Hey y’all – today I’m giving you another peek into my upcoming book and the book writing process. If you missed my last post about Sundressing, I talked about how the book deal came about, and the thought process behind the overall look of the book. Today I’m going to talk more about the actual creation of the content.
When I signed my contract, I expected the writing to be a lot like writing blog posts, which it kind of was, except MORE! I’m used to doing it all myself, but with a team of photographer, illustrator, models, editor, copy editor, etc, part of the challenge was working with everyone. I did a lot of coordinating and communication and that part felt like it was as much work as the actual creation and photography of the dresses. I was happy to let all of these ladies (and it just so happened to be an all female team) do their jobs to make this better than I could make it on my own, but boy, doing this and writing the blog and doing my own patterns – let’s just say 2015 was a super crazy year.
I had three content deadlines in my contract, so right off the bat Alison and I planned out the pictures for the first two chapters, which cover sewing techniques used in the book as well as fitting, and shot those for the first deadline. That was the easiest photo shoot we did, because there were no models (other than my hands and some dress forms) to worry about, and no locations that might suddenly not work, so we could shoot all in her studio. Compared to the other shoots, that was a breeze!
One thing that surprised me about the book writing process was how long it takes! By the time you can get this book in your hands, it will have been almost two years since I signed the contract to write it. Which seems like a long time, but in the thick of it, it seemed like a never-ending process of sew and photograph process, send photos to illustrator, repeat, schedule modeled shoot after 7 or so dresses were done, style and shoot photos, and repeat.
Not that our models (who, remember, were all just friends of ours) were diva-ish or anything. They were nothing but sweet and accommodating, but trying to juggle their schedules and ours was a challenge. Oh, and one of my friends was pregnant, so we worked our tails off to get her pictures done before she was showing! I’ll let you look through the book when it comes out to see if you can guess who it was 🙂
Also, how can you fault ladies that literally changed clothes in the street for me? Yes, since we were shooting on location, I would meet the models and Alison at locations with the dresses. I came up with a portable dressing room for that – I got two vinyl shower curtains and snap on shower curtain rings, then snapped all of this to the largest hula hoop I could find. At shoots, an assistant (sometimes my mom, sometimes another family member that had come to the shoot) and I would hold this contraption as far above our heads as we could while the model stepped inside to change.
By the way, this is Alison. Not only does she rock photography shoots, but in typical Austin fashion she’s also literally a rocker, playing bass in a a local band. I am so grateful that Alison came on board this project; since she an I had worked together before, it was much easier to communicate my vision and her photography for this book…y’all, it’s just gorgeous.
So let’s talk a little bit more about the dress I’m previewing today. One of my goals with the book was to have dresses for all kinds of occasions that a women might want to wear a dress, not just for summer date nights. This dress, the Parlin Dress, is one I would consider work appropriate – in a twill with a faux collar detail, this is something I would have worn while I was teaching. The wide sash also helps accentuate your waist and adds some color and interest to the dress. And the dress is named after a classroom building on the University of Texas campus where I spent a lot of time as a student.
I’m going to have one more book sneak peek for you next month, before the book releases in June. And in the meantime, I would love it if you pre-order the book! It helps expose it to others who might not have otherwise seen it when the book rankings are higher (which is based in part on pre-orders), and it can be important in book placement in physical stores too. Not to mention, you’ll have your copy ASAP and you can sew along with me in June for the (30) Days of Sundresses series!