Trimming a hat for the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is just a week away! Though we live many states away from the actual event, we still have the urge to celebrate it in style, which can only mean one thing: fabulous hats!NSB - Kentucky Derby header

We checked in with coworker and milliner Izzie, who kindly shared her hat-trimming expertise with us. She brought in several of her undecorated hats and used ribbons and millinery trims from our Ribbon Room to create several different looks.

The first hat was hand blocked from a natural color straw braid, and features a rounded crown and wide, curved brim. NSB - Kentucky Derby straw braid 1 untrimmedWorking in a rich red color palette, Izzie selected millinery roses & berries, vintage ribbon, and veiling for trimmings. NSB - Kentucky Derby straw braid 2 with trimmingsShe created a wide, layered bow from the ribbon as a base, formed a second bow from the veiling, and then nestled the roses and berries into the center of the bows. NSB - Kentucky Derby straw braid 3 trimmedThe resulting look is bold and lush, without going over-the-top.

 

The second hat was blocked as a cloche from a raffia-like, vintage yellow straw.NSB - Kentucky Derby raffia cloche 1 untrimmed To enhance the cheery hue, Izzie chose trimmings in sunny tones, including picot-edge vintage ribbon, leaves, and two styles of flowers. NSB - Kentucky Derby raffia cloche 2 with trimmingsShe began by encircling the base of the crown with the ribbon and tying it into a multi-looped bow. After arranging the flowers and leaves, she affixed them atop the bow. NSB - Kentucky Derby raffia cloche 3 trimmedThe final look is a sweet and simple monochrome topper, perfect for wearing indoors or out!

 

The crown and brim of the third hat were blocked from two different straws. NSB - Kentucky Derby double straw 1 untrimmedIn keeping with the color palette provided by the two straws, Izzie selected trimmings with a neutral feel. NSB - Kentucky Derby double straw 2 with trimmingsGreen leaves, little mushrooms, pale yellow black-eyed susans, and a brown poppy all lend to a more natural look. NSB - Kentucky Derby double straw 3 trimmedThe final arrangement is chic and modest, and would look at home at a derby party, a garden party, or rowing a boat on a sunny summer afternoon.

 

For those with a more subdued sense of style, Izzie also shared the perfect simple way to trim a hat: ribbon! For this straw fedora, she chose a vintage striped ribbon. The varied stripes in five colors look especially smart when tied in a clever knot.NSB - Kentucky Derby fedora with ribbon

 


Will you be attending a Derby party? What kind of hat will you wear? Share the details with us in the comments below!

Planning for Me-Made-May ’16

Have you heard of ‘Me-Made-May’? It’s a fantastic annual challenge set up by Zoe at So, Zo…What do you know?, encouraging people who make, refashion, and upcycle garments to actually wear the things they create!NSB - planning for MMM16 header

We at Nancy’s are no strangers to wearing the garments we make, but we love the idea of encouraging everyone in the sewing community to celebrate their making achievements. As such, we are pledging to partake in Me-Made-May! Our staff will endeavor to wear handmade garments and accessories every day, which we will be sharing on our Instagram account. We will also take a closer look each week at what people have made with a blog post!

In preparation of this event, I’ve asked the staff to share some of their current sewing projects that will be worn for Me-Made-May. Check out all the fun details below, and join us throughout May to see the finished garments!

If you are interested in participating, head over to the So, Zo blog to read more about the challenge and consider signing up! We hope you will participate!


Kristina is using two of the patterns from the possibly-perfect-in-every-way book Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter.lottajansdotter91744jf-1077x1200

Kristina is making the Tedra skirt, using a bold black-and-white 1″ gingham check, cut on the bias.

She is also making the Kiomi dress – a sweet, swingy style – using an open weave rayon plaid.


Amy is making up a blouse using the fantastic Sewing Workshop pattern, Florence. Her fabric of choice is 100% cotton chambray in a gorgeous orchid color.

The Florence boasts 14 buttons on a real placket on the front, a faux placket in the back, and button cuffs; Amy selected fun buttons with a confetti look to really make the details sing.


Ellen is making a coat from the Japanese pattern book Casual Sweet Clothes: Favorite Pieces for Every Day by Noriko Sasahara.casualsweetdress1Ellen is using a woven linen/cotton Ikat to make the round-neck coat with turn-up cuffs.


Marilyn is making a smart skirt and blouse ensemble. She will use Burda pattern 7136 to create a button-down blouse of Indian cotton voile, woven of pink and palest green. For her skirt, Marilyn selected Vogue pattern 7937, a semi-fitted, straight-style skirt with hemline detailing. Her fabric is a slinky rayon crepe with a fun jungle print.


Jessica is adding two dresses to her wardrobe for May. The first pattern comes from BurdaStyle magazine (Spring/Summer 2016 Plus size special). Drafted for knits, the dress features a casual cocoon silhouette, with pleating at the bodice and interesting draped armholes. Her fabric is matte jersey in polyester/spandex with a graphic navy on red print.

For her second dress, Jessica is modifying her favorite pattern (Decades of Style 2003 1920s Hazel’s Frock, used last year for her 1920s ensemble) to reproduce an original 1920s sailor-style dress found on Pinterest. For her version, Jessica picked out cotton lawn for the body (variegated hot pink stripes on lavender ground) and Indian cotton voile for the sailor collar (hot pink with coral cross-weave).

Because the lawn is lightweight and somewhat sheer, Jessica will make the bias-cut slip from Folkwear 219 Intimacies to wear underneath, using rayon/acetate satin faille in rose/gold.


Are you currently working on any spring sewing projects? Are you inspired to join in the Me-Made-May fun? Let us know in the comments below!

Get to know a Nancy’s employee: Izzie

I am very excited to share today’s “get to know” interview. In addition to working in our Ribbon Room every Tuesday, this employee is also a talented Seattle milliner. As she is both an employee and a friend of Nancy’s, this extended interview includes questions we ask of our vendor friends! Please join me in welcoming Izzie.

NSB - gtk izzielewis header

Who are you?

I’m Izzie Lewis and I am a milliner. I also work at Nancy’s.

How long have you been acquainted with Nancy’s? How long have you worked at Nancy’s?

I’ve been acquainted with Nancy’s for 20 years or so, through millinery and classes with Candace Kling.

I think I started working at Nancy’s in 2008, so I’ve been with the store for about 8 years.

NSB - IzzieLewis pink straw

Izzie models a gorgeous pink cloche constructed from vintage straw braid, trimmed with a ribbon rose handmade using Candace Kling’s techniques.

How long have you been sewing?

Well, I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember, but I was in second grade the first time I sewed a garment from a pattern.

What was your first sewing project?

I made a little cotton top with a sailor collar that zipped up the front. It was very cute. It had little puffed sleeves. The fabric was navy blue with white anchors.

Tell me about your business.

I make custom hats and I teach hat making in my studio in West Seattle. I work in straw, felt, and fabric, and find that whatever material I am working with at the time is my favorite. That can make it difficult to change seasons.NSB - IzzieLewis felt hat from scrap

How did you get started in millinery?

I started making hats when I found out that you could actually make hats. It hadn’t really occurred to me before that. I used to wear a lot of vintage hats, so when I found out I could make them myself I started pursuing hat making.

I actually met a hat maker – Wayne Wichern – while shopping at a fabric store in downtown Seattle. I was wearing a hat and he came up to me and said, “I really like your hat. I am a hat maker, if you’d ever like to have a hat made…” and I was like, “What? I can have a hat made?!” I had him make a hat for me and it was through that experience that I started studying with him. Years later, he explained that the day we met, he had just picked up his business cards and he was so excited about it that he came right up to me and gave me a card. He said that he wouldn’t have done that except that he was excited to have business cards.

My background is in architecture, which is still that idea of constructing things. When I began making hats, the architecture firm where I worked – Workshop 3D – had a gallery within the space. My boss asked me to do a millinery show, so I started putting together group shows every spring and fall. These shows became one of the foundations of the millinery community in Seattle.

What is your most recently completed project?

I make garments for myself on occasion. My most recent garment was the sheer overdress/printed cotton underdress for the Nancy’s anniversary sale.

I’m also currently completing a variety of straw hats for a group hat show, which is happening on Saturday, April 2nd. The show, which I am doing as part of the Millinery Artisan Group Northwest, takes place 10am-4pm, at the Phinney Neighborhood Center.

NSB - IzzieLewis parisisal straw vintage roses and veiling

A parisisal straw hat is trimmed with vintage veiling and roses

Do you have a most memorable or favorite project?

I did a fun project in 2015, which started out as a little tweed top hat. I bought a yard of fabric and made the top hat. I had fabric left over, so I thought I’d make another hat. I made a cloche, and there was still fabric remaining, so I made a little cap. Then I just decided to keep on going until I had used every scrap of fabric. I think I ended up with seven or eight hats, the last one being this tiny headpiece on a headband.

It was a fun project that kind of developed on its own, but is in keeping with what I like to do, which is use scraps. One of my signature hats is a felt hat that is made of scraps and pieces left over from other hats.

NSB - IzzieLewis felt cloche made from scrap

Scraps from at least five different hats come together to create this fantastic cloche

Another memorable project was The Great Blocking Marathon. I invited students (former and current) and local hat makers to help block nearly every form that I have in the studio. We worked for 2 days, with a break to sleep and we blocked approximately 50 hats!

NSB - izzielewis great blocking marathon

Hat blocks used for The Great Blocking Marathon

What project is next?

This coming Saturday, April 2nd I have the group show at the Phinney Neighborhood Center. I will be there selling spring and summer hats. There will also be a special exhibit as part of the show: we were given a millinery challenge to create an “elemental” hat. The hat I am contributing evokes the element of whimsy. It was created from the scraps of an oddly sized straw cartwheel, which I combined with some vintage trims (editor’s note: “cartwheel” is a name for a large, unblocked piece of straw or felt).

NSB - IzzieLewis hat element of whimsy

‘Whimsy’ is perfectly captured by curvilinear form and vintage blossoms

In general, I’m working my way through a lot of the vintage trimmings and do-dads in my studio, attempting to use them all. For most of my hats, the trims are an integral part of the design, not just added on. For this new project, it’s more that I am making these hats and adding these vintage pieces. The challenge is: am I taking these vintage materials and making pieces that look like vintage pieces, or am I taking these vintage materials and creating something that looks new and fresh? I’d love to be able to have my pieces look fresh and modern.

NSB - IzzieLewis sinamay straw vintage irises

Vintage irises are the perfect trimming for this sinamay straw hat

What do you love most about Nancy’s?

Well, the Ribbon Room, of course! I love all of the conversations about different design ideas that happen in the store, and how helpful and knowledgeable the staff is. And seeing all the projects that people bring into the shop.

Thanks, Izzie! It is such a delight to see what our very talented staff creates!

If you are interested in contacting Izzie about having a custom hat made, or in taking classes with her, find her on Facebook or her website. And if you are in the Seattle area this coming Saturday, April 2nd, be sure to check out her show at the Phinney Neighborhood Center! More details can be found on the show’s event page here.

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

Fabulous spring patterns from Decades of Style & Decades Everyday

We’ve talked before about our love for independent pattern company Decades of Style and our love is still going strong! For the Sewing & Stitchery Expo this year, we decided to once again feature patterns from their fantastic catalog, with a special focus on the Decades Everyday micro-line. We created a fun collection of garments that would be perfect additions to any spring wardrobe!

NSB - DoS spring wardrobeAll of our Decades of Style samples look so wonderful we want to share them with everyone! Check out all our makes below.

The two newest Decades Everyday patterns are separates: the Three’s a Charm Jacket and the Buttons & Bows Blouse.

For the expo, we were lucky enough to have an exclusive prerelease of the brand new Buttons & Bows Blouse! This fun new style has two options for pussy bow ties, buttons up the back, and has a gorgeous curved hemline.

Jeannie, who made the beautiful Dolce & Gabbana inspired dress for our anniversary sale, whipped up a Three’s a Charm in multi-color patterned wool. Though the basic pattern is unlined, she opted to add a lining and finish all edges with bias tape made from sweet printed lawn. The result is a perfect transitional weight jacket. She also constructed a Buttons & Bows using one of our all-time favorite fabrics Indian cotton voile in an iridescent blue/violet color. Jeannie made the version with the shorter ties and used a double layer of voile through the body for more coverage.

We paired the blouse with the 1940s Empire Waist Trousers from the original line, made in a lovely wool/linen suiting with a subtle lavender pinstripe. The waistline of the trouser combined with the ties of the blouse give this ensemble a sweet sailor effect!


Tamara made the Decades Everyday Given a Chance Dress. This shift dress is a great example of sophisticated simplicity, with a bias-cut, origami-inspired yoke and attractive double bust dart. Tamara’s version was made from textured Japanese cotton with a print that features 8-bit interpretations of Japanese landmarks. This style is easy to make and easy to wear!


Jessica used two Decades Everyday patterns for a sweet ensemble: the E.S.P. Dress and the Three’s a Chance Jacket. For her jacket, she used a floral print Japanese linen/cotton, constructing her version according to the instructions and leaving it unlined. For visual interest and a retro touch, she finished the facings and hems with a decorative running stitch. The result is a Three’s a Charm that is the perfect layering piece for spring.

Jessica’s E.S.P. dress was sewn from a striped linen/cotton shirting with a seersucker look. The stripes were placed horizontally on the bodice and vertically on the skirt. Though the E.S.P. is drafted as an unlined pattern, Jessica opted to line the bodice and skirt, leaving the sleeves unlined. Inspired by the stripes of the skirt, Jessica constructed the skirt with pleats, rather than gather as per the original instructions.


Marilyn, who created the fabulous Dries Van Noten inspired jacket for our anniversary sale, used the Siren Sundress pattern from the Decades of Style original line, sewing it up in sorbet colored cotton voile. This pattern, originally from the 1940s, features a unique wrap-in-the-back silhouette: long straps cross at the open back and wrap around the front waist to tie in the back. The pattern is drafted with a lined bodice and unlined skirt and straps. For additional coverage under our lightweight cotton voile, Marilyn added a full lining to the dress and doubled the straps. It’s the perfect sundress!


Will you construct any new garments for your spring wardrobe? Do you participate in Me Made May? Now’s a great time to get started! We’d love to hear what you are planning; tell us in the comments below!

Meet a friend of Nancy’s: Marie Cooley of Fitting Room Corsets

Today, I am excited to introduce you to another friend of Nancy’s! She is a talented seamstress and the proprietor of Seattle’s premiere custom corset shop. Please welcome Marie Cooley.

NSB-meet Marie Cooley header

Who are you?
I am Marie Cooley of Fitting Room Corsets.

What is your business?
I’m a corset maker, making custom corsets. That means I take your measurements, make a designated pattern for you, and make a corset from fabrics that you select. I do all the work in my Seattle workroom.

NSB - fitting room workroom

Marie Cooley’s Fitting Room

As a corset maker, I work in fulfilling peoples’ fantasies. It’s amazing. Everybody has a thing like, “I saw Gone with the Wind and I want to wear a pretty Scarlett O’Hara dress…” and then they come to learn that they really like to wear corsets; it feels good to wear them. You feel presented; your posture is better, when you stand up straight, you immediately look better.

I make between 100 and 200 corsets per year.

How did you get started?
I have been a dressmaker since I was 14 and started sewing for money. I was an all-purpose dressmaker for twenty years. My major skill-set is sewing; it’s what I do.

I started doing historical costuming pretty early on and the first thing I learned was that I needed corsets to make the dresses look good. And all corsets really grow out of historical pattern work.NSB-MCFR-renaissance georgian style

After I made a few corsets for myself to wear with costumes, I learned that not everyone likes to make corsets. It’s very exacting, it’s drafting, it’s minutiae, it’s little details and engineering. I’m kind of a frustrated engineer, but I like the engineering part.

So, I started making corsets for other people. And I discovered that it is something I like to do and can charge an appropriate price for the amount of work. And the other advantage to corsets is they are small; they don’t take up a huge amount of material and they don’t take up a lot of space in my workroom.NSB-MCFR-deep plunge

How long have you been acquainted with Nancy’s?
Oh gosh! Since before Nancy’s moved into the building it’s in now. It used to be in a smaller space, which was very dark! [editor’s note: Nancy’s started in the space currently occupied by Caffe Ladro] I remember going into that location just when you were getting ready to move and you were having a big sale.

Nancy’s is my home away from home. It’s a great store and I don’t know what I would ever do without it.

What is your most recently released product or completed project?
I just finished a pretty standard corset. It’s not the most exciting corset I’ve ever made: it’s made from a simple fabric in the under-bust style that reminds me a bit of my mother’s girdles.NSB-MCFR-waistcincher

At a given time, I might have anywhere from one corset to a dozen in process.

Do you have a most memorable or favorite project?
I have made many memorable corsets over the years, from corsets for a pirate reenactor to a corset made for a goth bride. One memorable corset was made for a fantasy-style wedding. This bride had purchased a bolt of three-dimensional fabric, with all this decoration on it. I initially thought it would be impossible for me to work with and for her to wear. For the most part, however, the fabric itself just made a great corset. I did not add anything to the fabric, though I did take a few pieces and judiciously place them where they needed to be.NSB - fitting room corsets fantasy

The bride also made a skirt using the same fabric and she wore the ensemble with fairy wings. It turned out so beautiful and looked great on her.

I’ve also done a few fashion shows. In 2010, I collaborated with Tamara on a fashion collection of Steampunk garments, which showed in the SteamCon II fashion show. We set out to go very far out on a limb, to push the whole Steampunk aesthetic. Though that movement has delved a little bit into the eighteenth century, the overall aesthetic of Steampunk hasn’t changed much. We wanted to show ideas that were fresh and new.

I thought it was a great collection, though it did not seem to resonate as much with the audience as we’d hoped. I loved doing this show; I was very proud of what we did.

NSB-MCFR-CoutuReFormation group

Marie & Tamara and their wild weird west circus

What is next?
In terms of corsets, I am working on something for a cosplay that is a variation on Harley Quinn. This sketch has my scratchy little notes, but you can see the basic shape with the high back and shoulder straps. I was worried it would take a lot of fitting, but when the customer tried it on, it fit just right! It’s going to have alternating black and red panels, with a black & white diamond print in the center front. I’m excited and eager to get this one done!

I also have a grand class in the works! I’ve done one-on-one classes and intensive workshops, but I want to teach the full construction process in a larger setting.


Thanks so much, Marie! It was great to see so much of your work and learn a bit about the world of custom corsets. I am very excited to hear about your grand class; I’ll keep an eye out for more details!

If you have any questions for Marie, please leave them in the comments below! Interested in a corset of your very own? Visit her website to learn more about her work and how to order. And don’t forget to follow her on Facebook!

Photos of corsets, costumes, and the Fitting Room workroom are courtesy of Marie Cooley and may not be used without express permission.

HeartFelt Valentines

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! How are you planning to show a little love this year?

Inspired by our 2016 intention, I decided it would be fun to make valentines that last! Enter our “heart felt” valentines!

NSB - heartfelt valentines header

These handmade valentines are a sweet and unexpected way to show your loved ones how much you care.

I took inspiration from some of my favorite Valentine’s Day memories and came up with three fun styles for these valentines. The first is inspired by classic conversation hearts.

NSB – heartfelt convo hearts

The second style is inspired by the valentines I made as a child using paper doilies & construction paper.

NSB – heartfelt doily valentine

The third style has extra dimension and makes a great ornament, perfect for giving and decorating!

NSB – heartfelt ornament

Aren’t they sweet? I can’t wait to deliver them to all my favorite people!


Ready to make some heart felt valentines of your own? These valentines require very few supplies and are simple enough that they could be a fun project to make with children!

SUPPLIES

For all versions:

  • Download our heart templates here: NSB heart felt valentines pattern sheet
    • I recommend printing on cardstock to make a sturdy template. I find it easiest and most accurate to trace the template directly onto the felt, rather than pinning a paper pattern and cutting around.
  • Felt in any colors you prefer (I recommend a wool blend felt, though synthetic craft felt is fine).
    • My color palette was inspired by classic conversation hearts (pale pink, yellow, light blue, green, white, purple) and I added a few, more saturated colors for accents (red, magenta, hot pink, light grey).
  • Embroidery floss in colors that match your felt and also contrast it.

 

For conversation hearts:

  • Fiberfill (a 12 oz. bag will yield many hearts!)

For ornament style:

  • Thread to match felt for larger hearts (optional)
  • Short piece of ribbon (~3”; optional)

TOOLS

  • Needle for hand embroidery
  • Scissors
  • Removable ink pen (I recommend water-erasable)

For doily style:

  • Pinking shears or scallop edge scissors (optional)

For ornament style:

  • Sewing machine (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Conversation Hearts

  1. Using our template (NSB heart felt valentines pattern sheet), cut two hearts out of felt. On one heart, write out your message using the removable ink pen. Use a favorite saying or make up something special!NSB - heartfelt ch prepare pieces
  1. Using red embroidery floss, embroider your message. I recommend using two strands of floss and a backstitch. Use more floss for a bolder look.NSB - heartfelt ch embroider message
    When complete, rinse out ink, if applicable.NSB - heartfelt ch rinse markings
  2. Place two hearts together, with message side out. Using embroidery floss that matches the felt, blanket stitch around ¾ of the heart. NSB - heartfelt ch blanket stitch together 3-4
    I recommend starting in the dip at the top and stitching around one side down to the bottom point. Then, starting in the same place at the top, stitch around the heart bump on the other side and leaving a space of about 1.5” open for stuffing. Do NOT cut your floss at this stage, as it will be used to sew the opening closed.
  3. Pull a small handful of fiberfill from the bag.NSB - heartfelt ch poly fill
    Stuff the heart with fiberfill. I recommend starting with the bump on the partially sewn size, then stuffing the second bump, then the full body of the heart.NSB - heartfelt ch stuff heart
  4. When heart is fully stuffed, pin the opening, and sew closed with blanket stitch.NSB - heartfelt ch pin opening closed
  5. You are now ready to start a conversation with your sweetheart!NSB - heartfelt ch finish blanket stitching
  6. Want to make these a bit faster or more simply? These look just as adorable as solid colors! Just cut out a few hearts in each of the felt colors and then pair them at random.

    Use floss in one of the two colors (or a different color altogether) to create your blanket stitch, providing a little visual interest.

    These two-hue hearts look great on their own or mixed in with the conversation hearts!NSB - heartfelt ch convo and two color hearts


 

Doily Valentine

  1. Using our templates (NSB heart felt valentines pattern sheet), cut one large heart and one small heart in two different colors.NSB – heartfelt doily cut large small hearts
  2. With your scissors, cut freeform scallops around the edge of the large heart. I recommend starting with a single scallop at the center bottom and moving up both sides.

    You can save a little time by using pinking shears or other decorative scallop scissors.NSB – heartfelt doily pinked edges

  3. It’s time to embroider your smaller heart! Consider a simple valentine’s phrase like “love” or “be mine”, or plan to embroider a sweet motif like flowers or hearts. Not sure what to embroider? It may be helpful to trace the small heart onto paper to sketch out different styles.NSB – heartfelt doily sketch
    Using your removable ink pen, plot your decoration on the smaller heart and embroider! I like to use flosses in colors that match the large heart for a cohesive look.NSB – heartfelt doily embroidered small heart
    When complete, rinse out the ink, if applicable.
  4. Layer the two hearts, right sides up, centering the smaller. Using a running stitch, sew the small heart to the large.NSB – heartfelt doily stitch together
  5. If desired, embroider a small motif in each of the scallops, using a color to match the small heart. This is a fun way to mimic or compliment your embroidered motifs in the small heart.NSB – heartfelt doily embroider scallops
    On the back, there will be two visible sets of stitches.NSB – heartfelt doily finished back
  6. Voila! NSB – heartfelt doily finished

 

3-D Valentine Ornament

  1. Using our templates (NSB heart felt valentines pattern sheet), cut two large hearts from one color of felt and four small hearts from another.NSB – heartfelt ornament cut hearts
  2. Using a sewing machine and thread, or a hand sewing needle with thread or floss, stitch the two large hearts together from center top to center bottom. This will create a total of four ‘arms’ that make up four large hearts.NSB – heartfelt ornament sew large hearts together
    Open between the two layers on each side and fold hearts on seamline.NSB – heartfelt ornament fold on seam
  3. Center one small heart over one of the larger hearts, aligning the bottom point and top dip of the small heart to the seam- or fold-line of the larger heart. Pin the layers together on one side (I like to pin the left side first). Turning the ‘arm’ so your unpinned side is facing away, center a second small heart over the larger heart that now faces up. Pin one side of the new small heart to the large heart, catching the unpinned side of the previous small heart.NSB – heartfelt ornament pin small hearts
    Repeat for all small hearts.
  4. Using a hand needle and embroidery floss that matches the larger hearts, begin sewing through three layers with a running stitch, working from the center top to the bottom around one side of the heart.
    Repeat for all four ‘arms’. You will have four stitched small hearts.NSB – heartfelt ornament repeat for all
  5. If you like, repeating the process of step 4, add an second row of stitches to the inside. Use a different shade of floss for visual interest.NSB – heartfelt ornament second color
    Repeat a third time, with another shade of floss, if you prefer.
  6. Your 3-D valentine is complete! If you want to make it into an ornament, sew a small loop of ribbon to the top center. Otherwise, hand it to someone you love!NSB – heartfelt ornament final

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial! If hand embroidery is not your thing, consider using puff paint, glitter, sequins, buttons, or even printed fabric to help embellish your valentines!

Have a question or feedback? Please leave it in the comments below!

Get to know a Nancy’s employee: Ellen

For our first interview of 2016, I sat down with the employee who oversees our wonderful notions department, ensuring that we can cut out our patterns, pin our pieces together, and sew all the seams! She’s also an active member in our neighborhood and Chair of the Queen Anne Community Council. Please welcome Ellen.

NSB - gtk ellen header

Who are you?
Ellen Monrad.

How long have you worked at Nancy’s?
I don’t really remember…I started when my son was in fifth or sixth grade, around 1996.

How long have you been sewing?
Since I joined 4-H when I was 10.

Do you have a special focus?
Myself! [laughs]

NSB - gtke corduroy top

An ensemble for Ellen: corduroy top is pattern V8924, printed ponte pant is the Helix pattern from The Sewing Workshop.

I’ve sewn for my daughter-in-law and when my mother was alive, I would sew for her. I don’t really sew for other people. I have a friend that once in a while I will sew a gift for her, but nothing too intricate. Lately, I’ve been making scarves for gifts.

NSB - gtke mitten gifts

Embroidered mitten ornaments made as Christmas gifts for friends.

I also knit, which my grandmother taught me when I was about 11, but I didn’t really knit until I was a freshman in college. I had a major in history so I had a lot of reading, and it bored me to just sit and read, so I learned to knit and read at the same time. My first knitting project was a Fair Isle Shetland sweater.

NSB - gtke knitting

Ellen’s current knitting project: a cable scarf made from ombré-dyed yarn.

What was your first sewing project?
I made my first sewing project in 4-H: a gathered skirt. It won a blue ribbon at the fair.

What is your most recently completed project?
It’s a top, the Hudson pattern from The Sewing Workshop. I made it in sparkly blue and black stripes, for the holidays.

NSB - gtke hudson top

Hudson top pattern from The Sewing Workshop.

Do you have a most memorable or favorite project?
No, not really. I don’t go out to fancy affairs, so I’ve never made anything with boning; it’s all basically clothing for me, and my style is very “east coast preppy”.

What project is next?
My current big project is a state of Washington block-of-the-month style quilt that I’m making for my son, who now lives in Amsterdam.

NSB - gtke patchwork gift

A previous patchwork project: Ellen made several of these pins featuring a variety of birds

What do you love most about Nancy’s?
I love Nancy’s because it’s a local business, everyone who works here is great, I enjoy the owners, and it’s a great way to sew. It’s inspiring. And, I really like the customers; people who sew are nice. I’ve worked here long enough that I know a lot of people who have come in, and I’ve been able to follow their life stories.

Thanks so much, Ellen!

Have any questions for Ellen? Leave them in the comments below!