Category Archives: Japanese pattern books

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!

A new fall wardrobe for boys

If you have been to the store in the past few months, you may have seen the sweet collection of girls’ clothes hanging in our window. As summer turned into autumn, we decided it would be great to make a new kids’ wardrobe, this time for a little boy.

NSB - boy fall wardrobe header

Full fall wardrobe sewn by Tamara. Sock monkey and sock dog sewn by Kitrina.

We have loved Japanese pattern books, like Pattern Magic and Drape Drape, for many years. This year we received a large selection of new titles that are all equally fascinating and charming, including She Wears the Pants, Basic Black, Stylish Dress Book, and Casual Sweet Clothes. We also got in a handful of the pattern books that focus on children’s wear. The girls’ clothing in our last window was created using patterns from the book Sew Sweet Handmade Clothes for Girls. For our boys’ wardrobe, we used patterns from two books: Stitch Wear Play and Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids, and a tee-shirt pattern from KwikSew.

From Stitch Wear Play, we selected the unisex jacket and boy’s shorts patterns (though we lengthened the boy’s shorts into a full pant). From Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids, we chose the patterns for wide-leg pants, pull-over parka, and boy’s shirt. The tee-shirt pattern we selected is KwikSew 133.

Once we had the patterns picked out, we started pulling fabrics that would be appropriate for a little boy: comfortable, durable, and fun! At first, we pulled all the fabrics we thought fit the concept, then we narrowed by color and pattern. We came up with a great collection of fabrics that includes flannel, corduroy, canvas, and French terry.

For the jacket, we landed on two-color twill weave in warm gray and black, to be lined with a red & gold plaid Mammoth Flannel from Robert Kaufman. While Stitch Wear Play recommends a cotton jersey for this jacket and leaves it unlined, we wanted to make this a cozy fall jacket, so we simply created a lining from the flannel using the body pieces. For the button closure, we selected a metal button style that is painted to look rusted, which makes this feel like a bit like a barn jacket.

NSB - boy jacket

For the Stitch Wear Play pants, we used lovely fine-wale corduroy in a golden color. As mentioned above, this pattern is drafted as shorts; we lengthened the leg into a full pant. The pattern features a drawstring waist and a yoke that is cut on the bias, giving it a very relaxed silhouette.

NSB - boy corduroy pants

For the pull-over parka, we selected another cozy Mammoth Flannel, this time a small blue/grey gingham motif and used cotton twill tape for the drawstring.

NSB - boy pullover

We made two versions of the wide-leg pants pattern from Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids. For one pair, we used a casual cotton/spandex quality in blue-grey featuring both herringbone and double pinstripe details. This pattern features patch pockets on the back, which are too cute.

NSB - boy double pinstripe pantNSB - boy double pinstripe pocket detail

For the second pair, we used a lighter-weight cotton canvas in cement grey. We altered the pattern to add pockets to the front and faux fly details. Because this is a pull-on style with elastic waistband, we made the waist casing in cotton broadcloth for a softer, more comfortable alterative to the canvas. Our fabric choice for the waist casing is a cute sloth print from Cotton + Steel.

NSB - boy canvas pants

For the boy’s button-down shirt, we used cotton broadcloth in a great new arrow print. The fabric has a muted blue ground and arrows in yellow, chartreuse, grey, and tan. For the buttons, we picked out the same rusty looking painted buttons as used for the jacket, which pick up some of the colors in the print.

NSB - boy button front shirt

We also made two versions of the KwikSew tee pattern. For both versions, we used a super soft French terry quality, made of rayon from bamboo, cotton, and spandex. We carry the fabric in a bunch of great colors, so to coordinate with our other fabric choices, we selected red, blue, and citrus green.

For one tee shirt, we used the red french terry and appliquéd a band of sloths, wrapping from the front to back on the left side.

NSB - boy red tee

We made the second tee in the blue and citrus green colors and made a few cool adjustments to the pattern. The first change was to splice the front and back to create color blocking (an effect that was continued on the cuffs and neck band). The second adjustment was to shorten the neck band. The final change was adding a sloth to the back of the tee, peeking out at the hemline.

NSB - boy color block tee frontNSB - boy color block tee back

Each of these patterns was fun and easy to construct. In fact, the lengthiest part of making this wardrobe was tracing off all the patterns!

Any questions about the books, patterns, or fabrics we used? Leave them in the comments section below!