Craft Book Author Nicole Smith Q&A + Giveaway!

Today, we’re excited to have craft book author Nicole Smith join us to chat about her new book, Skirt-a-Day Sewing (Storey Publishing). Nicole also has a wide array of experiences in the craft and publishing industries under her belt including her current position at Etsy, and her previous work at magazines like Seventeen, Teen People, Threads and Stitch.


Nicole, congrats on your latest book, Skirt-a-Day Sewing. How did you develop your interest in clothing design and construction?

Once you get a little sewing under your belt, I think everyone becomes more interested in how their clothing is put together. My mother taught me the sewing basics and then I expanded my skills at college in the design program. When I go shopping, I’m the one who is turning garments inside out in the changing room to discover all of their little construction secrets. And when I was working in the fashion closets at various magazines, I was doing the same thing at photo shoots. I love discovering new ways on how to manipulate fabric and develop a pattern.

You’ve had quite an impressive career working for magazines such as Threads and Stitch. How has your editorial experience helped you on the other side of the process, as a craft book author?

As a magazine editor, I really learned to craft information for the reader in a clear and concise way. However, thinking about an article is quite different from approaching a book. In an article, you are really homing in on a specific topic and diving in as deep as you can for the reader to understand that particular process. When approaching the book, however, I had to think about the process of constructing skirts in a very broad sense. I wanted to create a reference for any reader at any skill level to be able to make a skirt from scratch. Therefore, I needed to cover everything from the beginning to the end.

When you think about writing your latest book, is there anything of the process that you think might surprise the average person?

Developing a book takes a long time (as in a couple years), and Skirt-a-Day Sewing was no exception. The photo shoots were done a year before the book was in the stores, and the skirt styles were all settled about a year before that. Many seasons and trends came and went during development. I had to approach the designs in the book to be as evergreen as possible, as I was unsure of what the trends would be when the book was finished and out in the world. As I was sewing many of the skirts, I became disappointed at times thinking that I should have included this or that style because they were prevalent in stores at the time. However, then I realized that with the book, the skills were there to create virtually any skirt silhouette you could imagine, so my disappointment was short-lived and replaced with excitement.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given (or that you could offer others) for pursuing a creative career?

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Don’t ever sell yourself short. Set your goals as high as you want and strive for them as best you can. Try to surround yourself (both professionally and personally) with positive people that will help support your efforts and really push your creative limits as much as possible. After working in magazines in NYC for a long while, I really came to realize how toxic a negative environment can be. It seeps into parts of your life you aren’t prepared for, and before you know it, you feel creatively stifled and you find yourself settling. Don’t do that. Your craft is so much greater than that and the rest of the creative community wants to see you shine your brightest.

Nicole, what’s next for you?

At Etsy, I look forward to helping designers and artisans across the globe expand their reach on a daily basis. As a member of their merchandising and marketing team, I love helping Etsy sellers find their selling voice and develop their shops into success stories.

Creatively, I have more book proposals in the works that will hopefully expand on the ideas started with Skirt-A-Day Sewing. I also have been trying for a while to get a collection of patterns to sell on Etsy, that I hope to get moving soon. I’m also expanding my teaching in the NYC area with more class topics and workshops that I’m really excited about. I adore sharing my love of sewing and construction, and seeing my students create new things pushes me to think outside the box and be a better sewer every week.

Skirt-a-Day Sewing Blog Hop:


Do you want to win a copy of Skirt-A-Day Sewing? Leave a comment on this post telling us something you learned from our interview with Nicole, and we’ll pick one random winner a week from today’s post! (Open in U.S. only.)

Update: Congrats to commenter #21, Samina!

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  45 comments for “Craft Book Author Nicole Smith Q&A + Giveaway!

  1. September 18, 2013 at 8:08 am

    I learned that I really need to make that purple skirt! I’m also excited to hear she has more book proposals in the works!

  2. Ella
    September 18, 2013 at 8:12 am

    I learned that Nicole learned to sew from her mom but went to college for design. The skirts are lovely!

  3. September 18, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I guess I never really thought about the fact that if it takes over 2 years to publish a book all the fads that come and go over that period of time. Neat and nerve wracking! Great interview!

  4. September 18, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I didn’t know Etsy provides in-house help to their sellers – I think that’s great!

  5. Jerri
    September 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I learned what styles are “evergreen” based on the skirts Nicole included in her book. Looks like a book I would refer to often.

  6. Robin
    September 18, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I have only bought things on etsy, never sold anything. So it really surprised me that they have a merchandising and marketing team, helping the sellers to reach their potential. Very interesting.

  7. Michelle k
    September 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I’ve learned that there’s always information to be gleaned from examining store clothes. I always assumed they cut corners where you couldn’t see but was pleasantly surprised recently to find stay stitching when refashioning a jacket.

  8. Diane
    September 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Nicole’s advice to have a positive support system is something I try to be mindful of. It’s so easy to get trapped in a negative environment and I agree with how stifling that can be! Thanks for the interview.

  9. Jackie R.
    September 18, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    I felt comfort when I read “don’t sell yourself short” because I do when it comes to making clothes for myself. I’ve sewn since a young woman, but if I make a garment that doesn’t fit like I envisioned my confidence flys out of me. Thus, I felt uplifted with her simple, yet powerful four words :)

  10. louisa
    September 19, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Remember publish date and currency issues.

  11. Joan
    September 19, 2013 at 5:52 am

    The skirts are awesome!
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    I love ” Do not sell yourself short”!

  12. Cheryl
    September 19, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Wow! I had no idea just how long it took to get a book to the public! Very inciteful interview.

  13. September 19, 2013 at 7:45 am

    I didn’t know Nicole was on the Etsy Merchandising Team. Her interest, not only for her business but also the business of others, is really great! Thanks for the interview and the giveaway!

  14. Jess M
    September 19, 2013 at 11:06 am

    How long it takes a book to get published!! Great work :)

  15. Lori Smanski
    September 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    How wonderful. Wow it takes a long time to put this book together. A lot of hard work.
    I especially love the Tuesday skirt. I can see myself wearing that one. And my sister wearing sunday.

  16. September 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I learned that Nicole used to be an editor for “Threads”.
    Very excited about this book!

  17. Annette
    September 20, 2013 at 6:15 am

    Wow! Who knew it took so long to get a book piblished! I hope you pick me :).

  18. September 20, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I have only bought things on etsy, never sold anything

  19. Veronica
    September 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Really interesting to read about the process of making a sewing book!

  20. Emme
    September 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever want to write a book, basically.
    Thanks for the chance to win one, though!

  21. Emily C
    September 20, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    I think writing a book is hard but challenging.

  22. September 21, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Lovely interview. Nice looking book…and whats more, a skirt is every girl’s best friend.
    I loved the way she frankly opines on turning the seam and checking for secrets in the changing room. i find myself doing that at times.

  23. September 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    I learned about differences between writing an article and writing a book. What a great book idea–I’d love to have it!

  24. September 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    I learned Nicole is very diverse! She has goals that are in diferent directions. Book, job, patterns and a few more I am sure. She will suceed, that is a fact! I have never made a skirt but would like to this maybe just the book I need!

  25. Karen
    September 22, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    That writing a book has a lot more go into it than you may think!

  26. September 23, 2013 at 6:16 am

    Forward thinking when writing a book is pretty important. Its not like a blog or magazine article where you get that instant gratification. You have to make sure what you’re writing is relevant to your readers in a couple years from when you first put pen to paper.

  27. Anita
    September 23, 2013 at 7:05 am

    I learned that it can take 2 years to publish a book.

  28. Sherrye
    September 23, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I had no clue it took so long to develop and publish a book. But this one looks great and full of advise to make skirts fit to my body. I can NEVER find anything that fits it the store. Thanks for the giveaway!!

  29. felicia
    September 23, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I’ve been on etsy for years and never knew they had people to help you market and get your shop off the ground.

  30. Samina
    September 23, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I’m delighted that Nicole chose to design classic styles that could be customized to go either classic or trendy. I expect to come back to these designs over & over again along my sewing lifetime.

  31. Jane S.
    September 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I learned that planning ahead for future fashion trends is hard! That’s not something that I’d ever really considered.

  32. Wendy
    September 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I didnt know she worked for Etsy!

  33. Dorothy Burkholder
    September 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I learned to turn a store garment inside out to look for design techniques. The book looks great.

  34. Linda Armenti
    September 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I think the most important thing that was reinforced by her is to surround yourself with positive people. Never give up on your dreams and keep going for it. So important!

  35. Carmen
    September 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    I learned it’s difficult to design because you’re trying to develop patterns months before the book will be released and trends may change

  36. MelodyJ
    September 24, 2013 at 3:16 am

    I learned that developing a book takes about two years. This one looks to be worth the wait.

  37. Yan
    September 24, 2013 at 8:15 am

    I’ve learned not to sell myself short. I’m a beginner at garment sewing, and I’m always thinking the few skirts and dresses I’ve made are probably not good enough to be worn to go out in. I’m going to wear them and be proud that I made them myself!

  38. jonquil
    September 24, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I learned that I really want to make the Red Sunday skirt on the cover!

  39. Karrie Smith
    September 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Don’t sell yourself short! is her best advice. I LOVE this book and would LOVE a copy of it!!! Thanks for the chance to win :)

  40. September 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I am impressed that Nicole has so positive attitudes towards skilled crafts, artisans and sewers. Today, there is overpromotion of designers but not enough promotion of people who design and sew in the same time. The Franch name Haute Couturier is exactly the professional designer and sewer in the mean time. Nicole, keep doing further and and bravo for your interview.

  41. jessicac
    September 24, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Surround yourself with positive people. I need this reminder!!

  42. Dorothy Burkholder
    September 24, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I learned to turn a garment inside out learn design techniques. I can’t wait to learn more.

  43. Samina
    September 26, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Thank you! I’m really looking forward to using this book out & I expect to have a great collection of skirts from it.

  44. linda
    September 27, 2013 at 1:20 am

    I learned that as a magazine editor, she really learned to craft information for the reader in a clear and concise way.

  45. Samantha Miller
    September 27, 2013 at 8:28 am

    love the skirts. i like to make them for my sister and would love to try one of hers.

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