Part of My Workshop Includes – UPCYCLING. Today, Let’s Upcycle a Skirt!

by Heidi Emmett:

Upcycling is SO FUN!! If you have been hesitant to get on board with it, today I’m going to show you a great project you could start with. First we need some inspiration.

Found this on Pinterest. I LOVE the way a beautiful dressy lace was paired with denim.

For me, Going to the Thrift shop is all about the fabric. I often buy a garment JUST for the fabric. This silk printed fabric is so great next to the denim in this skirt. Notice the top stitching on the denim and how it brings the fabric and denim together.

I like how this is a wrap skirt with interesting features on the front of the skirt.

THIS IS THE ONE! My skirt is so small that opening it up and adding pieces here and there like this skirt will make mine a perfect wrap skirt.

My thrifted skirt was so small but I loved the embroidery and the ragged hem, (the embroidery is the reason I purchased it, I new it would NEVER fit me as is.

The embroidery is machine done, but great colors and design.
O.K., snip, snip, snip! I cut it open all the way at the side seam opposite the embroidery.
Don’t forget to check out my cool slip on canvas tennis shoes. OF COURSE they are leopard. Remember, I said that Leopard is hot, HOT this season (in my humble opinion, Leopard anything is hot in any season).These are by Blowfish.  And so comfy almost right away.
I needed some other pieces to add on. Found this lovely woven piece in my stash. I decided to add a piece of fleece (try The Warm Company, made in the USA)  and a batik to the back of this woven.  And when I had to fish a spool of thread out of my trash bag, I found this perfectly colored piece of wool yarn.
I quilted my fabric “sandwich” together with different colored threads in an up and back motion that would show off the pattern of the fabric.
Arranging “stuff” to see if I can use some, all, or none. This is the fun part. Not sure about what you might pick out. “Test” them out as I did, by placing everything on the background of the starting skirt. Take a few pictures and look at your items objectively, through a camera lens.
Oh yes, I want this yarn and felt it down with my machine felter (mine is a Husky Star by Huskavarna). Check my past posts on “Fun Felting” to learn more.
It’s perfect.
The back side of this felted yarn is  pretty too.

It’s getting close to being finished. Think about which side you will add your quilted fabric piece to. How wide does it really need to be,and  how much of a wrap do you want? Maybe you will want to add more pieces than just the one as I did? All questions that will need answering and remember, it’s never wrong. Add something to it or cut it off and start again. I LOVE upcycling.
Check out my off-centered (ON PURPOSE, to reduce bulk, and I like how it looks) upcycled skirt. It is truly one-of-a-kind, just the way my clothing needs to be.
Maybe, I might add something else to this skirt. But right now it’s perfect as is.
Isn’t this fun! I am pairing this skirt with a red turtleneck, dark gray leggings, and my cool leopard tennies.

Upcycling is so freeing. As I said, you can do nothing wrong. I teach the upcycling portion of my workshop at the Artistic Alchemy retreat, on the first day. It’s a great warming up exercise to get your brain to start thinking outside the box and get you ready to work on one of my “ART TO WEAR” patterns later in the week. Please visit my Etsy store: DesignsbyHeidiEmmett/sewing patterns, to get an idea of the sewing patterns I sell. Next years Artistic Alchemy Retreat is Sept. 7-11th. It’s not too early to be thinking about it. All the information for our 2020 retreat comes out the beginning of February.

Fall at Pope Beach at South Shore Lake Tahoe, Oct. 2017. Notice how faaaarrrr out you can see the beach. It was the height of our drought. This year, same color in the trees, but the water comes all the way up now, within a foot or two of the railing.
An Aspen tree at waters’ edge of Zephyr Point Conference Center.
A storm is moving in to Zephyr Point in October. Foaming spray and big white caps.
Color trees are everywhere on the grounds of Zephyr Point. It is a great place to visit any time of the year (they do keep all roads on the grounds plowed when it snows), but fall is my favorite.

Thanks for stopping by and maybe check out your favorite Thrift shop this week (I love thrifting because your money goes to so many different great causes) and you find FABULOUS STUFF!! It’s a win, win!

I leave you with a quote: Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision. Hugs, Heidi

P.S. Follow me – DesignsbyHeidiEmmett on Pinterest and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Artistic Alchemy 2019 Retreat in Photos

by Sandra Bruce

Today I am simply going to let the photos I have of our retreat tell the story of some of the fun, creativeness, and learning that occurred in our 2019 Retreat at Zephyr Point. We 4, Jane, Heidi, Mary and myself thank all the participants for giving us yet another successful year! Following are photos of teachers, students, Open Studio ladies, Show and Tell, and some of the fantastic work that was created.

We look forward to 2020!




And last but not least, our annual group shot….the serious one, and my favorite, the silly one!

Zephyr Point Here we Come!

Packing up for Zephyr Point

Getting my car packed for the Artistic Alchemy retreat

Its Jane here. Just a few more days until our 2019 retreat starts at Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe and I have so much to do. Over the last two weeks I’ve been away teaching my Love of Pets Fabric Collage class in Santa Rosa, Sunnyvale and Livermore . Today I was finishing up a T-shirt quilt for a customer. With all this behind me I have a day or so to get focused and pack up for our 2019 retreat. I can’t tell you how excited we all are!

Early morning at Zephyr Point

Tranquility at Zephyr Point

Last year was my first year to attend the retreat. I just loved getting up early and walking down to the dock to drink my coffee and this is what I’m really looking forward to again.

I know Sandra, Heidi and Mary have been busy making unique, handcrafted items to put in their stores and these photos are some of the tea-towels and the unique collage bags I’ve been working on for mine. We hope the attendees will enjoy browsing our stores and picking up special pieces.

Artistic Alchemy attendees 2018

2018 Artistic Alchemy Attendees

Here we all are at last years retreat! Looks like we survived and don’t we all look happy and relaxed. Now its time for me to get back to my packing so I’m ready to head up the hill later this holiday weekend.

See you all soon 🙂

Indigo Dying- You gotta Try This!

by HEIDI EMMETT

It was a bright, summer day. Perfect for playing with fabric and Indigo dyes. With very little experience with this process, I was ready to jump right in. And it is all the more fun with a large group of “like-minded” friends.

Our teacher, Ginny Lee, showing samples and explaining the process.
So, Indigo is the dye bath we put our item in after it has been manipulated in some way with Shibori techniques.
Here is an example of Kumo Shibori. Love it, and it is the first one I tried on a linen top.
Here is the wrong side and the right side (both are cool) of a Shibori technique that involves using wine corks (I always wondered what to do with mine, ha, ha) and rubber bands.
O.K., here goes my first attempt at Kimo Shibori using a linen top. Wrap at an angle, tightly, but not too tight.
Ginny is showing me how to wrap and pull down on those wraps (to fit the whole thing on the tube.
Here are some very interesting wraps. Notice the printed fabrics too.
I love all these really wild and different wrappings, foldings, and clothes pins! These pieces have been soaked in water and are waiting their turn in the dye bath.
Indigo is a plant. Yes, it is found in Asia, India, and I just learned this, there were large plantations of Indigo in South Carolina in the middle to late 19th century.  Not really a hard process to make up a batch of the Indigo.  Really messy though.
This is my linen top coming out of the dye bath. Whaaat? Why is it Chartreuse? Where’s the blue? It turns this green color in the dye bath and as it’s exposed to the air, it begins to change over to Indigo Blue.
I like this cotton shirt and floppy hat.
Taa daa! My linen top! There is still some green in one bottom corner. 5 min. later, blue.
This piece is so interesting. Ginny said to bring yellow or orange fabrics as a base fabric. Such an interesting piece all wrapped and folded with 1/2 moon shapes.
I think this T-shirt is really cool. There is the yellow and orange(tie dyed before) with a hint of Indigo here and there.
This T-shirt was pinched and pleated in the top area only using larger clips. What a cool design.
I sure wish this was my piece. Again, it started with a pale yellow fabric. I like the combo of styles within one piece.
I brought a baby quilt that I got at the thrift store. The quilting, HAND QUILTING, is so precise, and the stitching is so small. It had languished in my “what do I do with this?” container for years. It was white, well dingy white. It took awhile but I bunched up little poofs of fabric and held them in place with plastic stretchy hair ties. I really like how it turned out. I hope to make a vest out of it using one of my patterns. Maybe a “Mommy & Me & My Lace Vest” only it will be a quilted.
Someone brought this book.  I might need to own this. Filled with great pics and ideas.

It was suggested that we bring fat qtrs. to be able to try many different techniques. Brilliant idea. One student did that, and even went further by prepping some of her pieces at home with some of the more time consuming folding, pinching, whatever processes.
This same student took home 12 different techniques with just fat qtrs. I’m jealous!
Another pale yellow piece of fabric to start (a tablecloth actually).
A really fun day and I can’t wait to do it again, hopefully sooner than later.
I came home and went to the back deck doors and said, “What? ” Rex was sound asleep, thinking he was a dog? Trying to cool off? Pretty funny.  The 2019 Artistic Alchemy Retreat is only 29 days away. All the teachers are madly finalizing this and that to make it your PERFECT getaway. See you all soon.  Hugs, Heidi

Let’s Customize a Purse/Totebag with Your Favorite Fabrics!

by HEIDI EMMETT

I’m calling this FUN FRIDAY! So keep reading and enjoy this post!

Awhile back I did a guest blog post for Imagination International(they license Terial Magic).  I changed things up a bit (added more pics) and want you to see this fun idea.

Take one Cross-body purse and one tote and  add some pizzazz! These are easy, peasy to make and are great idea for gifts too. And perfect for beginner sewists and advanced alike.

I would pick out the purses/totes FIRST, and then go to your stash of small to medium sized prints in 100% cotton. 1/4 yard each of 4 or 5 prints should work just fine.

Hi Rubix, No I’m talking about cats at the end of this post. I know you want to help, but…..

The fastest way to treat your fabrics with Terial Magic for this project is to lay a piece of muslin (big enough to cover the ironing board)onto the ironing board. Working with one piece at a time, lightly spray the fabric piece. With the iron on the dry setting, iron it dry. If you notice a few places that have no “Magic” spray them and keep ironing.  Just like a piece of paper now! LOVE this!!
After they have all been prepped I look for glasses with the right size for my circles. Each finished piece has only 2 layers. This larger circle is 2″ in diameter. Mark around the glass, I used a pencil.
The smaller of the circles are approx. 1 1/4″ in diameter. Mark and cut these out too.
Now it’s play time. Stack them any way you wish. If any of them feel  a little limp, another spritz of Terial Magic and that dry iron again, will do the trick.

Whirr….whirr…start sewing from the center, and work your way out to the edge. Use a regular sewing foot, no glue or pins needed. Very light touch on your fingers on the outside edge. Looking good.

The next step is to glue the stiffened, sewn circles onto your purse/tote. I use, quite often, a product called Fabri-Tac. It’s clear and super tacky. Make sure you put the glue on the outer edges. Fabri-Tac is expensive so make sure you close it up tightly when done using it.  ENJOY YOUR FUN, AND FANCY NEW BAGS!

O.K., now for the dog part. This came off of a tea towel I purchased for a friend. I think it’s hilarious.

And now for the cat part.

 

Canopy Cat Rescue is a site YOU MUST LOOK AT! I tried to get a picture to bring over to my site, but I couldn’t get it to work. I saw this group on the Hallmark Family show. Oh my gosh! Two guys climb 175 ft. trees to rescue cats. Did you know that Washington state has the tallest trees in all the lower 48 states. And a slow month is 30-40 cat rescues. Whaaaatt! That’s incredible. Go and see what they do. It will make you feel good (even if you don’t like cats that much).

Thanks for stopping by today. Things are shaping up for our Artistic Alchemy retreat. Check it out here.  I have just a few spots left in my workshop, and Jane has some in her workshop as well.  As I keep saying, “Make it up, make it fun, and get it done! Hugs, Heidi

P.S. My next post on Designsbyheidi.wordpress.com will be June 21st! My yard and veggie garden need some major attention.

Look at This!! From the “Wearable Creativity” portion of Heidi Emmett’s Workshop!

by Heidi Emmett

A look at what you can make in my workshop: Upcycling, Wearable Creativity & Fiber Jewelry!

Take one really unique vest pattern (fits so many sizes and shapes and heights) and pair it with one of Mary Boalt’s famous one-of-a-kind hand painted canvases. Hint: Mary might have some of these beauties for sale at the Artistic Alchemy Store. This store is only open to Artistic Alchemy students. Buy a panel for FUTURE use at home.

Make your first vest in the workshop as it shows on the pattern (this way you can plan ahead to find the right choices of fabrics for you).

Here are a variety of women who have tried on  the same Off the Grid Vest and their honest comments:   5″6″ tall-classic pear shape, larger hips, not much of a bustline: “Love the length, it covers my hips but isn’t too long to feel bulky. If I fold the collar back a little and no front buttoning, I will feel very comfortable in this.”

One more: 5’9″ tall-classic apple shape, hips, waist, and bust are all similar measurements (and on the larger size), “I didn’t think I could pull this off, but I like the rectangles, they make me feel thinner, if that’s possible. I feel like I might need more width on the front and back pieces.”    More comments are in the pattern package.

During this segment of the workshop, I will be there for YOU to create your own one of a kind “Art to Wear” piece using any of my Designs by Heidi sewing patterns. Off The Grid Vest is a perfect choice for Zephyr Point as the retreat setting allows for plenty of time to get this vest really going and possibly, finishing it while there.

Here is Mary’s beautiful hand painted and stitched panel (with silk organza covering the whole piece). The stitching holds down the organza and gives this piece a real WOW factor.

I had to be really careful how I cut this panel into pieces.

I deemed the piece above (right below the canvas) to be the lining of my new vest. AND I’m using the wrong side of it.

The piece above (from JoAnn’s) called a “Scuba” fabric is used for the side panels and the back piece. There is no batting in this vest. I did stitch the Scuba fabric (diamond shapes have netting inside) to the lining fabric to hold it all together. There is a hint of the lining showing through and I think it adds a bit of mystery.

Deciding  which piece will be the binding for the vest.

Hands down, it is the “Grunge” by Moda (at least 50 colors to choose from this one is black)

Slices of polished Agate found at a Gem and Mineral show.

Ohhh, these pieces of Agate look yummy on the hand painted panel piece.

And here it is, Taa Daa! My newest, sophisticated looking (in my opinion), OFF THE GRID VEST! I keyed everything about this vest with Mary’s Boalt’s “perfectly painted panel.”

Off The Grid Vest pattern using really unusual fabrics. DesignsbyHeidi.wordpress.com

Side view of my newest Off The Grid Vest. Scuba fabric on the side. DesignsbyHeidi.wordpress.com

Close up of the front of Off The Grid Vest. An Art to Wear sewing pattern by Heidi Emmett.

Such an interesting combination of fabrics, beads, and stone.

Every bit from Mary Boalt’s hand painted canvas was thought out before cutting into it.

There is diagonal stitching on the back piece to hold the lining to the Scuba fabric.

Another wired piece of Agate for one of the side closures.

This panel was a piece of artwork on its’ own. It was hard to make that first cut. But worth it in the end.  Thank you for creating this one of a kind piece for me to create a unique Off The Grid vest,  Mary Boalt.

InstagramAA Logo1Pinterest-Pinnedetsy

Buy this pattern 3 easy ways:   1. contact me personally at hmemmett@gmail.com and I can send one out to you using Paypal payment of $16.00, 2. via Bluprint.com /sewing patterns by Heidi Emmett in a digital format or 3. my Etsy shop (Look under sewing patterns/Heidi Emmett) for a hard copy.

I do LOVE how this piece of Agate for the front closure turned out.

Sunrise  this past week. Lot’s of storms equal more sewing and creating time. Love that!

My workshop: “Upcycling, Wearable Creativity & Fiber Jewelry” offers, days of getting your creative juices really going. There are many demos., handouts, and personal help from me. I want you to experience a different type of quilting, and one that you can make,  enjoy creating, and enjoy WEARING it too. Please read all about my workshop and if you have any questions, fill out the questions tab( on the home page) and I’ll get back to you.

Thanks for stopping by. Make it up, make it FUN, FUN, and GET IT DONE! Hugs, Heidi

Announcing our 6th Annual Artistic Alchemy Retreat, Sept. 2nd-6th, 2019!

Welcome! Please peruse all the drop down boxes on the Menu bar. Any questions you may have, fill out the form in the Contact link on the menu bar.

We hope to see YOU this year at Lake Tahoe for our  6TH ANNUAL ARTISTIC ALCHEMY RETREAT!

From the team, Heidi, Sandra, Mary, & Jane.