“Off The Grid” Vest Pattern—How it Came to Be!”

by Heidi Emmett

Once upon a time, I took the Urban Ombre’s quilt class from Christine. It was great fun. It was the first time I had seen the Diawabo ombre’ from E.E. Schneck in grey or is it gray?Throughout the class I kept thinking, all these fabrics together would make the coolest vest. But what design? So, I took my blocks, along with everyone’s scraps (I ASKED them first), and put them on my design board and began to think.

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Later, Christine said she was doing a lecture at the E.E. Schenck Trends Show (a show for shop owners from western states and the Asian Pacific The show is located in Porland, OR). Since Schenck sells the grey background fabric Christine was showing her quilt and then she said, hey, that vest idea you had, that would be great, I’ll take that too, so we can get your name out there. O.K., that sounds good, when is it? 

In a month. Whaaaaattt?! I have done NOTHING! The little pieces were falling off the design board, or covered by other projects that were creeping in.

An hour later, I stood at my ironing board, fabrics spread out and I said a prayer. I had a nice chat with God and said, Help!! I walked over to my little garment rack of purchased pieces (whether from a “Real” store or the thrift shop)all for ideas for future project. I pulled out a super short jacket that had bad fabric and design, but the collar!! and while that jacket had a skinny front band, I liked how it connected to the collar.  

I whipped out my sketch pad and started with rectangles. I knew I wanted a long, lean, look to this vest pattern. The rectangles kept coming to mind. 

I also wanted to showcase the interesting fabrics on the front, so I made the front panels really wide . Those pieces, the rectangle  shaped log cabin blocks, and the “sticks” (remember those pieces people discarded?), again they are all rectangle shapes.  

It all came together so smoothly (remember that prayer at the ironing board?). I was sewing up a storm and it was time to add the front panel pieces. WAIT A MINUTE!! They are too short at the bottom, no, no, NO! (Oh, dear, I just told the world that I made a major measuring mistake). And NO TIME to make new front panel pieces. 

Upon further trying it on, looking, thinking, I came to the conclusion that I LIKED it that way! Who knew? I like it being “off” at the bottom edges (hint, hint, Off the Grid).  You will be happy to know that yes, I finished it in time for Christine to take up to the Portland show. She said it was a big hit. Yea….

I use Terial Magic on the strips used for the blocks and sticks. I love how this product keeps things from fraying while I”m raw edge stitching them down.

It’s so fun to use Marcia Derse prints, and other ombre’ fabrics. The blocks have their edges turned under and are edge stitched to the gray ombre’ background fabric. 

I use glue (the bottle in the picture is basting glue), but I also use basic school glue (like Elmer’s). You can see the subtle change in the background fabric. I really enjoy turning it this way and that, darker portions verses lighter sections. It’ what YOU like. That’s why I call for 3 yds. for the background (room to play). 

Notice please that I use a zig zag stitch (rectangles again), and it also encases the raw edge of the fabric. 

And I do, what I call, “Shadow quilting.” They are always done in a rectangle shape . I like the look and it adds more quilting to the piece. 

I do any all over quilting in gentle curves because it’s easier on the eyes (if they were straight it’s too hard to sew perfectly straight) and adds movement. 

Look at the SUPER COOL necklace my 93 year young friend, Lila Sugg made for me (she is a MASTER sewist). It is so perfect with my vest (a secret, shhh…the gorgeous chunks of turquoise are made from potatoes).  Google that one, people! 

My workshop is called “Pick a Pattern.” I have at least 9 patterns to choose from or you could pick some from my NEW book! It’s out now! Buy it from me, your quilt shop, or Amazon. I’d love to see YOU in my workshop this September at Zephyr Point.

And listen to this, E.E.Schenck now carries my patterns and my book! And I have been asked to come to the next Trends Show and present a trunk show on my Art to Wear patterns and book. Sharon, the buyer, said that “Art to Wear” is coming back in a big way in the quilting world and I’ll be right there!  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 Craftsy.com /Sewing patterns/ DesignsbyHeidi  And please visit my personal blog: Designsbyheidi.wordpress.com  And for goodness sake, email me at hmemmett@gmail.com 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



Look What My Students Made! September 2015 at the Artistic Alchemy Retreat!

by  Heidi Emmett


Artistic Alchemy Retreat #2, HUGE SUCCESS! My workshop was “Art to Wear, Art on The Wall,” with all emphasis on the wearing part. All of them decided  to make my “Off The Grid Vest” (above) Please visit my past post about Off The Grid vest from 3/27/15!  Here are my students: meet Pat K. who hails from Susanville. DSC_0841

Below is Pat S. She comes all the way from the Benicia, near San Francisco.


Below, meet Sylvia, she is from Napa.Her vest is in the deep navy to the right.


Below is Trish. She is from Nevada City. This picture shows Trish well on her way into the making of her “Off The Grid Vest.”


We needed to lightly stiffen some of our fabrics first. We used Terial Magic I was able to find a place that had an o.k. view (kidding of course!) for the pieces to dry. We walked about 5 steps from our classroom. Ahhh, love this view.


We had Fabric Chicks store from Minden, Nevada come and entice us to buy luscious fabrics. Beth’s fabric selection wound way behind this shot and practically out the door. What fun.


I need to say that I had the most amazing students! Not only do they first have to create the pattern pieces themselves (created them on paper for a permanent pattern) , they were totally focused on getting their vests finished before the week at Tahoe was done. We were a synergistic group indeed, that included much laughter, and fun. At the beginning I told them it was a miracle vest in it’s sizing and after trying one of mine on, they all had to agree. I am so proud of my group and 3 of them went home with their vests 90-95% finished. I will show more pictures of finished vests next time we meet (you three ladies, you know who you are, a gentle reminder, send me pictures).

Below is Trish wearing her FINISHED, yes, FINISHED Off the Grid vest! We all love it and you look fabulous in it too! Trish’s background ombre’ fabric is the same  ombre’ fabric as my vest (shown at the beginning).I love how she used “Tahoe Sunset” colors in hers (Pat K. said Sunset, I added Tahoe, because it fits). See below.

DSC_1045Sunset shot outside of our Dining area, Thursday evening, 6:45 p.m., Sept. 10th. And below is Trish wearing “Tahoe Sunset.” DSC_1037


You go girl! A finished “Ready To Wear,” smashing vest made during our Artistic Alchemy Retreat! Not many can claim that title! And there are three others right behind you!

Newsflash!!!! My 3 other students finished theirs within 3 days of coming home. Can’t wait to show you their pics next time.

Thank you again to Pat K, Sylvia, Pat S., and Trish, for making it a most FUN and CREATIVE time here at Zephyr Point, on Lake Tahoe. Maybe some of YOU will want to join this creative endeavor next time. Hugs, Heidi