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!

 

 

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! 

Sewing with sheer fabrics

By Molly Hamilton
on May 19, 2017
2 comments

Sewing with sheer fabrics

The Greek Island Dress is a great garment to use with sheer flowing fabrics, but these fabrics can be a bit tricky to work with.  Here are some tips to help you before you begin to cut into and sew with those wonderful and fun (but maybe intimidating) fabrics.

  • If the pattern calls for interfacing, choose light-weight, sheer fabrics for interfacing, such as organza, organdy, or other sheer fabrics that match the fashion fabric or are flesh-colored.  For materials other than lace, you can even use the fashion fabric itself as a self-fabric interfacing.
  • If the sheer or lace fashion fabric is too transparent for your taste, underline the pattern pieces with a matching or flesh-colored sheer.  To underline, cut the pattern out a second time for the selected underlining fabric, baste underlining to the fashion fabric pieces (wrong-sides together), and handle as one piece. 
  • If neckline, armscye, front opening, or other facings will show through the fabric, omit them altogether, and bind the edges with bias strips, or line the entire garment with a compatible sheer fabric.
  • Cover cutting surface with a muslin, flannel, or old sheet to keep sheer, slippery fabrics from sliding around. 
  • Instead of cutting on the fold, cut in a single layer (making full-size pattern piece as needed).
  • Insert pins in seam allowances only, so you won't have pinholes showing in the finished garment.
  • Start sewing with a brand new sharp (or Microtex) needle and use size appropriate for lightweight fabrics (60/8, or 65/9, or 70/10)
  • If the fabric is too slippery and hard to manage while stitching, put a layer of tissue paper on top of the fabric, then tear away tissue after stitching. 
  • Don't backstitch at the beginning or end of seams.  Instead, set stitch length to 0.  Or, tie the thread tails in square knots.  Also, pull thread tails taunt for the first couple of stitches when starting to sew.
  • French seams are ideal for lightweight, filmy garments. 

These tips, plus quite a few more (including tips on sewing with lace) are included in the #266 Greek Island Dress pattern.  Happy sewing . . .  with sheers!

Pattern Profile: Greek Island Dress

By Molly Hamilton
on May 15, 2017

Greek Island Dress #266

Greek Island Dress with jacket

Greek Island Dress with jacket, back

Greek Island Dress with tunic

Greek Island Dress with tunic, back

Greek Island Dress with tunic, sleeves

The early 1900s witnessed many avant-garde innovations as people freed themselves from the constraints of the late Victorian society.  Both fashion and the arts were tremendously affected by new interpretations of classical styles, with outright revolts against recent tradition.  Isodora Duncan (1878-1927) was an influential figure in the 19010s and today is regarded as the founder of modern dance.  She revolutionized dance with her free-form interpretive movements and scandalized audiences by wearing non-restrictive, flowing robes that she adapted from Classical Greek vase paintings. 

Our Greek Island Dress pays homage to this unforgettable woman.  The dress is a Greek Island Dress line drawingsloose fitting sheath with back zipper and narrow shoulder straps.  A jacket or tunic is made to be worn over the sheath dress.  The jacket has a center back goddet that adds flair without adding fullness and a dramatic collar that extends over the sleeves like a filmy canopy.  The tunic is a breeze to sew, with front and back sailor collar and floating sleeve panels that can hang or be attached along the top of the arm.  This classic dress/tunic is on trend right now, with statement sleeves and the cold-shoulder look. 

We are featuring #266 Greek Island Dress this month, and it is on sale for the entire month of May!  This dress would make a fabulous summer gown to wear at a wedding or to the beach.  Made of soft filmy fabrics like chiffons or gauze, it is a perfect and unique summer make.  Do you have some beautiful sheer fabric in your stash and not sure what to do with it?  This is the dress to try!

Also, to help you make this dress, I will be posting some tips on sewing with sheer and lace lacy fabrics later this month.  So, keep an eye out for it!

Enjoy!

 

Kimono Inspiration

By Molly Hamilton
on April 17, 2017

Kimono Inspiration

Kimonos are a beautiful and classic garment of Japanese origin and influence.  The Folkwear Kimono pattern is for the yukata, or unlined informal kimono, worn by all classes of Japanese in summer.  The word "kimono" literally means "clothing" but has come to distinguish the Japanese national costume from other clothes. 

Kimonos are great garments to be used as robes, house coats, jackets, or outwear.  They can be statement pieces or simple and elegant garments.  Kimonos can be made with beautiful silks, medium to lightweight cottons (cotton gauze is a favorite of mine right now)., or even heavier fabrics like denim or brocade.

I found a great book in our collection entitled Kimono Inspiration: Art and Art-to-Wear in America, from the Textile Museum at George Washington University. I've put some pictures from the book on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.  If you want to know more about the history and tradition of kimonos, as well as see some amazing artistic interpretations of them, you should check out this book.  Kimonos can be a canvas for your art - quilting, painting, dying, embroidery, weaving, etc. 

Traditional kimonos are a work of art themselves, so however you want to make one (traditional interpretation or modern art interpretation), it is a rewarding garment to make.

In our kimono pattern, we give information on the history and use of the kimono, styling and dress information, and instructions for traditional handwork (sashiko) and dyeing (shibori). 

Have you ever made a kimono?  What would you be inspired to make now?

** FYI, #113 Japanese Kimono is on sale for all of April (it is a great deal).  Enjoy! **

The History of Folkwear

By Molly Hamilton
on March 10, 2017
3 comments

Founders of Folkwear - from Fiber Arts Magazine

The History of Folkwear
In the mid-1970s, three California women, Barbara Garvey, Alexandra (Jacopetti) Hart, and Ann Wainwright, founded Folkwear to share their passion for finely crafted ethnic clothing with other lovers of fiber and fabric. The garments they collected during travels to other countries served as models for the earliest Folkwear patterns, including #101 Gaza Dress and #106 Turkish Coat. As the three began collecting vintage garments in addition to ethnic, the pattern line expanded to include all types of historic styles from all around the world.

 Photo from Fiber Arts Magazine

The three founders were a perfect team to create a line of innovative patterns that was revolutionary for its time—this was the mid 1970s when women's wear in America was bland and conservative. Ann was trained in the fashion trade and was the company's pattern maker, Alexandra was an embroidery aficionado and researched all the embellishment techniques featured in the patterns, and Barbara was particularly interested in preserving traditional and vintage garments as a basis for contemporary creative inspiration.

 

During the recession of the mid-1980s, Folkwear's business health suffered along with so many other small businesses. The company was sold to The Taunton Press, publisher of Threads magazine, and by the early 1990s most of the original patterns were back in print and new patterns were under development.

 

In 1998, Taunton decided to focus on its core book/magazine publishing business and sold the Folkwear division to Lark Books, publisher of Fiberarts magazine and assorted craft books, located in Asheville, North Carolina. Kate Mathews, former Fiberarts editor and author of several Lark sewing titles, was hired to manage Folkwear. She was familiar with Folkwear, having sewn with the patterns since their beginning and having sold them in her weaving and fiber supply store in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the 1970s.

 Kate Mathews in an article for the Asheville Citizen Times in 2009.

In 2002, Mathews purchased the Folkwear pattern division. Folkwear became, yet again, an independent, woman-owned firm, just like it was in its earliest days. Mathews ran Folkwear for 14 years, adding many new patterns to the collection.  Folkwear was sold in late 2016 to Molly Hamilton, a young woman and fellow sewer) in Asheville who currently owns and runs the company.  Through it all, the company has retained a loyal group of fans who keep the passion for vintage and ethnic garments alive!

 

So many different types of people use Folkwear patterns. There are historic re-enactors, Renaissance Faire participants, theater costume designers, and lovers of creative art-to-wear. Residents of historic neighborhoods and members of antique auto clubs use the patterns to dress to the appropriate historic period for their annual events. Folks who adopt children from other countries use the patterns to teach the little ones about their native cultures. Swing, tango, and ballroom dancers love to use the patterns for their passion. Living history museums and Universal Studios dress their staff in Folkwear patterns. The male actors in the first television episode of The Lonesome Dove all wore a Folkwear pattern (#204 Missouri River Boatman's Shirt). Different patterns have been used in monasteries, Buddhist ashrams, and in children's hospitals (worn by traditionally-costumed Santas). There has even been a custom seamstress who made Folkwear's Victorian patterns in sheer and transparent fabrics for the adult entertainment industry. From theme weddings (Scottish, 1920s, and Japanese) to everyday wear that is more interesting than jeans and tee-shirts, Folkwear offers the perfect pattern.

 

-- written by Kate Mathews - fiber artist, sewer, weaver, and former owner of Folkwear

 

Welcome to Folkwear's new website!

By Molly Hamilton
on March 08, 2017
1 comment

Welcome to Folkwear's new website!

Welcome to Folkwear’s new website! We are so excited to have this new website, shop, and blog in order to share with you Folkwear patterns, and information on sewing, costuming, embellishing, and the history and culture of all our sewing patterns. The new on-line shop is fabulous!  It will be easier to navigate, easy to place your order, and (maybe most exciting for you!) most shipping prices will be lower than ever before!

The shop is organized by categories, and each pattern has illustrations, pictures, and line drawings.  We plan for the blog to showcase our patterns, provide sew-alongs and tutorials, and feature relevant news and events in fashion and sewing. There should be fun things to check out here on a regular basis! And, you can subscribe to our newsletter by entering your email address at the bottom of our page. Thanks for joining us!