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Subversive Seamster: Transform Thrift Store Threads into Street Couture Paperback – October 16, 2007


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Subversive Seamster: Transform Thrift Store Threads into Street Couture + Rip It!: How to Deconstruct and Reconstruct the Clothes of Your Dreams + ReSew: Turn Thrift-Store Finds into Fabulous Designs
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press; First Paperback Edition edition (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156158925X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561589258
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Melissa Alvarado, Hope Meng, and Melissa Roeters are self-taught sewers and the co-owners of Stitch Lounge, a drop-in urban sewing lounge located in San Francisco. Kitted out with 5 sewing machines, 2 sergers, a cutting table, and other sewing related equipment, Stitch Lounge offers a wide range of sewing classes, from Sewing Machine Basics to Re: Fashion Class ("Take that baggy sweater that's been sitting in your closet unworn for 3 years and give it new life! Alter the neckline, or change the fit or even cut off the arms to make legwarmers!") to a weekend long workshop on Independent Designers and the Fashion Marketplace taught by local designers. In addition to classes, Stitch Lounge lets sewers buy time on the machines and bringing in your own machine is heartily encouraged. Please check out their website at www.stitchlounge.com.

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Customer Reviews

They are not radical and hip, they are messy and sad.
Sean M. Alexander
This book has truely great ideas about how to recycle items of clothing, where to get those items, all that sort of jazz!
Melissa Wayne
The fashions are mostly so out there that not many real people will be caught dead in them.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

158 of 163 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on January 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
After reading about this book on a blog that I frequent, I checked it out from the local library. Our family relies heavily on thrift shopping to clothe all of us (7 in all!), and anything to make thrift items more useful and attractive seems like a great idea.

That said, these are beyond stylish (in the strangest way), and most of the fashions are just plain weird. I will try to upload some customer images, so readers can take a look and decide for themselves.

I understand that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" so my opinions are clearly not gospel...they are just that...opinions.

My 2 stars are for the excellent pages of sewing instruction at the beginning, and the nifty method of making a custom dress form using an old T-shirt and duct tape. That is very clever and a thrifty idea!

I liked some of the accessory and home ideas: pillow covers from button down shirts, the checkbook cover, the shopping bag. The fashions are mostly so out there that not many real people will be caught dead in them.

If you were hoping to make these clothes useful for filling out an everyday or professional wardrobe, for instance...on a budget...don't get your hopes up. Many are just plain ugly and unflattering, even on the uber-hip women pictured in the book.

Here are some examples:
...a pair of pants with sewn-on chaps
...crocheted poncho turned into a skirt, looks like it's just being worn over a slip
...a winter mini skirt made from a wool dress coat (theirs is ivory, no less!). Take a look at the picture, and then try to imagine sitting down! Also, think "bulky wool coat pockets" around most women's hips. Ick.
...a pleated school uniform-type skirt turned into a tube top.
...
Read more ›
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Sean M. Alexander on April 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is beyond bad. For those trying to save money by buying at thrift stores - save your money and don't buy this book! The "fashion" ideas, and that is a term used loosely, are horrible and all look badly home made. In some of the photos the edges aren't even finished correctly ( i.e. a bustier with uneven edge seams and threads hanging out)- and most are fashions that no one in their right style mind would wear. They are not radical and hip, they are messy and sad. The only idea that might prove helpful is how to create your own dress makers dummy - and this is a recycled idea.

If you must look at this book, a trip to the local library and about 30 seconds is all you will need.
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful By slow thinker on April 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Making trash into worse trash

Oh. My. God. Where to begin? Upgrading ordinary clothes is a hobby of mine and I purchased Subversive Seamster by mail hoping for fresh ideas. After I turned the first pages I realized that the real value of this book is entertainment. As each photograph reveals a new fashion atrocity you begin to merrily anticipate further sartorial horrors and you are not disappointed. Chest-flattening tops, skirts without proper hems, tucks that look like accidents, a shirt sleeve made into coin purse (who is THAT poor?), appliqués zigzagged with " medium stitch length and width" showing unraveling edges and other hobo projects. If you want to apply for food stamps wear one of these creations. It will help. I alternatively laughed and cringed. I still cannot decide which project wins the Palm of Ugliness: the bulging un-hemmed Peek-a-Bootylicious Skirt made of men's pants or the gaucho pants with applied flannel pajama legs. I also question the wisdom of sacrificing a classic leather vest to make a pair of earrings. I would no more want to wear such clothes than I would want to eat from a garbage container. If you are very poor, save your time and effort by wearing unaltered thrift store clothes, you won't look any worse.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By W. Edwards on November 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Several reviews have pointed out how bad this book is. I am amazed then, that there are 3 and 1/2 stars for this book all the same. Let me chime in with another 1 star review.

This book is AWFUL.

The 'ideas' in here are terrible. They should NOT HAPPEN. To ANYONE. No one should have to look that bad. They must have given the models Valium or something to make them smile like that. I would cry if I was wearing old man pants re-made into giant, unflattering short-shorts. Truly, the original items are very 'vintagey,' but kinda cool in a retro, hipster way. The re-made items, however, are just so ill-fit, bizarre, and badly made that no one could think they looked good in them unless they were high on something.

Also, the duct-tape dummy idea? Nice thought, but 1) that's a concept you could have gotten off of the internet and 2) I tried it. It didn't work so well. The problem is that there is nothing inside of the dummy to make sure it stays in the proper shape - it fluffs out round, like a Coke can, not side to side like a person is. Unless you are a master sculptor when working with duct tape and stuffing, it's just a recipe for making an awkward dummy of yourself. My kids had fun tackling the dummy, but sad for them, it's going in the trash (wonder what the garbage guys will make of that!) and I'm looking at buying a real dress form. They're only about $70 anyhow, and they're re-adjustable.

So for 'new' or recycled ideas, this book is just not worth it. The only good thing about it is that I got it from the library and can just take it back.

The only person to suffer now is the next person to check it out.
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