The core of this project is a narrative textile in the form of a garment-as-text. It brings together my interests in memoir, local history and visual art, specifically textiles. My objective was to reimagine the life of a long-dead aunt, Kathleen, and tell the story in the form of a dress hand-embroidered with words, images and maps. Content and form overlap and interlink: the dress is made from linen manufactured in the factory where Kathleen worked, and it is made to a genuine vintage dressmaking pattern from her era. The words on the dress are impressionistic snippets of Kathleen’s imagined thoughts and experiences. Initially I wrote these on the page, but I then hand-stitched them on to the dress using the writing-in-stitch technique developed by artist Rosalind Wyatt. This slow and laborious process meant my relationship with the words became much more intimate and physical than it is when rattling off text on a laptop. My research and writing produced far more textual and photographic content than could be stitched on the dress, and I wanted to capture this in some way. I was inspired by poet Jean Sprackland’s approach in her non-fiction book Strands: a year of discoveries on the beach (Jonathan Cape, 2012), where she combines personal reflection with narrative arising from items she found on her beach walks in the North West of England. My lyric essay on the Kathleen project included further reimagined episodes from Kathleen’s life and death, interwoven with family and social history, and my own reflections on the creation of the dress.