Pat Sweet continues to have a direct line to my imagination as she reads my books and creates not just the characters but the infamous garment itself. You’ll remember she designed the robe and I revealed it last week and now she has now conceived a proper dressmaker’s pattern.

We have communicated long about the ins and outs of this robe, debating over folds and pleats and I remarked on the potential need for both sides of the garment to be balanced as I tend to be a little anal. Pat’s comment made me think twice about exactly what I had put Adelina through as my protagonist in The Stumpwork Robe. She said: ‘I’m sure the robe didn’t turn out the way Adelina had originally planned. ‘

O f course Pat is right. Adelina had been embroidering under  duress. In addition, her normal supply of silk and perle threads would have been limited at best. At worst unavailable. In addition, as the story progressed there was no doubt she was struggling to come to terms with everything happening around her.

Firmly tongue-in-cheek, Pat contributed the following:

‘The robe is not only a work of art but a piece of history, and the finished robe will keep the art historians of Eirie busy for centuries figuring out the reason for the selection and placement of each element. Please see the following…

“The Path of the Rainbow: Symbolism and Semiotics of the Color Progression of the Stumpwork Robe Dragonflies” E. Balthasar and G.P. W. Khalish, University of Trevallyn, 1835
“Strands of Other: Eirish-Faeran Thread and Textile Trade In the Golden Age of Veniche” C. d’Occhio, Veniche Museo Textile Studies Quarterly, Veniche 1894
“Permeability and Identity in Feminist Objectification of The Stumpwork Robe and Its Imitators” R. Valle, B.L. Nunzotio, and F. Jeg,  Eirish Language Association, 1977 ‘

And I had to laugh!

But this next communication stopped the laugh in its tracks. May I present the robe in its beautiful flat version? (click on it to enlarge to screen size) It’s now possible for readers to see exactly where Adelina would have secreted the tiny books as she wrote her story…