Zoey does her best to do it all—but this time her fashion plate might be too full! Includes “Sew Zoey” blog posts and fashion illustrations.
Zoey Webber would do—and sew—anything for her friends, so she jumps at the chance to make very special outfits for their very special events. Priti asks Zoey to make a modern sari to wear to her cousin’s Indian wedding, and Kate asks for a dress for her State Championships awards dinner. Zoey is sewing up a storm, while also launching an online store with another sewing blogger! Then a string of surprises and setbacks makes a mess of her plans, and Zoey gets really ruffled. When the sewing gets tough, can Zoey keep going?
A Tangled Thread CHAPTER 1 Brand-New News!!! The great thing about fashion is that there’s always something NEW happening, right? Well, my life’s like that too. I earned enough money from my Doggie Duds campaign to do some serious shopping for brand-new fabric, including the really pricey kind that I usually drool over from afar. I can’t WAIT to get started on some new projects!
And speaking of new projects—drumroll, please—I’m also superthrilled to announce my next venture! Actually, it’s a team thing. I’m going to be launching a collaboration Etsy store with another young designer, Allie Lovallo (with our parents monitoring, of course). Some of you might know her from our feature together on TresChic.com, or from her blog, Always Allie Accessories. The store will be called Accessories from A to Z, and—you guessed it!—we’re going to be focusing on accessories! It’s a pop-up shop that will be online for a limited time only, so get ’em while they’re hot!
When we came up with the idea, I was going to sew clothes and she was going to make accessories, and we were going to call it Fashion from A to Z. The thing is, sizing clothes is complicated, while accessories are usually one-size-fits-most. So we decided to have an accessories store with some Allie stuff (Allie’s the A) and some Zoey stuff (I’m the Z). It’s going to be A for “awesome.” As you can see from my sketch of some of the things I’m offering, I’ve already been hard at work. But I want to hear from you, readers. Let me know what else you’d like to see in our store!
We’re launching the site as soon as we can, so this weekend I’ll be doing all the last-minute work to get it ready. Tonight, though, I have a very important movie date— with two of my best friends! TGIF!
“More chocolate chips,” Priti Holbrooke insisted. “Really, we need more.”
Zoey Webber and Libby Flynn eyed each other skeptically, but then Zoey shrugged and went ahead and shook the entire bag of chocolate chips into the bowl. Priti grabbed a wooden spoon to fold them into the batter.
It was Friday night, and the three friends were at Libby’s house, baking cookies and watching a movie, but they were barely paying attention to the screen. There was just too much to talk about! And too many chocolate chips to eat.
“We’re going to have to rename these cookies chocolate chocolate-chip cookies,” Libby said, laughing. “I’ve never used two whole bags of chips before!”
Priti smiled confidently as she folded melted chocolate into the batter. It went from a light tan color, to chocolate striped, to a deep chocolate brown. “My sisters and I always make them this way. Trust me.”
Zoey spread out cookie sheets on the counter, and the three girls began dropping balls of dough onto them. As their hands moved back and forth, Zoey noticed that everyone was wearing their friendship bracelets. They had made the bracelets with a pattern using four different colors of metallic beads to represent each of the four best friends. There was rose gold for Priti, silver for Zoey, copper for Libby, and classic gold for their fourth BFF, Kate Mackey, who was at soccer practice that night. Kate was Zoey’s oldest friend in the world, and Zoey couldn’t help feeling like there was something missing without her there.
“Kate would love these,” Libby said.
“Yeah, she would,” Zoey agreed. “When we were little we called her the Cookie Monster. Too bad she couldn’t be here.”
“Well, state championships are in a few weeks,” Priti said. “And when it’s over—and she scores the winning goal—she’ll have more time to hang out! And eat cookies.”
Zoey nodded. “True.”
“You guys!” Priti shouted suddenly. Her hand flew to her mouth. “I can’t believe I forgot to tell you!”
“Tell us what?” Libby asked. She slid the loaded cookie sheets into the oven, set the timer, and turned back toward Priti in one graceful move.
“I’m going to India!” Priti squealed. “Finally. For real.”
“What? When?” Libby and Zoey both shouted.
Priti’s eyes glowed. “My cousin is getting married in a few weeks, and we haven’t seen most of our family in forever since they live all over the world. So all the relatives—from England, Canada, everywhere—are traveling to India for the wedding! It’s going to be huge. Plus we’re going to Delhi and the Taj Mahal.”
Immediately, Zoey began picturing a big Indian wedding, with beautiful music and colors and food. “Oh, Priti, that sounds so cool!”
“I haven’t been to a wedding since I was a flower girl in my uncle’s wedding,” Libby said. “You’re going to have so much fun!”
“I know!” Priti said gleefully. “It’ll be my first big traditional Indian wedding. My mom said the groom rides in on a white horse, and the bride and groom exchange garlands to show they accept each other as spouses. The celebration goes on for days. And everyone wears the most amaaaaazing saris. . . .”
Priti dug around in her bag to pull out her phone. She typed in a search term and held out the phone so Zoey and Libby could see as she scrolled through the pictures of Indian saris. Despite the distracting smell of cookies baking in the oven, Zoey’s mind immediately went into fashion overdrive.
“Oh my gosh, Priti!” she said, grabbing the phone so she could get a better look. “These are amazing! Look at the colors!”
Zoey kept shuffling through the pictures, completely entranced by the bright, jewel-tone colors; metallic embellishments; and sumptuousness of the fabrics. Her mind was already buzzing with ideas. How had she never noticed before that saris were the most beautiful dresses on Earth?
“They look complicated to put on,” Libby said, studying one picture over Zoey’s shoulder. “Are they one piece?”
“Some are, some aren’t,” Priti explained. “Some have a little top that’s separate, and some just fold over one shoulder. It’s, like, nine different steps to wrap one properly. My mom knows how, and my sisters, but I don’t. There’s a lot of tucking and pleating, and it takes a lot of patience!”
Zoey was barely listening. Already an idea was forming in her mind of how she’d design a sari, using one of those beautiful, beautiful fabrics, but making the style a bit more contemporary.
“My mom would never let me wear one like that,” Libby said, pointing. All the girls looked at one picture, which showed a woman in a sari with a bit of midriff showing on the side. “She’d say it’s too risqué.”
Priti laughed. “Things are different in India. My grandmother wears a sari like that! It looks great, actually.”
They all laughed before the ding of the kitchen timer interrupted them. Libby grabbed an oven mitt to take the cookies out to cool.
“Well, your grandmother may wear one,” Libby said, “but my mom would probably make me put a cardigan over it!”
The girls giggled again, and Zoey noticed Libby’s dog, Chester, coming into the kitchen. He was wearing the Doggie Duds clothes she’d made for him, an outfit with a little tie sewn on it, and he looked very spiffy. His nose was twitching fiercely, and he tried to stand up on his back legs to see where the delicious smell was coming from.
“He’s wearing his outfit!” Zoey said, pleased. There was nothing more flattering to a designer than seeing someone wearing the clothes she’d made for them.
Libby nodded. “He wears it all the time. My mom says when she takes him to the dog park, people stop her constantly to say how cute it is.”
Zoey blushed. She still wasn’t used to compliments about her work, even though she got them pretty often now. “Thanks! I really had fun with the Doggie Duds campaign—but I’m glad it’s over! I’m ready for something new to sink my teeth into. Starting with that cookie.”
As Zoey reached for a hot cookie, Libby playfully rapped Zoey’s fingers with a plastic spatula. “Not yet!” she said. “They’re really hot.”
“You want something new?” Priti asked Zoey, clutching her arm. “I have the perfect idea!”
“What?” asked Libby.
“What?” echoed Zoey.
“I need something to wear for my cousin’s wedding! And who could design a better sari than you, Zoey! Right? Would you?”
Zoey didn’t have to think for long. Design a modern-day sari for one of her best friends to wear to a gorgeous wedding in India? It was a fashion designer’s dream come true!
“Yes!” Zoey yelled. “I’d love to! I’ve already got a million ideas. The hard part will be choosing one. We could do so many different things. . . .”
Libby clapped her hands. “Yay! It’s settled. That’ll be so great!”
Priti frowned suddenly. “Well, mostly settled. I just want to double-check with my mom that it’ll be okay. Since it’s a traditional ceremony and all. I’m sure it’ll be fine, but I’ll ask her right away. Okay?”
“Okay!” Zoey agreed. The two girls hugged, and Libby presented them with a plate piled high with cookies.
“Time to eat!” she declared.
They moved over to the couch where the movie was still playing. They each dug themselves into a comfortable nook on the big sectional and munched on cookies. Priti was right—the cookies were awesome.
“Priti, these are the best cookies in the entire world! Have you ever thought about starting a baking blog to go with your mom’s cooking blog? You could call it KarmaKid instead of KarmaMama!” Zoey suggested as she took her third cookie in three minutes.
“Well, I do know a lot about chocolate chips,” Priti said. “Mostly that they’re really yummy. But I think one cooking blogger in the family is enough.”
“Actually, speaking of blogs,” Zoey began, “Allie and I are doing the final work for our Etsy store tomorrow, before it launches. Would you guys mind taking a look at the page? Dad helped me, but I want to make sure it’s just right, you know?”
“Would I mind?” Priti joked after rushing to swallow a bite of cookie. “I’d love to!”
“I’ll help too!” Libby said. “And would you let me know when the shop is up and running? I want to tell my aunt about it.”
Zoey hesitated a moment. Libby’s aunt was a buyer for one of the biggest and best department stores in the country—H. Cashin’s. In the past, Libby had been reluctant to involve her aunt in Zoey’s fashion-related endeavors, in case it seemed like Zoey was using her for her aunt’s connections. While they had worked it out, Zoey didn’t want there to be any awkwardness.
“I will,” Zoey said cautiously, “but only tell her if you want to. Okay? Don’t feel like you have to.”
Libby nodded. “I know. I feel much better about . . . all that . . . since the sewing contest thing. She was so impressed with you, she told me specifically to let her know whenever you had news. I even told her about your Doggie Duds campaign!”
“Aw, thanks, Libby.” Zoey blushed again. She felt like the luckiest girl in the world sometimes, having friends as nice as Priti and Libby and Kate. And now on top of everything, she was going to design a sari that would travel to India!
Chloe Taylor learned to sew when she was a little girl. She loved watching her Grandmother Louise turn a scrap of blue fabric into a simple-but-fabulous dress, nightgown, or even a bathing suit in an instant. It was magical! Now that she’s grown up, she still loves fashion: It’s like art that you can wear. Chloe has written more than thirty books for children and lives, writes, and window shops in New York City.
Nancy Zhang is an illustrator and an art and fashion lover with a passion for all beautiful things. She has published her work in the art books L’Oiseau Rouge and Street Impressions and in various fashion magazines and on websites. Visit her at Nancy-Zhang.com. She lives in Berlin, Germany.
"Most novels about fashion end up being more about little divas than about the clothing; this is an exception. This story celebrates the rewards of personal creativity and risks of self-expression. . . . This book will appeal to a middle-grade crowd that isn’t into vampires and dystopias, as well as to those who create art with their hands."
– Kirkus Reviews
"An aspiring fashion designer is the affable heroine of this first book in the Sew Zoey series. . . . In a smoothly written story of overcoming challenges with ingenuity and style, Taylor shows a knack for characterization and dialogue, and her detailed descriptions of Zoey’s designs will entice young fashionistas."
– Publishers Weekly
"Zoey Webber is a funky fashionista stuck in a gray-polyester-uniform world. The first book in a delightful new series, this will appeal to any girl finding her own style. Zoey is a bubbly and vivacious character who doesn’t let insecurities take command."
"The characters are enjoyable and well developed, and the plot is humorous and entertaining. The black-and-white drawings that open each chapter add a bit of fashion flair. With a touching ending that will leave readers with a warm, fuzzy feeling, this novel will appeal to young fashionistas."