Monthly Archives: April 2019

It’s Just a Safety Pin!

by HEIDI EMMETT  Two years ago at a sewing retreat I saw a woman, Helen, working on an upcycled denim project and she was using safety pins in place of stitching(to hold it together). My project is in honor of Helen, an Octogenarian Ball of Creative Fire!

Remember “Poochie?” Well, well, he used a pittance of safety pins. Visit the Poochie story at  my post for 3/15/19. Look under Up-Cycled Stuff, Inspiration, or Creative Techniques

Here is the pattern, I started with. There’s quite a bit packed into this pattern. Buy it from me directly (email me: or see it at my Etsy store: Designs by Heidi


I cut out the vest pieces and serged all the edges. This fabric is a beautiful linen and has no right or wrong side. So I laid out all the pieces and after deciding the right sides, I put a safety pin in the upper portion of each piece to keep it all right in my mind.

I overlapped it for a “seam allowance” and placed safety pins here and there to keep it within its seam boundries.
Fill in the “seams” with all sizes of safety pins and in any direction you wish.
I chose to put mine in all one direction. Went faster.
I sit with a large book on my lap. I place the area needing pinning on top of the book ( a flat surface like a book is perfect to slide the pins into place. I have a tin filled with many sizes of safety pins to just grab and not worry about which size.
I don’t think anyone would ever recognize this as the “Mommy & Me & My Lace Vest & Quilt pattern.
I like the addition of the pocket on the front. This pattern, Mommy & Me & My Lace Vest and quilt, is a blank canvas for a variety of inventive vests.
I added the fabric scrap squares because they echo the subtle woven pattern of the background linen.  The squares came from a charm pack of Star Grunge fabric by Moda.
I think the “Bling” of the safety pins is quite eye-catching. I haven’t worn it yet, but I’ll let you know what kind of comments I get. It will be interesting I’m sure. Ha, ha, the expressions alone will be worth it.
The little squares (also serged and straight stitched onto the pieces) looked lonely, so I put some safety pins on them as well.
Ahh, here is a nice closeup of the front pocket. I took it off of another vest. I love the whole concept of a loose pocket. I stitched it down a few inches (on the edge) on the upper left side. It was buttoned onto the other side, but wait, not a button, I’ll use safety pins!
I can’t get over how heavy the vest is now with all the safety pins.
Can you believe it, I found this safety pin in my pin box with black beads on it. How perfect is that. I need to do some more like that at some point.
The finishing touch is my rubber tire tube necklace.  Easy to make. I talk about it in a DesignsbyHeidi. post, Creative Techniques, I think.
Where did the inspiration for the Mommy & Me & My Lace Vest pattern come from? Well, that’s me (Heidi at age 21) sitting. Waaaay back then lace was really hot too and I designed this pattern and became a production sewer and made these on my beautiful Bernina 830 (top of the line in 1974). That was my high school graduation present from my parents. I sold these vests at Artist fairs and Craft shows up and down the state for a short while. Then I started teaching quilting and sewing (art to wear way back then, who knew) classes.
My friends from left to right, Dale M., my sister-in-law Debbie W., me, and Linda M. my super special sewing buddy. Wow, what a sewing adventure I was having back then. Fast forward just a few years ( Yowzaa!!! I just did the math), 41 years (gentle sobbing can be heard) and as I said, lace, anything lace, is popular again. Upcycling at it’s finest. Thanks for stopping by.  Maybe you have something from your sewing past that you might want to revisit too. I love to see what you come up with. Hugs, Heidi

P.S. Please hop over to our Artistic Alchemy blog. I wrote the post today and I don’t want you to miss it!


A Quilt Show is Coming to Grass Valley & Artistic Alchemy Will be There!

Mark your calendars. Pine Tree Quilt Guild in Grass Valley, CA is having their annual “Springtime in the Pines Quilt Show” and you’re invited! It is being held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds on May 4th & 5th.

Artistic Alchemy will be there. We are a group of four women who each have a unique style in their quilting and stitching (wearables/accessories) areas. Come and see our booth and we can answer any questions you might have about our annual sewing/quilting retreat. This year it will be Monday, Sept. 2nd-Sept. 6th at the Zephyr Point Retreat Center on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Nevada.  Go to for more information.

Sandra Bruce, Mary Boalt, Jane Haworth, & Heidi Emmett the four teaching enthusiasts!
Sandra-Material Matrix, Mary-Steam-a-Seam, Jane-Pet Portraits, & Heidi- Upcycling clothing, Wearable Creativity & Fiber Jewelry!
Our booth at the Quilt Show last year.
Sandra Bruce will be the “FEATURED QUILTER” this year at the Pine Tree Quilt Guilds Show! This is a BIG deal. Here is her quilt Chuck Close.
Some of my “Art to Wear” sewing patterns. Try them on and see which patterns you need to own!
One more of Featured quilter, Sandra Bruce’s Material Matrix quilts- Dame Lorraine.
One of Mary Boalt’s creative hand painted canvases. This year it will be “all about Steam-a-Seam” and creating your own fabulous fabric.
One of Jane Haworth’s Amazing Pet Portraits.

Another of Jane’s Pet Portaits.  I love the colors in this guy.
Some of Jane’s student’s work.
More student’s own Pet Portaits- a class taught by Jane Haworth.
Here I am wearing my Terrific Tabard pattern- a new look for it using one of Mary Boalt’s hand painted canvas pieces.
This vest is from the “Wearable Creativity” portion of my workshop. Take one of my Wearable Patterns and let me help you create your own Designed by YOU look. Heads will turn when you wear it and you’ll be able to say, “I designed and made it myself.”
One more version of the “Wearable Creativity” section of my workshop. Let me help you fit one of the patterns you pick to your body type. And with YOUR fabric choices, design the perfect wearable that YOU will WANT to wear.


One of my patterns that you  might pick for the Wearable Creativity portion of Heidi’s workshop at the Artistic Alchemy Retreat this year.

I just had to take a moment to show you that Jane Haworth, one of the teachers at the Artistic Alchemy retreat made the  cover of  Quilting Arts  with “Tilly,” one of her Pet Portraits. This is a really BIG DEAL! A very, small, percentage of talented artists make the cover of a magazine. Look at all the talent available in one wonderful retreat. Come join us!
And when I saw this HUGE, I mean, “HUGE!” Wisteria vine at the Rocklin, CA, Pottery World, I thought of the colors in “Tilly.”
Wisteria with Fountain.

Can’t you just smell the perfume of these exquisite blossoms?

Artistic Alchemy’s Sewing/Quilting retreat is where you want to be this year from Sept.2nd-6th.  Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope it is sunshiny this weekend where you live. Take a “Creative” walk, make time for it. A creative walk is simply walking and soaking in possible ideas for your next project, with the colors, sights, and sounds of things outside. Don’t forget to take your phone for pictures. Hugs, Heidi


Free Styling & Spiraling! – A Piecing Technique! Check This Out!

by  Heidi Emmett

I love taking fiber classes! And today is the day I’m taking one from Mel Beach. If you ever have a chance, take one of her classes. Here I am, packed and ready to go. But wait, commercial break: What am I wearing? Why it’s my Terrific Tabard vest. It is the ” Tree of Life” version of this pattern. Look, there are even small circular spirals at the shoulders. Email me at for the easiest, fastest, way to get your own copy.

Be sure to check my other blog posts on Terrific Tabard for more ideas

Oh my, I’m going to learn how to make these rectangled spirals? Yes, yes.
Different fabrics make each spiral “pop” in a unique way.
These are all the teachers samples. She did suggest Ombre’s for added sparkle. For some great ombre’ fabrics, head on over to Christine Barnes’ site
Mel Beach has such a way with her modern sense of pattern play in piecing and quilting.
Samples abound and we ALL loved making spiraling triangles too.
I told Mel that I can’t wait to try these on even a smaller scale for my “Art to Wear Garments.” Mel knows that I work in wearables not quilts on the walls. And she said that she too was thinking about these cool rectangles, squares, triangles, etc. would be a perfect fit for my different vest patterns.
Above is how the whole process begins. It’s just like a courthouse steps pattern with just a couple tweaks. So hard to imagine, but she had us “improving” like crazy and it was all before lunch!
Here are some student work. Mine are the triangles and squares closest to the tables edge. I have so MANY ombres (at home) to choose from. Now that I know what to do, I will play with shaping the spirals better, and background choices. Ohhhh, what fun!
Back home, on a walk this morning, Mahonia aquafolium (Oregon Grape) has the prettiest blossom clusters this year.
The daffodils are especially nice in upper Northern CA where I live (one hour north of Sacramento, in the foothills). They have never bloomed this long before. And the sunny yellow is so cheerful.
O.K. these are “store bought.” Our tulips are closed so tightly right now. But I couldn’t wait. Don’t forget to dash over to Artistic Alchemy’s blog post this week. Sandra Bruce is posting. Sandra, Jane, & I still have some room in our workshops. Mary’s is full. Maybe I’ll see YOU in my workshop this year up at Zephyr Point. It’s all about learning new creative ways with fiber, making new friends, and enjoying all the beauty that Lake Tahoe has to offer.

Here is a terrific view of a cabin on the property. Cave rock is w-a-y in the distance. This is Porcupine trail where you get a bird’s eye view of Lake Tahoe and the Zephyr Point property. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have time for some creative sewing this weekend. Hugs, Heidi