Fabric suggestions - #225 Childhood Dreams

By Molly Hamilton
on July 20, 2017

Fabric suggestions - #225 Childhood Dreams

Our #225 Childhood Dreams pattern is on sale for all of July.  This cute dress or nightgown is really a fairly easy garment to sew. And, one of the really fun things about it are all the adorable and beautiful prints out there to make it in.  This garment can be made with cotton lawn, voile, flannel, or even quilting cottons - and there are so many choices.  Even I had a very hard time trying to make any specific suggestions for this post.  Instead, I am going with one fabric in a "collection" or group of fabrics.  Enjoy! And, don't forget to post what your sew on Instagram and Facebook and tag us!  We want to see what you make!

jess and jean.jpg

A Liberty of London Tana Lawn, of course.  For an heirloom dress of beauty and softness, this is hard to beat.  (this is Jess and Jean from Bolt Neighborhood Fabric Boutique)


Best Tree On The Lot Holiday Lights Quilting Fabric - White

This pattern would also make a perfect Christmas nightgown.  And, Christmas fabrics are now hitting the fabric stores.  This one is at The Fabric Depot.


And, there are many adorable flannel prints (and plaids, which would also be pretty) available (Hart's Fabric has this one in their large collection).  I love the elephants, of course, because of the great memories of Africa!



Mid-Summer Sale - all patterns (and notions) 20% off with sale code!

By Molly Hamilton
on July 15, 2017

Mid-Summer Sale - all patterns (and notions) 20% off with sale code!

We are entering (or already in) the dog days of summer in the eastern US.  It is hot, humid, days are long, and there is lots to do.  Which makes it hard to get into the sewing room sometimes.  So, to help inspire you to do so, we are having a summer sale - 20% off everything until the end of the month!

Use code SUMMER20 at checkout to get 20% off your order!

Fabric suggestions for #252 Beach Pyjamas

By Molly Hamilton
on July 14, 2017

Fabric suggestions for #252 Beach Pyjamas

These Beach Pyjamas are fabulous made with fabrics with a soft drape, such as rayon or silk.  And, the are equally nice made of a crisp linen or cotton.  Below are some possibilities for fabric to make this fun and beautiful garment (which is on sale all of July).

This rayon from Stone Mountain & Daughter Fabrics has such a great look for the Beach Pyjamas. 100% rayon. $18/yard.


A beautiful and simple sandwashed rayon challis also from Stone Mountain & Daughter Fabrics. 100% rayon. $11.50/yard.


Silk Charmeuse - ML288540 - Butterscotch

A silk charmeuse would be simply elegant for this garment.  Michael Levine has lots in many colors, but I love this butterscotch.  100% silk.  $22/yard.


floral silk drape.jpg

A printed silk, like this one from Bolt Fabric, would also be beautiful. 100% silk.  $13.75/half-yard.


Antwerp Linen Fabric - Chambray

Fabric Depot has some beautiful linens, and I loved this blue - great color for summer and for this garment.  100% linen.  $13.49/yard.


VF164-56 Vermouth Paisley - Bohemian Lightweight Cotton Print Fabric

This paisley cotton lawn from Vogue Fabrics would be great!  100% cotton.  $7.99/yard.


Crepe Print - ML296007 - Navy Blue / White

Finally, a really fun poly crepe that would make a great set of Beach Pyjamas - from Michael Levine.  100% polyester.  $10/yard.


Patterns of the Month - July 2017

By Molly Hamilton
on July 12, 2017

Patterns of the Month - July 2017

We have two featured patterns on sale for the whole month of July:  #225 Childhood Dreams and #252 Beach Pyjamas.

#225 Childhood Dreams is a pattern based on the popular gowns ordered by rural women through the Sears-Robuck catalog in the early 1900s.  This garment is perfect as a nightgown or as a day dress.  Two versions can be made for children 2 to 12.  It is an easy garment to make and is really a beautiful gown.  Your girl will love it!

#252 Beach Pyjamas are inspired by the beach pyjamas made popular by the socialites vacationing on the Riviera in the 1920s.  By the 1930s, the fashion had spread worldwide, and was the preferred day "dress" on beaches (when not in a bathing suit).  It can take you right into evening wear, too.  This garment is fun, beautiful, and a perfect garment for parties, weddings and any beach day!

Some July sewing and fashion links of interest

By Molly Hamilton
on July 03, 2017

Some July sewing and fashion links of interest

Current Exhibits:

Articles and websites:
  • Google has created an amazing resource for fashion and textiles: We Wear Culture.  It is full of informative articles on everything from designers to the meaning of fashion to history of fashion.  I particularly like the section called Making of.
  • We are getting ready to do a re-print of our #128 Russian Settler's Dressand I saw this article in We Wear Culture about traditional Russian dress and noticed some similar garments!

Podcasts and videos:

Embroidery and #142 Old Mexico Dress

By Molly Hamilton
on June 22, 2017

Embroidery and #142 Old Mexico Dress

I have to confess, I am not a great embroiderer.  I love some of the modern embroidery I see around now, but usually don't take the time which good embroidery requires - to actually sit and do the handwork.  When I do sit and do the handwork, I love it.  I love the quietness, the simple-ness, of the stitches.  Just enough concentration, creating something slowly, something that is beautiful.  And, it feels like it ties me to the women who have come before me, who spent countless hours creating clothing by hand to be worn and to decorate. 

However, I usually don't have the time or the quiet energy (4 young children, running this company, etc.:-)). I have looked at buying an embroidery machine but was worried that I wouldn't use it enough to justify the cost (anyone know of a cheap but good embroidery machine?).  So, while I do plan embroidery projects (and Folkwear makes is part of my job!), I am a bit slow to take it up or to not rush through it.

I took a small embroidery kit, that I made right before I left, on my trip to Africa.  I planned to work on some of the cross-stitching and embroidery on the Romanian Blouse sleeves.  And, I the samples done while I was there (there is quite a bit of down time between drives on a safari).  See the picture above - I was embroidering outside of my tent in the bush, watching elephants walk by.

But, one of the most iconic embroidered garments that we know of, is the Mexican Dress.  Folkwear's #142 Old Mexico Dress provides a wonderful canvas for beautiful embroidery.  You can see some wonderful examples on our Facebook Group page (Folkwear Patterns Sewing Group).  I also had a couple of links for embroidery, and for this specific pattern, in our last newsletter.  And #142 Old Mexico Dress is on sale until the end of the month!

Below I have links for embroidery resources  and inspiration so you can make great hand or machine embroidered creations.  But, as a warning, I feel overwhelmed by the amount of embroidery resources and information out there, so these are just a couple of sites I thought had some interesting information and inspiration.

I'd love to hear your favorite embroidery resources and tools.  You can respond in the comments here!


Creative Machine Embroidery - A website (and magazine) full of machine embroidery patterns, free and for a cost. 

Cozy Blue Handmade - a local (to us) artists with great modern and whimsical hand embroidery patterns.

Craftsy has some good free information on embroidery techniques.

Antique and traditional embroidery patterns

For non-traditional embroidery, which is really cool and beautiful, check out Rebecca Renquist.  I have her embroidery book and I love it - it was a great way to keep embroidery not intimidating.

Lots of links for embroidery for apparel (more information that you would ever want to know, really).




My trip to Southern Africa

By Molly Hamilton
on June 14, 2017

My trip to Southern Africa


lions lounging

elephant reflection

Saddlebill stork

I got back from my 2 week trip to Southern Africa less than a week ago!  With my mother, and through the company Natural Habitat Adventures, we visited Zambia (Livingston), Botswana (Okavango Delta region in the north), and South Africa (though that was mostly the Jo'burg airport!).  I learned an impressive amount of information about the ecosystems, animals, politics, and culture of the areas we visited.  Our guide was amazing, and the whole experience was wonderful. 

baskets made from recycled bags

making baskets


Textile- and craft-wise, I learned about traditional Botswana basket weaving and dying of fibers, and even got to try weaving part of a basket myself.  The women (and some men) who work at the lodges weave baskets made from grasses and held together by palm fronds.  They dye the fronds with roots, bark, leaves, and fruits of plants that grow in the Delta, and which they gather.  They gather dyes, dye the fronds, and weave the baskets during their off-shifts at the lodges.  Some of the traditional weaving patterns were "tears of the giraffe", "water lily", "flowing water", and "urine trail of the bull"(!).  I also saw so many beautiful wax printed cloths and skirts and dresses when we were in Zambia (not so many once we were in the "bush"/on safari), and I purchased many meters to play with at home. Women wear the cloth tied around their waist for a skirt, or around their backs with a child in it, or on their heads as a type of turban (especially helpful when also carrying baskets or pots on their head).  The cloth was also used in more tailored shirts, jackets, and dresses, and I was inspired to see the colors, patterns, and uses of the fabric. 


It was a life-changing trip and I am still thinking of it often.


Fabric suggestions for the Old Mexico Dress

By Molly Hamilton
on June 09, 2017

Fabric suggestions for the Old Mexico Dress

There are so many great fabrics that can be used to make the #142 Old Mexico Dress and Shirt.  You can make it from plain, one color linen or woven cotton and add your own embroidery to it.  Or, you can make the dress from one, or a combination of, fabric to make a unique and very quick-and-easy dress or shirt.

Here are fun fabrics from some great stores that would work well for this garment:

  • This embroidered denim chambray from Hart's Fabric is 100% cotton.  $15.99/yard. The boarder is embroidered, making it a great selection for the yoke or bottom edge of the dress or shirt.


    • A beautiful soft white linen would be perfect to add embroidery to, or just use to make a simple summer top.  This one from Hart's Fabric is 100% linen.  $18.99/yard.



        •  Another beautiful embroidered denims from Vogue Fabrics.  100% cotton, lightweight. $18.99/yard.




            • This double gauze (so soft) really pops in this bright golden color. From Bolt Neighborhood Fabric Boutique. 100% cotton. $8/half yard.


            • Essex Yard Dyed Metallic - copper would make a beautiful Old Mexico shirt or dress.  And, would be beautiful with embroidery. From Stone Mountain and Daughter Fabric. 50% linen, 40% cotton, 10% lurex. $11.50/yard.


            • This Durango Dobby in black and white would make an interesting whole garment or you can just use it in the yoke.  100% cotton from Stone Mountain and Daughter Fabric.  100% cotton. $15.50/yard.


            Happy sewing!  We'd love to see what you make!  Post to Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #folkwear142

            Or, join our Facebook Group, Folkwear Patterns Sewing Group and share your makes there!





            Pattern Profile: #142 Old Mexico Dress

            By Molly Hamilton
            on June 05, 2017

            Pattern Profile:  #142 Old Mexico Dress

            This month the #142 Old Mexico Dress will be on sale for all of June!  This pattern is such an easy pattern to sew, with just 4 pieces that are so well drafted that this is a fun and quick project.  It is a perfect summer top or dress!  And, you can do lots with it - from embroidering (by hand or machine) parts of the yoke or whole dress, to using fun fabric combinations to make this uniquely yours. 

            The other great thing about this pattern is that we just graded it up to a size 3XL!  You have asked for larger sizes, and we were able to start with this one.  So, now this dress and shirt can be made is sizes XS to 3XL!

            I made the shirt version as a gift for my son's preschool teacher (I've had a child in her school for the last 10 years!), and plan to make another one for her of the dress version with some fun animal prints.  I love using this pattern so much (and of course, the actual garment), that I am going to make a shirt for myself too! 

            Interesting things from around the web

            By Molly Hamilton
            on June 03, 2017

            Interesting things from around the web

            Museum Exhibitions:
            Articles of Interest:
            •  From the Sew News blog: an article on how to use a rolled hem foot.  Always good to be reminded how to use those many feet, but I have nearly always used a zigzag stitch with a rolled hem foot, not a straight stitch, so maybe I'll try the straight stitch next time.
            • Saw this lovely article last month on Creative Machine Embroidery about Bukhara Embroidery.
            • You may have seen these before, but Cari (wonderful Folkwear assistant) showed them to me again the other week and they are too good not to share.  What Ellis Island immigrants looked like when the arrived in the US in the early 1900s: here, here, and here.  Many of the pictures are the same in each article, but each has a few the others do not, and the second and third give descriptions of the traditional clothing worn.  I LOVE these!
            • Are you traveling this summer and want to take handwork with you?  Here are some tips for travel with embroidery.  I am basically doing this for my big trip!
            Podcasts, Websites, and Resources:
            • I've not seen this film, but the trailer, about a woman tending her Kashmir goats in the mountains of India, is breathtakingly beautiful.  Has anyone watched it?  It reminds me a little of the Eagle Huntress which I watched with my husband and children (and we all LOVED it).
            • If you want to make the #142 Old Mexico Dress or Shirt this month, and want to do some machine embroidery, this pattern from Creative Machine Embroidery is free to download for the whole month of June.
            • Do you listen to podcasts when you sew?  My very very favorite sewing podcast is Thread Cult.  If you have not listened to them, you are in for a treat. Christine has basically stopped (or severely slowed down) her podcasting, but what is there is a treasure (in my opinion!).