Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I realized I have not been including Men's Fashion in my blog!

So I decided to include some of my favorite

Junya Watanabe- Spring/Summer 2010 -Paris.

Two things called my attention to this collection:

1. The variation of hat styles.

Every model walked down the runway wearing a hat!

2. The combination of fabrics.

Also, vests and hats are always classy!
It would be nice to see more men wearing them everyday!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Cycles of Fashion"

Featured Artist-


This weeks featured fashion creator is located in London, England.  Ozzana began creating at a young age.   "My first creations were rag dolls and outfits for them. Making simple clothes and accessories such as hats and bags for my sister and myself followed shortly."

Her Etsy shop is made up of  'one of a kind'  unique creations.  I also loved the detail  her items contain, whether it be machine embroidery, cutout, or applique. 

She claims she is stuck in the 1920's.  She loves the straight, clear, definite design and functionality of the period. 

She is a fan of Chanel's  "little black dress".   

 Coco Chanel

Chanel's concept of the "little black dress"  was ahead of it's time.  Her radical trend of the black dress was the first time black clothing was used, and not designed for a funeral.


"Architecture, art movements, nature, music, films..... My current collection was inspired by Scottish Art Nouveau artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh – his stained glass windows creations and decorative railings in particular. Also I am continuously inspired by the Japanese fashion designers such as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yoji Yamamoto."

Creative Process

"I mostly start by making notes and observational sketches, then I select the ones that I like and develop them further. Sometimes I construct directly on the dress stand, and at other times I make paper patterns. I have an idea which fabrics I will use for each design but this changes as I progress and I also work on more than one piece at a time -often each of them ending as a combination of two or more different initial ideas. I enjoy manipulating and combining unrelated fabrics and materials endlessly. The final result gives me a great buzz!"

 A Stroll in Time:


The straight sheath dresses were used during the day.  The sheath dress was fitted and darted or contained a princess seam.  Many early fifties garments contained a boat or jeweled neckline.

Michelle Dress-Ozzana

1950 Simplicity Pattern



Mary Quant, Twiggy, and the mini skirt were popular in this period.  The mini skirt mania began around 1966 then in 1967 it could be seen nationwide.

For improving the wear and performance of a fabric or garment, synthetic yarns began being used with natural fibers.  There was a huge global jump of production plants of synthetic fibers. 

Organza Dress-Ozzana


Viola Sybert-late 1960s



This period brought a freedom to women's dress that had never been seen before. With easier travel we were exposed to various fashions of other countries.  We began seeing vast types of exotic fabrics which contained detailing such as, garments with edged decor in silver, gold or other metallic embroidered.    

Pewter Dress-Ozzana


Evening Dress-Madame Gres 1977 

Etsy Shop

"After reading an article about Etsy in 'Guardian' Newspaper back in November 2008 I decided to open up a shop. I like working from home – it fits perfectly with my other commitments and most of all I love being my own boss! "


Make sure you stop by Ozzaa's shop for more amazing creations, including some wonderful digital images!  Wow!  

"I personally do not like making the same thing over and over again - uniqueness is my philosophy."  Ozzana

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Swimsuit Cover-up

Leaving my sewing machine I flew into Italy. A few months after arrival I purchased a machine. It sure is better then hand-stitching everything. Unfortunately it was reasonable priced beginners machine.

I have been using it for about two years now. A few days ago I stumbled upon this website. And what do you know they are having a contest in which the winner will receive a new Singer sewing machine!!

With this in mind I took a stroll in the mercato early Saturday morning. I purchased two silk scarves, one is green with a white floral print, the other is more of a medium green with a wonderful texture of pleating! Both are nice because they have that sheer wispy feel!

My only thought is to construct a swimsuit cover which can be worn during a brunch, then removed to enjoy the beach. After some research, which I have included some of my favorite summer 2009 designs.

I began cutting and draping. My goal is to win that new machine!

Wish me luck! Off I go!


Jean Paul Gaultier- Soleil

Missoni Mare

Emilio Pucci

Photos- http://www.yoox.com/

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Featured Artist-

Efia Fair
Efia Fair is located in Southern California.   She began creating at a very young age.   Her first creations were picture books, collages, and little dolls.  As a teen she began making dresses for herself.  She just recently learned to knit last year, creating crocheted creations began as a child. 

As I visited her shop I could see various elements from numerous fashion eras within her shop.  It was amazingly interesting to me how she combines crochet and fabric, and crochet with lace.  Her designs are definitely unique!

She is drawn a variety of fashion periods:
"Definitely the Victorian Era, Baroque, Medieval and the like... I love the rich colors and fabrics, and the excuse to be frilly and fancy! More recently I love the fashions of the 30s and 50s. Feminine, structured, streamlined... and of course the circle skirts of the fifties I have always thought to be beautiful and flattering."

Petersons- Feb. 1877


Efie is mostly inspired by nature, she said:

"Nature - flowers and birds and landscapes.  Color is a huge inspiration for me, I have always LOVED the endless array of colors in this world, and as a designer I enjoy playing with color combinations until I see one that clicks for me. Also, I am inspired by my supplies! Yarns, fabrics, buttons and ribbons really get my imagination going."

Creative Process

Her inspiration continues in her creative process:

"I usually pick out my materials and go from there. Sometimes I have in mind exactly what I will create, and other times it is truly a process that surprises me, developing as I go along. A lot of times I find myself working on several projects at once."

A Stroll in Time:


Romantic Era 

The V-pointed bodice waistline was vastly prominent in the Romantic Era, it was a change from the round waistlines.  Short gloves were worn in the day to match one's dress, or attire.  Along with short , long gloves to reach ones sleeve were used for night attire.  At this time we began to see women's sleeves billowing out in huge gigot sleeves.

Bejeweled Thunder Luxe Mitts-EfiaFair

Mitts- 1830's Kyoto Archive



The sewing machine arrived in 1860.  Along with synthetic dyes, and couture houses began.  The late-Victorian era brought the hour-glass figure, soon to be the S-bend shape soon to arrive in Edwardian corsetry. 

Mojito Necklet-EfiaFair

Ball gown- 1909

Mid-19th Century

Women were began to wear tailored jacket fashion.  The fullness of the skirt began to fall into pleats as the bustle was beginning to disappear.  In 1893, the bustle softened until only a small pad was left.

Femme Fetale Necklet-EfiaFair 
Day dress-Gustave Beer-1895
Etsy Shop:
Efia begain her shop last fall:
"A friend of mine (the person who taught me to knit, actually) told me about Etsy. Originally we were going to open a shop together, but it ended up being just me. I opened my shop because I wanted to give this (selling online) a try. I love making things and Etsy just seemed like the next logical step."
Make sure you take a look at The Sophiane Blouse! You will find variations of hand-knitted straps or sleeves.  Eachone is uniquely made.  

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Blouse Project- Part 3

Both blouses are completed and delivered to the happy client!

It took me a little longer to complete and deliver the second blouse because I was unable to schedule a fitting with my client sooner. Because I had a limited amount of fabric, and it was a would be difficult to attain more fabric, I did not want to complete the seams entirely until after our fitting.

All went wonderfully well in our fitting, so I was then able to finish the blouse. It was delivered to the customer this past weekend!

As you can see from the picture, the two embroidery pieces were postitoned on the front of the blouse this time. This design was something I found in a magazine which I felt would work perfectly with the fabric.

Drafting the pattern was very enjoyable. I begin by flat-patten drafting it, then for the front and back collar bit I found it easier draping it in muslin for the patten pieces. It is four pieces, the two fronts, one back, and a small center back piece for the collar at the neck.

The back contains a nice clean, finish!

The client was wonderfully satisfied! I was as well, especially with the fact that the client was happy and both designs were completely different.

Now I am off to find another challenging project!!

Note: For part one of this project you can take a look at my May 1st post.

Extra: Reproduced Skirt

The client I produced the blouses for also had a skirt that had been made for her some time ago by the seamstress she has used for many years. The skirt was made of a beautiful mutted rose out of a wool blend material.

When the skirt was made for, she didn't have a specific design in mind. Her seamstress produced an a-line skirt using most if not all the fabric. My client was slightly unhappy with it.

She had another skirt, pictured below in velour which she really liked the fit and design, she asked me to to convert the a-line skirt to that of her velour skirt design.

This is what her new skirt looks like!

The skirt is basically made out of swirls of fabric. At first I thought, it's simple, I will just draft the pattern. I realized it was much easier to drape layers of muslin following the various sections.

It is made of five pieces and a waistband with a zipper in the center back. Each of the sections, or pieces begin on the straight of grain and swirl around until they reach bottom of the hem. This is a wonderful pattern to add to my collection!


On the left, original velour skirt front. On the right, her new skirt front.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009


Featured Artist -

Clare Webster Designs

Clare,creates sculptural textiles accessories and she is located in the United Kingdom. She began ceating at a young age and has continued to create thoughout her life. She began working with the pleated stitch technique while doing her degree, which she attained in 1999. In 2002, she set up her accessories company.

She has a unique amazing Etsy shop! So many elements of various fashion eras are present throughtout her creations.  As a unique fashion creator I was curious as to what artists inspired her, what is her process of creating, and why she decided to open up her Etsy shop.

When visiting her shop two elements jumped right out at me:

 First- her use of textile covered buttons

 Second- her amazing pleating

primavera, 1900- Alphonse Mucha

When asked which era of fashion history she was drawn to she commented, "I personally love the Art Deco period. I love the understated glamour and clean lines. "

Inspirational Artists
It was interesting to find out that Clare is inspired by sculpture particulary Richard Deacon, Anish Kapoor, Richard Serra, and Cathy De Monchaux, have been very influential.
She also makes textile sculptures alongside her accessories.

Creative Process
I start with a sketched idea which nearly always changes. I then stitch the fabric which dictates the shape of the bag or scarf. I allow the fabric to fall into position and create its own shape and add appropriate handles or edging.


A Stroll back in Time:

Art Nouveau was a dominate art form in 1900 at the Paris Exhibition.  It was a decorative art form which followed on fromthe Arts and Crafts Movement.  Primarily it covered interiors, architecture, jewellery an furniture design.  It was definately prominate throughout fashion and fabrics. 


Covered buttons were vastly prominate within Victorian Fashion.   They were used as functional elements, and later as ornamental, or decrative purposes.   

I love those riding and day dresses of the bustle era with numerous covered buttons used strategically used as decoration!

Silk flower button corsage brooch-Clare Webster

Day Dress- 1878



Folding the fabric back on to itself and securing it in place is a pleat, twelve different pleats can easily be define.  And they extend through out costume history to our modern time. 

The first image I think of when I think of pleating in costume history is Greek art.  The rendering of the texture of folds, the stylize characteristics as seen throughout Ancient Greece.

In 1856 women no longer had to wear up to six petticoats to hold their wide skirts out, a cage frame called the crinoline was marketed throughout Europe.  along the hemline width.  Cartride pleats were used along the hemlines to add extra flounces and made the skirts appear even wider.

Then of course I think of Mariano Fortuny!  Throughout his silk gowns he created a number of variations of pleating. 


Burlesque corset silk collar-Clare Webster

Evening ensemble- Mario Fortuny- 1934


Milliner & Dressmaker- 1886

Etsy Shop

When asked why she decided to open her Etsy shop:
"I decided to open my Etsy shop a couple of months after to speaking to my friend Hannah Nunn at a trade fair who has a shop on Etsy. I think itis a great marketing tool but I also find it very social and inspirational. "

Stop by and visit her shop!  If you have something special coming up, you have to take a look at her silk handbag!  It is made of dupioni silk with machine stitched pleats, it can be custom ordered in over 200 colors!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Linen-Bamboo Hat Completed!

The hat is finally completed! It took me slightly longer than I anticipated, in between alterations, fittings, and a wedding, I am glad to say it is complete.

It is more of a couture headpiece, it is not an everyday hat for sure.

Working from my sketch I constructed a small top hat from buckram. It is covered in the linen fabric from the skirt I purchased. The linen was perfect to work with, I enjoyed working with the printed white and blue stripes on the fabric.

The tip of the hat is made of rows of bamboo stitched together.

Bamboo pieces are used as a small accent in the front of the headpiece. The top hat is attached to a buckram base which contains horsehair along the edge to attach to ones head.

The top hat is attached to the base at a slight tilt to the side. I also used the linen fabric between the base and top hat with an additional accent of bamboo.

It is perfect for a special occasion, worn at a slight tilt on the head!

Note: This lovely can be purchased in my Etsy shop! It can be yours if so desired!!

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Friday, June 5, 2009

The Cycles of Fashion

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." Coco Chanel

The fashion industry is an important aspect in our everyday lives. Take a look at The History Of Costume it is easy to identify elements which repeat themselves through time.

This is the first of many postings entitled, "The Cycles of Fashion, " my Thursday posts will showcase and present fashion creators from the Etsy community. The wonderful community of Esty contains so many talented drapers, tailors, patternmakers, stitchers, and milliners. My goal is to expose and showcase them!

Utilizing the history of costume, I will identify how they transend through time to modern fashion.


This period extends beyond the war's end when austere garments were worn.

Helen & Rene Turban- c. 1945

Junya Watanabe- Spring/Summer 2009


A flapper was initially a derogatory term, but soon was used to describe any young woman in the 1920's who wore cloche hats, bobbed her hair, and danced the Chareston.

Lucien Lelong Evening Dress- mid 1920's

Alberta Ferretti- Spring/Summer 2009


Fashion was inspired by artist Leon Bakst the costumer and set designer of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russes in 1909. Dress designer Paul Poiret was very influenced by the ballet and separately created garments .

Left- Paul Poiret Women's Party Costume- 1913

Right- Fendi- Spring/Summer 2009

Note: Archival photos attained from Koyoto Museum archives. The photos are no being used for commerical use, only for commenting. 2009 photos scanned from various Italian magazines, also for commenting only.

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