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I’m back from vacation and ready to get down and dirty finding new free and amazingly bargained books for you! But first this week I have something special. I convinced super hot and crazy talented …

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Blog Tour Guest Blog: Pleating for Mercy by Melissa Bourbon

Submitted by on August 9, 2011 – 4:00 am10 Comments

Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latinaby-marriage name Misa Ramirez, is the marketing director with Entangled Publishing. She is the founder of Books on the House, the co-founder of The Naked Hero and is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery Series and two upcoming romantic suspense novels (written as Misa Ramirez).

Website – – – Books on the House

I was in elementary school when my mother taught me to sew. The first big project I made completely on my own, a dress, was hard, definitely, but I am nothing if not dogged and focused when I put my mind to something. The pattern had the option of using two coordinating fabrics which I decided to attempt. I made the whole thing from
scrap pieces from my mother’s ample collection. I worked for hours and hours on that dress, even adding buttons up the straight skirt. I was so proud of myself, but what I remember most is how proud my mom was. That was the beginning of a lifelong love of sewing.

Sewing is, in some ways, a lost art. I’m teaching my daughter. She went to a fashion camp this summer. She doesn’t love sewing (it’s hard work, after all), but thanks to Project Runway, there seems to be a renewed interest in fashion, in general, and she has an interest in it.

But attention spans are different now from when I was a kid, and it’s so easy to go into a store and buy something nice at a fairly reasonable price. So, why sew?

I asked myself this question as I came up with and wrote Pleating for Mercy, the first Magical Dressmaking mystery (which was released on August 2nd). What is it about sewing and fashion that inspires my character, Harlow Jane Cassidy (a descendent of Butch Cassidy)? What is it about sewing and fashion that inspires anyone who has a love for this craft?

For Harlow, it’s about the creativity, the art, and the heritage of hand sewing in her family. I have that in my family, as well. Generation upon generation of women have sewn, quilted, embroidered, and knitted. It’s a legacy, and that’s something infused in Harlow’s fictional DNA.

One of the best parts of writing this series is that I get to research fabrics, fashion, style, and accessories. I bought Nina Garcia’s (from Project Runway) The One Hundred (tips for every fashionable woman). I bought a book on vintage 1800s dress design (book 2, A Fitting End has Harlow creating a period gown for a town historical pageant). I get to buy dress forms and trims and myriad other goodies to inspire me. How cool is that?

“No, honey, the black and white decorative dress form from Hobby Lobby is not an extravagant luxury. It’s for research and inspiration.”

I may not have much time to actually sew, but I get to write about sewing machines, technique, and notions. And I get to peruse bridal magazines, and anything else that strikes my sewing fancy. It may not be the same as sitting down at my Pfaff® and creating a color-blocked dress or a quilted tote, but it works. For now.

So tell me, are there any sewers out there? Any quilters, knitters, or crocheters? What is your take on sewing for today’s generation of girls (and boys) as compared to what it was in the past?

All the Cassidy women possess special gifts. Harlow Jane Cassidy’s is creating beautiful dresses. But she’s about to discover secrets in her own
family, and another gift—one that can reach beyond the

When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But soon after she opens Buttons & Bows, a custom dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow begins to feel an inexplicable presence… One of her first clients is her old friend Josie, who needs a gown for her upcoming wedding. But when Josie’s boss turns up dead, it starts to look as if the bride-to-be may be wearing handcuffs instead of a veil. Suddenly Josie needs a lot more from Harlow than hemming a dress. Can Harlow find the real killer—with a little help from beyond.

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Paperback Dolls is made up of women from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds, different tastes and beliefs that were brought together through a love of reading. We like to think of ourselves as a cyber version of "The View" that focuses on books, authors, and reading. We are proof positive that one common love can unite the most opposite of people and form lasting friendships that introduce other ways of life and perspectives to each other.
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  • says:

    As someone who grew up with a mom sewing all the time. I find it to be a lost art. I finally used my sewing machine for something simple to make , but I want to get back to it. But prices and patterns make it difficult when I want to make something now because they are all across town. I do think that its becoming a lost art. I used to quilt too but now not so much.

    Sounds like a great book.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Melissa says:

    Thanks to the Dolls for having me here today!

    Julie, I couldn’t agree with you more. I do think Project Runway, and the like, have breathed a bit of new life into the design side of things, but as for sewing itself, I think less and less people are doing it.

    I’m working with my daughter, but time and her interest are factors. Sewing is hard work and it doesn’t give instant gratification, something the younger generation gets so much of. But I will persevere with her; it’s a family legacy which I really want to pass on.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Mona Leigh says:

    I come from a family of seamstresses. With 5 kids in the house, if we wanted new clothes (other than what Mom picked out) we had to make them. And make them, we did….dresses, shorts, blouses, jackets, whatever. In addition to that type of sewing, we also learned to crochet and embroider. We were never bored unless we wanted to be. :)

    None of my daughters sew although I did teach one to embroider and cross stitch. Making clothes never interested them. As you said, it’s too easy to buy them nowadays.

    I’m interested to see how you’ve crafted a story around a dying art. Thanks.

    Reply to this comment »
    • Melissa says:

      What a great story, Mona! I love that you say you were never bored unless you wanted to be. Isn’t that the truth. So much harder now because kids expect to be entertained verses figuring out how to entertain themselves.

      Hope you enjoy Pleating for Mercy!

      Reply to this comment »
  • Chris Bails says:

    i can sew some. i junior high and high school i took a lot of home economics classes, but just kind of forgot some stuff as i got older. i sure if i tried i could do it again. i do like to cross-stitch. i do that often, especially when i was pregant with my childern. i would love to learn to crochet or knit.
    this book looks great and would love to win. thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win,.

    Reply to this comment »
    • Melissa says:

      I really love the finished product, whether it’s knitting, sewing, quilting, or some other craft. Thanks for stopping by Chris!

      Reply to this comment »
  • Doll Day says:

    Great post! I’m teaching my son to sew and he has asked for his own sewing machine for his bday;) LOVE IT!

    Reply to this comment »
    • Melissa says:

      That is so cool, Day! Thanks for having me here today :)

      Reply to this comment »
    • Mona Leigh says:

      LOL @ Day. I taught my grandson how to crochet because he was so hyper. He liked it so much he actually took Home Ec in school and learned more stitches. Of course, since he’s doing a tour of duty in the army, he won’t be sewing for a while.

      Reply to this comment »
  • Shelby Arcangel says:

    Hey have you ever heard of Scentsy Wickless Candle Warmers? They are flame free and smell great check it out!

    Reply to this comment »