Tag Archives: vintage style

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!

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!

Reusable advent calendar

Who can believe it is already December 1st? As we start counting down the days to the holidays, I thought it would be fun to share a handmade project that helps to do exactly that!

Inspired by one of my favorite holiday traditions, I decided it would be great to make an advent calendar that can be reused from one year to the next.

NSB - reusable advent calendar header

When designing this calendar, I wanted to capture the essence of the classic window style advent calendar, choosing to feature individual fabrics for the days. In lieu of doors, I created small pockets, which can be filled with a variety of objects, like small gifts or treats.

After determining the size and shape of this advent calendar, I began pulling fabrics from my stash, picking out a few novelty prints, which all have a fun, retro quality, and then selecting coordinating prints and yarn-dyes from our store. My color palette ended up as classic red and green, which I updated slightly by adding a pale grey for the pockets and any framing for smaller cuts.

NSB - advent calendar window fabrics

Inspired by talented embroidery artists, like Yoko Saito, Rebecca Ringquist, and my coworkers Susan and Kitrina, I decided to embroider the numbers for each pocket. I began by finding a font I liked for the numbers (Desdemona), which I printed onto Sticky Fabri-Solvy™. To pick up the colors in my fabrics, I selected three hues each in red and green.

NSB - advent calendar embroidery supplies

I had fun experimenting with different stitches and let the shapes of the numbers inform some of my designs. For a bit more visual interest, I embroidered the even numbers in green and odd numbers in red, adding an occasional silver stitch for effect.

NSB - advent calendar pocket rows

I am particularly fond of the last row of numbers, because each number has some red and some green. Plus, 22 is a pair of candy canes and 24 is a little house, which were so fun to stitch out.

Though embroidering the numbers took some time, the rest of the construction was very simple. And I am so pleased with the result!

NSB - reusable advent calendar complete

While the calendar I made will house little treats and gifts, in keeping with the concept of reusability, I love the idea of filling each pocket with an ornament that can be added to the tree after retrieving from the calendar. Alternately, it would be very fun to track the days by moving a small holiday token forward each day.

If you like this calendar – and want to make one for yourself – stay tuned later this week for a tutorial on how to make one of your very own!

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.

Interview with a store department: the Ribbon Room

Today we get to know a favorite space in the store – the Ribbon Room!

NSB - Ribbon Room header

Who are you?
Hello, I’m the Ribbon Room!

Where do you reside at Nancy’s?
I have a cozy little room in the back right-hand corner of the store. Because I have my own room, some people miss me on their first (or second!) visit to the shop.NSB - RR df satin and petersham

Do you have a special focus?
Yes! I am home to the exquisite ribbons and trims carried at Nancy’s, in addition to millinery supplies like flowers and veiling, specialty buttons, and fun little gifts. For ribbons, there are lots of great basics – like rayon Petersham grosgrain, double-face satin in both silk and polyester, and sheer polyester organdy ribbons – but we also have an incredible selection of vintage ribbons, heirloom laces, and trims.

NSB - RR dessert case

The ‘dessert’ case holds some of our most beautiful and expensive ribbons and trims. Many are vintage, some are reproductions, all are truly exquisite.

As Susan, the ‘ribbon lady’, puts it: the Ribbon Room is where we keep the dessert.

What is your most recently received product?
We just got a large shipment of lovely millinery flowers, including some fun little toadstools! We also received a fun selection of vintage flowers.

NSB - RR flowers and toadstools

Do you have a current favorite product?
A few months back we got a huge selection of vintage ribbons, including exquisite taffeta and lustrous satin in a rainbow of interesting colors.

NSB - RR vintage satin and taffeta

Among the vintage options was this fabulous double face ribbon: velvet on one side, satin on the other. It is a silk and cotton blend, with the most luxurious hand. The color, called Hula Brown, is very beautiful, but what makes it interesting is the satin and velvet sides are different hues, like dark and milk chocolate.

NSB - RR hula brown satin velvet

Plus, the packaging on the vintage options is incredibly charming!

NSB - RR oriole label

Check out this label!

Any favorite projects you’ve seen made from your wares?
Goodness, this is difficult to answer. Like the woolens department, we have sold so much ribbon, veiling, and trims throughout the years that this answer could be a mile long.

There are a lot of projects that are fun, but not necessarily unique. We work with lots of brides who are looking for ribbons to trim their invitations and programs, to make a veil, or who simply want a colorful sash. We are lucky to carry the embroidered trims, laces, and insertions that go into heirloom sewing, so we get to help people making christening gowns. We also sell ribbon for things as simple as hair-bows and gifts, which are delightful.

NSB - RR striped grosgrain

Beyond that, some highlights do spring to mind: Every time Candace Kling comes to teach a class at Nancy’s, we get to see our wares turn into incredible work: striped grosgrains become cockades, wired ribbon and stamens blossom into flowers, and much more.

NSB - RR stamens and flowers

Working with antique doll collectors and miniaturists is always fun and surprising. It is also incredibly enjoyable to help people find the perfect trimmings for costumes, whether historical, for a local theater production, or for a kid’s Halloween costume!

Thank you, Ribbon Room! It is always fun to see your treasures!

From now until the end of the Nancy’s anniversary sale, the Ribbon Room will be featured for daily specials on Tuesday, Sept 15th (15% off flowers), Wednesday, Sept 16th & Friday, Sept 18th (15% off buttons), and Sunday, Sept 20th (15% off ribbons)!

All pictures in this post copyright of Nancy’s Sewing Basket, LLC. Special thanks to Kam Martin for her photography skills.

Rococo ribbon rosettes

NSB - rococo rosettes header

Rococo ribbon is a fantastic ¼” wide 100% polyester ribbon with gradient color across the width and picot edging on both sides. We love this ribbon for many reasons, including its versatility in application and its ability as a trim to pull disparate fabrics together.

NSB - rococo ribbon colors

Today we are sharing a quick and easy-to-make flower using this fabulous ribbon! This little flower is the perfect addition to clothing (especially when sewn in clusters!), gifts and handmade cards, doll clothing and accessories, and so much more.

We made a fun short video tutorial to show you how to make a Rococo rosette. Hope you enjoy!

SUPPLIES & TOOLS

  • ‘Rococo’ ribbon, minimum cut of 3” (can substitute any 100% polyester ribbon in its stead, though you will need more length if you use a wider ribbon); each length will make two flowers
  • scissors
  • lighter or candle (flame needs to be accessible, so recommend tapers over votives)
  • ruler
  • floral stamens (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut a 3” to 4” length of ribbon
  2. Cut ribbon length in half at an angle
  3. Using lighter or candle, melt the squared end of the ribbon
  4. On the long angled cut, find and pull a thread close to the ribbon’s edge; this will create the gathers along the full ribbon length
  5. Holding gathers in place, use your flame to melt the angled cut edge
  6. Voila! You have made a Rococo ribbon rosette!
  7. Repeat steps 3 through 5 with the second half of your ribbon;
  8. Optional: If you want to add stamens, fold in half and insert into the flowers center; catch in place when sewing to your project

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!