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113 of 121 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Focuses on pattern drafting rather than repurposing
When I bought my copy of Little Green Dresses, I expected a book on repurposing--creatively altering--used clothing. Instead, I received what has the air of a repurposed book. That is, I suspect that author Tina Sparkles wrote, or proposed to the publisher, a beginner book on drafting patterns for and assembling simple, kicky styles that appeal to teenagers and young...
Published on September 8, 2010 by A. J Terry

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great, if you want to dress like Zooey Deschanel
First, my main criticism is more about the style of clothes shown in the book. Yes, this is a taste thing. Some women are going to love them. I'll admit I'm a little old for the styles in the book at 42, but even at 22 I don't think I would have been crazy about these clothes. I always preferred more classic lines even when I was young and clubbing a lot!! Additionally,...
Published on September 27, 2012 by Stephanie


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113 of 121 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Focuses on pattern drafting rather than repurposing, September 8, 2010
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This review is from: Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More (Paperback)
When I bought my copy of Little Green Dresses, I expected a book on repurposing--creatively altering--used clothing. Instead, I received what has the air of a repurposed book. That is, I suspect that author Tina Sparkles wrote, or proposed to the publisher, a beginner book on drafting patterns for and assembling simple, kicky styles that appeal to teenagers and young adults. Then the editor said, "There are a number of such books already competing on the market, but eco-friendly is a hot new trend. Let's add an eight-page introduction that urges readers to consume responsibly, a twenty-page chapter on the most basic sewing techniques, a small handful of projects specifically on remaking clothing, and a sidebar explaining that used clothing can yield notions such as buttons and zippers readers can put on other clothes. Oh, and instead of telling them to use new fabric, just advise them to either buy lengths of thrift-store fabric, or to use big pieces like blankets. The techniques are exactly the same as for using new fabric, so you won't have to change the assembly directions."

Because, that's exactly what this book is. Don't get me wrong, I am entirely in favor of eco-responsibility. For all ages, not just teenagers and young adults. I believe that all home sewing is "green" to some extent. It also helps you to fill your wardrobe with clothes you love and that fit you well, whether these are minis (as in this book), or boho, or what. It is actually harder to draft patterns than to buy commercial ones (which you can probably find for all the styles in this book), but young beginners who want to just plunge in seem to feel that drafting patterns is somehow easier or more creative. And Little Green Dresses is a good manual for them, although they will also need some basic sewing experience--or at least another, comprehensive, manual on sewing techniques . . . but let's get back to repurposing. If what you expect is a book that focuses primarily on altering the styles of used garments without cutting them up entirely to get flat fabric, or on taking sleeves and other parts from two or three garments to create one new garment, or on dealing with stains, tears, etc., . . . this book is not it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great, if you want to dress like Zooey Deschanel, September 27, 2012
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This review is from: Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More (Paperback)
First, my main criticism is more about the style of clothes shown in the book. Yes, this is a taste thing. Some women are going to love them. I'll admit I'm a little old for the styles in the book at 42, but even at 22 I don't think I would have been crazy about these clothes. I always preferred more classic lines even when I was young and clubbing a lot!! Additionally, almost every skirt or dress is super short, like ridiculously short. The author admits that she just loves mini-skirts and her bias shows. But even when I used to wear mini-skirts, I wouldn't have worn them all the time, and I would have wanted some longer skirts and dresses mixed in. Yes, you can lengthen the skirts (that's the whole point of the DIY)...but many of the styles included are just not going to look great longer.

Still, I feel that a book about "green" dresses (versus a book about "green dresses for people under 30") should try to offer a few more variations in style, and not have every dress in the book look like something you'd wear out for a night at the bar. So that's why I give this book 3 stars...there's not enough variety of clothing styles and they are way too trendy. I'm sure this has to do with the age and experience of the writer...and I suspect as she matures she'll naturally start mixing things up more.

There are only a few projects in here that I might try...one that I love, which is the bell jar coat. Most of the styles would not be anything I'd wear personally.

On the positive - the author offers really *great* info on making your own patterns - and she's very thorough. I have this book on loan from the library, and even though I'm not inclined to make most of the projects in the book, I might purchase it at some point for the pattern-making instructions. Just be clear - if you are over 40 especially, this book will *not* offer you much in the way of style choices. This book is more geared for skinny women under 30 who have the legs for mini-skirts. If you are older, plus-sized, or like more conservative clothing at any age, then don't buy this book for the styles - buy it because of the pattern-making info. On the other hand, if you love quirky clothing and Zooey Deschanel is your idol, you will *love* this book. :-)
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sew til yer fingers fall off!!!, September 17, 2010
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This review is from: Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More (Paperback)
I am a sewing book junkie, and absolutely love this new offering by Miss Sparkles. I live in Austin, and though I don't know her, reading through this book made me feel like she was a dear friend, guiding me patiently through all sorts of fun projects. Her explanations for building your own patterns are simple and clear and don't seem more difficult than ironing out a pesky tissue pattern and altering it to fit your body. With her instruction, you can actually make simple garments that are made based on your measurements, not that of a pattern company's idea of your size. She has illustrated each project with a sample garment so you know what the finished product will look like. A lot of the styling is not my personal taste (I love 60's), but it's easy to envision how you can make the clothes to suit your own taste. I also love how each project has a sidebar called "Mix It Up", in which she gives you more ideas to customize each pattern. Seriously, you could take one of her pattern ideas and do a bazillion different takes on it without looking like you're making the same thing over and over again.
I'm a big fan of recycling clothing and vintage sheets, etc. so this book was right up my alley. Not only are there instructions for making your own customized patterns, but also repurposing ideas for existing garments (along the lines of the Subversive Seamster books). I like the inspiration I get from this book...my mind turns into sewing overdrive and I want to sew til my fingers fall off. Seriously. I think my boyfriend is starting to look at me weird.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice book for serious sewers, October 27, 2010
This review is from: Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More (Paperback)
This book is themed around the very popular idea of making new clothes out of old clothes. There are lots of books covering this subject but this one takes a very different take on the concept.
Instead of being another how to turn jeans into skirts or teeshirts into shrugs type of book, this one is about actually drafting new patterns and creating very polished finished pieces of clothing. It's very in depth about how to make patterns to fit you perfectly.
For that reason, it may not be good for re-vamping an existing wardrobe of clothes that already fit you well, but it's a great use for thrift store and garage sale clothes and linens that will have the yardage necessary to completely remake them into something very wearable.
Most of the patterns are geared towards a younger audience, stylish 20 somethings, but the skirts and dresses are easily lengthened for people who more comfortable in more modest clothing.
The other thing I like about this book is that the pattern drafting information can also help someone fit their existing wardrobe better.
There is a lot of information in here and a lot of very nice clothing designs. Skirts, tops and dresses that have classic lines and are well tailored and fitted. The patterns you draft for yourself can be used and worn for years. In someways it reminds me of my Mom's old Vogue sewing book, but with designs that are a lot more current and suggesting use of salvaged table linens and curtains instead of buying new fabric. Although new fabric is completely usable as well. A wonderful addition to a sewing library, and a great resource for people who want to learn how to make clothes to fit them perfectly.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love it, June 28, 2011
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This review is from: Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More (Paperback)
A previous reviewer mentioned that it is more a "pattern drafting" book rather than being a "green" and "repurposing" book and I agree with this statement. As someone who is new to sewing and not familiar with both repurposing and drafting I find this book a nice introduction to both but challenging. This book gives plenty of ideas and tips and while I'm not going to try out all of the designs in the book it has given me ideas that I wouldn't have gotten without this book. My only problem is that it would have been nice to include designs for a more mature audience. I would also like to add that this is not truly a beginners book and is better suited for someone that has some experience.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great practical introduction to patternmaking, November 15, 2010
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This review is from: Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More (Paperback)
ive been making reconstructed vintage garments and selling them on etsy and the craft fair scene for the past four years or so and recently decided that its time to get deeper into drafting patterns. i was completely overwhelmed (and frankly, couldnt afford) fashion-school type textbooks on design and pattern making, which were complete overkill since as of right now, i just wanted to dip my toes into more basic dresses and skirts. this book is a really great introduction into HOW pattern pieces are measured, cut, and assembled, and is primarily focused on using your own measurements in making patterns. i really love how many of the more complicated projects use or start with pattern pieces from simpler ones, so one could do each project from beginning to end and get really comfortable with drawing patterns, and that many of the projects end with suggested variations. my only complaint is that some of the projects require VERY specific vintage garments, or require so much yardage that vintage materials might prove impractical.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't Love It, December 13, 2012
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A. Reed "student" (Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More (Paperback)
This book was so specific to finding particular garments, I didn't feel that inspired. It wasn't easy to take a look at the projects they did and then come up with my own. Plus, I found that many of the dresses were just way too immodest for my taste. I don't need a whole closet of mini dresses.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Little Green Dresses, November 22, 2011
This review is from: Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More (Paperback)
I love the idea of this book that explains about helping the environment while saving money and still being able to dress fashionably. 'Little Green Dresses' does a good job of explaining how to use old clothes, both from home and bought from charity shops, to refashion into more stylish items. It shows the techniques step by step, which as a novice I find helpful. Where the book slips up for me is with the designs as I can't see myself wearing most of them. They seem more suitable for the younger generation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the aspiring designer new to sewing-- Your first sewing projects are in this book, October 23, 2010
This review is from: Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More (Paperback)
I think Tina's approach is really refreshing. I love her d.i.y. mentality, the "upcycling" ideas and her rock n'roll aesthetic. Many of her designs are for no-fuss girls who like to dress up in personally stylized threads, and beginners needn't be intimidated, her projects are pretty straight forward. The projects in Little Green Dresses are edgy and girly, but versatile enough for many different fashion personalities to follow her lead, while creating her projects in their own style or color palate. I am holding the book in my hands as I type, and I think it's well worth the buy.

Look what I made from Little Green Dresses: [...]
It couldn't have been easier to follow the instructions-- highly recommended for the beginner to advanced sewer!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indie girl dream;, January 5, 2011
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This review is from: Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More (Paperback)
Honestly, I adore this book. Not only is it educating the sewer about the realities of fabric consumption, but the majority of the book is filled with ADORABLE dresses, skirts, and my favorite.. rompers! If you're too poor to shop at Urban Outfitters, I recommend this book. For a beginner sewer, this book will help get you off following patterns and into fashion personalization and creativity.
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Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More
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