If you’ve seen Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women good chances are you’ve spotted the beautiful sontag shawls worn by the March sisters throughout the film. In fashion during the second half of the 19th century sontags were heart shaped shawls worn wrapped over the chest and neatly tied around the waist. Seven of the sontags seen in the film were commissioned from Jenn Monahan – a Norfolk knitter and owner of the yarn label the Fibre Workshop.
Little Women is a film about women emancipation and independence. Following its release on boxing day Jenn decided to publish one of her patterns in order to fund raise money for the Barefoot College Solar Mama. This international organisation provides training for women living in rural communities to become solar engineers. To bring renewable energy to those remote villages not only empowers women but also creates further employment and helps these communities becoming more self reliant. Something Jo March would be all about.
Beth’s Shawl is a simple striped shawl worked in 4ply with garter stitch and icord edging. Jamieson and Smith 2ply Jumper weight would be a great choice to replicate the traditional look of the sontag – and lucky for you we just received a new batch fresh from the mill. The combination of Blush Pink, Bark and Duckling Yellow would certainly be the closest to the original design but I could certainly think of a dozens of other options that would also look beautiful.
The work of costume designer Jacqueline Durran really is to admire. The wardrobe of each character being built around their personality traits rather than precise historical accuracy. For example Jo’s free and independent temperament translates into looser dresses worn without the constriction of a corset or hoops. If you’re interested in learning more about her creative process do read her interview with Vogue and this article by the New Yorker.
Until Next Time… Happy Knitting!