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Upcycle your old pants!

Saturday, 2 June 2018 9:42:21 AM Australia/Sydney

Upcycle your pants with simple origami folds

Masayo folds and pins the hem of some wide leg pants


origami folds in pant hem

Here is a great way to breathe life into your old pants.

Perhaps they have frayed hems or you think the would look better as 3/4 or 7/8 pants.

With this simple idea, you can create several different looks depending on where you tack the fabric.

We can create lots of volume and interesting shadows and angles using simple origami style folds.

I use this technique all the time when designing for dogstar

and used it most recently on the 3/4 Frost pants.

The great thing is that anyone can do it .You don't have to know how to use a sewing machine, just a needle and thread will do!

So.. the hem can be left as is to create 7/8 pants or trimmed by 10 cm or so to convert into 3/4 pants. (If cutting - remember to leave 3 or 4cm for the hem)

Follow the steps in the images. There is really no right or wrong ways to do it. Sometimes it takes me several attempts to get it what I want, but you can always just pin in place and wear it to see how the garment will sit.

To me, that is the fun part of designing, especially when it involves different fabric types with completely different properties.

I would love to know if any of you try this idea, please send me a photo if you do.

If you are not confident to do yourself, you can always bring your pants into our studio at Woolloongabba and we can do it togerther !

9 step guide

View in shop - 3/4 frost pants  - with origami style folded hem

Posted in Dogstar By dogstar australia

Multiway dress

Saturday, 28 April 2018 5:39:16 PM Australia/Sydney

Designing the Multiway Dress


Unfinished shirt

For a long time it has been my challenge to create multiway dresses. 
Because over time, I have seen my customers change their look and their life styles, I often wish I could make a garment that can change its look at anytime to suit their needs. 
I am yet to finish that puzzle collection, I think I will always be working on it.
But this time I am imaging metamorphosis.
Something that can change from one thing to another.
I am currently working on a shirt piece that sits ontop of a dress - I will share the progress.


First sketch


Second sketch


Posted in Dogstar By dogstar australia

An interview with Ayla

Sunday, 25 February 2018 7:08:52 PM Australia/Sydney


Ayla in recovery

-How did you discover that you needed a kidney transplant?  

 My only symptom was high blood pressure. After a doctor’s visit, a blood revealed my kidneys weren’t functioning properly. I was sent to the emergency department and spent the next 6 days in hospital. The 3rd day there the Nephrologist (kidney specialist) sat with me and told me "Your kidneys are functioning at 6%. You're going to need to go on dialysis and eventually you'll need a kidney transplant."
I knew very little about transplants and had no clue of what dialysis was so I wasn't too concerned. "Just give me some sweet dialysis, pop a kidney in me, and I'll be on my way." I had no idea this was the beginning of a life long journey.

-What was that diagnosis like for you?

While in hospital I had a biopsy, where they took a piece of my kidney to determine if the damage could be reversed, I received the results a couple of weeks after my discharge. The Doctor was very casual about it,

"So... you know you have stage 5 chronic kidney disease?"

"...I do now?"

I felt insignificant and quickly learned I can't expect people to understand what I’m going through or expect much empathy. Chronic Illness is a very solitary world and you become a mere spectator of life.

-Tell us a bit about your journey with stage 5 chronic kidney disease?

My world was upside down, everything changed. Firstly, my diet, I was heavily restricted from most foods and was also restricted to 1500ml of fluid a day, I was also on a massive amount of medications which affected my memory.
Then there was dialysis. Every night I was connected to a machine for 8 hours while it cleaned my body of the toxins that built up during the day. Trying to sleep while tethered to a machine never becomes comfortable, it just becomes the norm.
Despite these restrictions, I managed to live a relatively normal life. I worked full time with the amazing dogstar team who have supported me every step of the way, I maintained a social life, even upheld my creative side by curating a zine series focusing on young adults with Chronic Illness.  
I didn't let my diagnosis take over my life, it was just a part of it.

-The turnaround, how did it feel to get that phone call from the hospital?

Even though I waited 2 years and 4 months for that phone call, nothing could ever prepare me for it. It was 6.45am on a Tuesday morning. They said they had a really good kidney for me and told me to come to the hospital in the next hour. I tried to pack a bag but I couldn't gather my thoughts. My brain was buzzing, my heart was pounding, I have never felt that elated. It was the best moment of my life. Arriving at the hospital they knew exactly who I was. This was it, it was really happening. 

-How has your recovery been so far?

My new kidney started cleaning my body up straight away. My kidney function has gone from 3% to 75% and is continuously increasing. The doctors have said that it couldn't be going better.
I have so much energy which is a little frustrating because I am still recovering. No dialysis for 22 days and I’ve been able to eat all the foods I couldn't before although I’m still on a lot of medication.
It is a very emotional time for me, I’ve been reflecting on the past few years, on dialysis, the life changing surgery, my donor, their family and the new life I have in front of me.

-What is involved day to day living with your donated kidney?

After the transplant, I was put on a number of anti-rejection drugs to keep my body from attacking my new organ. This continues for the duration of the life of my kidney. This means I need to be very careful day to day ensuring I avoid any chance of infection or illness. These drugs also increase my chance of getting skin cancer so it's important I’m mindful of sun exposure.
It’s important to really look after myself, be as healthily as possible. I like to treat my new kidney like a newborn baby, it's my job to protect it and ensure it has the longest possible life span.

-Why is registering as an Organ and Tissue donor so important.

Up to 10 people’s lives can be saved if you are an organ and tissue donor.
Sadly only 1-2% of people who die can actually donate their organs, it’s so important to have as many people registered as possible. In Australia, there are currently 1,300 people on the waitlist for an organ and these people are waiting up to 7 years.
Because of one incredible person who chose to register, myself and a number of other people have been given a second chance at life. I think of my donor every single day and the gift that I have received from them.
It takes 2 minutes to register online.

That's all it takes to save a life like mine.

-Ayla thanks so much for opening up to us, you’ve come so far in just a few short weeks and we can’t wait to see what your future holds.

For more information on organ donation, please visit

If you would like to donate you can visit the crowd funding page

Or purchase the Ayla top created by dogstar  (a portion of profits will go to Ayla)

Posted in Community Dogstar By dogstar australia

Oi, Ayla ! How's the new kidney?

Monday, 19 February 2018 12:45:08 PM Australia/Sydney


Ayla at the recent annual dogstar party


If you have visited our Melbourne boutique anytime in the past year, or been to our recent studio sale in Brisbane, chances are you have probably met Ayla. But what you probably didn't know is that Ayla is now the proud owner of a donated organ.

3 weeks on and she is doing incredibly well. Her friends and family and the dogstar pack have come together and raised several $1000s through crowd funding.

To continue to support Ayla in her recovery - dogstar has created the Ayla Top. A portion of the profits from the sales of this garment will be donated to her.

We are expecting a speedy recovery because we want her back at work asap.

Available in 4 colours - soon in store and online.

If you would like to help, please visit

Ayla and Caroline choosing songs for the greatest karaoke performance of Caroline's life


She picked a Cher song

Posted in Dogstar By dogstar australia

back to designing

Thursday, 8 February 2018 1:19:19 PM Australia/Sydney

Back to work



I had such a wonderful time in Japan over the New Year period.

It was lovely to see my children spending time with their great Grandmother, cousins and extended family. The contrast from my home town in Fukui to here in Brisbane is striking. The snow is now so deep that my family and neighbours cannot leave their house, some cannot open the front door. We were lucky to get to the airport when we did as the snow storm came a few days after we left.
I am now remembering the feelings of being in Japan and experiencing that climate and culture.
I use those memories and feelings to inspire my designs and help me to choose fabrics and colours and silhouettes.
It is great to be back at work with my team.. but sometimes I wish I was still on holiday, watching children run in snow



Posted in Dogstar By dogstar australia

Goen - lucky coin and vintage string

Wednesday, 17 January 2018 4:15:36 PM Australia/Sydney

Vintage String

Today we made many 'goen' with 5 yen coins and decorative string.

During my recent trip back to my family home in Japan I found this collection of colourful vintage string, rope and ribbon. My 99 year old Grandmother has been adding to this collection for the past 60 years, saved from gift boxes and envelopes. The colours red and white are often used to symbolise luck and prosperity.

First we untangled and cut the string to length then tied it to the hole in the 5 yen coins (lucky coin). Once tied, they are placed inside a paper envelope then into Oiri-Bukuro (good luck bag).
We will be giving these out as part of the gift bag at our studio event this weekend.

Come and see me this Saturday (20th Jan) at the dogstar studio to collect your own tiny piece of Japan. 

We have lots of luck to share


Vintage thread



 5 yen coins

 hand tie coins

completed goen


Small Oiri-bukuro

Posted in Dogstar By Masayo Yasuki

Monju Mountain

Tuesday, 2 January 2018 3:32:45 PM Australia/Sydney

 Monju Mountain

Bamboo Forest

 I went to Monju mountain in my home town with my good friends and my children to celebrate the end of 2017. I did not know what to expect.

As soon as we stepped onto the mountain, the temperature dropped immediately. The snow was knee deep and we were surrounded by mountain forest. It took us to a completely different space and it was beautiful, but also mysterious.

Tengu golblin has been living in this mountain. He is a long nosed Goblin or bird like monster and has been living in this mountain as a protector for a 1000s of years. He is also considered to be a mountain god who can change his form.

When we are walking through the mountain, so many things went through my mind. Firstly, I wondered if Tengu was watching us, and then i thought about all the things I did this year and all the things I couldn’t do... about my family and friends, Australia and Japan.

It took almost 1.5 hours to reach the top, by the time we arrived my mind was completely calm. On the way down however, than calmness did not last long, whenever I trekked at the back of the line, it felt like we were being watched.

Perhaps Tengu was just making sure to grant us safe passage through his forest.

Communal Bamboo Walking sticks

Stone Bridge

Prayers offered to Tengu

Sream and Moss

 Sacred Tree - believed to be 1000's of years old and protected by Mountain Gods

Stone Monument with Jodo-Shinshyu chant engraved

Local Fauna



Posted in Dogstar By dogstar australia

My Grandmother's Hands

Friday, 29 December 2017 11:02:42 AM Australia/Sydney

My Grandmother's hands


Today, my Grandma asked me to help her winding cotton thread. I used to help her winding cotton when I was a kid.
She can't see much anymore but is still winding thread now.
She is nearly 100 years old, so she can’t wind as well now as she used to and the thread can get tangled easily.

I remember my Grandma used to stitch and fix everything by hand when cloth had a hole or was damaged.
She never wasted damaged clothes.

I used to get embarrassed to wear the old fixed clothes that my grandma kept for a long time.

We rarely stitch by hand these days.

I came home in Japan recently and am now wondering if those old clothes are still here in my Grandma’s closet.

It felt like time slipped back to when I was a kid winding thread with my Grandma.


Winding Thread

Ba Chan  (Grandma)


Grandmother's Hands

Posted in Dogstar By Masayo Yasuki

slow life

Wednesday, 20 December 2017 3:22:35 PM Australia/Sydney

Slow Life


 Togo train tracks


 For the past week my children have been experiencing Japanese school in Fukui.
The school that they go is a small school and is located in the country side in a little village called Togo.

All of the school children have been very welcoming to Naima and Taishi and they are exchanging different two cultures.

Togo still has many old elements remaining and somehow that makes me feel invigorated.

The little creek that curves through the main street in the village is home to many fat carp. The train only goes every 1-2 hours.

It is inconvenient for our busy life, but the time stops here in Togo.
I see many beautiful things this morning and feel like I receive lots of energy.

I like the slow life.


 Main Street


Local Carp


Empty Rice Fields


Train Station Garden


 Main Street


 Togo Train Station


Togo School Children


Keeping Dry





Posted in Dogstar By Masayo Yasuki

Home town

Friday, 8 December 2017 12:34:44 PM Australia/Sydney


Home Town



I am about to go back to Japan next week to visit my family. In the past 5 or 6 years I have not been in Japan during Winter.

This year I am taking my children to my home town called Fukui, which is located just north of Kyoto. The children will see snow for their first time in their life and they are so excited to make a snow man! My grandmother turned 99 years old this year and we will have traditional New Year celebration together and it will be the first time with the four generations.

I have been away from Japan for more than twenty years now and it will be good for me to see my hometown with a different eye. I always thought Fukui was a boring town, but now when I return, I see things differently and take notice of the colours and changes in seasons.

I am sure this trip will influence my next collection.

Courtyard Garden




Leaves and moss wall


View from my room


Temple stairs


School children


Leaving school




Posted in Dogstar By Masayo Yasuki

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