Little Green Dresses, Tina Sparkles
Taunton Press, $22.95
$15.61 at Amazon

A lot of us Dollar Store Crafters are afraid of something: our sewing machines! Tina Sparkles’ Little Green Dress is the perfect book for the frugal crafter who sews or wishes she could sew to refashion clothing. The book is all about “green” sewing, which means it emphasizes using thrifted, recycled, remnants, or old garments for fabric to make fabulous new garments.

If the idea of refashioning clothing to make fab new stuff intrigues you, this book is a definite resource. If you don’t have the first clue about sewing, this book has a great introduction to sewing section that gives you a quick and easy-to-understand crash course in sewing: from choosing the right fabric, to basics of sewing that will help you get smooth and professional results from your first project.

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If you’re not a sewing beginner, this book still has plenty to offer. It will walk you through how to make your own patterns (YES, from scratch!) to make garments that fit you perfectly. It will advise you on how to sew certain weights and types of fabric, how to modify existing patterns to work better, and how to combine patterns together to get the garment you want.

And then there are the patterns. Many dresses, some tops, skirts, and even rompers. Lots of good, solid patterns for women who are comfortable dressing in a youthful style (think Forever 21 or the hipster girls you see eating at that breakfast place down the street). Maybe I’m getting old (someone needs to write Little Green Mom Jeans for me, I guess), but I probably wouldn’t wear most of these dresses because they’re so short. The beauty of the book is, of course, that I can modify the patterns to suit the lengths I would feel comfortable wearing, and that is a very cool thing.

I had a few favorite pieces in the book:

Oversized Caged Hoodie by Peggy Noland

Such a graphic and unique look (especially over the red dress).

Bib Dress by Fredda and Jennifer Perkins

So cute & colorful, just like everything Jennifer Perkins makes! I didn’t include a picture of the whole look because I couldn’t get a good one, but this version is styled with fuschia tights, which is super fun.

Deluxe Rectangle Skirt

I especially love the one with the wider waist, and it looks cute with the suspenders (although generally I’m not a huge fan of the girls-with-suspenders thing).

Additional Resources:


The Wardrobe Refashion Project: Pledge for 2 or more months to avoid buying new clothes and instead refashion what you have or finds from the thrift store. Then post your creations to the group blog to show off what you’ve done during your pledge. This is a super fun project to get involved with. Sign-ups are accepted every two months, so get your name on the waiting list if you’re interested in taking part. In the meantime, just check the blog out to get some refashion inspiration. [photo above from a refashion at Pull Your Socks Up]

New Dress a Day: Seamster Marisa pledged to make one dress a day for just $1. Yep, this is definitely down our collectively frugal alley! Check the blog here to see how Marisa is doing with the project (hint: very well!) To find out more (including hints and tips for refashioning your own dresses), check out this Craftypod podcast about New Dress a Day.

Cut out + Keep: A DIY community with tons of crafty and refashioning inspiration (you’ll find a lot of dollar store-ish crafts there, too).

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