fledge capable of flying, from Middle English flegge, from Old English -flycge; akin to Old High German flucki capable of flying,
Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
intransitive verb, of a young bird : to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I'm ready to come out and play again


I recently received a telephone call from a sewing friend. From Germany, no less, just to ask how I'm doing. She was under the impression that I'd hidden myself away. Hidden? Who me? No... Well, she wasn't totally wrong. Since the book was released, I kind of feel like part of me has to be hidden away. The silly, sarcastic, opinionated me, which, face it, is 95% of me. I figured I should only swim to the surface when I'm the happy and fluffy and Betty Crocker me (if I were the "United States of Tara," only when "Alice" shows up). My atelier is nothing but half-started half-attempts, because I sort of feel like every garment that exits that place now should have the ability to part the clouds and make the angels sing. I haven't been walking on clouds since having a bestseller, believe it or not: I've been more weighed down in a sense of responsibility. I'll spend an hour online searching for a fabric that I know has been sold out for over two years for a reader. Things like that. So, yeah, I've laid a bit low.

But know what? Betty Crocker is a made up person. An invention, an amalgam of everything homey and housewifey and cheery and nothing else. Betty Crocker doesn't exist! And neither do I. Well, not the Betty Crocker version, anyway. Some gals pull off the Betty Crocker thing so awesome and I am in awe. But me? If I only swim to the surface as Betty Crocker, I'll suffocate.

Plus, I took the admittedly very, very, very few and far between negative criticism a little too close to heart. It's not a rational thing, of course. But, hey, I'm not a rock, so when I read "I had high hopes for this book, but right after I bought it, I got a fifty-dollar parking ticket! Fifty dollars seems like a lot of money for a book. Plus, my kid got a D on his spelling test! I've never had this problem before. He's seen the word "abysmal" on flash cards since he was in the womb! How could he have misspelled "abysmal"? When I was sewing the first project, I found my prized Affenpinscher, Prince Jedi Pop Tart Pierre, whom I've shown for over 5 years, rummaging through my lingerie! Prince Jedi is now a cross-dresser! Then, when I opened up the patterns, evil gnomes popped out and ate my eyebrows! I have a fifty-dollar parking ticket, no chance at Stanford Medical School for Junior, a transvestite dog, a house full of evil gnomes and no eyebrows, all because of you, Nancy Langdon! This book ruined my life! I hate you, Nancy Langdon!"...I take that stuff to heart (what? You didn't read a critique like that? That's how it read to me).

The book cannot be all things to all people all the time. That's just common sense. But we can improve the things we can improve. We're listening. We read every comment and criticism we can find and we take them into consideration. Sewing Clothes Kids Love sold out of the first printing run after about one month after release. Ohmygod right? I'm totally freaking and totally talking like a Valley Girl, because ohmygod, right? First run sold out? Like, ohmygod, right? Totally? And the book has been number one for a few weeks and is still in the top ten for "Sewing," "Needlework" and, (get this) "Fashion" ("Fashion" that just makes me laugh) on Amazon. Ohmygod. Totally awesome. (Thank YOU, everyone *sniff*)

So, the book will be printed up again. And this time, the pattern sheets will be printed on paper that is somewhat more stabile, more suitable for tracing. Now, the thing about this paper is that it is somewhat smaller. Somewhat stabiler, but somewhat smaller. Different paper, different printers, 'kay? So, to fit the sewing patterns on this paper, we will need to fiddle with the pattern sheet layouts. And we will need to overlap some of the pieces. That's the compromise. That means that tracing will not be an option, but the only option for many of the designs. Now, for all of you that I know, this is not be as bad as a flock of evil gnomes, because you trace your patterns, anyway. But I grew up learning it the other way, the cut-the-pattern-pieces-out-directly way, so I hope those people won't be too upset.

What do you think? Think the new, smaller, you-must-trace-this paper is a good thing?

And to the many, many, many more of you that have taken the time and publicly said a nice thing or two about the book, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, most recently to CraftCritique.com for their comprehensive review.

And thank you, Ms. B., for the telephone call. I'm ready to come out and play again.

My delusions keep me sane. Sorry 'bout the evil eyebrow-eating gnomes. They happen.

15 comments:

Debbie said...

Nancy,
I'm so thankful that you're back. I am so enjoying getting to know you by way of your blog. I know I could learn a great deal from you, and have. I just opened myself/blog/company up to critique and oh...that's hard. I want our little company to be the best and to be that I need to read what people don't like. Some is valid, some is someone with a bad day ;)

Our house loves what we are learning from your book. My 6 yr old budding designer would stare at the pictures for hours and then find the smallest detail to use in her next project.
It's certainly every bit of a best seller here....for both of us.
Congrats to you...come and play and let us learn from you while we watch you play...yes, sometimes play is messy, but it's ok.

Tabitha said...

Well I am so glad you are back...those evil gnomes well they can hang out under the bridge with the troll lol they can still complain but it will be muffled by the water noise lol.

We LOVE your book and as for the patterns only being traceable with the next printing I think that is a good thing...give sewists something new to learn if they have not experienced it already!

I know comments can be harsh because it is so easy to be nasty over the internet just give yourself time to process it but then let it go-all of it. Take the criticisms that will make you stronger next time and use them.

I can't wait to see what you come up with next!!

Jen said...

First, how exciting that the first printing sold out! Congratulations! You might want to mention that someone should re-proofread it, since there are a few typos. Sorry, that's the former teacher in me, and not a criticism of you or the book, because I love it and I'm working on a Manhattan dress right now. And as for changing the layout of the pattern pieces, I'd gladly trade my tissue sheets for the smaller paper if it meant it would be easier to trace them or that they would be more stable.

FWIW, I like the sarcasm. It makes me feel like I'm not the only one out there with a sometimes snarky view of things. :) You might not be Betty Crocker, but if you were you'd be sporting a heck of a lot more stylish apron, right? And if Betty Crocker had kids they wouldn't be nearly as well-dressed as yours are in the things you make.

Lastly, I think that the majority of bad reviews are based on people's first impressions of the book as they skimmed through it. I read the entire thing before I wrote my amazon review because I felt like there was no point in reviewing something without having read it and having facts to refer to. That and there is no point to critiques that offer no solutions or possible alternatives. Those sorts of things are like water to a duck - let 'em roll right off of you.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with next.

{Nic} Nicole Hildebrandt said...

i really hope, it was a pimpinellaGNOME that popped out to eat eyebrows! *lol*

so GOOD to have you back again, nancy! :)))

xoxo...
nic

{Nic} Nicole Hildebrandt said...

and hey... you wrote a BESTSELLER, huh!?

no need to be everybodies darling... ;)

hugs.
nic

michal said...

Happy that you are back, I'm one of the book's lovers, and can't wait till I see more of your work, As much as I love the 10 patterns in the book, there's ALWAYS room for more!
As for the bad reviews, no need for me to say it really, right? that the sales speak for the book, no way it would be sold so great if it was not great!
and it is!
Michal

Natalie said...

I love the evil gnomes analogy because I sooo relate to your reaction to any criticism and understand wanting to hide away for a while after such a feat and all that goes with it. Some people are never satisfied. I think either the lightweight paper, or the more stable paper are great - both have their merits, and your patterns are wonderful. Thank you!

Chris said...

I'm glad you are back, but certainly can understand the reason for your hiding. I would have done the same.

I was very tempted to write a response to one of those nasty reviews. (The particular review I mean was clearly not a review but bashing.) I even still have my response saved on my hard-drive, but didn't post it because of the connection we have. In the end, some one would have said I'm biased ... what I'm definitely not. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your book, but I agree with some of the reviews that say there are not enough patterns for boys in it. In this regard a mom of boys is bound to be a little disappointed. But this is the only point in the book that deserves some critique.

Anyhoo, I'm glad you are back to your old same! Have a little more self-confindence. You are lovely as you are, no reason to change :O))

Love,
Chris

P.S: Congrats on the bestseller!!! But I'm not surprised, I knew it from the start your book would be a great success. See, I have confidence in YOU ;O)

Britten said...

Hi,
I hope to get the book for my birthday, so i will be one of those who have to trace. And believe me, i can´t even think about cutting the patterns.... So no problem for me.
Greetings from Germany
Britta

Belgianbuty4u said...

I love the book thanks. Plain and simple me saw your book and fell madly, deeply in love. I am a little afraid of playing with color, most of my stuff matches. SAD huh? But looking at your book inspired me. I went out and actually bought a butt load of colors. YAY me. Thanks for the inspiration and eye candy. Oh yes and I was also going to ask who crochet the tops for the book. And could there possibly be a pattern someday? oh please oh please.
Alright have a great day i will leave you alone now.
Daphne.

Fledgling said...

THANK YOU!

I'm a whiner (for my Aussie friends, I'm a whinger ;-). Sorry, 'bout that.

Thank you for the love, anyway. I'm feeling a might more Betty Crocker-y today.

@Chris: I know! Boys, huh? More for the boys! Yeah for boys!

@Belgianbuty4u: Keep the "WHERE'S the crochet pattern?" comments coming! We still have a bit of convincing to do...

On that note, however, EVA SOYSAL is the artist behind all the knitting and crochet magic in the book. Her stuff just added so much interest and texture to the outfits, don't you think? Plus being masterpieces in their own right!

Sanna said...

Süße, liebe Nancy,

du weißt, ich verstehe wieder nicht alles von deinem Geschriebenem, aber eins ist deutlich herauszulesen:
deine Ansprüche an dich sind viel zu hoch.
Ich liebe das Buch. Es ist soviel mehr als eine Sammlung von Nähanleitungen.

Komm raus aus deinem Schneckenhaus, du Bestsellerautorin. ;-))) Du quetscht deine Herzflügel ein.

LG
Sanna

Nikki said...

I love your book and think you've done a marvellous job, too.

I'm writing a book at the moment (due out next year) and your experience tells me I'll have to grow a few extra layers of skin to prepare for the criticism. I read the Amazon reviews for your book and thought, "What hope have I got if they can fault that book?".

Patterns - there will always be cost and space considerations and there'll always be people accepting of that and people who are critical. We're trying to work out compromises for my book, too.

I'm terrified of the criticism, but your coming back to the surface (with wit and sarcasm) has given me hope that I'll survive! Thank you!

Tas said...

Nancy, your book really is something special. It is probably the first sewing/crafting book that I haven't been disappointed with in any way at all. It is bright, creative and inspirational. Someone, somewhere is destined not to love your book and, in spite of the hundreds or thousands of us that beg to differ, I too would take any critisism to heart. It's a personality thing I guess but it keeps you wanting to evaluate and improve and means that you are willing to listen to people- which can only be a good thing. Congratulations on the success of your first print run.

Kate said...

I am so pleased to have found your blog because I have been dying for a way to contact you and tell you how much i LOVE your book!! I LOVE it! I agree with Tas, it is the first sewing book that I have bought that I haven't been disappointed in. I have made a few project from it and have plans to make lots more. Just this morning I cut the pants pattern out for the second time.
I can totally understand the need to hide and the fact that the negative stuff seems huge, but please listen to the positive stuff as well because there's lots out there.
Thanks for a great book. X

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