An Ethnic Vest from my NeMaS Days – Magenta it is!

Front of hand appliqued and quilted Ethnic VestBack of hand appliqued and quilted Ethnic VestIn a previous posting, I wrote about how I considered starting a tribe of one, the NeMaS people, because gallery owners kept telling me that my work was “too ethnic”. Well, a woman has to have more than one outfit, so I started making some clothes to show off my work. This is a hand appliqued and quilted. waist-length, size medium (was then, sigh!) vest for dressier occasions than the blue jean vest in the last posting. The first photo shows the front; the second is a view of the back. There’s no shaping or darts to tell the front from the back, as this is basically a “bib” type top. It slips on over the head and ties on the sides. I was flat chested enough at the time that I didn’t need to wear a bra under it, nor could anyone really tell that I wasn’t. The piece used several commercial “Bavarian” style woven ribbons that I bought at a “jobber’s store” by the reel. (A jobber is someone who buys up huge lots of fabric, ribbons, zippers, buttons, etc that didn’t sell well, and then re-sells them at a huge discount.) I used to spend quite a bit of time in that store, until one day, I went and it had sold and moved; no info given. I hate it when that happens!

Detail of front of hand appliqued, hand quilted ethnic vestIn this detail of the front, you can see that the hand quilting did not quite get all of the areas to lay flat. The central design motif, now, looks to me like a cross-eyed owl. However, that certainly was not my intent at the time. I was just arranging shapes, colors, and designs in a pleasing pattern. The orange stripe down either side is actually made of small, orange, print fabric pleats. They give another textural interest to the surface besides the flat appliques. Each of the appliques had their raw edges turned under by hand and then stitched into place. I became “consistently inconsistent” for while the original shapes were cut off with plastic templates that were quite precise, sewing them down wasn’t always so even.

Detail of front of hand appliqued, hand quilted ethnic vestThe back of the vest, has similar issues regarding having all the areas lay consistently flat. The motif doesn’t seem to have the “face” look that the front does, and is more typical of the ethnic or geometric style that I was using at the time. I love bright colors, (another reason that gallery owners said my work was so ethnic), and I naturally gravitated to complementary colors like purple and yellow. Purple is also my favorite colors so it appears in a lot of my work.

So instead of wearing my “art on  my sleeve”, I made clothes to show off what I was creating at the time. It certainly made for a lot of great conversations at parties and events, as there was definitely no one showing up with the same outfit. I got a few commissions by being my own walking sign board, and helped to promote my art as well. However, these days, the Internet is so much more efficient to spread the word about what I’m doing. After all, most of you, I’ve met through this blog, so thanks for telling others about me.

Have you ever worn any of your art work and how did that turn out for you. If you haven’t, then what’s holding you back from doing so???

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this posting. Please take a minute, fill out the form below or by clicking on the “comments/no comments link” at the top of the posting, and then share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate art quilts and textile arts. We’d love to hear from you!

You can see more of my art work on my web site at (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), my healing work at and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals) Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

To find out how to buy my art work, please check out “How to Buy my Art Work” in the “Pages” section to the right of this blog.


  1. Erin Winslow says:

    I think those are lovely!

  2. Dear Erin, thank you so much. I checked out your web site and loved the few pics that I saw. What’s the Titanic Project?

  3. Erin Winslow says: is the official project blog. In honor of the 100 year anniversary of the sinking, we are sewing from authentic period patterns and posting our results. I’ve been making-up mine in curtain panels I bought from the local charity shop a la Scarlett O’Hara! :-)

  4. O-O-OH! A Scarlet O’Hara dress sounds like MUCH more fun than this simple dress. Do you have pics, and I could post them on here?

  5. Send any photos that you would like to

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