I always enjoy reading (and sewing) along with Melanie’s Literary Sewing Circle. The latest book that Melanie chose for us to read was A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, a novel set in both Japan as well as a remote area of British Columbia, Canada. Nao is our young female protagonist in Japan, who is struggling with severe bullying at school, a suicidal father, and a disengaged mother. Nao writes an extensive journal that ends up washing up on a beach in B.C. where our other protagonist, Ruth, finds it and becomes engrossed in Nao’s story.
As with all the Literary Sewalongs so far, readers are encouraged to sew or make something that is inspired by the book. This Jalie Rachel top is my book-inspired make. In the book Nao describes a feeling of a giant fish flopping under her ribcage as a manifestation of all of the anxiety she is feeling, although later in the story she seems to take charge of the fish to use to her own advantage. So, this is my Nao’s Belly Fish top.
I love this top! First of all, I of course adore this chrysanthemum and koi fish jersey print. I am a fool for Japanese or Chinese patterned fabrics. Secondly, this new Jalie pattern is a banger! Rachel is a simple and quick sew, but that sewn-in, gathered sash in the front is all kinds of awesome. I always find Jalie patterns to be super-well drafted and this is no exception. The only thing I modified was to bring in the edges of the shoulders by about an inch on each side, which isn’t an unusual mod for me as I have fairly narrow shoulders. I will be making more Rachels, as the pattern has lots of options including long sleeves, long ties, and dress length.
I also love this top because it represents FINALLY having had the time and energy to sew something! I’ve been through a very dry spell for sewing — a result of a period of very high productivity at work, which is great, but I had to force myself not to use sewing as a way to procrastinate on all the work projects that were happening at once. You may have even noticed that Helena and I have not put out an episode of the Clothes Making Mavens podcast for a while. We’ve both been busy with other things in our lives. But don’t worry; we’ve got plans to record a new episode very soon so we’ll be back with you for a sewing chat in no time!
Happily I can heartily recommend both the book and the pattern. I enjoyed them both very much. I even have a second garment inspired by the book in the mental queue, which will probably have something to do with what Nao’s great grandmother refers to in her English-with-a-Japanese-accent as a SUPAPOWA! I think we can all do with regularly reminding ourselves of our amazing SUPAPOWAS!, not the least of which is being able to sew clothes.
Many thanks to Melanie of Following the Thread for always providing so much insight and inspiration about each book we read.
And thank YOU for stopping by!