Rolling down my stockings and rouging my knees – part 2

Welcome back for part two of my experience making a 1920s costume! NSB - 1920s costume header pt 2 Now that my dress is made, it’s time to start accessorizing! This week, we’ll start at the top. Of my head, that is ;) And not only will I share what I made, I created a tutorial for you­ so you can make your own!

Let’s make a roaring twenties headpiece!

When thinking about creating a headpiece, I wanted to find just the right style. I knew that whatever I made, I wanted it to befit the aesthetic of my dress and, potentially, look like it was actually from the twenties. I also wanted to avoid making something that could be purchased from a cheap costume manufacturer (specifically: the cartoonish flapper headband made out of stretchy sequin trim with a feather in it).

In researching, I found that for headwear, as with dresses, the 1920s offer a lot of opportunity for exploration of silhouette within the general design aesthetic of the period. There is no shortage of incredible inspiration in twenties headwear!

Three main styles of 1920s women’s evening headwear stood out to me: flapper caps, evening cloches, and headpieces. I’d like to share some of my favorite pieces I found during research!

Evening cloches provide the most coverage. They are full cloche-style hats that have been decorated with sequins, beads, rhinestones, lace, velvet, and more.

Flapper caps have less coverage than cloches, though still cover most of the head. They often have a row of fringe around the bottom or tassels, which provide extra movement when dancing the Charleston!

Headpiece is a kind of catchall category for headwear that provides minimal coverage, including headbands, tiaras, and bandeaux.

Though I would have loved to make an evening cloche, due to my time constraints for this project I decided to make something that falls into the ‘headpiece’ style. Inspired by the color palette and peacock motif of my dress fabric, I started searching for materials and designs.

Initially, I thought that using peacock feathers might be suitable for my headpiece. Peacock feathers are an incredibly popular choice for contemporary versions of 1920s headwear. At Nancy’s, we have a lovely selection of millinery supplies, including feathers and feather pads. I pulled all our peacock feather options for consideration.

NSB - peacock feather millinery supplies

clockwise from top left: feather pad featuring peacock ‘eyes’, feather pad made from peacock ‘swords’, a natural peacock feather

On reflection, I decided that the coloration of natural peacock feathers competed to much with the colors in my dress fabric. I decided to pull more neutral options in millinery supplies.

NSB - neutral millinery supplies

from the top: a feather pad featuring a variety of black and white feathers, millinery flowers with ostrich plumes in off-white and black, bleached peacock feathers

While I liked the look of the black and off-white options, I also wanted my headpiece to be more vibrant and colorful. I stepped into our fabulous Ribbon Room to look for inspiration. With the color palette of my dress in mind, I found the perfect trim to use for the band: a turquoise Art Deco-look woven trim with a graduated picot edge on one side. From there, I picked up a gorgeous vintage ribbon woven in gold metallic with black and pops of orange-red, blue, and green. I selected black velvet millinery leaves to create a base, and for a bit of additional texture, I chose small black feathers and Swarovski® crystals.

NSB - THE headpiece materials

from the top left: small black feathers ‘by-the-inch’, Swarovski® heat-set rhinestones, black velvet millinery leaves, turquoise trim with graduated picot edge, and vintage ribbon featuring gold metallic medallions and small flowers

Amusingly, I found the perfect inspiration for my design in the form of a vintage potholder.

My design was inspired by the flapper on the far right.

With my supplies on hand and my design in mind, I made my headpiece. I absolutely love how it turned out!

NSB - finished headpiece

You’ll have to check back to see me wearing my headpiece in the final reveal!

In the mood to make a 1920s inspired headpiece? Follow the tutorial below to make one of your very own!

1920s Headpiece Tutorial

Please note that this headpiece will be constructed in the same fashion as the one shown above, but for ease of photographing, I am making it in a different color palette and using different materials. This is an easy hand-sewing project that is also super fun!

NSB - headpiece tutorial supplies

Supplies for this tutorial: the beautiful vintage millinery leaves feature color variances on each, double-layer leaf; I selected a ribbon with an interesting motif for the ‘medallion’ and a pretty, double picot edge vintage trim in light pink.

SUPPLIES

  • Millinery leaves (1 sprig with a minimum of 5 leaves)
  • Small piece of ribbon with a ‘medallion’ style motif (should coordinate with leaves)
  • 1-1/2 yards of ribbon or trim
  • Thread (should match leaves)
  • 9″ x 9″ square of crinoline (black or white to best match your color palette)
  • Small feathers (optional; not depicted in this tutorial)
  • Rhinestones (optional; can use heat-set, sew-on, or set-in; not depicted here); sequins would also work well.

TOOLS

  • Fray Check
  • Hand sewing needles
  • Scissors

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Use Fray Check around edges of medallion motif.

NSB - headpiece tutorial fray check medallion

You can see the ribbon is a touch darker around the larger and smaller motifs; this is where I added Fray Check.

Cut motif from ribbon.

NSB - headpiece tutorial cut out medallion

Trim motif from ribbon.

2. Separate millinery leaves and select what you want to use.

NSB - headpiece tutorial separate leaves

I found that I had four leaves where the darker pink ran through the center, three with the darker pink on both sides, and two with the shades were about half-and-half.

3. Arrange your leaves and medallion motif.

NSB - headpiece tutorial confirm arrangment

Be certain to try different arrangements for the best effect!

4. When you are satisfied with your arrangement, begin to sew the leaves to your crinoline. The nice thing about a project like this is you don’t need to stitch a lot; some simple tacking does the trick!

NSB - headpiece tutorial sew first leaf to crinoline

Because my leaves are double layer, I was able to hide my stitches between the layers.

NSB - headpiece tutorial first leaf back view

On the back, you can see where I’ve tacked my leaf to the crinoline. This is more stitches than I need for this; I could easily have done 1/3 as many stitches and been totally fine.

Note: If you are adding feathers, I recommend sewing at the same time as each individual leaf.

Continue to add the leaves until they are all tacked to the crinoline.

NSB - headpiece tutorial all leaves tacked down

Lovely leaves!

5. Add the ribbon motif to the leaves.

NSB - headpiece tutorial add medallion

Find the right position and tack it in place.

Turn the whole thing over and trim away the extra crinoline. Be sure not to snip your stitches!

NSB - headpiece tutorial back view finished pad

You can see that I used fewer stitches for the three center leaves.

Note: If you are adding rhinestones, I recommend doing so at this time.

6. Now it is time to add the band! Start by folding the trim in half and sewing it to one side of the crinoline (I always start with the left side). Once that’s in place, try it on and adjust the loose ends of the trim so the headpiece is comfortably snug. Pin and sew to the other side, mimicking the shape of the already sewn trim and how it is folded.

NSB - headpiece tutorial add strap

On the left: trim folded in half and sewn to the crinoline. On the right, the adjusted straps, being tacked in place.

7. Finish the back side of the headpiece. I use another piece of crinoline, but other good options include felt or a piece of fabric that won’t unravel.

NSB - headpiece tutorial add another layer of crinoline and trim

Tack around the edges of both crinoline pieces, then trim the outer layer!

8. Try on your beautiful new 1920s style headpiece and admire your handiwork!

NSB - headpiece tutorial finished product

It’s the bee’s knees!

Join me again for the next installment when I make a purse to coordinate with my ensemble! I have some particularly fun inspiration to share! And stay tuned for the final reveal!

Bettie Bomber class – week four

Marilyn returns this week to share her experience with the final Bettie Bomber class session! New to this class series? Catch up on week one and weeks two & three!

NSB - header pt 3

Unfortunately, I missed the last week of class, but the rest of the students got a lot done! They learned how to modify their jacket fronts for snaps and how to use our big snap press at Nancy’s. The attached their ribbed waistband and tab and ribbed collar.

NSB - June's Bettie Bomber

Here is June, another student in the class, in her completed Bettie Bomber!

Jacque always sews garments along with the class, as a way to demonstrate techniques. This session she sewed two beautiful, and very different bomber jackets. She started sewing a jacket of a cotton knit in an open leaf pattern with an underlining of cotton voile.

NSB - wk 4 Jacque knit bomber

The kangaroo pocket that she taught the class looks great on this lacy knit.

NSB - wk 4 Jacque knit pocket

Jacque also made an elegant black bomber out of silk and embossed lambskin. She was inspired by the beautiful geometric silk jacquard that was given to Nancy’s by Sharon Henry, an amazing Seattle area seamstress and long time customer who recently had to give up sewing. We’re happy that her gift can keep inspiring students in Jacque’s classes.

NSB - wk 4 Jacque black bomber

I ran into Jacque later in the week and got an update on how the class finished up as well as some tips for finishing my own jacket. We quickly went through the order of construction for my jacket. Jacque provides a thoughtful, efficient sequence of steps for every garment class that she teaches. Her order of construction always makes a lot more sense to me than the instructions that come with the pattern.  Armed with her construction sequence and what I learned in the first three classes I felt ready to start sewing my own jacket.

Now, my own bomber jacket is underway. The Italian cotton is a dream to sew & presses beautifully. So far my plaids are matching and my topstitching is even.  Like many sewers, I dread making welt pockets and was looking forward to learning Jacque’s method for making welt pockets. Since I missed the last class – I didn’t get any tips from Jacque and had to use my tried and true method for welt pockets.

I have managed to make nice welt pockets several times by using a method that I read about in Threads Magazine. The article is No Fear Welt Pockets, by Ann Steeves in the January 2006 issue. If you don’t have access to old Threads magazines, the author has a good description on her blog. I have modified Steeves’s techniques and made my pockets a little differently than the article describes. I used ¾ inch drafting tape to mark my pockets instead of marking on the pocket interfacing; it makes a good guide and pulls off the fabric without causing damage. You can see a pocket opening ready to be sewn on the left and the back of a finished pocket opening on the right in this picture.

NSB - wk 4 inside jacket front

I also used wonder tape instead of hand basting to place my welts into the opening. My pockets turned out pretty well!

NSB - wk 4 welt pockets I will post a picture of my jacket when it is complete, but that may take a while. I took the beginning embroidery class at Nancy’s and I now see opportunities for embroidery everywhere. I have decided add an embroidered nosegay to the front of my jacket so construction is on hold until I get that done.

Thanks so much Marilyn! I look forward to seeing your finished jacket, especially the embroidery!

Rolling down my stockings and rouging my knees – part 1

Jessica here! Welcome to our newest multi-post series, where I talk all about creating a 1920s costume and accessories. I am excited to share with you all the details and planning that went into making a fabulous ensemble for my friend’s Roaring ‘20s themed birthday bash! NSB - 1920s costume header pt 1 As a plus size woman, I knew that it might be difficult to find a 1920s costume off the rack. Because I love costumes and making fun ensembles, I figured I might as well make something fabulous for this party!

Today I will go over pattern and fabric selection and share a lot of the beautiful inspiration I found. The 1920s: such a fabulous era for gorgeous clothing, accessories, and details!

After receiving the party invitation, I started looking at possible patterns. I don’t have the ‘ideal’ twenties figure and I’ve never really worn drop waist silhouettes, so I looked for a style that I would be comfortable in, that could accommodate my full hips and, hopefully, be flattering. I primarily searched the independent historical pattern lines we carry at Nancy’s, Folkwear and Decades of Style, and found some great options.

NSB - Folkwear 1920s patterns

Folkwear patterns, clockwise from top left: #237 Tango Dress, #214 1927 Tea Frock, #264 Monte Carlo Dress, #261 Paris Promenade Dress

NSB - Decades of Style 1920s patterns

Decades of Style patterns, clockwise from top left: #2502 1925 Zig Zag Dress, #2501 1925 Fringe Front Dress, #2003 1920s Hazel’s Frock, #2004 1920s Tier-rific Ensemble

From there, I looked at pattern sizing and styling. Unfortunately, the Folkwear pattern I loved most, the Tango Dress, does not run large enough for me, and I wasn’t as interested in their other silhouettes for this particular occasion. Looking at all the options from Decades of Style, I was most interested in the 1920s Hazel’s Frock and the 1925 Zig Zag Dress. After reviewing the construction details and finished measurements, I landed on (drumroll, please)…

Decades of Style 1920s Hazels Frock

Hazel’s Frock!

Once I knew what I was going to make, I had to select fabrics! This is my favorite part of any sewing project and choosing fabric for this costume was no exception! At this point, I turned to Pinterest for the never-ending visual inspiration it offers. I’m going to share a few of my very favorite 1920s dresses I found there, but know there are so many other incredible examples.

After gathering ideas for materials and colors, I set out looking for my fabrics. I did a quick search through my own stash and found a potential candidate for the main body of the dress. When I couldn’t find a suitable coordinate for the neck and hem scarves, I browsed the special occasion section at Nancy’s and came up with several new, fantastic combinations.

NSB - harlequin print combo

Purple/black/white harlequin print silk chiffon featuring silver & gold lamé with metallic print poly chiffon for the scarves

NSB - art deco print combo

Art Deco print on silk/cotton with silk/metallic organza for the scarves

NSB - chevron raschel knit combo

Black & gold raschel chevron knit with sparkly poly organza for the scarves

NSB - multi color novelty print combo

Multi-colored novelty print silk crêpe-de-chine with three coordinating silks for the scarves

And then I saw it: the perfect fabric. It was vibrant and fun! Sheer and opaque! It sparkled! And best of all: it was already embellished, so most of the work had been done for me! I wouldn’t even have to hem it!

Realizing the addition of scarves around the hemline would detract from the incredible embellishment, I decided I would make only the neck scarf from the original pattern, using a simple black poly organza, similar to the basecloth.

Because I chose a sheer fabric for my dress, I elected to make a coordinating slip to wear under. I used the fabulous Intimacies pattern from Folkwear, which includes a bias cut slip or teddy, tap pants, and camisole, all perfect foundations for 1920s and ‘30s style clothing. For fabric, I selected our rayon/acetate blend satin faille, which has a great hand and works incredibly well on the bias.Folkwear Intimacies pattern cover I had help fitting the dress pattern from our excellent sewing instructor, Jacque Goldsmith. (side note: Did you know Jacque offers 15 minutes of free advice on the first Thursday of every month? It’s perfect for quickly fitting a muslin!) We moved the french dart up about an inch and added fish-eye darts to the back, to help reduce bulk and better fit my shape.

From there, construction of both the dress and slip was straightforward. The majority of my efforts were spent removing sequins and appliqués from seam allowances and the darts and hand sewing them back in after the construction was complete. I am so pleased with how this dress turned out!

NSB - Hazels Frock front

Dress front

NSB - Hazels Frock back

Dress back – I love the elegance and simplicity of the neck scarf. I cleverly hid my back darts under two of the appliqués.

Join me for the next installment as I make a 1920s headpiece to coordinate with my dress! I have a lot more inspiration to share. And stay tuned for the full, final look; it’s the cat’s pyjamas!

Bettie Bomber jacket – weeks two & three

Marilyn is back this week to share more about the Bettie Bomber class! Miss out on the first class? Check it out here.

NSB - Bettie header pt 2 Because we were missing one person, week two was spent helping students alter their patterns and cut out their fabric. I had already cut out my fabric at home on my dining room table, so I worked on marking my fabric, talking over seam finishes and doing my stay stitching. So what are my tips on cutting out your jacket? If you are like me and don’t have a real cutting table, it is worth purchasing some bed risers and lifting your table up to a comfortable height. I like to cut with weights and a 28 mm rotary cutter, but Jacque cuts out with pins and scissors. I have a tiny sewing space and I really appreciate my set of three Olfa mats that clamp together to cover my table. The clamps can get in the way now and then, but I don’t mind because they are so much easier to store than the big mat I had before. I also really appreciate the self-healing quality of the Olfa mats. I don’t know what you call a non-self-healing mat, a tortured mat maybe? Mine old one was so sliced up that it was hard to cut on and it certainly caused me pain. My fabric is a very dark plaid and I tried to match plaids under the arms, and at the shoulders. I think it should match up well, because there are lots of straight seams in this jacket and the only seam with ease is the back sleeve around the elbows. When I am cutting plaid fabric, I cut each piece individually. It also helps to draw on the seam allowances, so that you match the plaid where it will actually join – not on the cut edge. NSB - Bomber2-1 With week three we were back to work. Some students were still getting some pattern alteration advice, but we moved on to discuss garment construction, zippers, snaps and pockets. Jacque showed us how to shorten a zipper and we all gave it a try. There is definitely a knack to cleanly pulling off zipper teeth, so I was glad to have some pointers and practice. NSB - shiny gunmetal zipper I decided not to shorten a zipper myself and instead I am ordering a custom length of our nice zippers from California. For an additional dollar, they will cut the zipper of your choice to the length that you specify. I chose a black zipper with shiny gunmetal teeth and pull. NSB - Bomber2-2 Along with zippers and snaps, we worked on different pockets for the bomber jacket. Jacque gave us a pattern piece for kangaroo pockets and sample kangaroo pockets to finish & apply. We learned to finish the curved top edge of the kangaroo pocket, one method for a turned hem and one for a bound edge. I liked the turned hem technique and it looked great the first time I tried it. It was a bit trickier to use a knit or ribbing to bind the kangaroo pocket’s curved edge – but the nice thing about this style of pocket is that you can try making a few pockets, then apply the pockets that turn out best! NSB - Bomber2-3 Thanks so much Marilyn! Looking forward to the next installment!

Get to know a Nancy’s employee: Tamara

Today we “get to know” the fabulous store manager for Nancy’s Sewing Basket!

NSB - gtkTamaraWho are you?
My name is Tamara.

How long have you worked at Nancy’s?
Forever, almost :) I first started working at Nancy’s in 1979. I quit after a year to attend Seattle Central Community College, returning in the late eighties when my two daughters were young. After graduating from SCCC, I worked in the local garment industry but found that the lack of flexibility for a mom was hard to work around. I was the assistant manager until 2004, when I left to pursue a high-fashion clothing line. I returned in 2007 when Nancy decided to retire from daily store management and have been here since!

How long have you been sewing?
I learned to sew when I was 7 and I came across my grandmother’s basket of fabric scraps.

Do you have a special focus?
Historic clothing and costume, though I also do a lot of collaborations with artists. Lately I have been working with a puppet maker, creating costumes for puppets.

What was your first sewing project?
I don’t remember my very first project, but when I was ten I followed a Simplicity pattern for shortalls, which I made in stars-and-stripes print denim. They were adorable and I wore them for the 4th of July, naturally.

What is your most recently completed project?
In my historical costuming, I made a man’s early 18th century costume for a Baroque dancer, consisting of a jacket, a vest, and breeches. I drafted all the patterns following a historical costuming book. I don’t yet have a picture of my customer in the full ensemble, but here are a few in-process pictures.

NSB - baroque men's coat

Early 18th century jacket for a baroque dancer, full length view.

NSB - baroque vest appique detail

Arranging and hand sewing embroidered appliqués on the vest front.

NSB - baroque men's breeches

There were more than 50 buttons on the three garments, including 16 visible buttons on the breeches alone!

The fabrics I used are all embroidered silks. He wanted additional detail and texture on both the jacket and vest, so using extra fabric with the same embroidered pattern as the vest, we turned the motifs into appliqués that were hand sewn to garments. I also layered vintage and modern ribbons together for additional trimmings.

NSB - baroque men's coat detail

I layered four different trims on the center front to get just the right look. Here you can see the combination, along with the buttons and appliqués on the embroidered silk fabric.

In the world of puppets, I just completed costumes for a production of “The Princess and the Peacock.” I made a total of eight costumes for this production. Here is the full cast in costume.

NSB - puppet cast party

Do you have a most memorable or favorite project?
I have three projects that I consider the most valuable experiences as they really pushed me to expand beyond my comfort zone.

The first was an 18th century ball gown where I learned a lot of new skills, including figuring out a way to embroider on velvet and to make my own lace. I also created my own floral trimmings out of ribbons. I combined a lot different materials, including glass beads, antique gold mesh, French lace, and vintage buttons. I also drafted the pattern.

NSB - 18th century ball gown bodice detail

Antique gold mesh borders the stomacher, embellished with metallic ribbon, glass beads, and with my own embroidery.

NSB - 18th century ball gown skirt detail

On the skirt, lily-of-the-valley, handmade using ribbonwork techniques, blossom above French lace.

The second project was the first time I collaborated with another artist on an avant garde piece of clothing. We worked with a variety of materials, vintage and modern, never-worn and well-loved. For the foundation of the garment we used men’s trousers and combined with pieces of fabric and trims from my own stash. My partner and I did a majority of our collaboration via phone conversation. This was before smartphones, so there weren’t any images being transferred. We primarily communicated with words. It was a transcendent experience.

NSB - Neodandi dress front NSB - Neodandi dress left NSB - Neodandi dress right

The third project was a request from a friend who curated a show for the Special Collections of the Allen Library at the University of Washington called Under the Wings of Artemis. She asked that I make a six-foot-tall Artemis with wings to welcome the audience as they arrived to the show.

NSB - Hymn to Artemis poster

Exhibition poster for Under the Wings of Artemis, featuring my sculpture.

I used a mannequin as the base for Artemis’s body, making several adjustments to the form. For the wings, I hand-smocked a silk/metallic organza and then used a sculpting medium (similar to starch) to help maintain the shape. I made an armature for her garments out of thermoplastic net to ensure the shape would remain; her under-dress is made of linen and the over dress is deerskin. I included a variety of details that reference her story, like an ancient poem called a Hymn to Artemis written into the linen of her face covering and QR codes around the bottom of the sculpture, which allow viewers to learn more about the goddess. This sculpture is now part of the permanent collection at the university.

What project is next?
I’m making a sexy space suit for a music video, using stretch denim, polyester/spandex swim-suit material and the kind of fabric that is used for lining the roof of a car. It should be out of this world.

What do you love most about Nancy’s?
I love that we still carry all the traditional sewing supplies: fabrics, notions, and trimmings. And I love everyone who works here.

Any questions for Tamara? Leave them in the comments!

All photographs in this post are courtesy of Nancy’s Sewing Basket employee Tamara and may not be used without express permission.

Bettie Bomber jacket class – week one

Remember our post about the Bettie Bomber jacket? I am very excited because Marilyn, one of our Nancy’s employees, is taking the class with Jacque Goldsmith and will be sharing her experiences with us! Take it away, Marilyn!

NSB - Bettie Bomber part 1 header

Inspirational samples made by Jacque Goldsmith

I have wanted to take this class for a long time! I like the look of bomber jackets, but I think they can be unflattering if the fit isn’t right.  One of the cool things about the classes Jacque teaches at Nancy’s is she makes up muslins in all the different sizes so students come away with a great fitting garment. Since Jacque has made up the jacket in every size, I can find the right size quickly and then alter my pattern for the best fit. It is a huge time-saver to work from her muslins and go straight to altering the pattern and cutting out your own customized version.

In the first class, Jacque talked about fabric selection and the difficulty of finding ribbing. She explained how to use different knits for ribbing and make adjustments to the waistband and cuffs to accommodate fabrics with more or less stretch. Jacque had lots of example jackets, ranging from lace to appliqued mesh to one made of repurposed embroidered leather with heavy wool knit sleeves.

I brought in a few fabrics to show Jacque, and together we decided on an Italian cotton bottom weight in a dark navy plaid. It is one of a group of Italian mill ends that Nancy’s purchased for Sew Expo in early March. There was only one piece of my fabric, but there are still lots of beautiful Italian cotton options  available; it is lovely fabric and only $12.50 per yard!

The Folkwear Varsity Jacket (the pattern used in this class) is a classic style. It is roomy and unisex, so Jacque definitely had some fitting to do for all of us. It is interesting to see how pinning out just an inch of excess fabric can transform the fit of a jacket, and how the same pattern alteration moves up or down, inward or outward, depending on the wearer.

NSB - Bomber1-1

One of the students being fitted.

I shortened my jacket, made a forward shoulder adjustment and took out some of the width down the sleeves and across the back. Because I changed the length of my jacket, I will have to change my welt pockets as well. You can see how Jacque folded and pinned out the excess fabric on the muslin that I tried on.

NSB - Bomber1-2

You can really tell this is a unisex style – the pinned fold on my jacket body accounts for nearly 3″ of length!

I measured all of the changes and transferred them to my pattern during class. It helps so much to have Jacque there to answer questions while you are altering your pattern.  Everyone’s changes are a little different and though I have altered a lot of patterns, I always learn something new and usually get stuck at some point!

Some students got a start on cutting out their jackets. Our jackets are going to to be a diverse group, from sequins to floral-print rayon to my Italian cotton – it is going to be fun to see how the pattern looks in such different materials. I cut mine out at home; you can see how my pattern has been folded and taped, ready for cutting out on my dining room table.

NSB - Bomber1-3

Thank you Marilyn! I am looking forward to seeing how this class progresses!

Have a question for Marilyn? Leave it in a comment below!

Dreaming of spring dresses!

NSB - spring dressesThe sun has been shining in Seattle and I am dreaming of making a new spring dress! We have so many wonderful new fabrics coming into the shop in sweet prints, cool near-solid textures, and fun colors that it is hard to resist buying them all.

Adding in all the lovely new dress patterns that have been released makes the temptation even greater. There are lots of fabulous styles to explore: vintage-inspired, easy shifts, fit-and-flare, shirt-waist, classic sheaths…and the list goes on!

To celebrate the new season (plus fabrics and patterns), we’ve made up a couple dresses to share.

The first dress is a new pattern from the Lisette capsule collection released by Butterick. It’s a great fit-and-flare style that feels both modern and retro at the same time.

NSB - Lisette dress front

The original dress pattern doesn’t have ties, but we elected to add the sash from the pattern’s tunic style.

We made it up in a sweet cotton lawn print and added a vintage glass buckle for the perfect finish.

NSB - Lisette dress front detailThe bodice has a beautiful cross-front detail and triangular cut-out at the neckline for a sweet hint of skin.

Our second dress is a new pattern from McCall’s. It has a great casual feel to it: an easy fit bodice with button details and dolman sleeves, plus a tiered skirt for a little fun.

NSB - Polka Dot dress front

We’ve added a sash at the waist for a bit of definition, but think this would be so sweet with a contrast belt!

We made this pattern up in a classic polka-dotted silk crepep-de-chine, for a touch of elegance.

Jeannie's Polka Dot dress - back

Pairing a simple print with these fun style lines just makes this dress sing.

Inspired by all the cool fabrics coming into our shop and all the beautiful options on the runway and in stores, I have put together several collections of spring dress style:

Black and White Spring Dresses
Neutral Spring Dresses

Neutral Spring Dresses by nancyssewingbasket featuring a fit & flare dress

Easy-going Floral Dresses

Easy-going Floral Dresses by nancyssewingbasket featuring a sequin dress

Not-Quite Solid Dresses

Not-Quite Solid Dresses by nancyssewingbasket featuring summer shift dresses

'Blue Period' Dresses

‘Blue Period’ Dresses by nancyssewingbasket featuring plus size floral dresses

'Rose Period' Dresses

‘Rose Period’ Dresses by nancyssewingbasket featuring evening dresses

Do you have a favorite style of dress to make? Tell us about it in the comments!