Category Archives: Uncategorized

Welcoming 2016 with intention

Happy New Year!

Do you make resolutions? It may not be common practice for fabric stores to make resolutions, but we’re doing it for 2016.

Inspired by the wise words of Dame Vivienne Westwood, we intend to ‘buy less, choose well, make it last’ this year.

Nancy's logo new 2015

For us, this means spending time creating clothing that is made to last, out of fabrics that are made to last. It means taking the time to fit patterns so that the garments we make look incredible when we wear them. For some of us, it means using treasured fabrics from our stashes in addition to buying beautiful new pieces.

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen this video that we shared in December. We appreciate the sentiments expressed by Carin Mansfield of in-ku about the complexity of garment construction and the changing face of ready-to-wear fashion.

As part of this year’s theme, we will use our blog to share simple-but-long lasting construction techniques, consider the versatility of patterns, and look closely at our favorite fibers and textiles. We will also continue sharing tutorials for small sewing projects, along with our series of interviews with employees, friends, and store departments.

Buy less, choose well, make it last.

We are very excited for the year ahead and hope you will help us make it fantastic.

Dressmaker’s Jacket- Fourth Class: Perfect Notched Collars, Setting Sleeves, and Bagging the Lining! VOILA!

In our final class, the whole jacket came together at last!  We began by making our samples for absolutely perfect notched collars.  Who knew, that in order to get the collar to lay perfectly flat, you’d need to leave a tiny gap at the intersection of the points?!


Here is the collar, before completing our collar notches…DSCF0086

And behold: a thing of beauty!  Not only did this technique result in flawless collars, but the edgestitching underneath helped the collar to roll naturally.  Love the way these samples turned out!DSCF0092

Another great feature of this class is that Jacque has a plethora of jackets made up in myriad fabrics, and in different stages of completion.  Not only is this a helpful visual reference for the process, it also gives you an idea of how many different ways you could take this vintage jacket pattern.  Below you can see just a few of the examples… From top, clockwise:  Ice Princess (!), Classic Plaid Tweed (with a bold lining), Vintage-Look Suiting, and Solid Woolens.  DSCF0102 The final steps to completing the jacket involved sewing in our (optional) shoulder pads, setting our sleeves, and sewing the lining into the jacket.  The image below shows the bottom of the lining being pinned across the bottom of the jacket- which means… you don’t have to hand sew in any of the lining!  DSCF0095

We prepare to be amazed as Jacque reaches in through a hole that was left in the sleeve lining, and ….DSCF0096

Like a magician pulling a perfectly tailored bunny out of a hat, the entire completed jacket flips out!DSCF0098

A view of the inside lining (it’s pinned instead of sewn for the demo).DSCF0099

And to think, the whole garment came out of that little sleeve lining gap!  Now all that remains is to sew up that little hole (which can also be done by machine) and add our buttons.DSCF0101

Now, after consulting with Jacque on the last class, I realized the issues I had with my sleeve vents occurred due to cutting my sleeve linings incorrectly.  Like a puzzle piece that didn’t quite fit, the linings were just an inch too long.  Therefore, I ripped them out, and am ready to re-cut them and finish the garment!  It wouldn’t be one of my projects if I left the seamripper untouched during the process ;).  I promise to post pictures of the completed jacket, in due time!

In the interim, we will be posting a review of the pencil skirt class for your consideration…


Dressmaker’s Jacket- Third Class: Mitered corners, Funtional Sleeve Vents, and Buttons!

In the third class, we got into the tricky stuff… this class was all about sleeves! We started out learning how to make both even and uneven mitered corners for the hems of our sleeves.  Then we began the process of sewing the linings to the sleeves, during which the order of operations is critical to the finished product.   Look at that beautiful, flat mitered corner!DSCF0048

And below you can see a progress shot of the lining being attached to the sleeve.  These pictures are samples that we can keep and use as reference when we are working on our garments at home:  SO helpful.


By the time we have left class, we’ve put together our sleeves entirely by machine!  That’s right, NO hand sewing in the lining!

DSCF0049And voila!  A sleeve vent that opens and closes!  Jacque also went over how to install our cuff buttonholes by machine, which included a section on different types of fusible interfacing and tearaway stabilizers that make the job much easier.   To keep up with the class, I’ve sewn my sleeves and linings together (after much head-scratching at home… moral of the story, take detailed notes- especially during this section!)  Most of the body of the jacket has been constructed, and the lapels and collars have been stitched together at his point as well.

Next week is our last class, wherein lining and jacket will be joined!  Of course I’ll post pictures of the final garment when it’s finished.  I’m getting very excited to see it come together!

Dressmaker’s Jacket- First Class: Fitting and Pattern Alterations


For the Dressmaker’s Jacket class (and with most other garment classes at Nancy’s), Jacque has made up all the different sizes of the pattern, so that the students in class can try on all the sizes and see which will work best for their measurements.  Pretty handy!  Then, with an impeccable eye for fit, she pins the jacket to each individual- marking the alterations that need to be made to the pattern.  You can see in the image above that I’ll be taking a wedge out of the back and altering the princess line a tad on the front to fall in a more flattering way.  We’re also shortening the sleeves a bit.  Since this is a vintage pattern, it runs a little smaller than most modern patterns do, and thus I’ll be making a size larger than I normally would.  Some features of this particular pattern are functional sleeve vents, a two-piece sleeve, collar stand, princess seams, minimal shoulder pads, and a bagged lining. 


The next step is to make the necessary alterations to our patterns.  It’s great to have a pattern that’s personalized to your body, because hardly any of us fit perfectly into a pattern right out of the envelope!  I’ll be doing my sewing “homework” during the week, which consists of cutting the pattern out and fusing interfacing to certain areas for reinforcement.  After consulting with Jacque, I decided on the sapphire blue wool, with a beautiful paisley lining in a matching tone.  I’ve got my eye on some iridescent blue buttons to finish the jacket off…


The Great British Sewing Bee

If you haven’t discovered the Great British Sewing Bee, check out this video. This reality show features British home sewers racing against the clock to complete a range of sewing challenges–from re-styling ready-to-wear to completing (and fitting) a garment for someone else. The judges are very exacting. No glue guns (a la Project Runway) allowed. Amazon UK has credited the show with a surge in sewing machine sales. And it’s already been renewed for next season. The episodes are available online in the US.


Sew Forth Now podcast #78 – History of Patterns

Sew Forth Now podcast #78 – History of Patterns

Our regular blogger is in India this month, assisting in the wardrobe department on a film! So in lieu of her astute observations on the intersection of fashion, sewing, and Nancy’s, above is a link to a charming (and free) podcast about the history of commercial patterns. Thanks to one of our terrific customers for bringing this podcast to our attention.


Amazing A-line skirt

Amazing A-line skirt

This skirt from Josh Goot (photo courtesy of is proof that the A-line is a perfect cut for a fun spring skirt! Jacque Goldsmith’s A-line skirt class starts June 6th, call us at 206-282-9112 to sign up!



Ever wondered how they print those lovely Liberty patterns? Watch this fun video and make sure to come in and see all the lovely prints we just got in!

Style that Saves

At Nancy’s, you don’t have to spend a lot to look chic! We’ve got cotton and rayon knits starting at $12 a yard, perfect for a quick top or a maxi-dress. Ask us to show you our Indian voile, an NSB bestseller! It comes in a rainbow of vibrant colors and it’s $12.50 a yard. Soft, lightweight and washable, it’s super easy to sew with and ideal for warm weather clothes!


pencil this in…

pencil this in...

Northwest Film Forum is running a four film series entitled “Screen Style,” from December 7-9, with films selected by “Seattle’s top style and fashion tastemakers.”
The first screening in the series is Purple Noon from 1960. As the original french title Plein Soleil suggests, you can expect lots of sun-kissed bodies sporting technicolor-preppy togs in this eerie adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Details and tickets here.