©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Pattern Artist

I chose this book without reading the synopsis simply because of the title. This book is about patterns and sewing and high fashion in 1911 and 1912. I read it in one day simply because it was too fascinating to put down.

Annie Wood is an upstairs maid for the Viscountess Newley and her daughter, Henriette. She assists the ladies' maids for these ladies and when sewing is needed, Annie does it--especially if there is bead work involved. While she believed that she would be promoted up through the ranks, the ladies' maids were taking credit for all of her work. Annie was included on a trip from England to America and spent her time rooming with a similar maid, Iris, in a similar position. Annie and Iris were accosted by one of the footmen and decided they weren't going to be treated that way, so they ran away. Annie got a job at Macy's in the fabric and sewing department, while Iris got a job with a baker's wife, caring for her children.

This is the basic set up Nancy Moser used in writing this novel. Annie understood much about sewing and fashion because of her handling of Newley ladies' dresses--especially the couture clothing. This understanding caught the attention of the salesman for Butterick patterns, a man named Sean. He talked to his superiors at Butterick and secured a place for her there, because he wanted to be near her on a daily basis. The world of making the patterns for the home sewist opened up to me and I was fascinated.

I have sewn with Butterick patterns and other brands as well. I do hand sewing (mostly for dolls) and machine sewing and absolutely love it. My mother began teaching me to sew when I was thirteen and told me that once I mastered sewing well, I'd get more clothes if I made them myself. For a young teen, that motivates well. I appreciate how Nancy has included different parts of sewing into the warp and woof of the novel. I love the characters that Nancy has included to fill out the depth of the story and her descriptions of parts of New York City are quite incredible--especially the Butterick Building. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a sewing machine to aid your sewing projects.

My thanks to Shiloh Run Press for allowing me to read and review this book.

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