Sewing Inspiration: Little Women

I realize it’s been over a year since the newest Little Women was released, but I still love to look back at the costume design for the movie. Last weekend I rewatched it, took notes, and started thinking about sewing my own Little Women creations. Several articles have been written about the costume design for this movie, with one of my favorites from Bazaar – the article describes how each character had their own colors and different wardrobes for child and adulthood. There’s another from the New Yorker about remixing the historical era of clothing. It’s no surprise that the costume designer, Jacqueline Durran, won several awards for Little Women, including a BAFTA. While I think about pattern inspiration for each character, many of these patterns are interchangeable and all present great options for playing with big sleeves and collars, color and plaid, capes and more.

Jo

I really adore Jo’s billowy tops, waistcoats, jackets, and plaid skirts. I found a lot of blouse patterns that remind me of Jo and have picked some of my favorites below.

The Simplicity 9044 has some beautiful tucks that remind me of Jo’s night dress and blouses. I think we can all agree that Laurie and Jo’s vests are fantastic. Thread Theory has a really nice waistcoat pattern, the Belvedere. Folkwear also has a Vintage Vest pattern with a double button option. A basic button down, like the Seamwork Natalie also has a lot of potential – you can size up for more ease and there are endless hack options. I also really like the detail of Fibremood’s Honey Top. Folkwear’s English Smock is another great option with beautiful details. The Poet shirt from Folkwear is yet another option with a fantastic collar and big sleeves.

Source: Sony Pictures

It’s been a bit more challenging finding some Jo jacket/blazer patterns. The Heather Blazer from Friday Pattern Co. is one option. I particularly like the collar of the yellow/brown blazer from up top but haven’t quite find a matching pattern, if you have any in mind pop them in the comments below! The Lichen Duster from Sew Liberated is one of the closest I could find and I particularly like the relaxed fit and collar. Seamwork also has a tie pattern, or you can make yourself a simple neck scarf (or here) to mimic one of Jo’s staples.

Amy

Amy’s style really progresses through the movie, starting with plaid school-girl dresses and transforming to elegant gowns, capes, and skirts while she paints in Europe.

Vogue 9076 blouse/dress is more of a modern take on Amy’s outfits, but I love the collar and tie option. The Bloomsbury Blouse from Nina Lee is another great classic option with a beautiful ruffled collar. The Passion blouse from Atelier Scämmit is another very similar option. I also really like Folkwear’s shirtwaist pattern, which you can make with or without the skirt. Urban Threads as a free tutorial on making a capelet as well, as Amy’s is one of my other favorite pieces in the movie. In terms of a full skirt pattern, the Walking Skirt from Folkwear is a basic skirt pattern that can easily be hemmed and hacked.

Source: Sony Pictures

Meg

Meg’s style is a little more sophisticated than the the others, I loved some of her simple blouses and shawls.

Fibremood Glory Top has a modern spin on Meg’s wardrobe, and can be made in both a woven and a knit. The Bakerloo Blouse from Nina Lee has a STATEMENT collar that could be fun to play with. One of my favorite things about Meg’s wardrobe are her simple button-down blouses, the Cornell Shirt from Elbe Textiles is a great option. Meg’s light jacket is also one of my favorite pieces, the Seamwork Quince has some potential for a simple day robe like Meg’s.

Source: Sony Pictures

Beth

I love the pale pinks/lavenders and browns of Beth’s wardrobe. Her outfits are definitely a little more youthful than the others and I’ve tried my best to pick a couple of patterns that remind me of her.

The Folkwear Gibson Girl Blouse collar reminds me so much of Beth’s youthful outfits. The Wilder Gown from Friday Pattern Co. is also beautiful and evokes Little Women to me. There’s also something about the Sagebrush Top from Friday Pattern Co. that also reminds me of Beth, but maybe that’s just me? I also love both the Estuary and Gypsum Skirt’s from Sew Liberated and see it as yet another modern spin on Beth’s full skirts.

Source: Sony Pictures

All of their winter outfits are fantastic. For the knitters out there, there are patterns for Beth’s shawl, including this one from Fibreworkshop. There is a free shawl pattern from Tin Can Knits, the Grain, which is also quite similar. The cape’s are gorgeous, and Seamwork does have the Camden cape which is a great simple option. Sew Over It also has a cape pattern, the Chic cape, which has a cute collar.

Marmee

Marmee’s style is very simple and classic. I love her plaid dresses and understated neutral colors.

Source: Sony Pictures

The Simplicity 8737 blouse is a modern, youthful spin on Marmee’s wardrobe. I also really like Folkwear’s Prairie dress which can be made into just a blouse, and into any of the girls style really. It can also be styled to be a bit more modern as well. The Coeli Blouse from Pauline Alice is also a beautiful, simple, yet detailed pattern that can be modernized.

While there are many ways to go full on 1860’s prairie to remake some of the Little Women outfits, I also see a lot of potential to give their looks a more modern spin with careful details, ruffles, and attention to fabric and design. Color also plays a big role in their wardrobes and tuning into those color combinations can also be a fun way to dress as one of your favorite characters. Have I missed any of your favorite looks? Let me know in the comments below!

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