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Weekend Sewing: I Finished My Book!

Phew. THAT was a lot of work.

I was chatting with Michelle at Green Kitchen about  the experience of writing my book, Weekend Sewing, and found myself sounding a little bit like a self help pamphlet, going on and on about being "pushed out of my boundaries" and "evolving as an artist", but it's really a pretty accurate way to sum it all up. Initially, I believed that writing a book about sewing would be familiar territory. I could design patterns, I could teach. I had a fabric line. Good to go, right? Not so much.

Here's the thing about me. Most of my life has passed without the benefit of supervision, critique, or authority. I was essentially raised by wolves, every job I have had has either involved a leadership position or working for myself (unless you count my years as a very bad waitress: I'm the girl at that cute little ski resort restaurant who brought out your dessert but forgot your dinner), and I purposely married the president of my own fan club. Even though I had worked as a designer for many years, it was mostly for my own company. Nobody told me what to do, which I guess I believed was because... I was always doing everything right??? Oh Dear.

Enter Melanie Falick, perhaps one of the best editors around today. Heading into one of our first days together, I expected to wow her without even trying. Instead,  I sat stunned and horrified as I listened to her sort through my fabric swatches and sewn samples, responding to her comments with the much more agreeable voice in my head: Too "cute"? I'm all about CUTE. Too Waspy? What the $%#@ is wrong with Waspy?? "enough with the gnomes" EXCUSE ME? gnomes are the new black. She tossed out words that I had never heard before, at least not to my face. 

"Eew". "Yuck". "Sister Wife". 

Panic set in then, and took a relatively strong hold. I cried a little. Wailed, really. And then, perhaps out of a sense of submission (and a bit of fear), I really started listening to her direction, and that of Brooke Hellewell, my extraordinarily gifted graphic designer, and things began to take shape in a way that made me really happy. Instead of taking every comment personally and responding defensively, I applied their ideas. The results were amazing, really. Me, but stronger. My voice, but so much more clear. Excited, I turned to other friends, asked their advice, and then actually TOOK it. My husband saw the change and HE began to offer me advice. OK, that actually landed him on the sofa once or twice, and hasn't come up since, but still. This was very new for me. Ultimately, I was pushed so far beyond my comfortable little rut that I could barely see the starting point... and I loved the results.

I realize now how lucky I was to have been given such direct and effective direction, and to have worked with the such talented people. Their talent and skill, however, would have done very little good had they never had the courage to tell me what they really thought, and had I never listened. 

OK, enough about that, here is the final cover and some photos of projects. The photos are all by John Gruen, an exceptional photographer and without a doubt the most relaxed person on this project.... not that the bar was set very high by the rest of us. Weekend Sewing will be in stores early next spring, and amazingly, to be notified when this book is available, you can sign up at Amazon.



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Reader Comments (30)

I actually LOL-ed. And, I don't usually LOL. So, I think you are off to a great start with your blog. I'll spread the word.

August 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

lovely blog :) I'm so sad though, because for some reason I can't see your lovely cover photo. The other photos look wonderful, though. I signed up to be notified when it arrives....I can't wait!
On an aside, I just used some of your beautiful fabric today, in a skirt. :)

August 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

I think the Dress would look good on me=) Hope this doesnt have to be serious haa.. I love ya Heather!! Everything looks great...love the blog

August 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEd fleming

"I was essentially raised by wolves, every job I have had has either involved a leadership position or working for myself (unless you count my years as a very bad waitress: I'm the girl at that cute little ski resort restaurant who brought out your dessert but forgot your dinner), and I purposely married the president of my own fan club."


The book looks lovely (no surprise there), it's already making me smile. Congratulations!

August 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermrspilkington

I can't wait to get my hands on this book. Weekend sewing is right up my alley! Welcome to blog land...I'm adding you to my google reader substcriptions so I can continue to read along with you!

August 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjessica

Your book looks amazing! I can't wait for Amazon to send it my way.

And your blog is delightful!

August 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlexis

Outstanding! Cant wait to see it in print!

August 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris B. (Big)

I always think that I can take criticism really well, but...um...that's not the case at all. Good for you for brushing yourself off and being open to suggestions!

I can't wait to see the book in all its splendor. Your fabrics are absolutely great, probably my favorite to work with.

August 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermeg

oh my goodness i can't wait for your book to come out. i am a huge fan of your work and have been hoarding my precious lengths of the lightning bugs line for some kind of crafty perfect storm in which I know just what to make with them, preferably something that will last forever and ever and I can look at every day. I will also be buying lengths of Mendocino to hoard and gloat over shortly. Phew! Sorry, lots of gush. But i was also inspired by your perspective on constructive criticism too.

August 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

I'm so happy to see that you have a blog. I love reading about your creative process. I just ordered TONS of your Mendocino fabric and cannot wait to hug it all.
By the way, I was also the sucky waitress who'd forget to bring the entree BEFORE the dessert. Fortunately, most times my customers were too drunk to notice! Wait, does this somehow mean I could be an amazing fabric designer too? Oh, I doubt it works that way!

August 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Loving the wildflowers background, Heather. And your long hair....wow....the last picture I saw of you was during your visit with Suz.

August 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLasagefemme/Lisa

Hi Heather,

I am really looking foreward to your book. Looks like the projects are going to be great. I am a member of your fan club...I think you are great, so if you think you have evolved as an artist, wahoo! Wonderful Luck, Heather in all you do! Your blog is lovely and I will add it to mine.


August 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTia

Oh I'm so excited you have a blog! I've been hoping you'd get one, I'm a huge fan of your work even though I just started quilting. Your book looks wonderful with the project samples you've shown, can't wait to get it. Your writing style and self description crack me up, I love that in a blog!

August 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKay Snyder

Hi Heather! I took your Trousseau class at Purl and could only attend the first one! Anyway... yay! I'm going to pre-order it right now! And your blog's looking great!

August 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

Fantastic! A blog for you. I knew you were just one of us only really clever with a paintbrush. I have been keen (not really old enough to say keen, just trying it on) to order Mendocino and now have a pile of it on the way. I would still do an illegal act to get my hands on some red/white mushroom fabric though. Now off to get on the book notification list.
xo Berrie

August 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBerrie

hey gorgeous, welcome to blogland!
I, too, was raised by wolves! Funny, I've never heard anyone else say that, but I always have.
I am so excited to get your book. It looks like perfection.
Hey, I am getting my yardage this week and I am freaking!
xo, m

August 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermelissa@yummygoods

thank you for sharing these pieces of your experience...this insight into the journey of writing your book. your honesty made me smile as i so deeply appreciate the truth shared there.

can't wait to see the book in person!!!! lovely photographs and projects!

August 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterliz elayne

I love the blog. Your pictures are just lovely and so inspiring and the blog reads so easily. Plus? I recognize my armoire! You bought it off me through Craig's List and I helped tip it into your tiny Element. If it had been filled with your fabric, I would never have let it go.

August 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Wow - the book looks amazing! I have been stalking my mailman waiting for your fabrics to come - can't wait! What a fun blog!

August 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

I am so excited about the book! I was lucky enough to catch a sneak peek of it when you were at Bolt in Portland and can't wait for it to come out!

August 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSewer-Sewist

...did the 'squirrely-man finish all the cake ?

the frog and the blog make me want to hop to it.

your fun and talent are an inspiration!

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Clifford

Hi Heather, so wonderful and such an inspiration. You have had such a unique life that you have lived to the fullest! I love your fabrics so much it makes me want to make a dress! I love your designs! I am so proud to have you as a sis!! Your endless travels have come to life!

this looks great...can't wait!

August 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjen

I am SO excited to buy your book!!!!

October 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlynne

Love it! Aaaaaghhhh, I cannot wait until next Spring!?! What can I possibly do to get a copy, now? Really, what can I do? I was on SewMamaSew recently & discovered that I'm a huge fan. Every fabric I loved is yours...

October 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThyme

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