A Skirt to Go to The Moon and Dye For

Funky Fall Fashion

Funky Fashion Meets Public Art

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The Brain Child Behind Eco Fashion Sewing

If you want to learn more about how to transform existing garments into new designs, Eco Fashion Sewing (http://www.ecofashionsewing.com), provides tutorials, and highlights designers who are pioneering in the Eco Fashion Industry.  Founder Mariana Kirova is reaching out to her local constituency through workshops and speaking opportunities.  And to further illustrate the importance of this category of design, she is presenting one of her collections at Australia's Eco Fashion Week in November of this year (see http://www.ecofashionweekaustralia.com).


Mariana is also the author of the E-Guide titled "Create Your Own Designer Clothing  from Vintage and Unloved Garments", available on her website.  “Women have lots of clothing that they do not wear in their wardrobes, many of which could use a simple technique or embellishment to completely transform them"  Mariana observes.  "Fast Fashion has become so disposable, it would be a lot gentler on the environment if people learned a few up cycling tricks to re-purpose rather than discard their clothing."


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A Simple Summer Bolero

Edgy, yet conservative, this kind of styling works for all ages, young and old.  And most events, casual to dressy.  In this picture we have featured a black and white design, but imagine the colors and patterns this style garment can support, and the combinations and permutations go as far and wide as the mathematical computations our minds are capable of can go.


Stripes and polka dots, contrasting plaids, primary color contrasts with trims to bring them together, the design palette for creating this garment is unlimited.  And  the garment itself provides a spectacular fashion lift to a simple camisole or tank top.  And the beauty of this style is that it is simple to construct.  No darts, princess seams, or hard-to-fit challenges.  If you want some help designing your pattern for this top, let me know!


This pin was borrowed from Etsy, but the source was not available, so I do not know who to give credit to for this wonderful photograph. 



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The Bathing Suit Nighmare

Personally, as a woman in my mid sixties, finding a suitable bathing suit for a cruise is nothing short of a nightmare. Not to mention the fact that more than one would be nice. This category of women's wear is designed for women under 35 who's bodies do not show signs of child birth. Fortunately for the plus size models these days, they get as much, if not more attention from designers as the women under 35, but for me, not fitting in either of these categories meant I had to wing it.


After unsuccessfully looking for a ready-to-wear suits, I searched the fabric sites, and found little in the way of suitable bathing suit material.  I determined that not that many seamstresses out there try this sort of project.  So I decided to visit my local second hand thrift store to see if there were any bathing suits I could use for fabric, and fortunately found a large size tankini top in navy and white polka dots, that had enough fabric for me to make a high waisted bottom featuring 'full coverage'. 


Once I had the bottoms, I thought I could buy a ready-to-wear top, but it turns out that navy is a hard color to match.  My navy was deeper and darker than what I could find to complete my bathing suit. I tried searching on white, but white was too much contrast, so I was back to the 'drawing board'.  I tried making something out of a matching navy and white stripe jersey, but the clown effect was just too prominent. I might have to wait for the right thing, whenever or whatever this was going to be.


On a separate note, I went through my closet and found a tie dyed lycra tunic that never fit right, so I decided to cut it up.  It was a nice summer orange, and could be useful on the cruise, so I made a pair of pants.  After finishing these, I played around with what I had left so see if it was possible  to make a bathing suit top, after discovering that it looked good with the navy and white polka dot fabric.  At the end of the day, I had a top unlike anything I have ever seen before!  And I liked it!


While the curve of the hemline of this top was an accident, it does an excellent job of narrowing the waist.  It accomplishes this by the semi circular shape being narrower at the waist and curving out toward the hips at the side of the body.  I will definitely use this again in my design work!!


Fashionably Yours,



The Circle Skirt Pattern



Because I do not use patterns in my design work, I think that others must not use them as well.  But I forget that one of the biggest cornerstone of home sewing are the patterns!  They are as important as the zippers, the thread, not to mention buttons and snaps. 


Sew I have decided to introduce a line of patterns that feature particular aspects of sustainable fashion design.  My first pattern, illustrated on the left, is for a Zero Waste Outfit, a circle skirt, neck scarf, and baseball hat.  This pattern uses a perfect square of fabric, plus 2" for the neck scarf (or 5" if your fabric is not reversible), so if your yardage is 42 inches wide, you will want 44" of reversible length, or 47" of non-reversible fabric.  


The beauty of hats are that they protect you from the sun without requiring sun screen, which does not always agree with everyone's skin.  The beauty of having a hat/skirt and neck scarf outfit is that you do not have to think about how to put it together when you are standing in your closet trying to decide what to wear.  You put it together by the virtue of buying a pattern that takes you through making this ensemble step-by-step.  Enjoy! 




Quote of the Day

Literary 'Quote of the Day', from Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (Chapter 19) "Mary, however, was determined to clamber over every fence she encountered and pull everyone she knew behind her. The deep humanitarianism that was her family inheritance had taught her to see achievement as something that functioned like a bank account, something you drew on when you were in need and made deposits to when you were blessed with a surplus." #45 on the other hand, sees wealth (his family inheritance) and a shallow ego, as achievements. So sad!


Spring Has Sprung

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The Whole Enchilada

For the recent Art Party Pivot Fashion Show at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, I partnered with Stella Shen to create a distinctive look from head to foot that would stand out from the crowd.  This show was to feature the work of over two dozen designers and artists, so I wanted to light a fire under my line with the help of this floral headdress artist. 


As you can see, without the head pieces, Ella Ananieva, Stella, and Andrea Lynch would not have stood out, and when it comes to any stage performance, the bigger you exaggerate any appearance, the better it will be remembered. 


I was interacting with one member of the audience after the show who commented on the hat designs, and while I introduced her to Stella, she wanted to acknowledge my role in the event as the clothing designer.  All I could only say that 'It took a village', because we all had our hands in this performance.  And while all of the designers are key to the content of the show, it would not happen without the producers, and most importantly, the backbone of any fashion show, the models! 







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Winter Wear; Goddess Hats!

Mantra Handmade Treasures helped me stand out from the crowd at the Pivot Fashion Show at the Anne and Mark Art Party's closing night bash.  The event featured fashion designer, artists, and performers, so so I needed a little help from my friends , like a cookie can use some chocolate chips, or ice cream hot fudge.  So my daughter Morgan Levay stepped up to the plate and offered to make some of her hand knit hats for the event.


These outfits would have paled without them, but I also could have slapped blue jeans on these girls and there presence would have been just as stunning.  So if you are reading this blog, and have any winter sports activities planned for the upcoming winter season, visit her web site at www.morganbarrylevay.com and pick out a hat to make your winter appearance unforgettable!




Can Fast Fashion Ever Support The Ideals of TRUE Fashion???

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Combining Stripes and Patterns


Lace It Up


Tipping My Hat To You!

Hats are truly statement setters that can turn an ordinary outfit into couture fashion.  Coupled with scarves and boots, hats are the equivalent of icing on the cake.


My favorite do it yourself hat is the baseball cap, because the transformation from the original to the re-purposed hat is unbeatable.  Your hat will always be more interesting and notable than the hat you started with.


For the hat in this illustration, I used last season's furniture samples from a home furnishing store. I covered the bill with a leather sample and used a faux suede sample for the hat design.  A home furnishing curtain tie tassel finished it off! 




Slow Fashion Photograph Makes 6th Place in Photography Contest

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Re-purposed Girl's Summer Dress

Children grow out of clothing so fast, its handly to have some sewing skills to re-purpose some of our discarded clothing for them.  This camilsole was eight inches larger than the little girl, so all I have to do was reduce the size of the original top through pleating.  Then I shortened the straps and presto!


I have seen adorable dresses made from men's dress shirts for women and little girls (see http://www.pinterest.com/pin/518828819542538285/ and http://www.pinterest.com/pin/518828819543363333/). The best part of sewing from discarded clothing is that if you make a mistake, you can either rip it out or discard it as originally planned!




Paper Mannequins

Wrapping Paper Mannequins
Wrapping Paper Mannequins

Wrapping paper mannequins displayed in boutique windows is a popular way to announce a sale to shoppers.  Its cute and creative, and conveys the message of 'inexpensive' via the paper media used to dress the mannequins. 


To get the paper to 'fit' and adhere to the bodies, Darcy wrapped tape around the middle section of the forms with the sticky side out.  This allowed her to position and then apply the paper before cutting the neck and armhole details.  She then used buttons and Ruti store accessories to add a little interest and detail.


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