Today the final book in the Unraveled Kingdom Trilogy, RULE, releases from @orbitbooks. It's been a RIDE, ya'll. The truly beautiful/batty thing is that this series was born out of...
...another passion entirely. Sewing.

SO! A thread (hehe SWIDT) on the intersections of my sewing and my books!
At some point, I found myself researching 18th century caraco jackets (to make the one this pic, natch), and wondered WOW, if seamstresses had magic, how would they use it? What would they think about the messy revolutions unfolding around them?
Because sewing IS kinda magic. Turning flat fabric into garments is like shapeshifting, there are thousands of stitches like some kind of spell, sometimes there's blood involved.
So I end up with Sophie, a complicated, ambitious, pragmatic, and yet artistic woman who can literally sew charms (or curses...) into clothing. She combines folk magic with high couture.
And if you put just a little magic in every stitch...that adds up to a lot more magic. (Back of a simple work gown—the pleats shape the gown and are stitched down with eeeensy stitches. Yes I’m very proud of my eeeeensy stitches lol.)
Moar stitches:
One of the first things I have her sewing in the book is a simple handkerchief (weirdly, we use this term in historical parlance regardless of its actual use, which is usually as a neck/décolletage covering). Simple fabric magic--just a triangle, with a slit, and hem.
But when you use a gorgeous fine book muslin (cotton organdy) and a delicate rolled hem? It's a little bit of magic even without magic.
And Sophie sews a lot of caps, kerchiefs, and other "quick" (YMMV on what "quick" means with hand sewing!) for customers wanting a charm. But what she'd LOVE to be known for is her gowns--beautiful draping, fabric use, trim!
So when she gets her big break--a noblewoman, a high ranking, jet-set socialite type who EVERYONE knows--comes calling--she's ready to pull out all the stops.

But Lady Viola? She wants linens.
Shifts. Underthings. BORING.

Full disclosure, though I will wax poetic on the utility and remarkable construction of shifts, I hate making them.

Sophie's not exactly thrilled either, but the concept--a charmed item one wears all the time and is invisible--is smart.
It's basically a long linen t-shirt. But the stitching used is pretty remarkable. See, it has to hold up to frequent washing and hard wearing, so every single seam is felled--the raw edges turned in and sewn down. (That's the INSIDE. See how neat and tidy?)
But she impressed Lady Viola, who commissions Sophie's dream gig--a gorgeous gown, free rein in designing it. She goes PINK.

I also went pink recently.
Like the gown in the book, it's a fitted "quarter back" or Italian style. Unlike the gown in the book, it's borderline obnoxious bright pink.
A silk gown has a good chunk of the work tied up in the trim, which is another spot Sophie could sew a LOT of extra charm in. In fact, there are spots where I note that she has her assistants do most of the work, but she sews the trim with charms.

Box pleat trim:
Mine is actually understated with just trim on the bodice edges and sleeves, in the same fabric as the gown. But when it's borderline obnoxious already, sometimes low-key is better.
I digress. One thing that everyone in the Unraveled Kingdom is wearing but that Sophie doesn't sew is stays (corsets). That was usually a male profession in the 18th century and I decided to stick with that for the books.
...even though ALL THOSE STITCHES in a pair of stays! The boning channels! The joins! The eyelets!
Gratuitous stitch shots:
(Yes, this project took forever. No, not quite as long as writing a book, actually.)
I have blathered sufficiently already about how stays are NOT torture devices, they're actually comfy, I won't make you read that again, but LOOKY! so pretty!
To round things out, embroidery. I actually don't do a ton of embroidery--I started with cross stitch as a wee sewist (age 7, wow that was a long time ago!), but Sophie does embroider. One of the major plot points of TORN revolved around an embroidered shawl.
At another spot in the book, Sophie has been making a court gown with embroidered flowers. In my head, they looked like these "wild roses" that I actually cribbed from my dad, who is a scrimshaw artist.
This is from the one piece of embroidery I have in regular rotation, my pocket.

I've also blathered about how 18th century women were not "oppressed" by a lack of pockets because they tied these giant bags under their clothes and won't do that again, either, so here's my pocket:
So, this trilogy that merged two of my loves, writing and sewing, is a wrap. It's been a huge part of my world for more than three years, and I'm so glad it's out there to be shared with you.

A sprigged gown to finish out this thread, and thanks for reading!
Oh! And if you want to buy any of my books, it would mean the world to me if you hit up your local indie, or used mine:
You can follow @RowennaM.
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