Tag Archives: 1927 Cloud Cape

Meet a friend of Nancy’s: Janet from Decades of Style

With Halloween around the corner, we are spending a lot of time thinking about costumes. There are so many ways to do costumes, from fanciful and fantastic to historic, and we love them all!

In preparation for this exciting holiday, we decided it would be fun to interview a friend of Nancy’s whose work is great for daily wear and costuming alike! She is a whiz with vintage patterns – and makes it easy for the rest of us to work with them, too.

Without further ado, we present Janet from Decades of Style Pattern Company.NSB - meet Janet headerWho are you?
I’m Janet, from Decades of Style Pattern Company. My official title, according to my business card, is ‘Person’.

What is your business?
We make vintage sewing pattern reproductions for the modern sewer, offering patterns from the 1920s through the 1950s, with a couple styles from the decades before and after.

NSB - DoS offerings

We do a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ associated with sewing from vintage patterns. We translate vintage yardage requirements to work with modern fabric widths. We also grade all our pattern styles to fit nine different sizes (from a 30” bust up to 46”). Decades patterns are also friendlier to work with than actual vintage patterns and they are available in sizes that are reasonable! So many vintage patterns are only available in that mystifying 30” or 32” bust size. I had outgrown that size by the age of 13! We make vintage styles available for the 99% of the population that is larger than a size 0. That’s actually the mission statement of the company.

NSB - DoS vintage sizes

Actual vintage patterns from Janet’s collection. Lots of 30″ and 32″ bust sizes.

How did you get started?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in antique or vintage clothing. It is a lifelong interest that has turned into a life. Even though I was interested in wearing vintage clothes when I was younger, I didn’t really have any access to purchasing them. Apart from a few 1950s suits that were castoffs from my fancy grandmother’s closet, I didn’t get to wear actual vintage clothing until I left home and could shop in vintage clothing stores. It was a brutal awakening to see that only a tiny fraction of the inventory would fit me.

I realized if I wanted to wear vintage style clothing, I would have to make it myself. Annoyingly enough, most vintage clothing patterns that have survived the last 50-plus years are only available in ridiculously tiny sizes. In order to make those styles for myself, I had to grade the patterns and I knew I could not be the only one who wanted them. Decades of Style is an extension of the grading process.

How long have you been acquainted with Nancy’s?
Nancy’s has carried Decades of Style patterns since 2012. It seems like the pattern line is a very good match for the store.  It’s an honor to be a part of Nancy’s and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the ladies there.

NSB - DoS patterns on display

Decades of Style patterns on display in Nancy’s.

What is your most recently released product or completed project?
In the summer of 2014, we launched a micro-line of patterns called Decades Everyday. The aesthetic of these patterns lean toward 1960s styling but they still feel modern. The patterns are designed for those who are newer to sewing, though the patterns are great for more skilled sewists who just want a quick make. They are easy to sew and you can pretty much make them in a day. We released our second pattern – the ‘Given a Chance’ dress – in May 2015 and are now working on the next pattern for this line.

NSB - DoS Decades Everyday

Do you have a most memorable or favorite project?
This question is practically impossible to answer! If I must have a favorite pattern, I would say the E.S.P. Dress from Decades Everyday. Even though I totally adore the more elaborate patterns in our catalog, I cannot deny the appeal and relatively instant gratification of whipping up a pretty dress in an afternoon. And really, depending on the fabric you use, the result can be quite sophisticated.

NSB - DoS ESP fabric details

This E.S.P. was made with a lovely embroidered border linen.

I probably have more E.S.P. dresses in my wardrobe than any other pattern in the catalog, so it must be my favorite! And if I’m being completely honest, I have quite a few pieces of fabric lined up with this pattern in mind.

NSB - DoS ESP dress

Another E.S.P. dress made in a unique fabric! This time, an ikat is fussy cute to meet in the center front and center back of the bodice. Rickrack at the hemline is a particularly charming touch.

I also love this pattern because I think it is an accessible project for a greater number of sewists out there. There are so many people who have only started to sew in the last few years. It is important for us to keep them in mind as much as the more advanced sewers.

What is next?
PDF patterns. Yup; it’s happening. We just decided it was time to join the 21st century on this one so we’ve been developing this project all year. We’ll keep you posted via Instagram and Facebook on when that launches. It should be coming up very soon.

NSB - DoS pdf patterns

Thanks so much, Janet! We are very excited about your venture into PDF patterns and can’t wait for the next Decades Everyday pattern!

For more glimpses into the world of vintage pattern making, including completed customer projects and in-progress photos, follow Decades of Style on Facebook and Instagram!

All photographs in this post are courtesy of Decades of Style and may not be used without express permission.

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!