She doesn't believe in ghosts and she's never been to a seance, but when the chance to design costumes for the movie ``Ghost'' appeared, Barbary Stenderu believed in herself enough to say yes.
Stenderu, a local textile and clothing designer with a shop near the Pike Place Market, designed some of the clothing Whoopi Goldberg wears in ``Ghost'' and the cloth that covers the seance table in the movie.
In the film, playing at several area theaters, Goldberg plays a charlatan psychic who discovers her powers are authentic when she starts communicating with ``ghost'' Patrick Swayze.
Stenderu, who usually designs one-of-a-kind fabrics and clothing, was asked to design a jacket and blouse plus 30 yards of fabric for the seance tablecloth, draperies and pillows in Goldberg's apartment.
``I had never done two pieces that were exactly alike before,'' she says. ``. . . I had to make several exact duplicates of each one so there would be spares in case some were damaged.
The fabric provided a special challenge.
``I'd be working along and the first 10 yards would be perfect,'' she says. ``Then there would be a glitch in the 11th yard and I would have to start over.''
Some of her work was rejected because the colors were not an exact match. ``That is difficult to do with my kind of work,'' she explained. ``The dyes are affected by steaming, humidity and sunlight, conditions that are hard to control.''
Stenderu studied art, anthropology and women's studies at the University of Washington where one of her best friends was the daughter of Paramount studio costumer Ruth Morley, the woman who solicited her work.
Stenderu says she is mostly self-taught in designing and dyeing fabrics. ``I find myself learning more and developing new techniques all the time.''
She uses fiber-reactive dyes in vibrant colors so the patterns go through the fabric as opposed to lying on the surface. She also uses pigment paints for surface patterns and sometimes does silk screen on top.
Stenderu's favorite technique is hand-painted silk screen working from paintings or wood blocks.
She opened her first shop, Ero M Yub - an anagram for ``buy more'' - in the Fremont district about two years ago. She recently renamed the shop Lu Barbary Stenderu, hired Mendy Graves to help with retail, and moved to the South Arcade Building at First Avenue and Pine Street. Eventually, she'll face First Avenue, but until that space is ready, she's in the Atrium on the lower level.
Her clothing designs range from daytime to evening wear that is moderately priced considering the amount of handwork.
She makes full-cut chiffon shorts ($76) that can be topped with her black silk velvet T-shirts ($76). She's also designed a soft, flowing ankle-length gown with a dropped torso priced at $156. Her tank tops sell for about $36.
Stenderu also designs clothing that can be worn by men.
Tony Marriott, her husband, is fond of her chiffon and velvet T-shirts and he wears the pillbox hats she makes from scraps of fabric.
He recently quit his job at the University of Washington to join her enterprise full-time. And, of course, he was right there beside her when the movie opened.
``It was really fun to see my things on the screen,'' she says. ``Everything looked great, but they didn't show the draperies or the pillows. The rest really showed up well.''