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Sew Subversive: Down and Dirty DIY for the Fabulous Fashionista Paperback


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Sew Subversive: Down and Dirty DIY for the Fabulous Fashionista + Subversive Seamster: Transform Thrift Store Threads Into Street Couture + Rip It!: How to Deconstruct and Reconstruct the Clothes of Your Dreams
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561588091
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561588091
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #858,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fashion hipsters Rannels, Alvarado and Meng are co-owners of San Francisco's Stitch Lounge, a drop-in sewing center where would-be fashionistas can rent sewing machines by the hour, take lessons and compare notes on design and technique. They are enthusiastic teachers and, in their first book, give beginning sewers all the basics, plus 22 tempting projects. Their mission—"subverting" fashion—is all about "embellishing and customizing clothes—refashioning them to make them uniquely your own." This can mean anything from altering the fit of a blouse with pin tucks and sewing ribbon stripes onto an old pair of jeans to whipping up a sun dress out of a pillowcase. They start with a solid chapter on hand sewing (mending rips, hemming skirts), then tell you everything you've ever wanted to know about sewing machines but were afraid to ask. T-shirts are torn apart to make mini skirts, shoulder bags and tube tops. It's true that the results have a shaggy and informal look, definitely suited to a young audience, but the projects are quick and fun and get the creative juices flowing. With its casual approach and offbeat creations, this is definitely not your mother's sewing book. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Once related to little old ladies, the frugal minded and neohippie handicrafters, sewing your own clothes is back in vogue...New books such as Sew Subversive by the founders of Stitch Lounge in San Francisco...give step-by-step instructions for all kinds of projects."
"- Time magazine
""Sew Subversive is filled with lots of inspiring DIY fashion, refashioning ideas, and tutorials for projects like making a pillowcase dress, or turning old sweaters into a scarf.""
- CRAFT magazine
""""This book rocks!...The owners of Stitch Lounge took a decidedly alternative approach to designing and repurposing clothing...whether your look is grunge or sophisticated casual, there's something here for everyone."
- "Creative Techniques magazine
"
What fun! Clever, off the wall, creative and definitely not your granny's sewing book. These three young authors have managed to create a sewing guide that speaks the language of the young. As an example, we usually refer to the right side and wrong side of the fabric; the two Melissas and one Hope refer to the party side and the business side of the fabric. This gets the new sewer all the information that is needed to get down to the fun part...the creative sewing....fast.
Linda Stewart, Professional Association of Custom Clothiers

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Customer Reviews

I also like the authors' fun, hip, "hey girlfriend" tone.
Target Shopper
Would be good to spark the creativity of a young seamstress, but was not fo me, an experienced sewer/crafter.
R. Madison
I'm all for hip, cool, trendy clothes, but most of the outfits are un-wearable and really poorly designed.
Sarah

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Shannon B Davis VINE VOICE on July 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a fun and inspiring book. I noticed that some of the other reviewers thought it was too simplistic. It is true that it focuses on some of the most basic sewing techniques, including handsewing, and how you can take a minimum amount of tools and create fabulous outfits. It is for would-be sewer who is intimidated by the notions, patterns, and fabrics in the fabric store, but would love to get started on some quick, creative projects using what s/he already has. Being the daughter of an amazing seamstress/designer, I have always been ashamed that I can't sew. Most patterns assume some level of knowledge and involve complicated diagrams. This book however got me jumpstarted and now I am doing all sorts of projects.

The first part of the book focuses on technique and some people may not use this. However, I found the hand-sewing information very useful. With the advent of machines, I never learned to handsew. I wish there had been information on sergers, since I just bought one, but it was probably considered too advanced.

The rest of the book involves modifying clothing you already have, such as making a t-shirt fit better, changing a pair of jeans into a skirt, or converting a tee into a tube top or a messenger bag. Many of the ideas can be done in under an hour and it is great to find a use for all those baggy t-shirts I had acquired. This book is in fact very GREEN in that it encourages re-use and recycling of existing clothing, rather than buying new fabric! It's also encourages creativity - break away from those patterns and make something new - or take something off the rack and modify it! I really like the idea behind this book.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on July 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was excited to see this new DIY sewing book in the new books section of the library, as I'd been eying it on-line for awile. However I was really disappointed with this book after reading it. Sew Subversive offers the beginning sewer (and I do mean complete beginner) and "Fashionista" somewhat practical advice at the beginning of the book on a number of topics including, choosing a sewing machine and how to thread it, hand-sewing, understanding fabrics, reading a pattern, organizing supplies and other nitty gritty. Much of this information is supplied in an easy to understand and well laid out format. The bright color photography and fun casual conversational tone will put the nervous beginner at ease. However the second half of the book where the patterns begin are where I have to give really low reviews. First off the patterns are horrendous! I'm all for hip, cool, trendy clothes, but most of the outfits are un-wearable and really poorly designed. Close up's of most of the clothes revealed terribly poor sewing, I don't think this was just for design sake either. I mean there is punk and then there is junk. I don't think even the coolest hipster could pull some of these things off. The workmanship was the worst, threads hanging, jagged edges on garments that should have been smooth and all around poor sewing. Soo....I have to say..I'm not impressed. I think the book could possibly be worth a look at for some of the helpful sewing hints in the front, but there are better beginner sewing books out there.. I dunno...if you can already sew you might be able to take some of the patterns and ideas and fine tune them a bit, but overall, for me this book was a dud.
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful By sarabella VINE VOICE on October 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is definately for beginning or very basic seamstresses. If you like the thrift store-chic look (and I am talking thrift store- old 80's stuff and granny shoes) this is great. If you like a little more sophistication and style, probably not your best option.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By H. Berndt on June 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'll admit it, I was very excited to get this book (being from the Bay Area an all). At first I was disappointed cause it started out as a crash course in sewing, I have been sewing for 10 yrs so I skipped all of it. Even the projects in here did not seem that spectacular. HOwever the more I looked at the projects and re thought my wardrobe, I got excited cause their ideas spawned more ideas and personalized the projects. I have actaully made a few of the projects in there, not their way, but I would have never even tried some of those things (that turned out super cute btw). Yes I am 27 with an ecclectic style, so the book does speak my language.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Hauterfly on October 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
Reconstruction seems to be all the rage lately among fashionistas and celebrities alike. Recently, a major fashion magazine ran a profile on a certain fashion muse as she went on a shopping spree in a very fashionable city; along the way, she took some of her mom's old shirts to a tailor to have them made into dresses. To some, this idea of "taking something old and making it modern" might be a brand new concept. But to the two Melissas and a Hope this is nothing new-- in fact, they've been doing it for years. And after reading "Sew Subversive" you'll be doing it too.

Reading this book is like hanging out with your girlfriends for a sewing lesson--fabulous girlfriends who have an eye for style that goes beyond cookie-cutter "mall-fashions." The projects are fun, the directions are easy to follow and the technical terms have been revamped for a more modern seamster, i.e. talking about the "business side" and "party side" of fabric.

And the projects ... this definitely isn't your mom's sewing book. From fashioning tube tops from old t-shirts, leg warmers from old sweaters and dresses from pillow cases, there are a lot of creative ideas in here. There are even some projects that are as simple as adding a few pin-tucks to a skirt or adding some ribbon piping to a pair of jeans.

Don't leave the reconstruction to the celebrities and fashionistas! Grab this book and see for yourself what you can come up with. Good luck.
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