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

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 the next part to see our completed trimmings. We will also look at the basic construction of our 1927 Cloud Cape!

Soothing Eye Mask tutorial and FREE PATTERN


Are you looking for a last-minute gift to make for your valentine? Look no further than this easy eye mask! Our latest free pattern is perfect to make as a last minute gift for friends and lovers alike.

Filled with flax seed, our soothing eye mask can be heated in the microwave or chilled in the freezer for use in hot and cold therapy. Mix in dried lavender for added aromatherapy benefits!


  • 1/8yd fashion fabric
  • 1/8yd lining fabric (recommend 100% cotton flannel or soft knit); can use the same fabric for lining and fashion choices
  • 1-1/4yds ribbon for strap (recommend 3/4” wide); can also use two different ribbons at 5/8yd each
  • 1/2yd elastic (recommend 1/4″ wide)
  • 1 cup (approximately) flax seed


1. Download our free Soothing Eye Mask pattern. Print on letter sized paper.

2. Cut 1 each fashion and lining fabrics (if using same fabric, cut 2). Mark notches and lines.
2 cut pieces

3. If embellishing eye mask, do so now.
Inspired by Holly Golightly’s famous sleep mask and in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, for this tutorial we chose to decorate the fashion side of our mask. For our flirtatious design, we used black feathers for eyelashes and cut a simple heart out of red wool/rayon felt. We played around with layout; once finalized, we tacked the feathers down and then added the heart.
3b tack feathers

4. Make the head strap.
If using one kind of ribbon, cut into two 5/8yd lengths. Stack ribbons wrong sides together (if using two different widths of ribbon, center top ribbon over bottom ribbon) and pin in place.
4a stack and pin ribbons
Sew down one side of ribbon stack, at least 1/8” from edge. Repeat on other side.
4b sew ribbons together
Using a small safety pin, string elastic through casing.
4c string elastic
Adjust for head size and sew in place on edges (I had 2” overhang on either end and used a 1/8” seam allowance to hold in place).
4d two inches

5. Attach strap to fashion side of eye mask.
With right sides together, center the ribbon over marked line on eye mask front, aligning raw edges. Pin in place and sew using 1/8” seam allowance.
5 attach strap to front

6. Sew lining to eye mask front.
Lay eye mask lining over fashion piece and strap, right sides together. Pin in place. Sew together using a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving open between notches along top.
6a sew lining to face
If you prefer, reinforce seam along bottom between 1/8” and 1/4″ from edge.
Clip curves along bottom of eye mask.
6b clip curves

7. Press seams and turn right side out.
Through opening at top, fill eye mask with flax seed as much as you like. I made a funnel out of paper and tape.
7 fill with flax seed

8. Hand sew the top opening closed.
8 hand sew closed

Voila! Soothing eye mask – ready to use!

Top eye mask: made with Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn-Dye linen/cotton, lined with 100% organic cotton flannel, wool/rayon felt heart, feather trim, and ribbon from the Nancy’s Ribbon Room. Lower eye mask: made from new Moda 100% cotton toweling in Vintage Floral print, lined with 100% organic cotton flannel, and vintage ribbons from the Ribbon Room.

Easy Gift Bag tutorial


Now that the Super Bowl is over, we’re looking forward to the Academy Awards and the parties that go with it! Inspired by the idea of red carpet fashion and a beautiful bottle of wine, we have made up our Easy Gift Bag pattern in an elegant organza and gold ribbon, which we think would make a fabulous hostess gift for an Oscars party. Follow this tutorial to make one of your very own! SUPPLIES

  • Fabric, cut to 12.5″ wide x 20″ tall (for directional prints, ensure you cut fabric so the vertical measurement is 20″)
  • Ribbon, 7/8 yd

INSTRUCTIONS **We designed this bag to be serged, though it can easily be sewn on a standard sewing machine. If you don’t have a serger, we recommend pinking all edges before you start and sewing with a 1/4″ seam allowance. 1. To begin, pink one 12.5″ edge of fabric, trimming as little as possible. 1. pinked 12.5 edge 2. Fold ribbon in half. On one 20″ side of fabric, pin center of ribbon fold to fabric edge 9″ from pinked edge. 2. pin ribbon fold to raw edge 3. Fold fabric right sides together lengthwise, matching long edges. Pin in place, if you prefer. 3. fold in half lengthwise 4. With fabric folded, measure 4.5″ from pinked edges. 4a. measure 4.5 long edge Fold at this point. 4b. fold at 4.5 down Pin in place, if you like. 4c. pin if you like Serge long edge, catching all seam allowances and ribbon. Be sure to remove any pins as you surge! 4d. serge long edge 5. Flip top cuff right side out and refold with serged seam down the center of the bag. At the bottom of the bag, mark the following: measure in 1″ from each folded edge; this is point B. Measure in 1″ inch from B, mark as C. Original folded edge is A. Folding at B, invert folded edge A and match to C. 5. mark A B C 5. sketch crop Repeat on both sides. 5c. repeat both sides Serge across bottom edge. 5d. serge across bottom 6. Turn your bag right side out and admire the beautiful finished square seam along the bottom! 6. admire square seam bottom 7. Insert favorite bottle of wine and tie a bow. You’re all set to gift! Easy Gift Bag Enjoy!

The Curtain Call – Nancy’s Holiday Window and Raffle

photoWe are excited to share the details of our second annual ‘Share the Joy’ raffle to benefit local agency Mary’s Place, a wonderful resource for homeless women and their children.

Our theme this year is The Curtain Call, inspired by Pacific Northwest Ballet’s The Nutcracker. The staff at Nancy’s has drawn inspiration from the soon-to-be retired Maurice Sendak costume and set designs to create and hand-make costumes to fit 18″ dolls, including American Girl dolls (R).

We are selling raffle tickets for $2 a piece and each ticket is a chance to win one of six total prizes! The raffle drawing will be held on Saturday, December 20th at the end of the day.

For the prizes, we have five individual prizes and one grand prize.

Individual prizes are:
1. A Pleasant Company original tea set
prize 1 tea set

2. A modern folk ensemble including blouse, appliqued vest, and tiered skirt with sash*
prize 2 folk costume







3. A black opera coat made of wool with faux-fur collar*
prize 3 opera coat

4. A grey ball dress with lace bodice and beaded necklace*
prize 4 grey ball dress with necklace

5. A brightly colored tutu with matching ballet slippers and tights*
prize 5 tutu hairpin and slippers

Our grand prize is comprised of seven ballet costumes with accessories, two masks made by the very talented Lauren Dudley, and a Christmas Tree painting, all inspired by the original costumes and sets of Maurice Sendak, plus three additional outfits worn by our ‘audience members’ in the front window!*

You can see the grand prize in the photo at the top of this post or stop by to see our lovely window display in all its glory. Raffle tickets can be purchased in store with cash or check only.

*Dolls pictured are not included in any component of the raffle prizes.

Celebratory Bunting tutorial

It’s that fabulous time of year when we get to pull out all sorts of fun and traditional decorations! If you are looking to add something new to your holiday decor repertoire, look no further than this fun celebratory bunting! It’s a great use for fun seasonal prints or festive solids!

celebratory buntingFollow this pattern to make a fun and festive bunting to celebrate any occasion. Great for parties, showers, weddings, or simply for room décor!


This pattern will create a bunting with flags that are 9” tall x 9” wide; the flags will span a total length of approximately 48 feet.



  • ¼ yard cuts in 8 different 44” wide fabrics (no need to preshrink for this project!)
  • 18 yards of trim (ribbon, braid, tape, twine, or other sturdy string)
  • Thread (can match or contrast color of ribbon/braid/tape)



  • Rotary cutter (we use both a pinking blade and a straight blade)
  • Self healing cutting mat
  • Ruler for use with rotary cutter (ours is 6.5” x 24”)
  • Marking tool of some kind (we use Chaco-Liner)
  • Sewing machine with zigzag capability



  1. To begin, iron all fabrics and stack together. Using a rotary cutter with straight blade, trim stack of fabric so long edges are aligned and all fabrics are 9” tall.

trim fabrics to 9 in

  1. Using your ruler and marking tool make a mark approximately 1” from the selvedge on bottom edge, then measure and mark 4.5” on the opposite edge. From this second mark, measure and mark 4.5” on the bottom edge. Continue all the way across the fabric width.

mark opposite edge every 4.5 in

  1. Take your ruler and set on first mark made. Angle ruler so it meets the second mark on opposite edge. Using your rotary cutter with the pinking blade, make a cut from first to second mark following ruler’s edge. Reposition ruler from second to third mark and cut. Repeat across the fabric width. You will end up with 8 triangles per fabric for a total of 64 flags.cut from first to second markflags cut out

**Note that if you use a directional print that you want to be correct side up, you will have only 4 triangles that are the correct direction.


  1. Take one stack of cut flags and determine flag order, including repeat. If you want your bunting to have a random effect, you will need to dismantle all the flag stacks as cut and reassemble. When happy with the order of your flags, place in one big stack.

determine layout

  1. It is time to assemble your bunting! In addition to having your flag stack at hand, you will need your trim available and easy to unwind. Begin by measuring one yard into the trim (there is a 36” tie allowance on both ends of bunting for ease of hanging), then lay the first flag on trim (right sides facing same direction), aligning straight cut edge to length of ribbon. Using a zigzag stitch no wider than your trim (our trim is ¼” wide), sew flag to trim. When you reach the end of your first flag, add the next flag and continue to sew, adding another flag when ready, until you have sewn the entire stack.

sewing flagssewing zigzag stitchCONGRATULATIONS! Your bunting is complete! Hang it up and enjoy!

completed celebratory buntingSPECIAL BONUS:

With the fabric that is left over from cutting your flags, you can create a mini bunting! We used our fabric scrap to create flags that are 4” tall and 4” wide and sewed to two yards of the same braid (18” allowance for tying).

mini bunting cutmini buntingThis pattern can be followed exactly OR you can use it only as a guideline. Let your imagination run wild: change the basic shape for your flags, include more than one shape, or use shapes of different sizes! The possibilities are limitless! Here are some other fun ideas:

alternate shapes

The E.S.P. Dress – new pattern from Decades of Style

One of our favorite independent pattern lines, Decades of Style, has a brand new ‘easy’ line of patterns: Decades Everyday!

The first pattern from this new micro-line, The E.S.P. Dress, is described as an easy-to-sew retro dress pattern featuring flattering raglan sleeves, a faced square neckline, front and back darts, and a gathered skirt with pockets for that classic fit-and-flare shape.


The slogan for Decades Everyday is “sew in a day & wear everyday” and it is accurate! This pattern is great for novice sewers. The style is simple, construction is straight forward, and directions are easy to follow; all in all a great pattern for those who love the look of vintage clothes, but may not have the technical knowledge or skills to make a true reproduction.

This is the first dress I have made in several years and was feeling a bit rusty about my garment construction skills, but found this pattern to be a great choice. For fabric, I selected a 100% Cotton Lawn from Liberty (in the fabulous Jack and Charlie print). While the pattern is unlined, I decided to do a full lining using Ambiance 100% Rayon Bemberg quality. I also selected a coordinating ribbon to use as a hem tape (more details below).


I made the size for bust measurement 46″. I had help from the inimitable Jacque Goldsmith in fitting the bodice and ended up shortening the top by 2″ from the front waist dart all the way around. I also lowered my bust dart by about 1″ and took approximately 1/2″ out vertically from each back panel.

I decided to trade out the suggested 22″ standard zipper for an invisible zipper and hook & eye. I think invisible zippers have an easier installation and prefer the look to boot.

When hemming the skirt, I opted to use a 3/4″ 100% Rayon Petersham grosgrain ribbon as a hem tape to simultaneously make the hem a bit less bulky and to add a little weight to the hem. Plus, I love the look of grosgrain in a skirt hem.

As mentioned above, I chose to fully line this dress. I used the same altered bodice and sleeve pieces and then dirndled the skirt. I made my skirt lining 2″ shorter than the dress skirt and hemmed on the machine. Quick and easy.

All finishing was completed by hand, save the understitching at the neck facing, which I did on my machine.

Because it was easy to construct and I love the fit, I plan to make this dress many times over. In fact, I’ve already completed a second and have selected fabrics for two more! I am particularly excited to try top stitching in a cute contrasting color when I make up this pattern in other fabrics.

And now, the big reveal:

ESPdress front  ESPdress side

Don’t you just love this dress?

The Finished Dressmaker’s Jacket!

And voila!  The finished product!  In this photo, you can see the beautiful paisley lining peeking out, and the bias trim that separates the lining from the facing.Dressmaker's Jacket Front View

As you can see, this is a very fitted jacket- so the time spent initially in class for fitting was pivotal to the finished product.  The bright navy is a great color to mix with the rest of my wardrobe.Dressmaker's Jacket Back View

Here’s a view of the FUNCTIONAL SLEEVE VENT!  Because we’re fancy like that.  You can also see the iridescent glass buttons, which I adore!Functional Sleeve Vent

As with any sewing project, I used this as a learning experience.   I think the most important thing I learned during this class was:

*It’s imperative to utilize tailoring equipment during the process; using the sleeve roll and tailor’s ham to thoroughly press my seams throughout would have resulted in a smoother finish, and is especially important for a project like this, where fabric really gets sculpted to the body.

*Also, don’t move in the middle of a project- your sewing room gets all jumbled and you can’t find where anything has gotten off to!   :)