You're in for a real treat today. I'm lucky enough to be able to giveaway a copy of Mary Abreu's new book, Little Girls, Big Style.
So, if you haven't heard of it, the premise is this: it has 4 basic patterns (basic bodice, peasant top/dress, skirts, pants) that are all full size pull-outs and you can use them to make endless different designs for your little girl.
Now, while I've read the book (great detailed instructions), I don't actually have my own copy yet. It's on order. So I can't show you anything fabulous I've made from it yet. But I'm sure I will. For now you can feast your eyes on Mary's lovely photography.
Anyway, I asked Mary a few question that I thought might be of interest to like-minded folks like you.
I love that your book allows the sewist to be their own designer. When you started sewing for your daughter, I assume you used commercial patterns. How did you make the transition to developing your own patterns?
I grew up sewing the same Big Three patterns I think most people use and never really knew there were any other options. When I returned to sewing a few years ago, some online friends who also sewed were incredibly supportive and generous with their advice. They introduced me to European patterns, the Sewing Mamas forum and helped get me on the path to developing my own patterns. Once I had those basic pieces to sew with, I sort of challenged myself to see how many ways I could alter those patterns and change them up, which was infinitely easier than drafting a completely new pattern and going through the process of testing it. The results are what you see in Little Girls, Big Style. And I’m still going back to those patterns and making new hacks!
The photography in the book is just beautiful. Will you tell us bloggers what kind of camera/lens you use and any secrets you have?
My current camera is a Canon 30D and I go back and forth between using a Canon 50mm/1.4 and a Tamron 28-75mm/2.0 lens. I probably have the Tamron on my camera 90 percent of the time just because it’s so versatile and I get such great shots with it. My biggest secret? Copious amounts of begging and bribery. LOL! Honestly, I’m really fortunate to have some great photographer friends who’ve given me lots of constructive criticism through the years. I try to shoot with natural light whenever I can, keep my shoots short and fun, and use an assistant if at all possible so I can focus on the technical and composition aspects while someone else engages the model (a suggestion made to me by the awesome photographers at C&T) I’m really a hands-on learner, so just picking up my camera and practicing as often as I can really has helped me grow, too.
Finally, lots of crafters (especially bloggers) dream about writing their own book. How did the whole process go for you? How did you find a publisher? Was it difficult to fit the work of writing a book into your life with several children?
As far as the process...it was long and sometimes discouraging. I’m not a “name.” I don’t have a fabric line or patterns, just a small blog, so it wasn’t like publishers were knocking down my door. I had the idea that would become Little Girls, Big Style about 2-1/2 years ago, ran it by a dear friend (Lisa Carroccio) to get her opinion, then started researching publishers and working on submitting my proposal. And was rejected. Twice. In hindsight, I can see that I wasn’t presenting to the right people but when you’re in the middle of it, it’s a little harder to separate that from being turned down. I tend to believe that things happen for a reason, though, and I’m so glad they did because Stash/C&T have been just amazing to work with and I’m so glad to be a part of their roster of authors!
I’m incredibly fortunate that I come from a journalism background. I started out as a reporter at my hometown paper 20 years ago and working in a deadline-oriented environment really is sort of second nature for me, so the actual writing just...happens. It’s hard to explain. I once described myself as “a writer who sews;” I think that’s pretty apropos. Still, my first job is “mom” and I struggled to balance those obligations with my book deadlines. I was working on the first draft of the book with about two months of summer vacation left and three kids at home. I’d grab an hour here or there when I really would have loved dedicating a solid four hours to writing. My husband and older kids were just a huge help, pitching in with laundry and housework, and I really couldn’t have done it without them. Once school started, I was happy to have those daily three hours of preschool to use towards sewing and writing (or sometimes laundry)!
If you'd like to win a copy of this book, just leave a comment here by Monday Dec 13 and I will pick a winner randomly that night. Only one entry per person please!
If you want more chances to win, stop by the other sites on the blog tour.
12/6 Lisa http://thedomesticdiva.wordpress.com
12/7 Susan http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com
12/8 Jessica http://juicy-bits.typepad.com
12/9 Penny http://sewtakeahike.typepad.com
12/10 Daria http://boutiquecafe.com
12/11 Rashida http://iheartlinen.typepad.com
12/12 Kristin http://sewmamasew.com/blog2
12/13 Jona http://jonag.typepad.com
12/14 Kim http://trueup.net
12/15 Bari http://barij.typepad.com