Fashion Sewing: Plain to Fabulous – Part One

LorraineTorrence Tunic NancyZieman Collage

Fashion Sewing: Plain to Fabulous – Part One

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LorraineTorrence Tunic NancyZieman Collage

Expressing yourself with fabric is one of the hallmarks of sewing. Whether it’s dramatic, casual, modern, or sophisticated, you can easily combine fabrics and techniques that showcase your sense of style. Lorraine Torrence is Nancy Zieman’s guest on Fashion Sewing: Plain to Fabulous Part One. Watch as Lorraine shares her knack for making a statement through sewing.

LorraineTorrence Tunic NancyZieman CoverLorraineTorrence Tunic NancyZieman Illos

On Sewing With Nancy, we’ll show how innovative sewing can be, using a basic tunic pattern. To show style changes, Lorraine and Nancy use a classic tunic pattern called the Town & Country. Anytime there is an area like a front panel to fill, use that space to show your style! See how easy it is on part one of this series, Fashion Sewing: Plain to Fabulous.

LorraineTorrence Tunic NancyZieman TanPrint


If you missed the episode, you can always catch up online at or watch the Fashion Sewing: Plain to Fabulous DVD from Nancy’s Notions.

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Hip to Be Square

Gather small strips of fabric that portray your sense of fashion, stitch into strip sets, and cut into squares. Fill the center panel of this tunic with small quilt squares or blocks that contrast with the basic tunic color. Like the song says, “It’s hip to be square.”

LorraineTorrence Tunic NancyZieman Quilty

Color Take Away

Turn a plain fabric into something fabulous with a stamp, stencil, or paintbrush. Rather than adding color, learn how to take color away from a natural fabric such as cotton, linen, or silk. Use a de-colorant gel—one of Lorraine’s artsy techniques. This method creates quite a unique garment, as you’ll see on Sewing With Nancy.

LorraineTorrence Tunic NancyZieman TanAndBlack

Bias Influences

Reflect your sense of style by adding artistic touches of fabric trim. Lorraine’s next tunic features complimentary and contrasting colors of squares and bias strips of fabric randomly stitched to the panel. The result—a fashion technique we call Bias Influences. It’s both a clever and tasteful fashion accent. Personalize your wardrobe with tips from this episode.

LorraineTorrence Tunic NancyZieman Green

The Magic of Texture

What was once ordinary can easily become dimensional! Through the magic of stitching and steaming, this one time perfectly flat layer of silk fabric is now completely textured—a stitching technique that adds character! It’s magical how simple steps can make such a dramatic difference. Watch the transformation on Sewing With Nancy.

LorraineTorrence Tunic NancyZieman Pink

Watch Fashion Sewing: Plain to Fabulous on The Best of Sewing With Nancy online.

The Best of Sewing With Nancy TV Show hosted by Nancy Zieman

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For a chance to win the Fashion Sewing: Plain to Fabulous DVD and Two Patterns from Nancy’s Notionsplease leave a comment sharing which jacket/tunic style is your favorite.

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Giveaway Winner 5 132

The randomly selected winner of a copy of Every Last Piece by Lynn Harris from F+W Media, from the July 2 Blog post is, Joyce Bunt.

Every Last Piece by Lynn Harris | Sewing With Nancy | Nancy Zieman | Scrap Quilting


Her comment is: I would like to make the Window Garden. It caught my interest and I can see it in jewel tones, my favorite. I have lots of those left over pieces. The whole book is thought provoking.


Baby Lock's 2019 Annual Sewing Machine Warehouse Sale




Happy Sewing!

Team Nancy Zieman

Nancy Zieman Productions. LLC.

Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC

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  • Susan
    July 9, 2019

    Love the Color Take Away tunic as the center fabric piece of the garment makes a bold statement. Can get really creative with the fabric selection so that make looks can be created from the same pattern.

  • Joyce
    July 9, 2019

    I love the color take away tunic best!

  • Sharon
    July 9, 2019

    Color Take Away

  • diane c
    July 9, 2019

    I just got a serger and could see making all versions of this pattern. I really need to update my wardrobe and this pattern would help.

  • Susan Spiers
    July 9, 2019

    All are lovely, my favorite is Hip to be Square! Thank you, Susan

  • Marina Layton
    July 9, 2019

    I love the short tunic. We are going on a cruise in December and I’m thinking of what I’d like to put in the center panel…a cool summer panel for touring and then a dressy evening panel for the formal dinners. Thank you for making me think creatively again!

  • Lorraine Alves
    July 9, 2019

    Bias Influences and Color Take Away are my favorites. I like the individuality of Bias Influences and have many ideas for appliques to use. However, Color Take Away is perfect as presented.

  • Candy
    July 9, 2019

    I just love this pattern and techniques!!

  • Julie Kill
    July 9, 2019

    I like the Tunics, but LOVE the Jacket pattern View One! I wear jackets to work and have trouble finding jackets I like that are slightly dressy, yet somewhat casual in my work as a manager. This pattern really fits the bill! I’d like to make several to dress up my cotton Tees.
    ( I already have fabric in mind out of my stash)

  • Thunder
    July 9, 2019

    bias influences is my favorite.

  • Carla Tumbleson
    July 9, 2019

    I have a very boring wardrobe; so I love this! I would start with the tunic Lorraine is modeling on the front of the pattern, then go with the hip to be square as my favorite (maybe in softer colors). I don’t want to make a sudden drastic change-no-one would know me! But actually I love them all!

  • Terry
    July 9, 2019

    Bias influences is very attractive. I love the three-quarter length sleeves and the freeform embellishment.

  • Adeline
    July 9, 2019

    Always looking for ways to make my clothing unique but fashionable and classy.This looks like it!!

  • DeAnns S
    July 9, 2019

    I love all versions. Such versatile patterns. I can improve my entire wardrobe!

  • Janet
    July 9, 2019

    I love the tunics. What a great way to add a strip of fabulous fabric down the front to spice it up a bit.

  • Linda H
    July 9, 2019

    I like Bias Influences, I could get very creative with this pattern.

  • Clovis
    July 9, 2019

    All of the ways would be good to make.

  • Marylou Wahl
    July 9, 2019

    Oh! WOW how do I choose -like all of them!!

  • Barbara
    July 9, 2019

    I love the tunic pattern. I often purchase tops with princess lines. With this pattern, I could make my own and give it my style! Thanks for the chance to own it.

  • Joy
    July 9, 2019

    I love the “Grainline Gear” pattern! A bit more fitted look, will dress up a skirt or plain sleeveless dress.

  • Vera Anderson
    July 9, 2019

    The jacket would look terrific blinged out as a western style (horse show!) item. I could really use that!

    But on the other hand, if the tunic was done in wool, it would be exceptionally snuggly over a long sleeve knit.

    Decisions, decisions …

  • Sharon Newton
    July 9, 2019

    Love that bias. That would look good in so many different fabrics.

  • Lee
    July 9, 2019

    The Town and Country tunic is on “my list”” of favorite looks. I can imagine it done very, very casual, embellished with embroidery and/or or dreamed up with a sequin panel for Christmas!
    What fun!!!

  • Kar
    July 9, 2019

    Both the jacket and tunic really get creative thoughts working. Love the idea of bias as embellishment. Either could be made dressy or casual depending on the fabric choices. Sewing machine and serger uses on each..perfect!

  • Florence Dupuis
    July 9, 2019

    I like all of them but I think I would like to make the longer tunic.

  • sonja c dew
    July 9, 2019

    Really love the textured look and technique sounds like fun.

  • Kathryn E
    July 9, 2019

    I would love to make the long tunic with the middle made out of a scrappy quilt piece.

  • Barbara H. A.
    July 9, 2019

    This is the perfect pattern to combine “modern” with useful practicality. I love the results!

  • Cindy K
    July 9, 2019

    Color take away tunic looks interesting. In fact all of the tunics look like something I’d be interested in

  • Julie Koch
    July 9, 2019

    Like town and country. Use speciality fabric for the front

  • Jan C
    July 9, 2019

    I’m excited to try the shrinking technique. Thank you for the lesson.

  • Sheryl Thomas
    July 9, 2019

    The Town and Country tunic pattern is wonderful. I really interested in the texture and bias strip styles. Add a pant and skirt pattern and one could create the perfect capsule wardrobe which is what I’m interested in. I could go on and on but I’m exited about that tunic top pattern.

  • bethd.
    July 9, 2019

    I would like to try the town & country tunic. It looks easy to make.

  • Marilyn Dunstan
    July 9, 2019

    Its hip to be square would be my first choice. Mixing my two loves, sewing and quilting would be the ultimate for me. Nancy had the greatest ideas!

  • Janice D'Andrea
    July 9, 2019…love these creative patterns! And would love to have them and the DVD! Perfect package!!!

  • Gwyn
    July 9, 2019

    I love the flattering and fashionable look on a well-tailored tunic. I had a white linen tunic that went with almost everything but unfortunately I was involved in a terrible accident on January 28th of this year and it had to be cut off of me. *sigh* I can promise that if I win, I will create a twin of it. Thank you for the opportunity to win this. I love you, Nancy. You were and will always be my inspiration. ❤

  • Anne Z
    July 9, 2019

    I love the Bias Influences. It is so unique and fun. It lends itself to soo many possibilities.

  • Hannah W
    July 9, 2019

    The textured blouse and biased one caught my eye:)

  • pamela smith
    July 9, 2019

    I love the look of the Town and Country in the longer length. I think that style is better for my body type. Thanks for the opportunity to win and for all the fabulous ideas.

  • Bonnie
    July 9, 2019

    Love the Town & Country Tunic pattern! My favorite is the Hip to Be Square version with the colorful quilt squares. Changing the front panel creates a wonderful variety of styles for every season. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  • Mary Wippold
    July 9, 2019

    My favorite is the Town and Country Tunic in the longer length. That would be fun to make with a contrasting print in the middle. It would be great for work.

  • Karen
    July 9, 2019

    Having not sewn a garment in years and years, I think the Town and Country Tunic appeals to me. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Carolyn T
    July 9, 2019

    I’d like to put my bias tape naker to use again to make Lorraine’s Bias Influence tunic. The pull and press technique demonstration on this show was a welcomed lesson!

  • Michelle Hall
    July 10, 2019

    I love the tunic especially the one with the textured pane;

  • Bonnye
    July 10, 2019

    I like the town and country tunic. Very slimming look.

  • Shasta Jones
    July 10, 2019

    My favorite is the hip to be squared. Also liked the texture method. Please let me win the pattern.

  • Maryann Ratchford
    July 10, 2019

    I really like the tunic and I like the Jacket that had beige colors on the right side of the pattern picture. I feel I could easily wear both of those. The sleeves on the tunic would hide my arms which are scarred . Making the tunic would be fun to make; changing color and center panel. The jacket is about all I need in the cold weather here in Central California.

  • Dena M
    July 10, 2019

    I think I like the longer tunic with a contrasting center panel the best.

  • Nancy hallett
    July 10, 2019

    Love the tunic. Looks great for Monday winters.

  • Karen King
    July 10, 2019

    Generally I wear more fitted garments, but the tunic looks easy and comfortable. I would choose the longer version to cover my seat!!!! You know the ole “does this make my butt look big?” Happy summer!

  • Suzan
    July 10, 2019

    I like several of these but I think I would like to try ‘Hip to be Square’ first. So many creative ideas and never enough time!

  • CarolR
    July 15, 2019

    I’d like to try the “Hip to be Square” version.

  • Debbie Talley
    July 19, 2019

    I haven’t stitched up any clothing for many years. Watching the video has me itching to give it another try. I love the Color Take Away version.

  • Valerie Womack
    July 20, 2019

    I love the long Town & Country Tunic. I would use some sort of “Cat” fabric for the panel. My coworkers call me the Mad Cat Lady.

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