Terrific Tabard, AKA, Skinny Vest. Check it out!

Hello everyone,  I have been taking a 3 day class on Thread Painting. Every class I take, I learn at least one new thing! This time I have counted 7 new things I didn’t know about. And that’s what I want to do for you, when you sign up for my workshop! I want to show you new techniques and learn new things that translate into an “Art To Wear Piece.” Below are several examples of my Terrific Tabard aka “Skinny Vest.”
VP1 Marcia Derse Fabrics for this vest below. DSC_0228Below is a Terrific Tabard using Aboriginal fabrics. This vest was made for Beth Watts of Fabric Chicks in Minden, Nevada. You can see this and buy Whisper Blouse Pattern or Terrific Tabard from her at different quilt shows up and down the west coast. Her booth is AMAZING!DSC_1710DSC_1721DSC_1730

Below is “Tree of Life” (lots of collage), and “Aussie Angle” using large scale prints. DSC_0303 (2) Fronts and backs and now some close-ups. DSC_0302 Tree of Life, the tree. DSC_0023 Isn’t this fun, a pin instead of a button? Lovely comments every time I wear it. This pin catches the eye because it’s different. DSC_0317 DSC_0825

Let me show you some tricks to help fit a vest just for you. Terrific Tabard or Off The Grid. You choose!DSC_1726

Take a chance on something different. Leave my workshop with something you will actually WEAR! You will look good and feel great for every compliment you receive. I showcase “Off The Grid” (please look at past posts by Heidi or under “Workshops”) but if you would rather create your own “Terrific Tabard,” that’s great too.Let me know which one you prefer when you sign up for my workshop.

Please see my personal blog for more ideas: Designsbyheidi.wordpress.com and see my patterns at Craftsy.com/sewing patterns/DesignsbyHeidi

Have a very creative weekend wherever you live. I tell everyone, find 15 minutes everyday to get your “creative” going. Hugs, Heidi





by Heidi Emmett

Rafiki means friend in Swahili. Below is my original Rafiki skirt. DSC_0046 (2)

DSC_0103Rubix!! Get out of the picture!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe original Rafiki skirt was made by the beautiful young ladies that you see above.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbove is my friend, Judy Stokes who has worked with many lovely young women, who are either orphans or widows. Judy is involved with the Rafiki foundation. Please look them up: Rafikifoundation.org Judy’s job for 7 years was teaching these women to sew to enable them to earn a living on their own.She worked in four different African countries in orphanages and schools all built and run by the Rafiki Foundation.

When Judy would come home for a few months she would always bring clothing and accessories to sell. I bought the skirt that is in the first picture. The beautiful African fabrics make it unique, but so does the figure flattering design. I especially like the flirty, flared bottom edge. Whenever I wear my Rafiki skirts I get compliments. I got 2 from men while walking with the original one on in the Denver airport.

In talking with Judy she said she had to develop patterns for the women to sew  that were fast and easy to make and did not use a conventional tissue pattern (unheard of in Africa).


She taught me the process and above is my proto-type. It is too short and not enough of that flirty flaring at the bottom (I still wear it because I love the Marcia Derse fabrics). So I tried again. This skirt pattern, as well as all the clothing and accessory items that you see at the Rafiki Foundation Store (GREAT gift ideas) are mostly Judy Stokes’ designs.

DSC_0037And a close up. I used more Marcia Derse fabrics. They have an organic look to them that reminds me of African fabrics a la American feeling (is there such a thing?).

DSC_0036I made yet another one to perfect that flirty flare at the bottom. Christine has that one.

I talked to Judy some more. She is back in the states permanently but travels to Florida twice a year to write curriculum for all these women. They have to know how to take care of and repair their own Singer Sewing machines (you know the black, straight stitch ones). They also learn about sewing garments without using patterns. Sewing is just one aspect of their life changing classes and new ways of life learned at Rafiki.

I am so excited to be able to help Judy in this worthwhile cause. I told Judy the pattern for this skirt must be made available to ladies everywhere. I asked her if we could call it The Rafiki skirt. I have been working on getting it to Craftsy.com and will be finishing it up in the next few weeks.


So look for “Rafiki Skirt” soon on Craftsy.com Look under clothing patterns, skirts, and type in Heidi Emmett or Designs by Heidi. 90% of the sales will go to Rafiki Foundation so YOU will be helping too! Have a great, creative rest of October. Hugs, Heidi

“Style is a Simple Way of Saying Complicated Things.”

by Heidi Emmett

“Style is a Simple Way of Saying Complicated Things.” – Jean Cocteau.

I think this thought can be attributed to Art, Furnishings, Clothing, and of course, Quilting! The following pictures will show you a way to create style, using large scaled printed fabrics. It is done simply, but oh, so, complicated looking. This technique is perfect in a vest, wallhanging, or any number of creative projects.

DSC_0181A complicated Marcia Derse all over printed, large scaled fabric.DSC_0184 (2) Gathering other Marcia Derse fabrics and Kaffe Fassett “shot cottons.” And of course, I pick out possible jewelry to go with…DSC_0202 (2)I like to look at things on angles and take digital pictures. It helps me get a sense of proportion, scale, design, and colors. I have added some, taken away some, all to go with the first large scale print. DSC_0673

DSC_0674Close ups of sections of the “Skinny Vest” I created using this technique.I have to say, my sewing machine was giving me FITS while making this vest. It will be worth your sanity to have your machine in tip top shape. Skinny Vest pattern available at Craftsy.comDSC_0228


I love the complex look of this vest, “Skinny Vest”, using Marcia Derse fabrics.




A beautiful Aboriginal fabric. Don’t be afraid of stripes (this one is believe it or not) that go from selvage to selvage. I’ll show you how to make long, lean, pieces with it.



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“Skinny Vest”, Aboriginal Angle. Love, these colors.


Another FABULOUS Aboriginal that I am working with. I pull EVERYTHING I think might work and then begin to edit. I’ll bring this to Zephyr to show you in person. DSC_0803

The other day I went to my studio to iron shirts for my husband to wear for work. I abandoned the ironing (I made him wear sweaters) when I saw this Anna Maria Horner, moths and butterflies. Oh my, what will I create with this? Stay tuned. Better yet, sign up for my workshop at Zephyr and while the light breezy wind (that’s what Zephyr means) from Tahoe, washes over us, you will be creating your own style, complicated looking, yet simple. Hugs, Heidi