Free Project – Umbrella Fruit Skewers

Free Project – Umbrella Fruit Skewers

Description Make your own decorative fruit skewers by layering two sheets of cut paper and gluing to an 8” bamboo skewer Download nOw

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Free Project – Red, White & Blue Floral Kissing Ball

Make a creative center piece Download Now

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Tropical seersucker capris

Cross two things off my summer sewing to-do list: work out a hidden inseam pocket, and sew capris. Done and done! Frankly, I’m elated about these capris, even though they just appear to be a simple project at first glance. And technically they kind of are, but they signify a… read more »

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2 jumpsuits (sorry, too hot to coin a creative title)

A few weeks ago, I came to the startling conclusion that my kids have grown since last Summer. This ‘growing’ seems to be a recurring thing, forcing me to make new clothes for them year after year. Crazy.   I decided to make a few quick projects: some shorts, gathered skirts, and a few Hoppe jumpsuits. […]

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Super Easy Sharpie Rock Art

Sharpie Rock ArtRock hunting is all the rage! Kids of all ages will love using Sharpie markers to create super easy Sharpie Rock Art. Sharpie Rock Art Until last year, my kids and I didn’t know rock hunting was a popular family activity. One day, we were walking in a park when my son spotted a bright yellow…

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The post Super Easy Sharpie Rock Art appeared first on Kids Activities Blog.

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Clover Create-a-Pincushion Product Review

I was intrigued by this clever idea from Clover to make a pincushion without sewing. The packaging says it is for fabric and I wanted to see if it would work with the stiffer canvas of needlepoint. The Parts This pincushion creates a 2.5″ round pincushion, making a small pincushion. It consists of three parts. […]

The post Clover Create-a-Pincushion Product Review appeared first on Nuts about Needlepoint.

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Tousled Topknot Tutorial

I’m always looking for easy styles that will add some volume or height to my hair (if you have…

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Wearable Wednesday Vivetta

Im so glad Daniel Radcliffe has found more work! This collection is all liverwurst and bananas for me. Things I like in small amounts but not near each other.  Legs- those are legs. Evil clown blouse with disembodied legs. I hate the underwear waistbands. Yech. But I think I hate the weird decorative napkin folding […]

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 It feels like summer is firmly here: we’ve been experiencing a heatwave over the last few days, Lucia is in summer school having fun, and we’re hosting family and friends who are staying with us over the next few weeks. Lots to look forward to! Hope your week is going well, thanks for stopping by! […]

The post Sunshine appeared first on 9to5Chic.

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Sundressing with Create/Enjoy

Tie neck sundress by Create/EnjoyYay! I’m glad to see Suzannah of Create/Enjoy sewing again! As much as I love her other posts on decor and food, I’ve missed her sewn creations. Today she’s sharing this tie neck sundress and it’s so cute! Click on over to her site to see all the details.  While you’re on her blog, you Read the Rest…

The post Sundressing with Create/Enjoy appeared first on Melly Sews.

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Sewing Space Tours… Emma’s Chic and Organised Space!

The location of our next Sewing Space Tour, where someone lets us have a nosey around their lovely creative space, used to be a chicken shed – although you’d never know it now! Lexy here, handing over to Emma to find out more…

Hello, I’m Emma and…

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Market Bag in Field Linen

A reusable bag is always a beautiful thing, especially when it’s actually a beautiful thing……

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Two fit + flare dresses

Again, I couldn’t help but make two of the same pattern!  This time the pattern is the Bronx dress from SBCC, with some fit alterations (armhole redo, back width increase, sleeve redraft).  As I’m sure I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I just love the fit and flare shape.  What I especially love about this dress, though, is that I can sew it in way less than 2 hours, from cutting the fabric

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Hook, Line & Sinker

I’ve really fallen for this pattern.  It’s been made in three different fabrics so far and I love each & every (very different) one.  The pattern is  culottes 104 from the February 2017 Burdastyle magazine.  Made late last month for Daughter No2 to take on her holiday to Madeira, she chose a linen viscose blend … Continue reading “Hook, Line & Sinker”

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Jalie Stretch City Coat pattern review

On my recent trip to San Francisco I knew exactly the jacket/coat I needed, both there in the misty mornings and at home in the windy and wet days here in Halifax.

Unfortunately I didn’t have exactly that coat with me on my trip. However the first thing I did when I got home was start sewing one.

Jalie’s Stretch City Coat pattern has been around for a while. Many folks have made it, and many of them have made it in a woven, just using a larger sized pattern. I really wanted to stick to the original intent and so having been keeping my eyes open the right stretch fabric for a couple of years now.
I finally found it along the back wall of my local Fabricville.

I decided to use a grey outerwear fabric with a micro fleece bonded to the inside. It is a pretty interesting fabric. The outer side is a tightly woven poplin, much like commander if you have sewn that, and the inside has a very fine micro finer fleece bonded to it. Perfect if you want weather resistant with a little warmth but without the hassle of putting in a lining.
I found this fabric very easy to sew. I used a standard sharp needle and polyester thread but I did lengthen my stitch length to 3.0 for construction and 4.0 for top stitching. There is a fair amount of volume to this fabric, sort of bouncy like Ponte and I felt that the longer stitch length was just more compatible with it.

I made a few changes to the pattern.

First I couldn’t decide on whether or not to do the collar or hood view – one is dressier one more useful – so in the end I made the collar view but sewed the hood up as a separate unit and added three snaps to the back of the collar stand so I could snap on the hood as needed. I placed one snap just a half an inch or so from the end of the collar stand on each side and one at centre back on the back of the stand on the jacket. I then just sewed three snaps on the inside of the hood to match.

This is a bit of a pattern hack and I do realize that one result of that is that the collar has to stand up when the hood is attached. You might think this looks weird but living in Nova Scotia I have no problem with as many rain barriers as I can get. I have also convinced myself that this detail looks edgy and works with the techno nature of the fabric. If you disagree, don’t tell me.

The other variation I made was to change up the suggested buttons and buttonholes for big sew-on snaps. I test sewed a few buttonholes and they just looked small and wimpy to me in this fabric so I went back down to Fabricville and got these wonderful snaps – large ones for the coat and smaller ones for the hood/collar attachment.

A word on the snaps. I have observed in RTW that the stitches for big fashion snaps like these go right through to the right side of the fabric. Once you get your head around this, and the fact that your hand stitches might not be 100% perfect and that is OK, this are easy to stitch on. Each snap has two holes at each corner which I used in the coat but for the smaller collar snaps just sewed them on through one hole as we are used to doing with snaps.

Use a biggish needle and I really recommend a buttonhole twist or heavier thread for the snap sewing on. The metal of the snaps tends to break an ordinary construction weight thread. I should note though that sewing on all these snaps carefully took a bit of time. I probably spent two sewing days to make the coat and about three sewing nights to do the snaps.

Finally pockets in this coat are interesting – sort of free floating square bags that the pattern instructions tell you to tack to the facings, giving you a reference to an illustration that seems to be on longer available on Jalie’s site.

As a result I sort of improvised here and folded the pocket bags slightly vertically and did a short row of machine stitches to secure the pocket top and bottoms to the facings. This actually seems to work quite well, holding the pockets in place so they don’t flop around but not pulling on the facing.

I really am very pleased with this coat – it has a combination of style and function that really appeals to me. I know I am going to wear it a lot – both at home and when I am on tour visiting.


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Our Weekly Newsletter

Hey there fabric friends! Once again, we have an exciting newsletter for you, starting with another fabric option for our Hawthorne Threads designed and printed collections. With this release comes the opportunity to chat about some of the compelling environmental advantages to digital printing, and why we are so excited…

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Sewing With Power Mesh

In preparation for the release of the Grace Tankini, we’ve been preparing a few tutorials for you.  Swimwear sewing is doable for the home sewist, and every tip and tutorial helps you achieve a more professional look.  Today we’re talking about power mesh. Power mesh is a lightweight, sheer fabric used to add extra compression […]

The post Sewing With Power Mesh appeared first on Skirt Fixation.

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Frolic fabric blog tour

It’s no secret that I love sewing with knit fabrics and it’s wonderful to see them feature in so…

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Mid-Century Play Set

Hi, friends! As you know I am in full on nesting mode. I’ve become quite good at inventing…

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Running in Line Product Review

Finger Step Designs, 2016 $18 Just like the man in the Moliere play who was surprised he had been speaking prose, you may be surprised that you have been making Running Stitch patterns all your stitching life. We usually call them something else though — Blackwork and Pattern Darning. This project pack covers them both […]

The post Running in Line Product Review appeared first on Nuts about Needlepoint.

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Unicorn Slime

Thank you to Elmer’s for sponsoring this blog post. I received compensation and free product from Elmer’s in exchange for writing this post. All opinions are my own. Unicorn Slime is one of our favorite borax-free slime recipes. My kids are obsessed with slime and unicorns, so what’s better than combining their two favorite things…

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The post Unicorn Slime appeared first on Kids Activities Blog.

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Checking In

My week is off to a great start, I’m being a bit facetious ;). We arrived home last night to find our hot water heating spewing water. Exciting! So I am now waiting for the guys to arrive and install a new one. I find it rather interesting whenever som…

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Baby Crib Bumper Sewn Into a Quiet Book

For my first born, I was given a beautiful Usborne cot book with a farm theme. It was fun to tie to the crib/cot rail for entertainment, but my second born is more grabby than my first and it was coming…

The post Baby Crib Bumper Sewn Into a Quiet Book appeared first on EvinOK.

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fourteen hem tutorials

There are several ways to sew a hem depending on what you want the finished look to appear like. Let me introduce you to fourteen hem tutorials that have appeared on the blog in the past. You’re sure to find just the hem finishing technique you need here!

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Make Your Own Nontoxic Dry Shampoo!

One of my favorite things lately has been replacing beauty products in my bathroom with DIYs that I…

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Curvy Pattern Tutorial: Sew your own Geneva-inspired Dress

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been eyeing that Geneva dress from Universal Standard and wondering if it’s worth the money. I’ve heard from several reliable sources that they’re wonderfully made, that the jersey is awesome, and I love the company for their policy of letting customers exchange their garments for a new size for…

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Floral Sundress with Free Pattern

Sew a dropped waist floral sundress with big pockets - tutorial and pattern by Melly SewsHey y’all – aloha! Today I’m sharing this floral sundress that was my last minute travel sewing for this vacation. Once upon a time, before we had kids, the Coach and I took a trip to Hawaii and fell in love with the state. And we returned every summer…but then we had the boys. We Read the Rest…

The post Floral Sundress with Free Pattern appeared first on Melly Sews.

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MAKE THIS: Farrah Dress

Sometimes you see a sewing pattern, and you simply have to have it. Such was the case with the new Farrah Pattern by Chalk and Notch (keep scrolling for 15% off your pattern). When the e-mail first came through asking me to be a part of the Chalk and Notch Summer blog tour, my initial […]

The post MAKE THIS: Farrah Dress appeared first on The Sewing Rabbit.

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Life, Webs Podcast + Creative Retreats Spaces Available

Thanks everyone for the lovely messages you sent to Julia for her graduation on this post. We loved them all. You all have been so supportive of me and my family since I started this blog in 2006. Hard to believe I’ve been writing here since then! …….

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Antonio Marras (presentation and sewn garment)

I recently returned from Italy. (I still have jet lag.) Ten days of my 2+ week visit was part of a History of Italian Fashion class, offered by Cañada College’s fashion department. (More about this class on their blog.)

Italy was splendiferous!

I posted some pics of my trip on Instagram and Facebook, but I haven’t posted the pics in this post.

One of the assignments for the class was to prepare (in the U.S.) and present (in Florence) a brief talk chosen from a list of suggested topics, including a number Italian designers. I chose designer Antonio Marras because a) I had never heard of him, b) he’s actively designing, and c) his aesthetic excited me. I very much enjoyed researching Marras, though much of the available information and interviews are in Italian, so it was also a bit of a challenge.

What follows are the slides from my presentation, with notes of my talking points. You’ll also see a garment that I sewed based on one of Marras’ designs. It was a failure, but at least it gave the class a giggle!

Slide 1: Antonio Marras
(Note: It took more than 10 minutes)
Slide 2: Who IS Antonio Marras?

Who IS Antonio Marras?

  • Short answer: he is a fashion designer, but that is almost accidental.
  • Mostly, he is a brilliant, creative artist who happens to design clothes for a living.
  • His wife calls him “schizophrenic.”
  • His sons would likely call him an amazing, hands on, father.
  • “Boredom is my personal monster.” —Antonio Marras

Slides 3: Sardinian Son

Sardinian Son

  • Antonio was born and raised on the island of Sardinia in 1961, the middle of 5 children.
  • He continues to live and work in Alghero, Sardinia, away from the fashion world, which contributes to the notion that he’s a bit of a fashion outsider.
  • He grew up in and around his father’s fabric store where he developed a “mania” (his word) for fabric, and where he learned to sew. (He had no formal training in design, sewing, or art.)
  • He later converted his father’s fabric store in Alghero to a boutique featuring his clothing.
  • He has created a workshop at his home in Alghero that he calls the Laboratorio (translation: Workshop) where he does most of his work, and all of his experimenting. Every collection includes some work from the Laboratorio. These hand-work-intensive garments, made with artisanal techniques, are designed, created, and produced locally. “My Laboratorio collection, all sewn and embroidered in Sardinia, is a project that only a madman would take on.” —Antonio Marras

Slide 4: In his Laboratorio (“Workshop”) at his home on Sardinia
Slide 5: The Antonio Marras boutique in Alghero, Sardinia
Slide 6: The Antonio Marras boutique in Alghero
(Very hands on, he’s on the ladder in the right pic.)
Slide 7: With his wife Patrizia. On the right, his eldest son, Efisio.
(Not pictured: his younger son, Leonardo)

Family Man

  • He’s extremely family oriented.
  • His father passed away in the ‘70s.
  • Like many Italian men (according to reports), he worships his mother.
  • He married Patrizia Sardo, also from Sardinia, who became his muse, business partner, and the CEO of his company. They have 2 sons, ages 27 and 18 (as of this report in 2017): Efisio and Leonardo.
  • His eldest, Efisio (named for Antonio’s father), studied fashion at the Parson’s School of Design in Paris, Central St Martin’s in London, and graduated in 2015 from Photography and Liberal Arts in Paris. Efisio is now designing for I’m Isola Marras—Antonio’s lower-priced, contemporary line launched in 2007.
  • Antonio goes to bed early, rises early to jog, and spends his free time with his family.

Slide 8: Collage/sketch (left), and Antonio creating (right)


  • Though untrained as an artist or designer, he creates art every day, particularly drawings, but he also paints, sculpts, collages, and enjoys photography.
  • “Beauty can come from ugly things. This intrigues me, and gives me the most satisfaction.” —Antonio Marras
  • He originally studied to be an accountant, as his father wanted, but he ended up managing the family’s fabric shop when his father died in the 1970s.
  • If he hadn’t become a fashion designer, he wanted to either direct movies (film is an important source of design inspiration), or dance.
  • He was invited to mount a solo exhibit representing 20 years of his artwork at Milan’s Triennale Museum from Oct 2016 to Jan 2017. He is the only fashion designer ever invited to do so. (You can see a video of the exhibit here.)
  • “Walking the length of the space, which covers 12,960 square feet in a room that has an expansive curved wall, is like taking a peek into the designer’s soul as the exhibit is a clear reflection of his passions and personality.” —A reviewer

Slide 9: More of his artwork. A sketch (left), and a painting (right)
Slide 10: From his Milan Triennale exhibit in 2016/2017
Slide 11: Also from his exhibit at the Milan Triennale Museum
Slide 12: Examples of his designs (Plus a great pic of he and Patrizia!)

Fashion Designer

  • In the ‘80s, one of his fabric suppliers suggested that he try his hand at designing a fashion line. His wife agreed (and evidently applied some pressure), and his first line was launched in 1987. It was named “Piano Piano Dolce Carlotta”, or “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte”, after the 1964 Bette Davis film.
  • A commercial success, he continued producing that line for 10 years.
  • He was invited to show his work in Rome in 1996, so he finally launched his namesake fashion line, Antonio Marras.
  • In 2003, he gained international recognition when chosen as the designer for Kenzo, a well known Japanese design house. He left Kenzo in 2011 to focus on his own lines.
  • He launched his lower-priced, contemporary line “I’m Isola Marras” in 2007. His son, Efisio, designs this line since graduating college in 2015.
  • He opened his high-concept store in Milan in 2012. His wife suggested the name, referencing his early resistance: Nonostante Marras, or “In spite of Marras.” The shop was created in an old factory/workshop, and sells not only clothing, but also ceramics, flowers, vintage furniture, vintage artworks, antiquarian and art books. The store contains a library, and (sometimes) a coffee bar and café that offers Sardinian delicacies. He often exhibits art in his shop, particularly during Milan’s Design Week, held in April.
  • “The most important aspect of my work is the mixing and matching of different materials, different fabrics, different prints,” Marras says, summing up his ideal customer as the woman unafraid to do just that. “I prefer eccentricity over normalcy,” he adds. “Normalcy is very boring to me.”

Slide 13: More examples of his designs
(Note: The blue dress, second from the left, is one of my favorites)
Slide 14: His high-concept store in Milan
Slide 15: Another pic from NonostanteMarras
Note the similarity between these light fixtures and the pieces from the Milan Triennale exhibit (slide 10)
Slide 16: Examples of his fashion sketches. The middle sketch is from his tenure at Kenzo.

His Process

  • Not surprisingly, he starts by identifying ideas that inspire him, that he wants to mix together.
  • He collages, sketches, and paints ideas for his designs. These are later displayed backstage at his runway shows and are featured in his LookBook. He also works them into the invitation for the runway show, which are museum-quality pieces themselves.
  • He collages not only images, but ideas.
  • He likes his runway show to tell a story.

Slide 17: Pre Fall 2107

Pre Fall 2017

Here is an example of his “densely multilayered concepts” (to my mind, he collages disparate ideas when creating his collections—he is a natural-born collager) from Pre-Fall 2017:

  • He took inspiration from Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the erotic novel by D.H. Lawrence published in ’28.
  • He added a surreal twist of cinematic glamour, referencing David Lynch’s Twin Peaks – his son captured the arcane spooky atmosphere in the photos he took for the LookBook.
  • Finally, he added reference images of Vita Sackville-West strolling in the lush Sissinghurst Castle garment, and of the late actress Sylvia Kristel languidly reclining in the ’70s soft-porn movie Emmanuelle.

Designers typically don’t hold a live runway show for pre-fall, but you can see the looks on

Slide 18: Fall 2014

Fall 2014

The common threads for his Fall 2014 collection were the wolf and the moon, and he included these specific references:

  • The journey to India of swiss writter Annemarie Schwarzenbach, lesbian siren of the Weimar Republic, as captured in the movie ‘The Journey to Kafiristan‘, based on the novel written by Annmarie’s travel companion Ella Maillart.
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Three Little Pigs
  • Joseph Beuys, a German Fluxus, happening, and performance artist from the 1960s as well as a sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist, and pedagogue.
  • Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf
  • ‘Night Song of a Wandering Shepherd in Asia‘ by Giacomo Leopardi

The models were done up like Rachael, the replicant in Blade Runner. “There are no wolves in Sardinia,” Mr. Marras acknowledged. “But you can dream.”

Slide 20: My Inspiration

My Inspiration

  • I loved the drape on this dress from his Fall 2017 collection.
  • I thought it would be great made as a summer dress for Florence.
  • Note that he often uses one or two older models in his runway show. The woman on the left is a particular favorite of his.
  • He regularly styles his models with short socks and heels.

Slide 20: My Failure

My Failure

  • Oy vey.
  • My apologies to Mr Marras! This was a failure in fabric choice, as well as a few other things.
  • If I make this again, I’ll tweak the neckline and use a fabric for the collar/sleeve drape that looks good from both sides. Possibly lengthen and slightly flare the dress.
  • Also, accessorize differently.
  • Finally, use a fabric that is less heinous!

At least the class was amused. 😉

(Note: I was embarrassed to wear this outside to take pictures. Even though it was 7am on a Sunday—Mother’s Day, in fact—I had to screw up my courage!)

When I left for Florence, my slide show ended here. I then spent 3 days in Milan and had a chance to visit Nonostante Marras. TWICE. Afterwards, I added the following slides:

Slide 21: My Visit to Nonostante Marras
Looking out onto the lush courtyard

My Visit to Nonostante Marras

It was such a delight to visit this shop! Located in a mostly residential part of Milan (not far from the Armani Museum), Nonostante Marras is hidden behind a gated entrance. Upon entering, you see a lush courtyard. This shop is a high concept shop, meaning that it’s more than just a store that sells items. A high concept shop allows a designer to express his or her vision in a unique way. In this case, Nonostante Marras is a living room, a library, an art gallery and, yes, a clothing boutique. Once a year in April, the store is entirely changed for Milan’s Design Week when they also bring in chefs to create food for a popup cafe. In fact, the New York Times listed Nonostante Marras under item #1 for things you should do if you have only 36 Hours in Milan.

Slide 22: My Visit to Nonostante Marras
The livingroom and library areas.
Martina and I sat here and enjoyed an espresso
Slide 23: My Visit to Nonostante Marras
The walls feature art. The large designs, created by Antonio, are actually wallpaper that you can purchase of his designs. The framed images showcase a guest artist.
Slide 24: My Visit to Nonostante Marras
On the left, wallpaper featuring Marras’ art provides a background for guest art.
On the right, Francesca and Martina (store manager) staff the store. Both women grew up in Sardinia where Marras lives.
Slide 25: My Visit to Nonostante Marras
Yes, that is me with a shopping bag! I don’t yet have pics of my purchases, so that will have to wait for another post.

Thanks to Vera for these photos, taken as I gave my talk!

Here are a few bonus pics that I didn’t put in the slide show.

Francesca and Martina. Their tee shirts feature his artwork
Even the bathroom is interesting!
Another livingroom shot (you can see my shopping bag in the lower left)
The lovely courtyard
Another courtyard shot
Selfie in the mirror.
Look at that cool sculptural piece below the mirror. This shop is full of interesting things to look at

Antonio Marras has three Instagram feeds and I follow them all!

  • antoniomarras_personal—His personal IG feed. When I posted pics from his shop in Milan on Instagram, he personally liked them. 🙂 I double checked with Martina that it was really him. Martina told me that after my first visit, she had talked to him about me, so he knows he has a fan in San Francisco.
  • antoniomarrasofficial—The official IG account for his collections.
  • antoniomarras_alghero—The IG account for his shop in Alghero, Sardinia.


That’s it for now. I will take pics (later) of the two garments I purchased at Nonostante Marras. On Sunday morning, I dressed up in one of them to go to the grocery store at 7:30am. We’re in a heat wave here, so I can’t wear either garment until it cools off a bit.

I’ll soon be off for a short work trip to Seattle and, in a couple of weeks, to NYC. After that I should be settled for awhile.

I might even sew!

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