Special thanks to Cliff Jette for the photo shoot AND the Solid Waste Agency for the piles

I will share in another post some behind the scenes images.  I have one LADYFIT that didn't make the photo spread.  It's a fantastic garment made from thick floral upholstery, threads left behind from sewing projects, and my favorite thrift find: black + white stripe skirt.

The idea behind these LADYFITS were about materials/scraps left behind after my sewing projects.    I quite enjoy the waste left behind after a LADYFIT.  Instead of throwing away the threads + odd shapes of fabric left behind, I decided to utilize them as adornment. 

This article/photo spread is for 

On April 30th, the catwalk goes green.

The Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency, in association with Goodwill of the
Heartland, presents the 3rd Annual Recycle In Style Fashion Show. This yearʼs theme: Thrift
by Design. All of the models will be showcasing materials that came from a thrift store,
resourced into something wearable.

Local thrift artist Sonya Darrow will showcase LADYFITS, alongside garments from Goodwill
and local designers Ramona Muse, Carissa Starleaf and Brooke Dearborn. Each designer
will bring a different storyline to thrifting by educating the audience on ways to view a
material as sustainable fashion. The featured clothing requires no additional consumption of
resources and promotes the use of recycled textiles to create new designs.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, April 30th, with the show beginning at 7:00 p.m. The free
event will be held at Goodwill of the Heartlandʼs Cedar Rapids Center, 1441 Blairs Ferry
Road NE, Cedar Rapids.

Space is limited: RSVP through 

The Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency launched and has sponsored the
Recycle in Style fashion show the past three years. The Agencyʼs recycling and landfill
services are available to all Linn County residents and businesses.

WHAT: Recycle in Style: Thrift By Design
WHERE: 1441 Blairs Ferry Road NE, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: Saturday, April 30, 7:00 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)


ECO ARTS FEST in NEW BOHEMIA is TOMORROW: Saturday, April 16th.  This is my 2nd year working on this sustainable fashion series.  It has been over 5 years of working in this community to promote sustainable ways to dress.  There has been tremendous growth in the way this community views thrift - 2nd hand clothes & materials.  The people amaze me each year, bringing me the inspiration to continue this effort. 

As their understanding grows, my communication of sustainable dress grows.  I have always felt that the way I dress is rooted in this community.  I take their responses, involvement in my dress into the next layer of LADYFITS.  It has been a great journey thus far.  

Come to this Saturday's event:
Open Studio with designers from 1-4PM, bring your projects and enjoy some free space to talk + sew

Fashion show begins @7PM

All Eco Arts Fest: Sustainable Fashion events are being held at Gatherings in New Bohemia, Cedar Rapids, IA



to Iowa.  This is part of my studio space + process.  To get started, I create compositions based on materials I might use, color schemes, and/or the overall feeling for the LADYFIT.  It begins with images and moves to combining the materials I've collected over time.


My Ode to Iowa: a skirt made from towels.  
These were all made from Iowan ladies.  I'm giving the towels another chance + another use.  A majority of the towels were made by someone's Babička (Czech Grandmother).  I rescued a few from garage sales and others from Czech Village.  The majority of the towel stories followed the same storyline: my grandmother or Babička kept everything.  If it were to unravel, she would embroider...crochet....tatt on it.  Her way of giving it a new chance.  

Iowa has great thrift material.  It's not only the textile as material.  It is also the stories as material.  This is the part of LADYFITS I enjoy most, hearing the textile stories that make up the culture, the people and the history of Iowa.   

Background Textiles: thrifted silk Iowa scarf (left) and my Babička's tablecloth (right).


LADYFITS issue no. 5 focuses on the material to create our ARMOR.  

(pick up your copies of no.5 at Cedar Rapids + Marion stores)


Another day of recovered LADYFITS, curating looks from last Spring/Summer.  This particular look was from a series of styling evolutions, taking one garment through a journey of LADYFITS (white dress shown above).  It shows a never ending process to a look.  In my mind a look is never completely finished.  It's always morphing into something from the objects + materials surrounding me.

Similar to yesterday's post, I purchased this white dress with the same reasoning: blank canvas.  This garment had no detailing, it was simple.  I was drawn to the freedom attached to this thrifted piece.  It's not a defined material or have boundaries of dress.  Someone could have easily walked passed this white dress.   On a different day, I would have.  That's the allure of thrifting: emotion playing into the way we hunt + gather.  The emotion I felt during this thrift period was hunting pieces with no boundaries, blank canvas. 

The background of this image is a pre-look into a series I'm doing on embroidery with objects.  In this example, I'm embroidering with Goodwill tags.  Those in the Cedar Rapids + Marion area know these well.  They are charming tags with a great color scheme.  Why not use them as a resource for my work?  


This composition was created from a bag of discarded fabric pieces in Czech Village, placed on a skirt purchased from Goodwill.  The fabric pieces made perfect sense in the bag both aesthetically + to the environment surrounding it: Czech Village.  It began my fascination: a bag of items being a small window into someone's curation of objects.  What were these textile pieces part of?  The colors reminded me of discarded pieces from a folk costume.  It brought together my fascination with a thrift store being a cultural pocket to a community +  an example of a cultural neighborhood of Cedar Rapids.

When I purchased this skirt, it was for the enlarged pockets - the structure to the garment. It would serve as a blank canvas.  I've only completed one pocket.  The pocket on the other side is left blank, awaiting another inspirational material purchase to create an equally balanced appeal.   

This is another uncovering of my collection from last Spring.  I'm already looking forward to presenting a new layer to this garment.  More to come.

CURATOR'S CHOICE: uncovering the past LADYFITS

Good bye, Winter!

Weather plays a role in the way we dress.  Not just for the functionality of armoring against the day's elements.  It is also based on a feeling. 

The other day was unseasonably warm in Iowa, 80 degrees + humid.  I could smell grills, saw people in the gardens, heard different birds + witnessed thunderstorms rolling in.  This connected me to a Spring state of mind.  I call this the "honeymoon stage" to dressing.  It is our first feeling of the season with the memories of the past. 

I began to uncover my spring dress from the darkness of dormant spaces.  A whole season has passed since I last acknowledged them.     

These two looks were from last Spring + first issue of LADYFITS.  The idea behind the red garment: personal folk + elements gathered from my Czech Heritage.  It's not an exact replica of Czech folk dress, but a feeling.  The striped (gray + off-white) skirt is an element to my folk dress.  I created this look from a feeling of a nomad around Cedar Rapids: taking the bus, walking with my oversized leather backpack, discovering spaces/materials/people in my community. 

I will post the day(s) I wear these forms of LADYFITS.  I won't alter the surface of the red garment, only adorn or armor it differently.  The stripped skirt will become something else - a hybrid of various stripe patterns.  

Hello, Spring!


May's Island 

it's a floral explosion!


Iowa tends to stay cool during the first portion of Spring, creating an opportunity to embrace 2 seasons at 1 time: Winter + Spring.  

This is my transition of ARMOR from Winter to Spring through layering + draping on to a simple black velvet dress.  This item of clothing was a staple for this past Winter season.  I transitioned it with colors + textiles I associate with warmer times.  I enjoy pieces that I can evolve, depending on the days thoughts.  The morning becomes a layering ritual for the day's tasks with weather being an important factor.  This is a creative warm-up, beginning the day with a wearable composition.  

These LADYFITS compositions are created from a materials list......veggie steamer, wall decoratives, grandmother's collection, recovered threads, scrapped hemlines, found objects, etc.  Most of the objects on the list are being altered from its original definition of use, broken down to be wearable.