Y’all – I’ve been keeping this under wraps forever but it’s time to share – I WROTE A BOOK! Sundressing is now available for pre-order, and it will be coming out in June, during my annual (30) Days of Sundresses series – how perfect is that?
This book is a little different than a lot of sewing books I’ve seen, and I hope that’s a good thing! First, there aren’t a lot of sewing books that have stuff for both women and girls, but I like to sew for both and I think a lot of other women do too. Next, there are included bodice patterns in a pretty wide size range, which was also important to me. The girls bodices are for sizes 2T-12, and the women’s are for sizes 2-24 (busts 32-48 inches). And there’s a whole section on bust adjustments and how to get the perfect fit on those bodice blocks, plus I’ll have more here during the (30) Days of Sundresses series in June.
Each different dress design in the book starts from the included basic bodice pattern, then shows you how to modify that pattern and add a skirt to make that look. I did it this way because my hope is that reader then take those techniques and the basic patterns, then mix, match and remix to make their own unique looks that aren’t even in the book – that way there really are endless possibilities.
The process of creating this book was an experience, y’all! Here’s how it went down: I met an editor at Baby Lock’s Common Threads event two years ago. But she was a quilt editor. However, we had fun talking and she passed my name onto the acquisitions editor at her company (F+W Media) in charge of garment books. When that editor contacted me about writing a book about sundresses, it seemed like kismet, because that’s the exact book I would have pitched to her if she was the one I had met at Common Threads.
From there, we created the book proposal, which was really interesting because it contains market research. Turns out there is a lot of crossover between building a blog and building a book, so I found that part fascinating. Once the proposal was approved, I got my contract and got to work!
The first thing was to get the company to hire Alison Eden to be the photographer. Alison and I have worked together on shoots for Blank Slate Patterns, so I knew she would be perfect for this project and that we worked well together. Once she was under contract, Alison and I had a meeting about the look of this book and planned out our shoots based on the project deadlines. We also talked about models. It was important to me (so important that this was in the book proposal that was presented) to have everyday girls and women and not professional models in the book. I wanted to make sure we had a range of looks and ages and ethnicities and shapes in the book so that it looked like the beautiful women I see in real life daily, but that I don’t see as much in media. If you’ve ever read this post, you understand my feelings on this.
So Alison and I talked with a bunch of friends and rounded up a diverse crew of women and girls to model. There are girls ages 4-11 in the book and women ages 17-60+ and though I couldn’t checkmark every variation of women from my friend’s list, I think we did a good job of photographing a wide slice of them.
Let’s talk more about the two dresses here on the cover. The one my niece is wearing is called the Balcones Dress (all the dresses are named after places and things in Austin) and it was the last dress added to the book. In fact, it wasn’t even originally planned, but then it turned out to be one of my favorites of the whole thing. And she loves it to bits. I’ll also be teaching a class on making the Balcones Dress during Designer Joi’s Sewing Holiday in July – check it out!
And the dress I’m wearing is called the West Lynn dress. The fabric is hand stamped (and I’ll have a tutorial for that in June) silk cotton, and I love the way it turned out.
Since the book isn’t releasing until June, this post is the first of 3 sneak peeks I’ve got planned. Next month I’ll show you another look and talk about the process of working on the book after we got the initial planning done. 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!