I have made the men's Finch shirt in the past, and can definitely vouch for lovely instructions and fit. But I am still waiting for the book from the library .... hopefully this week. .... Sara

    1. Oh I hope it arrives soon! And I'm glad to hear that the Finch shirt is a nice one. There are so many great patterns to try out!


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