A Modern-ish Menolly



Jess Berger

(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Jon Berger (photos)

Outline the story …

In Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels there is a trilogy, the Harper Hall, that focuses on Menolly, a teen who started out the series living in a fishing hold. She is musically talented, but traditions of the society dictated that only men were to be Harpers, who sing, play, and teach. After her hold’s Harper trained her to replace him (without saying he was doing it, her family refused to let her play, to the point of letting an hand injury heal badly.
Self-resilient and headstrong Menolly escapes her hold and sets up camp in a cave with a cave of fire lizards, mini-dragons of Gold, Bronze, Brown, Blue, and Green. She ends up with 9 of them to call her own. While escaping a deadly terror that falls from the sky like hungry rain by nearly outrunning it, she is rescued by a dragonrider. This leads to her meeting a Harper, finding out her mentor told the Hall about her prior to his death, and then to her training to be a Harper. Menolly talks in the books about preferring functional clothing, such as trous over skirts, but also likes a bit of flair as she gets used to having her own personality. For someone who can outrun threat and survive in an all-male world I chose pants with nice deep pockets, a fairly plain shirt, and then a decorative vest that would be worn to a Gathering (market/fair day), and celebrated the fire lizards that saved her.

Outline the construction…

The outfits items are the 3rd, 4th, and 5th things I have sewn. Everything but the buttonholes on the shirt were sewn by hand, because I didn’t have a machine until last week. Due to a grad student budget and a Goodwill trip the pants and vest were curtains which I thought fit the brown and gold firelizards, and the shirt was a green sheet that echoed another firelizard color. I learned from so many mistakes- free patterns from Tailornova for the vest and shirt have no real instructions (SO MUCH YOUTUBE), using a jeans pattern (for stretchy denim) from Cashmerette for the pants (not stretchy) needed four mockups, and polyester is hell on needles. After completing the initial outfit, a medical issue screwed up my plans with massive weight gain, and bed rest over a two-week period. Still wanted to enter, didn't want to do something new. So I took the zipper out of the pants and made it snaps at the fullest extent of the opening, opened up all the darts in the shirt and vest, then reseamed the side of the vest with the tiniest of allowance before adding hooks to close it from the outside. I also learned how to embroider and added the firelizard at that point, because hate stabbing something while stuck on the couch really helps. Even with the flaws I know are there I am pleased that it all fits on my body, love the collar, and really enjoyed the process.




  1. Avatar Heather McGreal on March 11, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    Omg I love the dragon riders!!! You have captured Menolly’s laid back and often musically distracted personality perfectly. The embroidery of a fire lizard is a beautiful touch.

  2. Avatar Rebecca on March 12, 2021 at 5:33 am

    oh this is one of my favorite trilogies ever! menolly felt like such a kindred spirit, and oooh how i wanted a fire lizard. i like your interpretation of her style. good luck from icarus!

  3. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    Beautiful! I LOVE the dragon on the back.

  4. Avatar Manon L'Hostis on March 14, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    Love the embroidered dragon ❤

  5. Avatar Sarah Lowes on March 14, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    A really thoughtful interpretation of the character and a refreshing choice.

  6. Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 15, 2021 at 3:49 am

    Lovely work. This entry caught my eye as I am re-reading the Pern books at the moment. All you need now is a Harper’s shoulder knot and some marks for bubbly pies. You did a beautiful job.

  7. Avatar Stephanie Tietze on March 22, 2021 at 5:43 am

    This is beautiful. I love the colors and embroidering. I’m also impressed by the skill and fortitude required to make those late stage changes. It fits well and looks rather comfortable.

  8. Avatar Deborah Melo on March 24, 2021 at 12:35 am

    The shirt fit is lovely! I also think the firelizard is very well embroidered! Well done!

  9. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 24, 2021 at 5:17 am

    This is really well put together. I really love the colors! Thank you!

  10. Avatar Nora Wickman on March 25, 2021 at 1:18 am

    I love the Harper’s Hall books! Great work!

  11. Avatar Teri Plemel on March 25, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    Nicely made and very creative.

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