Vacation Reads for Sewists

After making clothes, my favourite thing to do is probably read about clothes. I know a lot of us are going away on holiday, so I thought this a good time to do a round up of my favourite books about clothes and sewing. This list is a combination of books I’ve read or ones I’ve got on my list. Here goes!

  • The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron. This one is set in occupied Paris and features a dressmaker for Chanel who becomes involved in the resistance.
  • The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin. This book gives a fictionalized account of the rivalry between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli through the Second World War.
  • The Thread by Victoria Hislop. I got this book from the library twice and never finished reading it. Not because it wasn’t great, but because there were holds on it and I was too slow. It takes place in Greece and follows a young woman who finds her way through hardship as a seamstress.
  • The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott. A dressmaker on the Titanic. Need I say more?
  • The Gown by Jennifer Robson. This book was sooooo good. It’s all about the creation of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress. There are so many details about fabric and lace in this one.
  • Women in Clothes, by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton. This is a collection of essays from all sorts of women, regular and celebrity, about their relationships with clothes and how they choose what to wear. I don’t often hang onto books after I’ve read them, but I’ve kept this one to read again some day.
  • Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini. I haven’t read this one yet, but it looks like it takes place during the Civil War and fictionalizes the relationship between Mary Todd Lincoln and her free Black dressmaker.
  • Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas. This is another one I haven’t read but was recommended to me. As far as I understand, it’s a look into fast fashion and the environmental and socio-economic impacts of what we wear.
  • Vivienne Westwood by Vivienne Westwood. I’m super excited to get into this autobiography when we leave on our trip! I don’t know much about Ms. Westwood, but I do know I very much agree with one of her most famously quoted lines Buy less, choose well.
  • The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield. I picked this one up on a whim because the title was textile-related. It’s appears a long, historical fiction novel about the correspondence between Marie Antoinette and her sister via an embroidered book. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s exactly the kind of book I like to dive into when on a trip.

Happy reading! Let me know if there are any others you’ve enjoyed that I should add to the list!

6 thoughts on “Vacation Reads for Sewists

  1. Hi Samantha,
    Looks like a great list. Thank you.
    Here are a few more:
    The Forgotten Seamstress – Liz Trenow
    The Sewing Machine – Natalie Fergie
    A Single Thread – Tracy Chevalier
    The Oysterville Sewing Circle – Susan Wiggs
    The Little Book of Sewing – Karen Bail

    1. Hahah excellent. Just make sure to read them fast enough so you can actually finish them – unlike me. Lol

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