The Year (+) of Moving to Santa Fe

I think and hope that some of you are still out there waiting to see if I will ever blog again, and I’m back! The story? We’d been living in the same lovely city of Fort Collins, Colorado for many years. While we have fantastic friends there, we had eaten in the same places, taken the same drives, and visited the same attractions. We needed a change.

The list of requirements for our new location included: great food, galleries, museums, shopping, plus a moderate temperature range. Fellow textile artists were a must for me, and jazz musicians and clubs for my husband. Online research helped, then we rented VRBO homes in several potential cities. In the end my husband and I decided to move to Santa Fe, New Mexico!

Then we had to house hunt. Months later…

Then we had pack and store our belongings and began to remodel. Many months later…

Then we moved and started to settle in, which always takes longer than anticipated.

I have a bright large studio, my husband has 1/3 of the living room for his jazz jams twice a week. Life is good.

I tried to sew while we were remodeling, but I only managed an Alabama Chanin poncho which I will be wearing this summer. Diane Ericson’s DOLs and another retreat with friends kept me in the sewing loop. However, I went home to chaos and never finished anything. Until now!

I’ve sewn several garments, made some jewelry, and taken up tapestry weaving. It feels so good to be making again! The purchase of a quilted Haori jacket inspired me by the simplicity of the garment and the potential for pattern changes and surface design. 

The Haori (羽織) is a traditional Japanese hip- or thigh-length kimono-style jacket, worn over a kosode [kimono]. Wikipedia

I drafted up a pattern and following are the first three versions, and I have many more in mind!

This version was made with a twin white cotton quilt purchased in Taos! I cut the basic jacket and dipped the pieces into a bucket of fiber reactive dye. Then later at the Carmel DOL, I dry brushed the rest of the quilt with acrylic paint and sprayed some water on the middle space to blend. Frankly it was a gutsy move, but sometimes you just have to go with it! It was pouring rain and I think the inspiration is obvious. Hand stitching is used for the seams, pocket edges, and surface design. Slow sewing feels good after so much chaos in my life. This jacket kind of floats when I wear it! Warm and cool at the same time, and I’m finding this piece to be perfect for spring.

The second version is the same pattern but with 12″ added to the length. A bamboo knit from Marcy Tilton is a soft yummiest textile that I can wear just about any time. The length is perfect for travel as both a jacket and robe.

I experimented with diluted bleach in a squeeze bottle to get the orange color. Then I printed some stencils on top. The fabric can have a raw edge, so the pockets are just hand stitched around the openings. It may be a little over-the-top, but I love it!

After two jackets, it seemed like a shirt might be possible. Same pattern, but with a lovely Japanese double gauze that has been in my stash forever. The patch pockets extend below the hem for a bit of interest.

The Sandra Bruce buttons just clinched the look for me! There really wasn’t enough fabric, so I had to embroider (hide) the back collar seam detail, and place the sleeves and pockets on an angle. I kind of love coming up with solutions that look more interesting than the expected.

I have already finished some other projects so I hope to blog again soon!

Show at Elfriede’s Fine Fabrics!

My work is being shown at Elfriede’s Fine Fabrics in Boulder, Colorado through December 2nd! This Sunday November 12th, I will be there for a reception from 3-5pm. Drop by if you are in the area. The address is 2425 Canyon Boulevard, Boulder CO 80302. Elfriede has curated the most scrumptious fabrics that are packed into the small but perfect store, with more wonderful fabric than you can sew in a lifetime. I’m trying…

Hope to see you there!

This is from her newsletter:

An amazing combination of fabrics, anchored by a flannel plaid in her favorite colors, with the addition of floral cottons. Adding fine embroidery, echoing the floral cotton, gives an unexpected but delightful touch. Read all about her creation process with this shirt on her January 2016 blog.
  We are so lucky to have a local artist like Wendy share her gorgeous creations with us! And, if possible, she’s even more fun than her creations!
If you haven’t read her blog, you really must start! You can find it at And, you can find Wendy in our store for a reception in her honor on:
Sunday November 12, 3-5 pm
Read about one of her fun shopping expeditions at Elfriede’s Fine Fabrics in this blog from April 2015!
It’s hard to believe that Wendy is relatively new to sewing! It starts to make more sense when you find out that this remarkable woman received her Master of Fine Arts at Colorado State University with a concentration in fibers. She also has a Master of Architecture from Yale University School of Architecture! Wow!
This soft and easy coat almost didn’t make it, as Wendy didn’t have as much fabric as required by the pattern. Read all about her innovative solutions in her November 2016 blog post. Sometimes, it is a gift to have to innovate when faced with less fabric than you need!
Read the story behind this HeartFelt vest in Wendy’s February 2015 blog.

The Big Blog Post


Have any of you promised to make something for a fashion show and sale? If you have, you know how it can strike fear, excitement, and designer’s block! Last January, 8 local sewers were asked to donate their talents to design and sew clothes for the benefit show ArtWear in Fort Collins. We were given beautiful Kantha quilts that had been hand stitched by women who were saved from sexual slavery in India. The clothes that will be modeled at the October 20th fashion show (tickets at and sold October 20th-28th will benefit both these women and the visual arts in town.

Meeting these other sewers was absolutely delightful. The cool ideas were flying every time we met, and I have learned so much from them. I hope to take some photos at the fashion show and show you the diversity of designs that were produced. Each quilt was only about 36″ x 80″ and most items were made with only one piece. In addition the quilts are reversible so we tried to make the pieces reverse whenever possible. I had the task of making an entire outfit for the finale so I did get to play with 3 coordinating quilts  for the whole ensemble.

Thank goodness, my BSF Debra was one of the other sewists so we could bounce ideas off of each other. We bought a few quilts from ETSY to practice on first. I made a pair of palazzo pants, and Debra made this fabulous jacket. Did I mention that these quilts feel great on?IMG_0215

My first two items were fairly simple, but with these fabrics sometimes that’s best. This vest is a whole cloth with the arm openings placed asymmetrically.IMG_0113

This piece is an almost no waste kimono jacket. At the end of the post I’ll show some of the accessories we made with the few scraps left.
IMG_0111This next piece I may buy for myself! I just love the colors and the fun polka dots on the reverse. We used the finished edges of the quilts when possible, but sometimes used binding when needed. Most of the seams are flat-felled.IMG_1136



I also found this matching ribbon for the back seam.

The final piece has palazzo pants, a bustier (my first) and a wild reversible jacket.




This is the jacket reversed. You can see that the back tail has buttons and can be removed for a more casual cropped jacket. I might like this side even more than the matching one.


The jacket with the tail removed.

IMG_1187Finally here are a few of the accessories made from the scraps and they are all reversible.





Motorcycle-Coat3I always find it interesting when coincidences keep popping up in a project. First, I suddenly decided that NOW was the time to sew up this cool panel denim fabric from Marcy Tilton.  I’m not the only one who pulled this from their stash this month. Marcy sent an email picturing a short jacket the day after I wore mine for the first time. The second coincidence is the other sewer also decided on black sleeves. I was also going to make mine in black denim, but couldn’t find the right fabric.

Third, I looked through my patterns and settled on the perfect pattern, Vogue 1356. While researching this pattern on Pattern Review I discovered Shams had made this same pattern a few years ago with a similar panel fabric. The good news is her project looked fantastic, but the bad news is that this pattern needed 4 yards of fabric because of 2-piece bias cut sleeves. The long straight coat is a favorite profile and I discovered no less than 5 similar patterns in my library! I finally choose a 1997 jacket pattern, McCall’s 8681 because it has optional darts and they always help with the fit on my body type.Motorcycle-Coat2

I altered the pattern quite a bit. It was an old pattern calling for shoulder pads. While a light shoulder pad could still be added, I took them out and then needed to adjust the shoulder and sleeve to accommodate a more natural shoulder. 8” was needed in length to make the jacket more like the original pattern Vogue 1356 and allow me to use the full length of the print. In addition, my BSF insisted (and was totally right) that the collar was too plain. I cut a V-neck and added a collar like the bomber jacket I made last year. That decision led to a zipper closure, which is a cool look for a biker print. Of course then I needed zipper pockets to match!Motorcycle-Coat

So much for New Year’s Resolutions

I promised myself that I would blog twice a month, and this is my first blog of 2017! Oh well, I’ve been sewing so I need to catch up. As a blogging warm up this will be short, but at least I’m here typing away. img_0158

For Christmas I made this messenger bag for my husband. When we are on trips he has always handed me his iPad to carry. My purse became so heavy sometimes he had to carry it!img_0160

I thought it would be fun to take an old mens jacket to make him a bag. My BSF not only had an old sport coat, she had a black leather skirt and  only needed half the material. I made a box out of very heavy stabilizer (1/8″ thick) so the iPad can sit up and not be damaged when placed under a seat. The best part is now he carries my iPad in addition to his, so my load is much lighter! He uses the pocket for the cords.  img_0163

I returned the scraps to my BSF and Debra made two more bags using two pockets on one bag and the sleeve detail for the other.img_0017img_0018

Don’t you think they are fabulous? I think 3 items from one old sport coat is pretty great. My husband is never giving away an old jacket again!img_0016

Soft Coat


I had bought this fabulous woven ombre stripe from The Smuggler’s Daughter. It’s attractive on both sides so an unlined jacket seemed a good fit.

I think most of us looked right past Butterick B6244 with the incredibly plain dress, but the coat caught my eye. There are many similar patterns out there, but I liked that the shoulders were fit and despite all of the fabric it looked slimming on the model. The bonus is when you find that there is actually a dart under the draped collar. There are just 3 pattern pieces, which made matching stripes easy, however I had only ordered 4 repeats (less than 4 yards) of the fabric. After close inspection I discovered that there was absolutely no nap and the stripes were symmetrical so the back is cut one direction and the front is opposite! After laying out the front and back pattern pieces and matching the stripes I still had some fabric left, but the sleeve stripes wouldn’t match, or they would be too short.

b6244-jacket-orange-stripe_2Knowing that there is always a solution I cut out and stitched together the body of the coat. Then I draped the fabric at the arms and decided that it looks even better with the stripe running down the arm. I love that the inside seam is orange against tan. I’m so glad I didn’t have enough fabric! By cutting the sleeves cross grain I gained enough scraps to make two perfectly matched patch pockets lined in a different fabric.b6244-jacket-orange-stripe

The best part of this project is how well it fits into my existing wardrobe. Buying fabric I love and then finding the perfect pattern seems to be a good way for me to sew. The patterns are out there or you can alter them, but finding fabric you love is much more difficult.b6244-jacket-orange-stripe_3

The One with the Built-in Scarf


scarf-topI’ve been sewing but in such small periods of time that I never had time to photograph and blog. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished with an hour or two here and there, but I find it very inefficient. Each time I have to review what last happened with the project before proceeding to the next step. The holidays are coming up and I need to switch gears to gift giving projects, but for now I’ll try and catch up on what has been on my sewing machine for the last month, and it’s going to take a few photo sessions and blogs to cover it!scarf-top_2

I fell for view B from V1516 by Tom and Linda Platt. I call it “the one with the built-in scarf”. With all of those edges there’s a lot of finishing, but I think it is very pretty and dressy, but still comfortable. I can’t remember where I bought the main fabric (money’s on, but it’s probably a rayon crepe. It pre-washed beautifully, but I will be gentle with it now that it’s sewn up. The wool and silk floral layer is from a beautiful scarf I bought during the Taos retreat, with the intention of cutting it up for yardage.


I’m pretty proud of the edge finishes. I buy bias ribbon from and then throw it in the batch whenever I’m dyeing fabric. It comes in handy for anything from wrapping presents for special people to using it for edges like a Hong Kong seam or the hem finish.


I’m wearing pants that don’t quite match, but I have enough fabric left to make a pair of pants as soon as I decide which pattern to use. I’m thinking of going back to my pants sloper to make a classic trouser pattern. The Craftsy class covers the modifications, but I need to get the sloper out and follow that chapter. Sounds simple, but we’ll see when I get time to do that. The top and soft pants would make a lovely holiday outfit.

Last Shirt of Summer


This is a pattern with a surprise in the back! When will they learn to use the front of the envelope to show us all the features of a pattern? Imagine my surprise when looking at the line drawing and discovering this cool back option. This is McCalls 7094 and I love wearing it!Split-back-shirt-M7094_1

Wearing this is light and breezy, but with enough of an overlap so that skin never shows. There was already a plan to use two different prints of rayon crepe from Marcy Tilton. I didn’t have enough fabric to make this back option, but adding a bit of rayon batik from my stash for the smaller elements, and simplifying the sleeve, solved the problem.Split-back-shirt-M7094_3I’m ready to start making fall clothes, my favorite time of the year, but next summer I think I will come back to this pattern with a light linen and maybe some hand stitched details, or some machine embroidery along the placket. It’s nice to think that around March I may already have a project!

BTW My cat Ichi is proud to be on the 2017 Calendar of Fort Collins Cat Rescue. Thanks for your votes!

Vote for my Cat!

Zatoichi-FranzenI entered my cat Zatoichi (Ichi for short) for a spot in the calendar of Fort Collins Cat Rescue our wonderful local cat shelter where she came from. She’s now one of the 30 finalists and would dearly love to be a Miss September (or January…) and help the shelter. Please go to and vote for my cat before September 12th!


Back to sewing. Here is my version of the new Marcy Tilton top from Vogue 9193. My every day dressing consists of a pair of knit pants and a top. If I go out of the house I like to add a cool jacket/coat or poncho. Most pants are fairly neutral so that leaves the tops to carry the interesting details. This pattern has lots of promise for both dressy, and an everyday wear piece that has some style. The addition of a pocket makes it function even better than most patterns.


The sample photos are sewn with a single fabric, but the line drawings inspired me to try multiple fabrics. After cutting it out in three colors it just didn’t look balanced. The additional gold bands and neck seemed to pull the whole piece together. After sewing it all up I decided to add the stencil pattern to the front.


I’m already wearing this a lot, but I do think I will make another design change in the future. The top has a subtle angled bottom band, and sometimes it simply feels odd. The change could be to make the angle steeper and more obvious. However, if I continue with the Mondrian styled piecing it’s possible the top would look better being simpler and straight. Or should I leave it alone?


It’s a great top and I’ll try the pants some time and let you know how they fit. I’m at Diane Ericson’s Design Outside the Lines in Taos this week having a wonderful sewing adventure with my BSF. Don’t forget to vote for my cat Zatoichi!

My Last Hand Knit?

Kiba-LightArghhh! I have carpal tunnel issues no doubt aggravated by my avid knitting! One handed typing is pretty slow, so this will be a very short post. I do love this vest by Marianne Isager. Both the shape and the color just make me smiled wish for fall weather. The kit came from Tutto, based in Santa Fe, who had a booth at the recent Interweave yarn fest here in Colorado. The yummy Alpaca and Silk Mohair yarns are held together throughout the piece.Kiba-Light_8

The pattern is a little unusual in that Isager has you count rows for length rather than knit for so many inches, claiming that it will all work out in the blocking. After doing a bit of math it seemed my vest was coming up way too short, so I decided to knit to the calculated length. This seemed to work well for me, but I had to keep an eye on all stitch counts after that. Let’s just say this pattern isn’t a good choice for a beginning knitter unless they get gauge in width and height. Intermediate knitters wouldn’t have a problem making adjustments. Isn’t the back pretty?Kiba-Light_7

Physical therapy starts in a week! I have finished sewing two tops so there will be sewing project posts soon….

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