emilie from mani mina

May 4th, 2011

Emilie makes strikingly beautiful clothes. Her story is amazing, as is her shop. So I won’t waste your time blathering on. I’ll just let you see for yourself…

mani mina studio

1. How did you get into designing patterns?
I started making children clothes 4 years ago, when i was pregnant with my child and muse, Luzmina. I had been sketching and drawing costumes during the 6 years i lived in Taiwan and China and during my pregnancy, i had time to put those ideas and visions and practice and learn to sew. I spent a few months in Paris learning the traditional techniques of making children clothes and after the birth of my child, i came back to my long time job, dancing flamenco, but i also continued to create clothes for my child. Our little family moved to New York 4 years ago and i was offered the chance to sell my children clothes through various designers shops in Brooklyn. Then i started an etsy shop 3 years ago and i sold a few thousand clothes in less than 2 years. I realized that my best talent and pleasure is into designing so i came with the idea to design PDF patterns, which allows me more creativity and freedom. Also by being a dancer and traveling very often, the flexibly of pdf patterns that can be sent from anywhere on the globe is a great chance and a perfect balance found between my flamenco dance career and my sewing path.

2. Do you have a specific kind of child in mind when you are working on your designs?

Of course, my daughter is my constant source of inspiration. But all children are inspiring. I observe their movements, their love of freedom and that is mainly why the clothes i design are simple. Children are fantastic enough to transform a simple little dress into something so graceful. Also i always have in mind the vivid curiosity of kids, i love to add unexpected, surprising details to the clothes i make so that it nourish and tickle their imagination.

mani mina handmade clothes
3. How do you think children should dress?
I don’t think children should dress like little grown up, simple because they are not and i don’t think they should be a living mirror of the adults. But like us, they deserve to wear natural, soft, high quality fabrics. I believe fabrics are like a second skin and can change your feeling of the world. What is more beautiful than a simple garment made from natural fibers, linen, silk, cotton that reflects the beauty of nature? I do believe in simple shapes. In simple, plain colors too. It is striking how just a creative combinations of colors can be much more beautiful than the greatest patterned fabrics. It is best to talk to the imagination rather than overcrowd the eyes.4. Do you think what you wear influences how you dress your kids or design your patterns?

I wear clothes that reflect my feelings and identity, it is also due to the fact i live in a country that is not my homeland and after having travelled all around the world, my clothes helps me to feel home anywhere. The clothes i create also reflect all the places i loved to live in: China, France and Spain. Spain maybe for the bright colors, France, my homeland, for the sense of elegance and China for the beautiful simplicity of  the clothes designs. I am in love with all the treasures carried by clothing traditions and always have this in my heart when i create a new pattern.
the eva dress by mani mina

5. Do you also sew clothes for yourself?
Strangely, i don’t sew for myself but i make my own flamenco costumes, including sophisticated skirts with ruffles, fabric flowers and tops that i use in my dance tours and on stage. Here too i praise simplicity and unexpected combinations of colors but always in plain shades. I think the human body is so beautiful in movement that too much colors or patterned fabrics don’t serve the eyes.
I am also exploring natural herbal dyeing of fabrics and wear all the cotton dresses or accessories that i dye. I mostly dye with spices or fresh herbs gathered in my garden. My next professional step is to create a line of children clothes that are hand dyed with plants in my studio. Maybe this will happen if i find a way to have 3 lives instead of one…

6. What children’s clothes designers do you admire?
Not long ago i came across the work of Marylin Tov, a parisian designer working in NYC. Her clothes are amazingly beautiful and my first impulse was to wish i could feel the fabrics of her clothes and contemplate them for a long time. Her work has a great artistic value. I also admire one french pattern maker, Sister Alma who lives and creates from a convent. Her patterns are exquisite and designed with a great sense of elegance.  Her line of patterns is called “C’est dimanche”, “It is Sunday” in English. The children clothes line “Neige” also inspires me.If you are searching for imaginative and highly inspired children clothes, go visit the world of Mishalulu.
My greatest source of inspiration are our kids from all over the world, they deserve our hardest work to wrap them around clothes made with LOVE !!!


Thank you Emilie for sharing your amazing story with us and leading us to some new and fantastic children’s clothes makers! Please check out Emilie’s shop for all her patterns and her handmade children’s clothes as well!

11 Responses to emilie from mani mina

  1. Jen Pett-Ridge says:

    Mani Mina is one of my long-time favorites. Thank you so much for giving her this well-deserved attention! Her patterns are lovely and so fun to make.

  2. sarah M says:

    These are absolutely BEAUTIFUL clothes ( I would wear them for myself! hehe!)
    Thanks for the interview and the new etsy favorite. That little girl is just so cute, too!

    Sarah M

  3. Jennifer Woollard says:

    These look so beautiful. I desparately want some patterns likes these but need size 8-9 in australian sizes not sure what that makes it in US sizes???? any suggestions for that age group. I have only just joined following your blog so appologies if you have answered this query before. Love your blog!

  4. Nikki says:

    A favourite of mine too! Bought my little girl a dress last year for her 3rd birthday and it was absolutely gorgeous!

  5. Jo says:

    Thanks for doing this interview – I have long admired her beautiful designs, they really stand out from others – very inspirational!

  6. Marlena says:

    I am blown away at how beautiful the clothes are, and I would wear every. single. piece. myself. Also, her daughter is beyond beautiful. Wow – thanks, Meg, a new-to-me designer.

  7. Felicia says:

    Love reading her story! And her little model is just about the cutest thing ever. Will definitely be picking up some of her patterns to try out next week.

  8. I have made the Chic Everyday Dress several times for my daughters. I absolutely love that pattern. Thanks for featuring Emelie. The patterns are timeless and limited only be unlimited fabric choice.

  9. She’s so cute, a little princess and very good model, she could be a top model for children’s fashion :D. The outfits are so gorgeous and I like the fact that u use natural fabrics, which is very important for a child skin, they have to feel free and clothes must be comfortable and let their skin breath.

  10. louise says:

    I love love love the top middle dress!! Adorable! If only I had a girl…. :) Luckily I have some nieces… Loving the interviews, too!

  11. Becky M says:

    OH I love these designs, thank you for introducing them to me!