Art to Wear- Patterns, Retreats, & Inspiration!

by Heidi Emmett

The title says it all.  I’m Art to Wear, Patterns, Retreats, & lots and lots of Inspiration! I’ve been sewing since I was 7, made my own clothes since I was 12,and had my first show and sale of my “one of a kind” tennis dresses at age 18 (I made 27 for the show and half sold the first day, whoo hoo). I LOVE WHAT I DO!

Yes, I am older and wiser and have so much to show you, that you too can create your own art to wear piece and it will fit and you will feel great wearing it.

I don’t dress my age (59), I dress myself!

Students in my workshop have a choice of Off The Grid Vest, or Terrific Tabard. Below are some students past work.Off the Grid Vest (my miracle vest, see past posts by me, Heidi Emmett) The first one is Pat from a previous retreat.
Pat vest front open draped

Below is Trish, the only one in the entire retreat last year to walk to her truck after the retreat with a finished art to wear piece. Go Trish! The others were close behind. DSC_1039 A whole cloth Off The Grid. DSC_0087 (3) Wear it different ways. That’s what’s  fun. DSC_0309

A friend from New Zealand!New Zealand, Ca



Deirdre, working on her “Serengeti” vest. That’s what I’m calling it. She is using some terrific African fabrics. DSC_0025

Judi is using some great colors and fabrics that she keyed off of her large scaled fabric (the circles).  DSC_0026 One of my own Terrific Tabard vests using Marcia Derse fabrics. As Mary Boalt called it (in her July 8th post), a “TNT” of my TT vest pattern. DSC_0228

In case you missed them, Mary Boalt, a teacher this year at the Artistic Alchemy retreat made a “few” (5, FIVE!) Terrific Tabards. Reread and enjoy her post from July 8th.


Silk scrap bag vest. Who knew?! Mary Boalt.


Love this, she painted over some of the designs, and added hand stitching to compliment. Simple and elegant. Mary Boalt-T.T. vest using linen, fabric paints, and hand stitching.


A covered button is the finishing touch.


Here is the back of my cat, Rubix (he did that on command! ha, ha), and the back of Mary’s Terrific Tabard. Love the simplicity of the the painted circles and the stitched circles on linen. Sorry, the picture below is a bit fuzzy, let’s call it soft focus, ha, ha.


I’m working on a whole cloth T.T. I am trying different battings, threads, techniques. I’ll show you at the workshop.Machine quilting DOES take practice and more practice, I admit, I too am learning (the free form variety as below). I am quite willing to show my crude attempts. And no threads have been trimmed yet.  DSC_0159

And you thought I might have made my designs up (above pic)! This is the front. Tip # 1. use a whole cloth, large scaled print for maximum quilting potential. It makes it so much more fun to give it a try.


Egads! I even took a close up picture of my “practice.” DSC_0161

Inspiration is alive and well. It’s all around us. Come and explore some with me, Heidi E. in my workshop, Art to Wear.. See you soon! Hugs, Heidi

P.S. There is room in all the workshops. Sign up until late August.



“I Dare You!”

by Heidi Emmett

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Yes, “I Dare You!” to start thinking differently about a few things in your life. Color, line, and style in what you wear is a good place to start. Wait! Don’t leave this page just yet!I know, you say that you only make quilts. I recently attended a lecture by the ever famous Kaffe Fassett with Christine. Look at the following pictures and read some of his quotes.

“I go to museums and see collections of old fabrics to get ideas for new fabric collections.”

” I like easy approaches to actual techniques by using BIG presentations of color or design.”


“If the color is wonderful, does perfection really matter?”

sign 1

“Perfection has a place, but it has room for “play.”

Me and Kaffeus

I must digress a moment, the picture above is the only one we could get that would, in a teeny, tiny, way show Kaffe, that we WERE there with him! The book cover above, is the book I bought so I could actually stand in front of Kaffe and have him see me and sign my book. And I just thought (weeks later, of course!) if ONLY I had brought forward onto the table a panel from my Whisper Blouse (that I was wearing) and asked him to sign it! Now, THAT would have been cool. Oh well, but he did look at my blouse and said to me, “Ahh, someone really likes my stripes.” Be still my beating heart.


Here is the back of Whisper Blouse and the sweet lady next to me was wearing her own dress made from Alison Glass fabrics. Christine and I were some of the few that were wearing actual Kaffe Fassett fabric. Yes, we were “groupies” and proud of it!

My Back

“Accidental happenings give wonderful serendipity.”


“Close tones and harmonies of color, that’s how I work.”Kaffe three b Kaffe quilt 5 Kaffe two b

What an eye opening lecture for me. I was happy in realizing that I do, already, many of the things he spoke to. Kaffe has been doing this for over 50 years and YIKES, I just realized so have I. I am constantly building on what I have learned over the years and I love what I do. So yeah, “I DARE YOU!” to come the Artistic Alchemy retreat and learn and have fun by creating your own piece of wearable art. Be bold and step off the well worn rut you have been in. DSC_1224

Create a Terrific Tabard.
Sandra and Heidi Sandra & Heidi Orrr….how about Off The Grid vest. Let’s make it up, make it fun, and we WILL get it done (before you leave the retreat). Hugs, Heidi DSC_0598 DSC_0594

Artistic Alchemy goes to The Quilt Show in Grass Valley, CA!

by Heidi Emmett 

Visit my personal blog:  Also,see all my patterns that are available at Emmett

How many fiber artists does it take to set up (this booth is a first for us) a 10 x 10 ft. booth? Four! Here we are: the intrepid group that makes up Artistic Alchemy; Christine, Mary, Sandra, and Heidi. Welcome to all of you who are new to our blog after visiting our booth!   DSC_1203

Sandra and Heidi are both wearing a Terrific Tabard vest. Don’t forget I am offering Terrific Tabard as an option to Off The Grid vest in the Art to Wear workshop I am teaching. DSC_1200

I like how Sandra added a “phone pocket” on her Terrific Tabard aka “Skinny vest.” DSC_1095

Below is the cute triangle mini bag you will make in Mary’s workshop. It’s from the Steam-a-Seam section of the workshop.


I love her new canvas pieces. She is always adding new techniques that will help you create your own one-of-a-kind piece of art work. DSC_1193

This is how we felt after figuring out our booth setup!DSC_1192 Over in the SWAG (Sierra Wearable Art Group) showcase, I showed my Off The Grid Vest in a pre-felted fabric.I  have the wrong side out at this show for a different look. It’s a miracle vest pattern, so many have said that! One size really DOES fit all. Read more under my workshop description in the menu bar of this home page.  DSC_1189

Loving how the colors of Sandra’s “Octavious”  quilt helps to showcase our booth and show everyone what we each do at the Artistic Alchemy retreat. DSC_1103

Yea!! What a success our booth was. Now many, many, more are interested in what we do and are considering signing up for a creative and fun, 5 days of sewing by Lake Tahoe. Each workshop is filling. Christine’s is the first to have a waiting list. Sew don’t delay to pick your workshop choice and sign up!
DSC_1106 Christine’s Crossover Collage Vest in the SWAG section. DSC_1188

Mary’s stamped and painted linen coat in the SWAG section. DSC_1187 Sandra’s “Chuck Close” quilt won a prize in the show.DSC_1165

Here is Sandra’s latest quilt, “Winston,” another ribbon winner. I zoomed in a bit on this quilt to showcase the depth of color. DSC_1162

Here’s the write-up on Christine’s  ribbon winning quilt!DSC_1159

Solid and Plaid Modules. Sorry, I just retitled it to “Dazzling Color Blocking.”

DSC_1158 Christine’s “Swizzle Sticks” was a ribbon winner too!DSC_1143

Thanks for coming along on our weekend at The Quilt Show. We love what we do. As I like to say: “We make it up, make it fun, FUN!, and get it done!”  Hugs, Heidi


What Makes “Off The Grid Vest” so Special?



Off the Grid vest is special because there is absolutely nothing like it in the world of “Art to Wear” right now. Who knew that rectangles could go together in such a way that were both flattering and fun to wear at the same time?

With this “Art to Wear” piece, “Heads will Turn” as you walk.


But you say, “I don’t make clothes anymore, I can’t get them to fit!” I say, please read about the miracles of this vest under my Workshop. The way it fits all sizes and shapes with no alterations is truly a miracle.


Wear it inside out for another look. I first started in my life long sewing passion making clothing. Fashion Design was what I concentrated on at Sierra College. Don’t get me wrong, I love making quilts, but I admit, I need more instant gratification. So now it is quilted clothing, and accessories.


Sign up for my workshop, “Art to Wear, Off the Grid vest” and you will be hooked. Don’t hide your creative talent on a shelf all folded neatly away (as in a quilt). Wear it! Show the world what you can really do! Last year, one student actually finished her vest before the retreat was over! Yeah Trish!! The others were 90% finished when they left. I like those numbers.


Read more about this vest under workshops (on the home page). Follow me on Pinterest. See all the patterns I sell on /Sewing patterns/ DesignsbyHeidi  And please visit my personal blog:  And for goodness sake, email me at if you have any questions or if I’m not in my sewing studio, I’d even answer the phone 530-273-8067. Make it up, make it fun, and lets GET IT DONE!

Below is a glorious sunset from the gift shop balcony at Zephyr Point. Join me this September and experience good friends, good sewing, and good times. Hugs, Heidi