Posted in Stylish Books

Happy New Year: A Sewist Who Writes or a Writer Who Sews?

Anyone who has been reading my online posts for a while will already know that I’m a bit of an odd duck when it comes to sewing bloggers. Rather than being a sewist who writes, as most sewing bloggers seem to be, I am a writer who sews—that’s why my posts usually contain a story or two. I don’t just tell you what and how I’ve been sewing. I usually have a story about why I’m doing what I’m doing.

I’ve been sewing since I was about twelve years old and writing for as long­­—but I’ve spent more of my adult life writing than sewing. About two years ago, I wrote a book that combined these lifelong passions. Until then, most of my writing had been a thirty-year career as a nonfiction health and business writer with a bit of historical fiction added to the recent mix. When The Year I Made 12 Dresses launched in mid-2020, I had no idea it was the start of a book series. I had no idea that Charlotte (Charlie) Hudson, who learned as much about herself as she did about sewing that year she made 12 dresses, would stay in my imagination through so many stories.

Charlie has become slightly more peripheral to the stories recently, although I would argue that she is pivotal—and that will become increasingly clear when the next (and final book) is published. In the last book, Charlie found an unfinished manuscript for a romance novel among her great-grandmother’s belongings after she died. And Charlie, being a writer herself, decided to finish the story. What she never counted on was that she had the ending wrong. Charlie discovers the real people behind the characters in her great-grandmother’s story and knows she has to listen to them. Today, I’m launching the fifth book in the series.

It’s 1989, and Antonia St. John has a single goal. To crash through that glass ceiling created by 1960s Madison Avenue advertising men. Then, the one thing she never saw coming threatens to derail her plans until she can find a solution. She never planned on having a baby―especially a baby who turns out to be a ballet dancer, something Antonia cannot get her head around. But the baby is just the beginning of Antonia’s journey into family life.

When she learns her baby’s father, Tim, has a secret buried in his past―a secret so big it changes everything― Antonia has to dig deep within herself to find the courage to see it through to the end and to find her place in the family. With an unlikely ally in her mother-in-law, Grace, who never liked Antonia, she finally begins to learn the lessons that families―even dysfunctional ones―have to offer. Figuring out where you fit into a family―and the world―may be the ultimate challenge.

There’s another thing about me that many of my readers don’t know. I’m a ballet mom. My son lived away from home in residence at Canada’s National Ballet School from the time he was eleven until he graduated in 2007. That experience as a parent of a student at an elite ballet school was part of the inspiration for this book, which is dedicated to 2007 graduates of the National Ballet School.

Charlie doesn’t do a lot of sewing in this book (just wait until next time, though!), but she learns a lot about life.

I hope you enjoy reading it.

Click here to read more about it.

Posted in Stylish Books

When sewing, designing and writing collide: My newest book is out today!

I know, I know. I promised that my next post would be about fabric shopping for the fall and winter sewing in Montreal. And that’s coming next, but I had to stop for a moment after returning from Montreal to catch my breath and realize that today is launch day for my newest book.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that my passions are fashion design, sewing and writing. I’ve been a writer for over thirty years, and recently, I’ve been inspired by my other two passions. That’s how The Year I Made 12 Dresses began. And when that book launched, I thought I was finished with the character Charlotte (Charlie) Hudson, who spent a year clearing out her late mother’s house, learning her mother’s secrets and discovering a love of sewing―12 dresses, to be specific.

Well, I thought I was finished with Charlie, but she wasn’t finished with me. She kept talking in my head until I wrote the prequel―her mother, Kat’s story. So, Kat’s Kosmic Blues began in 1965 and followed Kat from small-town Canada to Toronto, then to New York to study fashion design at the Parsons School. But if you read that book, you’ll know that Kat learned a crucial lesson: If you want to make god laugh, tell her your plans. Charlie learned so much more about her mother.

Now there’s Frannie, Charlie’s great-grandmother.

In The Year I Made 12 Dresses, Charlie thought she’d learned all about her late mother until she discovered that there was much more to her mother, Kat Hudson, than she could ever have imagined. Could there be any more family secrets? Charlie thinks not until she discovers her great-grandmother, Frannie Phillips’s stash of eight couture dresses and a grainy photograph that seems to suggest that Frannie survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Just when Charlie thinks there can be no more skeletons in her family’s closet, she is drawn into Frannie’s incredible life.

So, there are eight couture dresses, Frannie’s passion for becoming a dressmaker, her upper-class British parents who disapprove and a rebellious streak that seems to know no bounds. Well, here’s a bit more. If you love fashion and sewing, I think this might be the next book to put on your reading list!

Of course, if you’re really keen to read it, you can find it on your favourite online bookseller’s site.

Here’s the Amazon link to get you started!