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Shoe Embroidery: Not the Second Book I Thought I'd Write


Hand holding a green shoe with a bird and tree branch embroidered on the side. This is in front of a wall of landscape embroideries.

After writing my first hand embroidery book, How to Embroider Texture and Pattern, I definitely knew I wanted to write another. Maybe a whole series. Not to get carried away or anything! I loved the process of writing a book, of exploring different techniques and stitches, and trying out things that I hadn’t made the opportunity or time to try in my daily practice. The deadline and timeframe of my first book helped me make time for things that I had put on the back burner.


A few months after I submitted my first book manuscript to my publisher. I started thinking about what I wanted my second book to be about. I wasn’t entirely sure. Like my first book, I did a lot of research. I looked into other embroidery books were on the market right now and then thought about what I wanted to create.


I narrowed the ideas down and thought, 'OK, I am really loving clothing embroidery. There are a few clothing embroidery books out there. What can I bring to the table?'


Along with clothing embroidery, visible mending has gotten popular. There are a few clothing embroidery books and there are quite a few visible mending books available too, but there didn’t seem to be a book that bridged the gap between the two topics. So I decided that I wanted my second book to be about about upcycling, mending, and embellishing clothing with hand embroidery. (I know, you're probably thinking, but your second book is about shoe embroidery. Hang in there!)


I started working on a few projects, writing up patterns, and putting together a proposal for my editor. In the proposal I had a denim hemline embroidery, shoe embroidery, patched a giant knee hole and talked about the other types of embroidery projects I wanted to focus on. I wanted the book to show how versatile hand embroidery can be. I shared about different books that would be comparable titles and wanted to highlight how mine would be similar yet different from those. (If you want to know more about how I landed my first book deal with a publisher, you can check out those details in this blog post).



After submitting this to my publisher she looked things over and at comparable comps, then got back to me with some not so great news. While she really loved the designs and the idea for this book, the comparable comps (other books currently on the market) weren't selling that well right now. This was an unfortunate blow. Every time I teach a hand embroidery workshop it seems that at least one person wants to know how they can embroider on their clothing.


Thankfully, my editor loved the idea of shoe embroidery. Even though this wasn’t the second book I had dreamed about writing, I said, 'OK let’s give it a try.'


I enjoyed creating the first shoe project I shared in my original proposal. When I showed off those shoes at H&H America earlier this year, attendees were blown away and wanted to learn how to embroider their own shoes. This gave me a good feeling.


While I was still crestfallen that my initial proposal wasn't the one moving forward, I had a serious talk with myself. I thought: Shoes just a smaller canvases, a different material. There’s still the opportunity to try different techniques and skills that I hadn’t written about or tried before such as beading and sequins and working with different needles. This self talk helped me put things into perspective.


In order for my editor to take this idea to the publishing board, I embroidered a few more shoes and re-wrote my proposal. This took me about a month to get ready for submission. And then it was a waiting game for the pub board meeting and decision.


Thankfully the shoe book idea got a green light. Yes, there were still some additions and changes even after the second proposal was submitted, but in the end, I'm really excited for this book.


Shoe embroidery isn't something I thought I'd be writing about. So far, it's been a fun process. I've learned so much and have so many insights to share with you in my second book.


I'll be sure to share more as the book progresses!


Until then, you can get embroidering with my first book, How to Embroider Texture and Pattern.


-Happy Stitching,

Melissa

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