Tag Archives: Folkwear patterns

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!

Rolling down my stockings and rouging my knees – part 4

Welcome back for the final installment of making my 1920s costume! I am very excited to share details about preparing the last part of my ensemble – my shoes – and to reveal my costume in its entirety!

NSB - 1920s costume header pt 4

One of the easiest and most fun components of my roaring twenties costume was the shoes. While the other components of my ensemble – my dress, headpiece, and purse – have a definite ‘costume’ feel to them, I knew I wanted my shoes to still translate into my regular wardrobe. I began researching 1920s evening shoes and found some amazing inspiration!

These incredible shoes have a place to hold a small lipstick on the heel! source

The 1920s were an interesting time for women’s footwear, because hemlines were suddenly short enough that shoes were always visible. As a result, every component of a shoe was fair game for embellishment, including the heel!

After drooling over all the incredible designs, I knew I wanted to add rhinestones to my heels! I searched for the right pair of shoes: something with a modest heel of an appropriate shape (the heel needed to be 2.5” or less and not too conical) and a Mary Jane or T-strap. Luckily for me, vintage-influenced styles are produced every season, so I knew it wouldn’t be impossible to find a good pair of shoes that met these criteria.

I found several pairs of shoes that were really fun, in bright colors like tangerine and citron, or with spectator styling. Unfortunately, these were either too tall or out of my price range, so I kept looking. I’m so glad I did, because I found just the right pair of shoes!

I love the Mary Jane styling with the sweet cut-outs and the solid shape of the heel. source

Once I had the shoes in hand, I planned out a simple-but-effective design for rhinestones on my heels. I began by making a template of my heel using white printer paper.

NSB - 1920s-style heels make a template

I sketched an outline, inspired by the shape of actual twenties heels.

NSB - 1920s-style heels sketch design

From there I created my motif and marked rhinestone placement.

NSB - 1920s-style heels create layout

I made holes in my template using an awl (a very thick needle, like a tapestry needle, would also work for this) and marked where my rhinestones should go using a white colored pencil.

NSB - 1920s-style heels rhinestone template

Then, I applied the rhinestones to one of the heels…

NSB - 1920s-style heels one shoe done

…and repeated on the second! I totally love how they turned out!

NSB - 1920s-style heels finished

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on the final reveal!

NSB - jessica's hazel's frock

I feel like this costume really needs a sound track! Let’s enjoy the Charleston!

NSB - jessica's hazel's frock side

“Charleston! Charleston!”

NSB - jessica's hazel's frock back

I love the view from the back, showing off the jaunty neck scarf and flashing my new heels.

Thanks so much for joining me through this whole process! It was incredibly fun to dream up and make this costume, and even better to share it!

If you have any feedback, questions, or ideas for what you’d like to see in the future, let me know in the comments below!

Bettie Bomber class – week four

Marilyn returns this week to share her experience with the final Bettie Bomber class session! New to this class series? Catch up on week one and weeks two & three!

NSB - header pt 3

Unfortunately, I missed the last week of class, but the rest of the students got a lot done! They learned how to modify their jacket fronts for snaps and how to use our big snap press at Nancy’s. The attached their ribbed waistband and tab and ribbed collar.

NSB - June's Bettie Bomber

Here is June, another student in the class, in her completed Bettie Bomber!

Jacque always sews garments along with the class, as a way to demonstrate techniques. This session she sewed two beautiful, and very different bomber jackets. She started sewing a jacket of a cotton knit in an open leaf pattern with an underlining of cotton voile.

NSB - wk 4 Jacque knit bomber

The kangaroo pocket that she taught the class looks great on this lacy knit.

NSB - wk 4 Jacque knit pocket

Jacque also made an elegant black bomber out of silk and embossed lambskin. She was inspired by the beautiful geometric silk jacquard that was given to Nancy’s by Sharon Henry, an amazing Seattle area seamstress and long time customer who recently had to give up sewing. We’re happy that her gift can keep inspiring students in Jacque’s classes.

NSB - wk 4 Jacque black bomber

I ran into Jacque later in the week and got an update on how the class finished up as well as some tips for finishing my own jacket. We quickly went through the order of construction for my jacket. Jacque provides a thoughtful, efficient sequence of steps for every garment class that she teaches. Her order of construction always makes a lot more sense to me than the instructions that come with the pattern.  Armed with her construction sequence and what I learned in the first three classes I felt ready to start sewing my own jacket.

Now, my own bomber jacket is underway. The Italian cotton is a dream to sew & presses beautifully. So far my plaids are matching and my topstitching is even.  Like many sewers, I dread making welt pockets and was looking forward to learning Jacque’s method for making welt pockets. Since I missed the last class – I didn’t get any tips from Jacque and had to use my tried and true method for welt pockets.

I have managed to make nice welt pockets several times by using a method that I read about in Threads Magazine. The article is No Fear Welt Pockets, by Ann Steeves in the January 2006 issue. If you don’t have access to old Threads magazines, the author has a good description on her blog. I have modified Steeves’s techniques and made my pockets a little differently than the article describes. I used ¾ inch drafting tape to mark my pockets instead of marking on the pocket interfacing; it makes a good guide and pulls off the fabric without causing damage. You can see a pocket opening ready to be sewn on the left and the back of a finished pocket opening on the right in this picture.

NSB - wk 4 inside jacket front

I also used wonder tape instead of hand basting to place my welts into the opening. My pockets turned out pretty well!

NSB - wk 4 welt pockets I will post a picture of my jacket when it is complete, but that may take a while. I took the beginning embroidery class at Nancy’s and I now see opportunities for embroidery everywhere. I have decided add an embroidered nosegay to the front of my jacket so construction is on hold until I get that done.

Thanks so much Marilyn! I look forward to seeing your finished jacket, especially the embroidery!

Rolling down my stockings and rouging my knees – part 1

Jessica here! Welcome to our newest multi-post series, where I talk all about creating a 1920s costume and accessories. I am excited to share with you all the details and planning that went into making a fabulous ensemble for my friend’s Roaring ‘20s themed birthday bash! NSB - 1920s costume header pt 1 As a plus size woman, I knew that it might be difficult to find a 1920s costume off the rack. Because I love costumes and making fun ensembles, I figured I might as well make something fabulous for this party!

Today I will go over pattern and fabric selection and share a lot of the beautiful inspiration I found. The 1920s: such a fabulous era for gorgeous clothing, accessories, and details!

After receiving the party invitation, I started looking at possible patterns. I don’t have the ‘ideal’ twenties figure and I’ve never really worn drop waist silhouettes, so I looked for a style that I would be comfortable in, that could accommodate my full hips and, hopefully, be flattering. I primarily searched the independent historical pattern lines we carry at Nancy’s, Folkwear and Decades of Style, and found some great options.

NSB - Folkwear 1920s patterns

Folkwear patterns, clockwise from top left: #237 Tango Dress, #214 1927 Tea Frock, #264 Monte Carlo Dress, #261 Paris Promenade Dress

NSB - Decades of Style 1920s patterns

Decades of Style patterns, clockwise from top left: #2502 1925 Zig Zag Dress, #2501 1925 Fringe Front Dress, #2003 1920s Hazel’s Frock, #2004 1920s Tier-rific Ensemble

From there, I looked at pattern sizing and styling. Unfortunately, the Folkwear pattern I loved most, the Tango Dress, does not run large enough for me, and I wasn’t as interested in their other silhouettes for this particular occasion. Looking at all the options from Decades of Style, I was most interested in the 1920s Hazel’s Frock and the 1925 Zig Zag Dress. After reviewing the construction details and finished measurements, I landed on (drum roll, please)…

Decades of Style 1920s Hazels Frock

Hazel’s Frock!

Once I knew what I was going to make, I had to select fabrics! This is my favorite part of any sewing project and choosing fabric for this costume was no exception! At this point, I turned to Pinterest for the never-ending visual inspiration it offers. I’m going to share a few of my very favorite 1920s dresses I found there, but know there are so many other incredible examples.

After gathering ideas for materials and colors, I set out looking for my fabrics. I did a quick search through my own stash and found a potential candidate for the main body of the dress. When I couldn’t find a suitable coordinate for the neck and hem scarves, I browsed the special occasion section at Nancy’s and came up with several new, fantastic combinations.

NSB - harlequin print combo

Purple/black/white harlequin print silk chiffon featuring silver & gold lamé with metallic print poly chiffon for the scarves

NSB - art deco print combo

Art Deco print on silk/cotton with silk/metallic organza for the scarves

NSB - chevron raschel knit combo

Black & gold raschel chevron knit with sparkly poly organza for the scarves

NSB - multi color novelty print combo

Multi-colored novelty print silk crêpe-de-chine with three coordinating silks for the scarves

And then I saw it: the perfect fabric. It was vibrant and fun! Sheer and opaque! It sparkled! And best of all: it was already embellished, so most of the work had been done for me! I wouldn’t even have to hem it!

Realizing the addition of scarves around the hemline would detract from the incredible embellishment, I decided I would make only the neck scarf from the original pattern, using a simple black poly organza, similar to the basecloth.

Because I chose a sheer fabric for my dress, I elected to make a coordinating slip to wear under. I used the fabulous Intimacies pattern from Folkwear, which includes a bias cut slip or teddy, tap pants, and camisole, all perfect foundations for 1920s and ‘30s style clothing. For fabric, I selected our rayon/acetate blend satin faille, which has a great hand and works incredibly well on the bias.Folkwear Intimacies pattern cover I had help fitting the dress pattern from our excellent sewing instructor, Jacque Goldsmith. (side note: Did you know Jacque offers 15 minutes of free advice on the first Thursday of every month? It’s perfect for quickly fitting a muslin!) We moved the french dart up about an inch and added fish-eye darts to the back, to help reduce bulk and better fit my shape.

From there, construction of both the dress and slip was straightforward. The majority of my efforts were spent removing sequins and appliqués from seam allowances and the darts and hand sewing them back in after the construction was complete. I am so pleased with how this dress turned out!

NSB - Hazels Frock front

Dress front

NSB - Hazels Frock back

Dress back – I love the elegance and simplicity of the neck scarf. I cleverly hid my back darts under two of the appliqués.

Join me for the next installment as I make a 1920s headpiece to coordinate with my dress! I have a lot more inspiration to share. And stay tuned for the full, final look; it’s the cat’s pyjamas!

Bettie Bomber jacket class – week one

Remember our post about the Bettie Bomber jacket? I am very excited because Marilyn, one of our Nancy’s employees, is taking the class with Jacque Goldsmith and will be sharing her experiences with us! Take it away, Marilyn!

NSB - Bettie Bomber part 1 header

Inspirational samples made by Jacque Goldsmith

I have wanted to take this class for a long time! I like the look of bomber jackets, but I think they can be unflattering if the fit isn’t right.  One of the cool things about the classes Jacque teaches at Nancy’s is she makes up muslins in all the different sizes so students come away with a great fitting garment. Since Jacque has made up the jacket in every size, I can find the right size quickly and then alter my pattern for the best fit. It is a huge time-saver to work from her muslins and go straight to altering the pattern and cutting out your own customized version.

In the first class, Jacque talked about fabric selection and the difficulty of finding ribbing. She explained how to use different knits for ribbing and make adjustments to the waistband and cuffs to accommodate fabrics with more or less stretch. Jacque had lots of example jackets, ranging from lace to appliqued mesh to one made of repurposed embroidered leather with heavy wool knit sleeves.

I brought in a few fabrics to show Jacque, and together we decided on an Italian cotton bottom weight in a dark navy plaid. It is one of a group of Italian mill ends that Nancy’s purchased for Sew Expo in early March. There was only one piece of my fabric, but there are still lots of beautiful Italian cotton options  available; it is lovely fabric and only $12.50 per yard!

The Folkwear Varsity Jacket (the pattern used in this class) is a classic style. It is roomy and unisex, so Jacque definitely had some fitting to do for all of us. It is interesting to see how pinning out just an inch of excess fabric can transform the fit of a jacket, and how the same pattern alteration moves up or down, inward or outward, depending on the wearer.

NSB - Bomber1-1

One of the students being fitted.

I shortened my jacket, made a forward shoulder adjustment and took out some of the width down the sleeves and across the back. Because I changed the length of my jacket, I will have to change my welt pockets as well. You can see how Jacque folded and pinned out the excess fabric on the muslin that I tried on.

NSB - Bomber1-2

You can really tell this is a unisex style – the pinned fold on my jacket body accounts for nearly 3″ of length!

I measured all of the changes and transferred them to my pattern during class. It helps so much to have Jacque there to answer questions while you are altering your pattern.  Everyone’s changes are a little different and though I have altered a lot of patterns, I always learn something new and usually get stuck at some point!

Some students got a start on cutting out their jackets. Our jackets are going to to be a diverse group, from sequins to floral-print rayon to my Italian cotton – it is going to be fun to see how the pattern looks in such different materials. I cut mine out at home; you can see how my pattern has been folded and taped, ready for cutting out on my dining room table.

NSB - Bomber1-3

Thank you Marilyn! I am looking forward to seeing how this class progresses!

Have a question for Marilyn? Leave it in a comment below!

A new spring jacket – the Bettie Bomber

NSB Bettie Bomber headerHooray! Spring has finally sprung! Or at the very least, the vernal equinox has passed 😉

We are excited because a new season means it’s time to start trading out our wardrobes. This year, we are particularly eager to make a new spring jacket that updates a classic style: the bomber. We think it is the perfect cute, casual addition to any wardrobe.

Luckily for us, our awesome teacher Jacque Goldsmith agreed to teach a class in making bomber jackets. We present to you the Bettie Bomber (shown here over the wonderful ESP dress):

NSB Bettie Bomber + ESP Dress front

This bomber is cute, casual spring style at its finest!

NSB Bettie Bomber + ESP Dress side

It’s even adorable from the side!

Our next class session starts next Tuesday, March 31 at 5:30pm and there are only TWO seats left! If you are interested in signing up, please give us a call at the shop!

Inspired by all the cool options on the runway and in stores, we have put together several inspiration boards:

Sheer Spring Bomber Jackets
Textured Soft Neutrals Spring Bomber Jackets
Black and White Spring Bomber Jackets
Printed & Saturated Spring Bomber Jackets
As you can see, this style is very versatile! We think the Bettie Bomber would look great made up in a white eyelet with pop color underlining, a printed silk chiffon, or a beautiful linen with contrast ribbing! How would you make this jacket?