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Knot Too Shabby!

Illustrated by Nancy Zhang

About The Book

Zoey’s summer is going to be busy—but can she survive it without blogging? Includes “Sew Zoey” blog posts and fashion illustrations.

In the seventh book in the Sew Zoey series, it’s almost summer vacation, and Zoey Webber won’t exactly be taking it easy. First she’s going to New York to meet her favorite fashion designer and spend the day at her design studio. Then she’s staying for an action-packed weekend in the city that never sleeps. And the fun doesn’t stop there: she and her friend Priti are going to sleepaway camp for the first time! The camp has canoeing, crafts…and a “no technology” rule. How will Zoey survive six weeks without sewing and blogging?


Knot Too Shabby!

Fun in the Sun!

I can’t believe how fast this school year has flown by! Summer vacation is just around the corner, and so far I’m planning on spending as much time as possible at Camp Lulu and the pool. It seems like only yesterday I got the text message from Priti, just before school started, telling me that our new principal, Ms. Austen, ended the uniform policy and made my dreams come true. I still get excited, just thinking about it. Yay, Ms. Austen!

But so much has happened since then. I started my Sew Zoey blog, thinking only my family and a few friends would read it, or maybe no one at all. But it really took off, and through my blog I’ve “met” all of you awesometastic readers and learned so much from you. Sew Zoey has led to things I wouldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams, like being picked for a Très Chic website feature and starting online shops for dog (and human) clothes!

I won’t pretend it’s all been fun and games. Sometimes it’s been a teensy bit overwhelming. And that, my friends, is the understatement of the century. But I wouldn’t trade this year for anything. I can’t wait to see what new adventures this summer will bring! I just hope it involves plenty of fun in the sun at the beach, which happened to have inspired this sketch.

“This is my favorite day of the school year,” Kate Mackey said as she and Zoey Webber waited for Ms. Brown, their language arts teacher, to pass out their yearbooks. “I love the first time we get to look through the yearbook.”

Zoey loved getting her yearbook too, but she wasn’t sure she’d go as far as saying it was her favorite day of the school year.

“I’m always afraid that there won’t be any pictures of me or that there will be a picture of me but an awful one,” Zoey said.

“You worry too much, Zo,” Kate said. “I bet there will be a picture of you, and you’ll look fab in it.”

Ms. Brown handed Kate her book and checked off her name against her list.

“And here you go, Zoey,” she said, handing over her yearbook. “Planning on launching any exciting new businesses this summer?”

“No,” Zoey said. “I need a rest from all ones I started during the school year!”

“Keep at it,” encouraged Ms. Brown. “I think it’s wonderful you’re following your passion.”

“I will,” Zoey said. “But after I spend some time at the pool!”

They didn’t have long to look through their yearbooks before Ms. Brown started class—only as long as it took her to give out the rest of the books to the students.

“Look, Zo! There’s a great picture of you, me, Priti, and Libby on the dance floor,” Kate said. “And we’re all wearing the tiaras you made us.”

“You mean from the Sadie Hawkins dance?” Zoey asked.


It was a great picture. They’d all worried so much about asking a boy to the dance, but in the end they’d had the best time going together as a group—four besties being one another’s “dates.”

It wasn’t until lunchtime that Zoey and her friends had the time to really check out the yearbook.

“Oh my gosh, Zoey. Did you see you were voted Best Dressed?” Libby Flynn exclaimed.

“No way! What page? Show me!” Zoey shrieked.

Libby passed her yearbook to Zoey, opened to the awards section. Sure enough, there were several pictures of Zoey wearing her own homemade fashion creations.

“I can’t believe it!” Zoey said.

“Why not?” Priti Holbrooke asked. “You always wear cool clothes!”

“I don’t know,” Zoey said. “I guess because . . . well, because it means that not everyone feels the same way about my outfits as Ivy Wallace does.”

“Of course they don’t!” Kate said. “Look how many people read your blog.”

“And you were asked to be a guest judge on Fashion Showdown!” Priti reminded her. “That doesn’t happen to just anyone. Especially someone who doesn’t have fashion sense.”

“Ivy Wallace is just jealous,” Libby said. “I bet that’s why she always says mean things.”

“Still, it’s nice to know everyone else thinks I’m well-dressed,” Zoey said, flipping through the pages of her yearbook. “Hey, look! Priti, you’ve been voted Most Entertaining!”

“Entertaining? Moi? Really?” Priti said, waving her hands in a dramatic gesture.

Zoey passed Priti her yearbook so she could see the picture of herself wearing a glittery headband, with jazz hands and a big smile.

“Why, yes, I guess I am the Most Entertaining!” she said. “But where is my Oscar statuette?”

“It’s probably still getting engraved.” Zoey played along.

Priti giggled.

“Kate, you’ve been voted Most Likely to Win Olympic Gold!” Libby said, still flipping through the yearbook pages. There were several pictures of Kate—playing soccer and on the swim team.

Kate blushed as she looked at the pictures. “I don’t know why. There are lots of good athletes—”

“C’mon, girl—own it!” Priti said. “You’re the bomb!”

“You deserve it,” Zoey said. “Mapleton Prep wouldn’t have done nearly as well in soccer or swimming without you.”

“I guess,” Kate said. “But—”

“No buts!” Libby said.

“Own it!” Zoey said.

“Okay, okay, I own it,” Kate said.

“Say ‘I am the bomb,’ ” Priti instructed.

“Do I have to?” Kate sighed.

“Yes,” Libby said.

Zoey agreed with Priti too. Kate sighed again.

“Oooookay. I’mthebomb. Satisfied?” Kate said.

“It’s a start, but next time, say it like you really mean it,” Priti said.

“What about you, Libby?” Kate asked, trying desperately to change the subject from herself. “Did you get an award?”

They all flipped through the awards pages. Sadly, Libby hadn’t been voted “best” anything.

“I don’t mind,” Libby said, “really. Besides, I’m still pretty new here. There’s time for me to be best at something.”

“Wait, look,” Zoey exclaimed. “There’s a big picture of you at the fashion show!”

“Ooh, and I’m modeling the dress you made!” Libby said. “Which is still my favorite dress ever, by the way. Well, next to the Libby dress.”

“My favorite picture in the whole yearbook is the one of all four of us together,” Kate said, turning to the picture of the four girls at the dance, wearing their tiaras.

“Yes!” Priti exclaimed. “I love that one. That was such a fun night.”

“That’s my favorite, too,” Libby said.

“Mine too,” Zoey said. “You guys definitely get my vote for Best Besties!”

That night before dinner, Zoey’s dad said he had some good news for Zoey.

Zoey was always up for good news.

“I spoke to Erica Hill today,” her father said, “and we talked about setting a date for the visit.”

Zoey was confused.

“Who is Erica Hill, and what visit?” she asked.

Mr. Webber grinned. “Erica Hill is the assistant to a fashion designer by the name of Daphne Shaw. I think you might have heard of her.”

“We’re going to visit Daphne’s fashion design studio? Yippeeeee!” Zoey shrieked. “It’s really happening? I’m meeting my idol?”

“Huh? I can’t hear you. Um . . . I think you just broke my eardrums,” Marcus, Zoey’s older brother, complained.

“Sorry, Marcus,” Zoey said. “But . . . it’s Daphne Shaw!! Can you blame me for being excited? When are we going, Dad? When?”

“The Friday after school gets out,” Dad explained. “Erica and I actually talked about the visit a while back, but we agreed it would make more sense to wait till the summer, when you were out of school and the studio wasn’t so busy. Daphne wanted to make sure she has time to show you around personally and take you out to lunch.”

Zoey hugged her dad and then started dancing around the kitchen in excitement, singing a little victory song. “I’m going to New Yo-orrrk, to meet Daphne Sha-awww!” she sang. “She’s taking me to lu-unnnch!”

“I’m going to go cray-zee if Zo-eeey doesn’t stop sing-innng,” Marcus sang in a groaning parody of his sister. “Dad, please. Make. It. Sto-oppp!”

“Actually, I was wondering, Zoey . . .” Her dad hesitated, and Zoey stopped dancing and singing because he sounded serious. “Well, I can drive you to New York and take you to the studio . . . It’s just, well, you know what my fashion sense is like. On a scale of one to ten, it’s a negative five.”

“Negative five is being way too hard on yourself, Dad. I’d have said you were at least a three. I’d even go as high as a four or a five when you aren’t wearing sweats,” Zoey joked.

“Well, since we’re going to the fashion district, to meet a top designer who is your inspiration, the last thing I want to do is embarrass you by showing up in some fuddy-duddy outfit. So what do you say we hit the mall tonight, and you can help me pick out a more fashion-forward outfit?”

“Yes! I’d be happy to be your fashion adviser,” Zoey said, giving her father another hug. It was really kind of cute when he admitted he was prone to making fashion faux pas. She couldn’t wait to take him shopping!

Later that night, Marcus and his band were practicing in the basement. Mr. Webber ordered them pizza for dinner so that he and Zoey could get an early start at the mall. It began raining as they headed to the car.

“You can have your pick of the food court,” Dad said as they pulled out of the garage.

“After we find you an outfit,” Zoey corrected. “Fashion comes first!”

“I should have known.” Dad sighed. “Duds before grub.”

Rain pelted down on the roof of the car so hard that Zoey almost had to shout to be heard.

“It better not be like this when school gets out,” Zoey complained. “My friends and I have important poolside plans, and the pool and the pouring rain don’t mix.”

“Don’t worry, Zo,” her dad said. “It’s probably just a passing downpour.”

Sure enough, by the time they got to the mall, the rain had lightened to a drizzle and the setting sun was trying to peek its way through the clouds on the horizon.

“Look, Dad, a rainbow!” Zoey exclaimed.

“Even better, a double rainbow,” her dad said. “That’s extra good luck.”

“If I have much more good luck, I might explode from excitement,” Zoey said.

“Well, let’s go get me properly attired,” Dad said. “I don’t want to break your streak and embarrass you on the big day.”

Zoey wasn’t sure if shopping for her dad was going to be as much fun as shopping for herself and her friends, but giving him a makeover turned out to be really fun. Like when he went for his favorite style of pants and shirts and she took them out of his hands and put them right back.

“Nuh-uh, Dad. This is a makeover, not a make the same fashion choices over and over,” she said. “Don’t forget, we’re going to the heart of the fashion capital. You need to up your game.”

Instead, she made him try on some straight-leg black jeans, a button-down shirt with a bold stripe, and a sleek blazer. When he came out of the dressing room, she clapped.

“Wow, Dad! Welcome to the twenty-first century!” Zoey said, smiling. “You look amazing.”

Mr. Webber checked himself out in the mirror.

“I have to admit, I would never in a million years have picked this stuff to try on, but now that I have, I like the way it looks.”

“That’s why you need me,” Zoey told him. “To guide you to better fashion choices.”

Her father smiled at her in the mirror.

“You’re right, honey. I do need you. From now on, consider yourself my official fashion guru.”

“We’re not done yet, Dad. You need a new belt and shoes, too.”

By the time they walked out of the store, Mr. Webber had a complete Zoey-approved outfit from top to toe. Zoey even picked out some new dress socks with a subtle pattern.

“I feel like a new man,” Mr. Webber declared. “But at this point, I’m a very hungry new man. Where do you want to go for dinner?”

Zoey picked a popular burger place she knew her dad liked too.

After the waitress had taken their order, her dad suddenly had on what Zoey thought of as his “serious discussion face.”

“Zo, I need to ask you something,” he said.

Zoey fiddled with the straw in her water glass, hoping it wasn’t going to be something awkward.

“What’s that, Dad?”

“I want to make sure you’re okay with me taking you to New York,” Dad said. “Aunt Lulu would have loved to go, you know, and maybe visit some interior design studios while you guys were up there. I know she also would have loved to have done the whole shopping thing with you. The problem is, she’s got a big deadline, and she just can’t afford to take the time off right now.”

“It’s okay, Dad,” Zoey said. “I’m happy you’re taking me.”

Her father looked surprised, but Zoey could tell he was also relieved.

“You are?”

“Yeah. I mean, I know fashion isn’t your thing, exactly,” Zoey started.

“That’s putting it mildly.” Dad laughed.

“But, really—I’m glad you can be part of my big day visiting Daphne,” Zoey said. “I always wonder what it would be like to share with Mom all the great stuff that’s happened with Sew Zoey. And if you come, I know you’ll tell me what you think she’d have said and what she’d have done—it’s like having both of you rolled into one. Plus, it’ll be fun to have some daddy-daughter time.”

For a moment, Zoey thought her dad was going to get all mushy, as he sometimes did when Zoey talked about her mom, who passed away when Zoey was a toddler. But he just smiled, took her hand, and squeezed it tight.

“Well, I’m glad you’re okay with it, because I’m looking forward to being a part of your big day, too,” he said. “And by the way, I know Mom would have been so proud of you and everything you’ve accomplished with Sew Zoey. Just like I am.”

About The Author

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.

About The Illustrator

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 She lives in Berlin, Germany.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon Spotlight (June 3, 2014)
  • Length: 176 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481413985
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12
  • Lexile ® 750L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"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."

– Booklist

"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."

– School Library Journal

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