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!

25 thoughts on “The Year (+) of Moving to Santa Fe

  1. Oh, I have been hoping and hoping that you would return to blogging one day! Can’t stop smiling 😊

  2. HEY! WENDY! What a killer blog girlfriend!!! Really good….makes me want to sew! I li=ove how the jacket finished out and the others you have made…I even feel your enthusiasm for your work in your writing!!!! thank you, Diane


  3. Hi Wendy.
    So glad to see your blog. Those blouses are so beautiful. You’re such a talent lady. I’m so glad that you and Jim are very happy in San ffee. I missed you both.

  4. Sorry to blather on, but I absolutely adore jacket number one, in part because of the surface decoration and finishes. It reminds me of alligator hide or something like that, yet it has a lightness to it. You did such a fabulous job.

  5. Is there any chance you could show us a photo of the pattern pieces for jacket number one? I know it’s a simple shape but I imagine you did a few things to finesse the situation. I’d love to see what you created on paper.

  6. Amazing works of Art. The bleach detail looks like a slab of a cypress tree. Your hand embroidery is motivating. Enjoy your new digs.

  7. Yay!!! These are absolutely fabulous!! I’m so glad I get to enjoy seeing you wear them in person!!

    Ruth from Santa Fe

  8. Welcome back! What a wonderful inspiring post…….thank you! I LOVE your tops….everyone of them… creative! Also enjoyed hearing of your move…..would love to visit Santa Fe….have never been there.

  9. I love them all, especially number 1. I love the way you describe how it feels to wear it. That’s how I want all my clothes to feel. .

  10. Welcome back!!!!! I’ve been privileged to see the first two garments up close and personal. And they are exquisite! How nice to see the perfect home for Sandra’s buttons. I’m so glad you’re blogging again. Am looking forward to your next one already.

  11. fabulous Wendy! welcome to your new home of enchantment and creativity…. the stitching is very inspiring!!! be well young lady..xo

  12. I am so glad you’re back! I know many bloggers have moved away from blogging to Instagram posts but I still prefer to read blog posts. You are living my dream of living in New Mexico. I’d love to be around so much creative energy plus that part of the state is supposed to have actual healing power….something about the abundance of rose quartz under the surface. Again, so happy you are back and I love what you made here. I’d wear every piece!

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