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!

Get to know a Nancy’s employee: Jessica

Today we are introducing a new series, wherein you get to know a staff member at Nancy’s Sewing Basket! Though these posts will be interspersed with other content, we will follow the same format for each ‘get to know’. As your main NSB blogger I’d like to go first :)

NSB - jessica headerWho are you?
Hi! My name is Jessica. You may recognize me from my post on the E.S.P. Dress!

How long have you worked at Nancy’s?
I have worked at Nancy’s for a collective 5 years. I started here when I was a junior in college, left about two years after graduating, and returned in 2014.

How long have you been sewing?
I officially learned to sew a little over 18 years ago!

Do you have a special focus?
At present I mostly make modern quilts, but will always have a special place in my heart for making clothes.

What was your first sewing project?
My first sewing project was a pair of pinstriped pants. I was 11 and had desperately wanted a pair for what felt like ages. When I couldn’t find any in the ready-to-wear market, my mother suggested teaching me to make my own pair. It was pretty advanced for a first sewing project, but I learned a lot and took to sewing fairly intuitively.

What is your most recently completed project?
In my quilting, I completed a queen size quilt for some friends that recently bought a house.

NSB - jessica most recent quilt

In garment construction, I most recently completed a blouse and skirt using patterns from Decades of Style.

NSB - jessica most recent clothes

Do you have a most memorable or favorite project?
My most memorable sewing project is probably the costume I made for my high school mascot when I was 16. It was not as popular as I had hoped, but I loved how it turned out and was so proud of it. Sadly, I do not have a picture to share!

My most favorite clothing project was making my sister’s wedding dress and skirts for the seven bridal attendants.

NSB - Jessica favorite garment project

I think my most favorite quilting project to date is the modified log cabin quilt I made from plaid and solid wools.

NSB - jessica favorite quilt project

What project is next?
Right now, I am working on a dress and accessories for a 1920s Great Gatsby themed party, which are going to be awesome.
I am also making a modern color wheel quilt using the fabulous Kona cottons solids we carry at Nancy’s!

What do you love most about Nancy’s?
I love so much about Nancy’s: the creativity that flows through the store is incredibly inspiring. Working with individual customers on finding just the right fabric, ribbon, or button is always a fun exercise, especially when the results are better than anticipated! There is a lot of opportunity to share my own expertise and even more opportunity to learn from my coworkers! Nancy’s is so special to me because I work with some of the most wonderfully talented and supportive individuals I’ve ever known.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the inaugural ‘get to know’! Any questions for Jessica? Leave them in the comments!

Photographs in this post are courtesy of Nancy’s Sewing Basket employee Jessica, except photograph of bridal party, which is copyright Stadler Studio Photography.

A new spring jacket – the Bettie Bomber

NSB Bettie Bomber headerHooray! Spring has finally sprung! Or at the very least, the vernal equinox has passed ;)

We are excited because a new season means it’s time to start trading out our wardrobes. This year, we are particularly eager to make a new spring jacket that updates a classic style: the bomber. We think it is the perfect cute, casual addition to any wardrobe.

Luckily for us, our awesome teacher Jacque Goldsmith agreed to teach a class in making bomber jackets. We present to you the Bettie Bomber (shown here over the wonderful ESP dress):

NSB Bettie Bomber + ESP Dress front

This bomber is cute, casual spring style at its finest!

NSB Bettie Bomber + ESP Dress side

It’s even adorable from the side!

Our next class session starts next Tuesday, March 31 at 5:30pm and there are only TWO seats left! If you are interested in signing up, please give us a call at the shop!

Inspired by all the cool options on the runway and in stores, we have put together several inspiration boards:

Sheer Spring Bomber Jackets
Textured Soft Neutrals Spring Bomber Jackets
Black and White Spring Bomber Jackets
Printed & Saturated Spring Bomber Jackets
As you can see, this style is very versatile! We think the Bettie Bomber would look great made up in a white eyelet with pop color underlining, a printed silk chiffon, or a beautiful linen with contrast ribbing! How would you make this jacket?

1927 Cloud Cape from Decades of Style – part 3

cloud cape header - pt 3We’ve made it to part three: our finished 1927 Cloud Cape! This has been a fun little journey and we are excited to share this beautiful garment with you. Because we’ve written about this cape along the way (part 1 and part 2), we’re going to let the images do most of the talking! And so, without further ado, we present our 1927 Cloud Cape (pattern from Decades of Style):

NSB finished cloud cape front view

We have styled our Cloud Cape over red silk charmeuse gown, made from a vintage Vogue pattern.

From the front, you can see there is so much to love about this cape!

NSB finished cloud cape collar

The full, cloud-like collar is complemented by a double-face silk satin ribbon closure.

NSB finished cloud cape side view

Peeking through the window in the background is another Decades of Style pattern friend: the 1925 Zig Zag Dress!

The side view shows all the incredible details: the collar, the ruching through the shoulders, and the handmade flowers, leaves, and vines.

NSB finished cloud cape hem detail

A detail view of the exquisite handmade flowers, leaves, and vines, punctuated by vintage jet beads.

All techniques used to create these striking trims are taught by Candace Kling, who will be returning to teach at Nancy’s Sewing Basket in October 2015 (details to be published soon). For more information about materials used, please look at parts one and two of this series.

NSB finished cloud cape back view

Vines scroll along the hem from the cape front to the back. For ease of wear, cabochons blossom sparingly.

Even the back is gorgeous!

Thanks so much for joining us! We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this cape as much as we’ve enjoyed making it and sharing the process!

1927 Cloud Cape from Decades of Style – part 2

cloud cape pt 2 header

Today’s post is picture heavy! I’m excited to walk you through our Cloud Cape ‘trimmings workshop’ and to look at some key construction details. When we left off last post, we were building trimmings out of fabrics, using techniques taught by Candace Kling, including cabochon roses, buds, blossoms, and leaves.

Piles of petals! Made of silk organza, acetate rayon satin faille, and silk taffeta, these petals will be artfully arranged to create exquisite cabochon roses.

Piles of petals! Made of silk organza, acetate rayon satin faille, and silk taffeta, these petals will be artfully arranged to create exquisite cabochon roses.

Leaves and buds line up on crinoline awaiting separation. Once cut apart, the crinoline serves as an invisible foundation for attachment.

Leaves and buds line up on crinoline awaiting separation. Once cut apart, the crinoline serves as an invisible foundation for attachment.

workshop beads and leaves

Vintage jet beads in a variety of sizes will be used to highlight the organic forms created by vines and flowers. Additional leaves made of peau de soie (bottom right) will be appliqued along the vines.

Leaves and flowers are cut from their crinoline foundations so they can be arranged on our Cloud Cape!

Leaves and flowers are cut from their crinoline foundations so they can be arranged on our Cloud Cape!

We begin playing with layout. Our vines will scroll from the collar down the front and around the hemline. Cabochons, buds, and additional blossoms will 'grow' from the bottom center front out.

We begin playing with layout. Our vines will scroll from the collar down the front and around the hemline. Cabochons, buds, and additional blossoms will ‘grow’ from the bottom center front out.

Once we like the look of our layout, we move to the cape itself, finessing the arrangement to best suit the shape of the garment.

Once we like the look of our layout, we move to the cape itself, finessing the arrangement to best suit the shape of the garment.

Now that our trimmings are well underway, it’s time to look at the construction of this beautiful vintage cape! Two of the more exquisite details on this cape are the shirring around the shoulders and the incredible collar, and we wanted to highlight a few methods we used in creating our own sample.

First up: the shirring! This pattern uses an era-appropriate construction technique for creating shirring, by using unwaxed dental floss to create rows of gathers. To ensure we were hitting the key marks of the pattern, we created thread markers on the cut pattern pieces:

Make thread markers by hand sewing through the dots.

Make thread markers by hand sewing through the dots, leaving extra ease between each point.

Once all thread markers are in place, cut between the dots.

Once all thread markers are in place, cut between the dots.

You should have sizable thread tails on each dot.

You should have sizable thread tails on each dot.

Begin slowly lifting the pattern piece off your cut fabric, ensuring your markers don't come out.

Begin slowly lifting the pattern piece off your cut fabric, ensuring your markers don’t come out.

Et voila! Each dot is marked and easy to see!

Et voila! Each dot is marked and easy to see!

From there, we added the floss and zig zag stitched over it, then began to gather the fabric following the shirring guide.

Matching our thread marks to the shirring guide, we pull the dental floss to create gathers.

Matching our thread marks to the shirring guide, we pull the dental floss to create gathers.

Ultimately, we find that it is easier to shape the cape on a three dimensional form, so we move to our dress form to finalize our gathers. Once we are happy with the look of the shirring, we tack in place using a washed wool crepe underlining.

Tacking the shirring to the underlining helps prevent shifting.

Tacking the shirring to the underlining helps prevent the gathers from shifting too far during wear.

Once this step is complete, it is important to admire your handiwork!

I love this sumptuous texture!

I love this sumptuous texture!

Beautiful shirring that creates lovely shaping.

Beautiful shirring that creates lovely shaping.

Next up: the collar! The construction of this lovely collar is fairly simple, like a tube with several channels  for cording.

Collar laid flat; these channels provide additional texture in the finished garment.

Collar laid flat; these channels provide additional texture in the finished garment.

In order to give the collar a bit more body, we opted to use plastic coated electrical wire, which can be molded to maintain a specific shape.

The collar begins to take shape.

The collar begins to take shape.

We opt to fill the channels with electrical wire for additional body.

We opt to fill the channels with electrical wire for additional body.

From here, we will finalize the embellishments and complete construction!

Join us next post for a look at our finished 1927 Cloud Cape!

1927 Cloud Cape from Decades of Style – part 1

IMG_1757_crop We are excitedly anticipating the arrival of the 2015 Sewing & Stitchery Expo, which takes place this month, February 26 through March 1, at the Washington State Fair and Events Center. It’s the largest sewing expo in the nation and Nancy’s is proud to have participated for more than 30 years! This year, in addition to taking a large selection of our fabrics to the expo, Nancy’s will be featuring several pattern styles from one of our favorite independent companies, Decades of Style. Follow along with us as we make up their fabulous 1927 Cloud Cape pattern.

1920s appropriate fabric- and ribbon-work flowers, as taught by Candace Kling

Cabochons: 1920s appropriate fabric- and ribbon-work flowers, as taught by Candace Kling. Photo courtesy of Candace Kling.

Inspired by the original era of this style, we will make this cape in panne velvet and embellish with fabric- and ribbon-work using techniques learned from Candace Kling. Candace will be back at Nancy’s this fall to teach more of her fabulous classes!

cloud cape fabrics used

L-R: viscose panne velvet, poly chiffon with metallic silver print, silk crepe-de-chine, rayon/acetate satin, silk taffeta, silk organza

Our final fabric selections are a black viscose panne velvet for the body, lining in black silk crepe-de-chine, and trimmings in a variety of black luxury fabrics,  including a high-sheen rayon/acetate satin, silk taffeta, silk organza, and a polyester chiffon with silver metallic print.

Circles and bias cut strips: the building blocks of our cabochons and vines!

Circles and bias cut strips: the building blocks of our cabochons and vines!

We begin by cutting our trimming fabrics. Cabochons will be made with alternating layers of satin, organza, and taffeta. Vines will be made from our metallic printed chiffon. Leaves will be made from satin and taffeta ribbons: some vintage, some made from strips of our fabrics. Flower centers and buds will be made from remaining velvet.

Using a nifty vintage tool, we turn our bias tubing right side out

Using a nifty tool, we turn our bias tubing right side out

Making vines, L-R: sewn bias tubes, turning right side out, finished tube

Making vines, L-R: sewn bias tubes, turning right side out, finished tube

For the vines, we use our metallic chiffon,  creating bias tubes sewn in varying widths. For subtle sparkle, we opt to sew the tube “wrong” sides together, so all metallic is to the inside.

building leaves and cabochons on crinoline

Building trims on crinoline will allow us to move and arrange individual flowers when deciding on placement for our final look.

After preparing our fabrics for the cabochons and our ribbon leaves, we begin building them out on black crinoline. This means a lot of arranging, pinning, and rearranging. Once we like the look of our flowers, we will tack in place by hand. Join us for part 2 to see our completed trimmings. We will also look at the basic construction of our 1927 Cloud Cape!