5 novels about seamstresses

 

I love reading about sewing. I also love reading novels. I tend toward the reading of historical novels, as I learn a lot about history from them, but also can get lost in the story. So I’ve found five novels to share that sound really interesting for those who love sewing with a bit of history and politics mixed in. Read on!novels about seamstresses

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe

Former ABC journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells the riveting true story of Kamila Sidiqi and other women of Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s fearful rise to power. In what Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, calls “one of the most inspiring books I have ever read,” Lemmon recounts with novelistic vividness the true story of a fearless young woman who not only reinvented herself as an entrepreneur to save her family but, in the face of ferocious opposition, brought hope to the lives of dozens of women in war-torn Kabul.

 

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker: A Novel

Jennifer Chiaverini
In a life that spanned nearly a century and witnessed some of the most momentous events in American history, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born a slave. A gifted seamstress, she earned her freedom by the skill of her needle, and won the friendship of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln by her devotion. A sweeping historical novel, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker illuminates the extraordinary relationship the two women shared, beginning in the hallowed halls of the White House during the trials of the Civil War and enduring almost, but not quite, to the end of Mrs. Lincoln’s days.

 

The Seamstress: A Novel

The Forgotten Seamstress

By Frances De Pontes Peebles

As seamstresses, the young sisters Emília and Luzia dos Santos know how to cut, mend, and conceal—useful skills in the lawless backcountry of  1920’s Brazil, where ruthless land barons feud with bands of outlaw cangaceiros, trapping innocent residents in the crossfire. Emília, a naive romantic, dreams of falling in love with a gentleman and escaping to a big city. Quick-tempered Luzia also longs for escape, finding it in her craft and secret prayers to the saints she believes once saved her life. But when Luzia is abducted by cangaceiros led by the infamous Hawk and Emília stumbles into a marriage with the son of a wealthy and politically powerful doctor, the sisters’ quiet lives diverge in ways they never would have imagined.

 

The Forgotten Seamstress

Liz Trenow

A shy girl with no family, Maria knows she’s lucky to have landed in the sewing room of the royal household. Before World War I casts its shadow, she catches the eye of the Prince of Wales, a glamorous and intense gentleman. But her life takes a far darker turn, and soon all she has left is a fantastical story about her time at Buckingham Palace. Decades later, Caroline Meadows discovers a beautiful quilt in her mother’s attic. When she can’t figure out the meaning of the message embroidered into its lining, she embarks on a quest to reveal its mystery, a puzzle that only seems to grow more important to her own heart. As Caroline pieces together the secret history of the quilt, she comes closer and closer to the truth about Maria.

After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. She plans only to check on her ailing mother and leave. But Tilly decides to stay, and though she is still an outcast, her lush, exquisite dresses prove irresistible to the prim women of Dungatar. Through her fashion business, her friendship with Sergeant Farrat—the town’s only policeman, who harbors an unusual passion for fabrics—and a budding romance with Teddy, the local football star whose family is almost as reviled as hers, she finds a measure of grudging acceptance. But as her dresses begin to arouse competition and envy in town, causing old resentments to surface, it becomes clear that Tilly’s mind is set on a darker design: exacting revenge on those who wronged her, in the most spectacular fashion

The Dressmaker: A Novel

Rosalie Ham

After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. She plans only to check on her ailing mother and leave. But Tilly decides to stay, and though she is still an outcast, her lush, exquisite dresses prove irresistible to the prim women of Dungatar. Through her fashion business, her friendship with Sergeant Farrat—the town’s only policeman, who harbors an unusual passion for fabrics—and a budding romance with Teddy, the local football star whose family is almost as reviled as hers, she finds a measure of grudging acceptance. But as her dresses begin to arouse competition and envy in town, causing old resentments to surface, it becomes clear that Tilly’s mind is set on a darker design: exacting revenge on those who wronged her, in the most spectacular fashion. This novel is set in the 1950’s

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-McKenzie

Comments

  1. Caroline says

    Thanks so much for sharing ! I’m also into reading novels about sewing… Here are two books I enjoyed reading recently :

    – The Secret Lives of Dresses (Erin Mckean)
    – A House of Tailors ( Patricia Reilly Giff)

  2. Barb says

    Thank you for sharing – I am always looking for more books to read. A book that my mom shared with me, and I enjoyed is Monica Ferris’ Sew Far, So Good which includes three needlecraft mysteries.

  3. says

    These all sound so great. I have been part of a book club for women of faith. Do you know of a sewing book that our group could read?

  4. says

    I posted this on my blog some time ago – and it’s still on Netflix:
    “The Time In Between” – Exciting Adventures of a dressmaker (with clothes to DIE for!)
    A Spanish seamstress goes to Morocco with a handsome Bad Boyfriend, but her sewing skills save her after he… well, you have to see it – GORGEOUS and so much fun!

    LOL! I think i’m going to watch it again…

    • Amy says

      Wonderful recommendation! There is also the novel of same title by Maria Duenas, which I heartfully recommend. A bit of history of Europe in the interwar period with spying intrigues and lots of dressmaking.