Fiber Artist Wears Her Quilts

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Encounter Leslie Peacock around town and she might look as though she is headed to the movies or lunch with a friend.

In fact, she might also be beta-testing her latest piece of wearable art for her pattern line.

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Leslie Peacock and one of her project walls. She always has quite a few projects going at any given time.

"I am trying to come up with different styles that will fit any body shape," Peacock said.

She makes a vest or a coat, then wears it to see how people react.

Her African Safari-themed vest is made of squares cut into triangles and embellished with an assortment of jewelry and beads she found at a swap meet.

It caught the attention of a stranger at a quilt show.

"She told me, we should hang you on the wall," Peacock said.

That is when she decided she would add the vest to her pattern line -- "I'm Wearing My Quilt."

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"Steppin' Out With My Baby"

"I love to embellish and I always tell people, you can tell when it was a bad night on TV," she said.

If it is a classic movie or a good forensic show, like Law and Order, when Peacock sits and adds beads or embroidery, she does not get much done.

A retired police officer with 34 years on the Port Huneme, Calif. force, Peacock said she originally wanted to be a firefighter.

Racing into fiery buildings was not a profession available to women, so working as a police matron and in administration was the next best career.

As an adult, Peacock has explored many crafts and enjoyed success as a porcelain painter.

She has sewn since age four when she received a chain stitch sewing machine from her mother.

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"Dancing at the Chinese New Year Parade" was part of a wearable ‘Creativity isn't Boar-ing' challenge in 2007 (the year of the boar.) View from the back.

"When I went out of uniform and into street clothes, I made all my suits," she said.

After Peacock retired, a friend talked her into taking a machine quilting class.

By itself, flat was "boring" to Peacock, but she saw a way to merge quilting and garments.

"Instead of making flat quilts that hang on the wall, I make them to hang on me," she said.

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View from the front.

Now, she lets the fabric tell her where to go. She has a wall of ribbons from quilt shows to prove she got there.

When she enters a contest, she must conform to rules, but what Peacock likes best is creating fancy garments under her own muse.

"Steppin' Out With My Baby," a bead, feather, embroidery and brocade embellished coat made with crushed velvet embossed with a rubberstamp and Duponi silk, is a gorgeous example of her techniques.

She also enjoys sharing her knowledge.

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This vest is of the patterns in Peacock's "I'm Wearing My Quilt" line.

"So many quilters have never sewn a garment," she said.

In her classes, she uses quilting terms that are also sewing terms.

If students get "testy," she gives them chocolate.

"Calms them right down," she said with a smile.

Most of Peacock's patterns have two fronts, a back and two sleeves.

"The finished seams are bound as a quilt would be rather than a garment," she said.

"I learn a lot from my students and I enjoy their enthusiasm when a project goes right," she added.

Peacock will teach the wearable art class at the 2008 Rim County Quilt Roundup.

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This kestrel is one of Leslie's porcelain works

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