Q&A With Tina Sparkles!

Alright, so you’ve all probably gone out and purchased Little Green Dresses, Tina Sparkles’ new book, which is sure to become every DIY guru’s bible. However, if you can’t get enough of the crafty Texan herself, you’ve come to the right place.

Tina Sparkles

After posting about her book, I kept coming up with questions that I wanted to ask Tina myself. Luckily, I was able to reach out to her and pick her brain for some juicy info that lends itself greatly to Fashion That Gives Back.

So check it out, a total must-read Q&A with the super seamstress and blogger herself.

1. How long have you been actively crafting and sewing?

“My earliest crafting/sewing memory is of me reconstructing t-shirts into tight tube skirts and making hand embroidered belts in 6th grade.  I even “invented” a velcro bowtie for a school project that year, but I didn’t start to get serious about sewing and crafting till college….which was a little over ten years ago.”

2. When and why did you start your blog? Is there a particular person, event, place, or thing that prompted you to publish your thoughts and your work on the web?

“I’ve started or contributed to several blogs with varying amounts of success over the years.  I get really excited about blogging to share my work and ideas with people, but usually what happens is that I get busy and don’t have time to update and keep up with posting.  When I first started my tinasparkles.com blog my goal was to add at least one new entry a week……ummmm, FAIL!  Hahahha.  Blogging takes so much time…..maybe I need a personal secretary to record everything and take pictures for me and do all the uploading and computer work!!!!  If only my cat would wake up from his nap and help me.”

3. Do you follow any other blogs? If so, which ones?

“I don’t really follow anything religiously, but I’ll click around occasionally and read fashion or craft related blogs like the ones I have listed on my website.”

4. Are you a fan of eco-conscious design/fashion? Do you have a favorite designer?

“I’m totally an admirer of eco-conscious design/designers.  It takes guts to go that route especially when it is easier and cheaper to do things the traditionally harmful/wasteful way.  I’ve always been a fan of Katherine Hamnett.  She is the original when it comes to eco and ethically friendly fashion.  I love how she isn’t afraid to get political and challenge the mainstream.”

5. Recently, eco-conscious fashion has been given more attention in the mainstream media. Do you think that eco-conscious fashion has a place in the fashion industry? Is there potential for it to make money and thrive as an additional market?

“Eco-conscious fashion definitely has a place in the fashion industry, unfortunately I think the recession has really put a damper on its momentum.  Because eco-friendly resources are not as widely available the price points need to be high right now in order to cover costs. I think people are interested in supporting it, but the economic factors are putting up a huge barrier.  Hopefully things will turn around for the economy or maybe some other situation will arise that makes it more affordable.”

6. How do you market your skill/your persona/your blog? Do you use social media?

“In a way, I’m kinda bad at marketing because I don’t like being a salesperson.  People always seem to find out about the things that I do eventually and I’m fine with that.  I have a Facebook page that I have really embraced lately, but I participate in it more for fun than for promoting myself. I also have a Twitter account, but I don’t use it quite as much, yet.  There are so many other social networking sites that I could be a part of, but I get overwhelmed with all of it and I’d rather be making stuff or doing things rather than sitting in front of the computer. ”

7. Your book is so intriguing and really fun. Tell me a little bit about the idea for your book and the process of writing it/putting it together.

“Thanks so much!!  Well, back in 2005 I decided to stop buying new clothes and instead either make my own or get used clothes from thrift, vintage and swap resources.  It was such a powerful and eye opening experience for me that I was inspired to share it with everyone.  I love that I have the skills to make anything that I dream up and I wanted to pass on those skills and my ideas.  At the same time I felt really compelled to inform people about what our consumer culture is doing to the planet and people and hopefully inspire others to start doing things differently.  The process of writing the book was quite intense.  It took me a little over a year to put it all together including designing and sewing up the projects and then creating the instructions and drawing the diagrams.  It was my full time job for that entire year and at times I thought to myself that I would never do it again, but now that it is done, I would totally do it again!!!!”

8. What is next on your radar? Can we expect another book?

“Perhaps another book.  Right now I am working on a digital pattern project for my website where I will have some of my clothing designs available for download.  I am also experimenting with doing “how-to” videos for those projects.”

9. Do you think that DIY projects have the potential to make money?

“In many ways, it seems like DIY is the opposite of commerce, however, I think that DIY based businesses have the ability to sustain an individual for as long as they can continue to do it.  At some point though, when it comes to making stuff yourself to sell, you reach a limit as to how much one person can make.  Once you take a step to take it to the next level of production and money-making, you move further away from DIY.”

10. If you could give one suggestion to someone who is looking to become a better DIY-er/eco-conscious fashionista, what would it be?

“My one suggestion would be to just consider the history and impact of anything that you might make, buy or consume.  This consideration will lead us in the right direction.”

Check out some pics straight from the pages of Tina’s book below! Photo Credit: Erica Beckman

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