5 Darling Books About Sewing to Weave Your Imagination

The invention of the sewing machine brought an increase in productivity for clothing worldwide! Here are five fiction books that celebrate the impact of this craft!

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Sewing is a steady art that has prevailed with the rise of technology. Our clothes have to come from somewhere. With the hustle and bustle that comes with daily life, it is easy to forget some of our most mundane pleasures.

Part of our morning routine consists of questioning what outfit would suit the day. For most people, this is a privilege we hardly conceive of when surfing through bundles of clothing for the “right” shirt. We are attentive to how these clothes appear, but what about who made them?

For some, sewing may be seen as a slow, boring activity that lacks that dopamine hit we are more accustomed to. However, these five fictional books offer exciting and insightful stories on the cultural and social impact of sewing that may inspire some readers to take on the craft.

Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix


Margaret Peterson Haddix does not shy away from addressing the ethics of labor in her 2011 novel Uprising. This story takes place in America and addresses the real-life consequences of the March 25, 1911, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire by using fictionalized accounts. She uses the alternating points of view of three women caught working in terrible conditions at a clothing factory prior to the fire. Their pay is consistently docked, and they are forced to work long hours. As the three women quickly become friends throughout the novel, they also find themselves heavily involved in women’s suffrage and worker’s rights affairs. Readers will enjoy the diverse female voices of Haddix’s novel as well as her take on the clothing industry’s negligent practices.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim


Elizabeth Lim brings a fantastical vision of tailoring and fashion with her young adult novel Spin the Dawn. This novel is best described as “Project Runway meets Mulan” as it centers around a young girl named Maia who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor. On her journey, she must sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars. Unfortunately for her, eleven other tailors are competing in this cut-throat competition. The stakes grow even higher when a member of the court seems to see straight through her disguise. Lim also brings some forbidden romance into the novel. At its core, Lim’s novel is about following your heart and believing in yourself against all odds, which will resonate with most readers.

The Quick and The Thread by Amanda Lee


Amanda Lee is weaving a little mystery into the mix with her novel The Quick and the Thread. Marcy Singer is a woman who has just set up an embroidery shop called the Seven Year Stitch. She sees some success at first, with everyone in the town of Tallulah Falls pitching in to support her. However, things take a dark turn when Marcy finds the shop’s previous tenant dead in the storeroom. Her shop becomes a crime scene, with Marcy being the prime suspect. The novel’s events follow Marcy setting out to clear her name and catch the killer once and for all. Of course, this wouldn’t be a cozy read without many of the small-town personalities that drive the plot. This is just one of a series of Lee’s books following the adventures of Marcy in Lee’s Embroidery Mystery series. Readers are sure to enjoy this fast-paced read that does not shy away from a needlework pun or two.

Pleating For Mercy by Melissa Bourbon


Melissa Bourbon introduces a little paranormal activity in her mystery novel Pleating for Mercy. The story follows Harlow Jane Cassidy, a fashion designer who leaves her job in Manhattan to open a fashion boutique in Bliss, Texas. Her first client is her friend Josie, who needs a gown for her upcoming wedding. However, it doesn’t look like Josie will be walking down the aisle any time soon after her boss turns up dead. As Harlow sets out to clear her friend’s name, she gains a little help from beyond that leads to her discovering her own gift. Among the story’s murder plot, Bourbon does not shy away from detailing the wonders behind designing and creating clothes. This book also marks the beginning of Harlow’s story in the Magical Dressmaking Mystery series. This story will appeal to curious readers with an eye for fashion and mystery.

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie


Natalie Fergie’s The Sewing Machine is an insightful book that spans multiple generations. The story follows a man named Fred, who inherits an old flat from his grandfather. While cleaning up, he discovers an ancient Singer sewing machine. Within the machine, he finds numerous old notebooks that tell the tale of his family history. Fred then starts using the machine himself, and it becomes the source of his escape from loneliness and stress. It all began with 18-year-old Jean in the midst of the Singer factory strike of 1911. Fergie has weaved in some historical references and social commentary in order to create this rich historical fiction. While the sewing machine itself may seem like a simple object, it is the very thing tethering the past and the present together. This story will speak to readers in search of their own family secrets as well as a sense of self in our fast-paced world.

Sewing is far from being a lost art. It is the fabric that holds families, communities, and even entire countries together. Hopefully, this thrilling list of books will inspire readers to explore the impact that comes with it, or even take it on as a hobby!

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