Monday, May 14, 2012

New Feature! Book Review Monday-Little Green Dresses

I never mentioned when I reviewed Chic and Simple Sewing, that I was asked to review it, as I was with this book. I have decide to implement Book Review Monday. I have a lot of sewing books and this may help other people and will give me a good reason to read them all again.

I have been having a heck of a time writing this review. I feel like I should like this book more than I do. For one this book is published by Taunton Press, the publishers of Threads Magazine and IMO some of the best sewing books ever published, period.

I am clearly not the target audience for this book, which clearly is twenty somethings,judging by the length of the skirts. On the cover it says there is "50 Original Patterns", there really isn't, at least not in the usual sense, the way that Sew Everything Workshop, Sew U, etc. etc. do. There are what appear to be (I haven't tried them) very good directions for drafting your own patterns. The concept of this book is taking apart existing clothes (your own or thrifted) and cutting new garments. Clearly a worthy goal. Have a look at some photos.

I think we can all agree that some of the clothes are less than attractive.

Anyway. The thing about this book is if you were so inclined to remake older garments into new clothes, you would put your own stamp on them and they would come out looking completely different.

Aside from the actual sewn clothes, the styling for the clothes sucks, as does the makeup and hair for the models. The photography isn't great either. They should have done a much better job of editing this book, as it is, the book looks old and dated, much older than 2006 when it was published.

The supervisors, left. Ricky, right Jasper.

Would I recommend this book. A definite maybe. IF you want to restyle your clothes, maybe. I would still take it out of the library or have a seat in your local bookstore and take your time deciding before handing over Ms. Visa Card.

Anyone out there disagree or agree? Comments?

Next week, Sewing Lingerie That Fits by Karen Morris, published by Taunton Press.


  1. ooooh! I've just made a little green dress, hahahaha.

    I'm going to check this book out, thanks for the review!

    Bundana x

    1. Your dress is far nicer than any in this book!

  2. Wow- how did you focus on the text and tech drawings and not spend your whole time in front of a mirror trying to perfect those bangs? The striped sweater model- her expression is so 'they took me from my bed, forced me to help them form crop circles and made me wear these lacy clown shoes- why couldn't they just have probed me like decent aliens?!

    1. You know I should try those bangs (fringe to you Brits), they hide wrinkles. The photos are sooooo bad, and not bad in the cool way, bad in the ugliest way possible.

  3. That blue and red sweatshirt thing is really bad. Really. Bad. I'm on the fence about refashioning, and from what you've written and shown us, this book hasn't encouraged me to jump into the fray (pun intended). It's definitely meant for a young crowd with beginning sewing skills.
    I was talking this weekend with a fabric store owner in Ithaca, NY about this very issue. She doesn't see many young sewists learning how to sew well, how to do detailed sewing work. She sees lots of refashioning, and it looks like junior high level sewing - the bad kind, the kids who were never going to learn to sew well.
    I'm glad for the 20 something accomplished sewists out there who are using social media, as they may reach some of these kids and show them the value of good sewing technique. There is hope.

    1. My timing was interesting, wasn't it?

      I am sure that some of the young refashioners will develop taste and an interest in wearing well made clothes. Just like kids who will eat at Micky D's everyday if they were allowed, they develop a sophisticated palette and move on. Let's hope so.

  4. I saw this at our local Borders closing sale, and I actually sat down to peruse it closely. The projects were so far from the kind of sewing I want to accomplish that I put it back on the shelf without another thought.

    I feel like I should approve of refashioning more than I do. I see a few people doing some lovely things, but most of it looks odd and tacky to me. My few experiences with refashioning (generally in the context of making costumes) suggest it takes a LOT longer to deconstruct a garment than it does to sew from scratch. That may be me, as I don't transition from 2-D to 3-D thinking very well. It's just easier to cut out a pattern, match the lines and sew it up than it is to pin and drape and slash....

  5. I can't say much about the book. I like to refashion. But I agree that some of the projects don't look very attractive. But your supervisors are super adorable.