Kathy Cano Murillo is a personal hero of mine. She’s living a life that I hope to aspire to one day: She’s a Craft Goddess, she’s a published author of many books, and she lives in sunny Arizona (with a husband, two kids and five Chihuahuas!)! Even though I’ve never met her (I will one day), her personality is so vivacious via the Interwebs that I feel as though we are friends. That’s just the kind of person she is: kind, friendly, creative, kooky, and fun…hmmm, she sounds an awful lot like me!
She recently came out with her second fiction novel, and boy do I love it! It’s called Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing, and here is the review I wrote for it. I urge everyone to read it. You won’t be sorry.
Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing by Kathy Cano Murillo is an uplifting story about a woman with a dream, and the plans she makes and friends she has that help her to achieve it. Scarlet Santana is a sewing whiz with a vision that’s off the beaten path. She’s inspired by bright colors, bold pairings, Carmen Miranda, and Daisy de la Flora. Her dream is to become a famous fashion designer, and it’s nearly realized when she is offered a coveted spot in the Johnny “Scissors” Tijeras Emerging Designers Program in New York City. Johnny just happens to be the nephew of her idol, reclusive designer Daisy de la Flora. The problems she runs into are lack of money (this is not a free program…she must pay thousands of dollars in order to participate), what it means to give something your all, and the lack of support from her family, who think she’s wasting her life on this foolish dream.
Scarlet needs cash, and she needs it fast in order to pay for her tuition in the prestigious Johnny Scissors Emerging Designers Program inNew York City. She decides to teach a patternless sewing class at the design studio of her boss, esteemed designer Carly Fontaine, but at the last minute, Carly reneges on the deal they had, and Scarlet is left with a lot of paying students, but without a suitable space.
Coming to the rescue is hunky Marco Vega, owner of record store Vicious Vinyl, who just happens to have the space Scarlet needs, and is willing to do what it takes to get Scarlet to use the space…and notice him. Now that the class isn’t at the prestigious Carly Fontaine design studio, some of her students have dropped out; okay, most of them have dropped out. But that’s okay – Scarlet has a plan for raising the extra money she needs – she’ll just work harder and longer!
Her students are an eclectic bunch. There’s workaholic Mary Theresa whose marriage is about as tangled as a wayward bobbin; Rosa, a seasoned seamstress herself who has ulterior motives for being in the class; Stephanie and Jennifer, teenage sisters – one of which wants to be in the class, and one who would rather be out playing sports; and “Ohliveyah”, a single mom, just getting by, who is learning to live for herself after being stuck in a bad marriage. They learn to let go of their inhibitions, love themselves, and make time for each other, all while sewing beautiful clothes…without using a pattern.
Scarlet’s family cannot understand why she’s going after this ridiculous dream. She has two degrees, and she could be a great engineer making a six figure salary instead of slaving away. Scarlet decides that avoidance is the best way to deal with this problem, but that creates even more of a rift in her family. She’s not sure that she’ll ever be able to get them to see that while she could be an engineer, she will be a great designer.
Will Scarlet raise the money she needs? Will she uncover her friends’ secrets? Will her family ever accept her for who she is? You need to read the book in order to find out!
The story isn’t only about Scarlet and her dreams. Kathy Cano Murillo does an excellent job at giving the reader things to think about in our own lives, most especially through the blog posts Scarlet writes on her Daisy Forever blog. The overall message of the book is to believe in yourself and to follow your dreams, and to make sure you take the time to enjoy the process and the special people in your life while you do that. This book came at a time in my life when I most needed it. I was feeling down about myself, and I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not going to lie, I cried for a good portion of the end of the book – but in a good way, not a bad way. That’s how deeply this book touched me.
Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing is an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone who wants to read a story about all of the ups and downs that are taken when you stay true to yourself and follow your dreams.
Watch the Official Book Trailer
Read the review I wrote of Kathy’s first Crafty Chica Novel, Waking Up in the Land of Glitter