Nona, Roman Goddess of Textiles

As a result of fashion houses making the move to become more sustainable, while paying particular attention to circularity, an abundance of designer deadstock appears on the sewing scene as a way of “creative use” of deadstock. Back in August of 2022, I read an article in The New York Times, written by Dana Thomas, dated August 15 2022, about the fashion industry and the need to re-think past practices regarding fabric.

Romain Brabo, Givenchy’s fabric buyer, co-founded Nona Source, a showroom that collects leftovers from couture collections and makes them available to everyone. Brabo’s mission is to, “Incentivize creative reuse and do so at a super-competitive price.” He further states, “We revalue all our materials, so nothing goes in the trash.” Check out their website

As a student of Fashion Design and Sewist, I am excited to have the same opportunity to work with affordable couture fabrics, and by creating with “deadstock” I am part of a bigger picture focusing on recycling with zero-waste as a priority. Deadstock is not dead!

Lanvin at 125: Marie-Blanche de Polignac

An interesting blog on the history of fashion.


Lanvin's 1950s pattern, Vogue 1120, photographed by Richard Rutledge Vogue 1120 by Lanvin, Vogue, October 1950. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

This week, the second post in my series on Lanvin sewing patterns. (See my post on Jeanne Lanvin’s interwar patterns here.)

Born Marguerite di Pietro, Marie-Blanche de Polignac (1897-1958) was the only child of Jeanne Lanvin and her first husband, Italian aristocrat Emilio di Pietro. Marie-Blanche (who is sometimes called the Comtesse Jean de Polignac) was director of Lanvin from her mother’s death in 1946 until the appointment of Antonio del Castillo in 1950.


From the earliest Vogue Paris Originals, Vogue 1052 is an elegant, short-sleeved dress with a waistcoat effect:

1940s Lanvin dress pattern - Vogue 1052 Vogue 1052 by Lanvin (1949) Image via eBay.

Clifford Coffin photographed the dress in Paris for Vogue magazine:

Lanvin dress pattern photographed by Clifford Coffin for Vogue, March 1949 Lanvin pattern Vogue 1052 in Vogue, March 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.

According to Vogue, this strapless evening dress design was “sketched by David in Paris.” The…

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Mod and Marimekko

I learned how to sew before I picked up a crochet hook and a pair of knitting needles. During the 60’s, the clothing industry did not design clothes with the “chubbie” girl in mind. I was fashion conscious and my parents were dollar conscious, so my mother taught me how to sew on her Singer.  Proudly, I modeled my first sewn dress at eight years old. Flashback to the 60’s brings forward the visual memories of Twiggy’s large eyes and long eyelashes, the Mod tunic, psychedelic concert posters, and the peace sign.  A world of bold organic and geometric shapes detailed with color as bold as the design.

On a recent trip to Eddie’s Quilting Bee in Mt. View, CA, I was drawn to the bold graphic design and color of a bolt of fabric from the collection of Etsuko Furuya.   After selecting a pattern and purchasing the fabric I cruised on down the freeway excited to dust off the cover of my sewing machine and began to sew.

Mod TunicMod Tunic #2

The more I manipulated the fabric, memories of the 60’s emerged.  I was remined of Marimekko (meaning Mary’s frock) of Finland.  Marimekko, a woman-owned company, woman-operated Finnish fabric design house that dominated fashions of the 60’s and 70’s.  The company was founded in 1951 by Armi Ratia, the wife of a failed oilcloth factory owner.  Armi had to have her husband secure a loan for her new venture because during the 60’s it was uncommon for a woman to attempt such a thing.

Jackie Kennedy chose to wear Marimekko for the U.S. Presidential Inauguration in 1960. The following website has an interesting post regarding Jackie Kennedy’s collection of Marimekko.

Jacqueline Kennedy and Marimekko



Open Studio 2014

This weekend, my neighbor and artist, Joan Harvey participated in Open Studio 2014.  Walking up a black top driveway hidden behind a sliding garage door appeared an eclectic ensemble of women.  Women of our time, your time, and their time expressed by creating a visual narrative through the absence of facial features, the presence of fashion and style.  1987125_003

Conversing with Joan inspired me to participate in Open Studio next year!

Collage for Design Inspiration

The grid-like appearance of mesh consists of open space and a network of lines.  These spaces in a network are found in fashion from shoes to eyeglasses.  What knit stitches could properly translate the visual of a mesh or grid-like appearance?  While pondering the answer to this question, I found a book at my local library which may hold the answer.  Reversible Knitting by Lynne Barr “adds something different to the stitch pattern references that many knitters may already own, and offer exciting new patterns with a reversible twist.”  The chapter on Openwork, stitches 19-27 create open space using yarnovers and dropped stitches.   Stitch 25, Half-Nelson or Stitch 22, Cane Lace present an opportunity to work in a mesh or grid-like pattern.

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