Folkwear 108 Turkish Dancer Pattern Cover

We are excited to introduce you to the pleasures of making and wearing the garments offered in the 108 Turkish Dancer pattern (a pattern we are featuring this month). In this blog we will  share a bit of Turkish history, offer fabric suggestions, and tips that can be used for making any or all of the garments featured.

108 Turkish Dancer includes three basic garments that Turkish women often wore combined and layered, creating sumptuous looks that feel totally modern. Included in this pattern, is an Entari or robe, a bodice-shaped vest, and a short jacket. In addition to the collection of garments featured in this pattern, you can create your own extraordinary wardrobe by combining these basics with other traditional Folkwear patterns. The 106 Turkish Coat and the Turkish pants from the 119 Sarouelles will perfectly round out a great outfit.

Line drawing of the front & back pieces of thw Folkwear 108 Turkish Dancer Pattern

While the garments in the Turkish Dancer pattern are considered to be the basics of a Turkish woman’s wardrobe, they are not your average basics (read more about the history of the pattern here). Each piece can be made as simple or as lavish as you chose. While each garment is basic and relatively quick to make, it is the beautifully drafted pattern foundation, resulting is a flattering lines and fit that gives you so much to work with. Simple, yet well designed, patterns such as these are a pleasure to sew and wear, providing a perfect canvas in which to let your creativity shine. The pattern fits a broad range of sizes - from XS to 2XL. Each piece can easily stand alone as a statement piece or mix any combination of the trio with a simple skirt, pants, or leggings. Even your favorite pair of jeans will be transformed when paired with any or all of the Turkish Dancer offerings!  The pattern also includes extra information, including much more history, lots of traditional embellishment ideas, how-to instructions for different embroidery stitches, and authentic embroidery designs transfers.

The Entari or robe, features optional waist-shaping darts, plunging V-front neckline, button-loop front closures, flowing bell shaped sleeves, and free-floating ankle length panels. Make as a gown to layer under the vest and jacket and/or as a coat to wear on top. While the the length of this design is most dramatic when long and flowy, its versatility allows it to be made any length you chose. Adjust the length of the sleeves or remove them all together to create a sleeveless tunic. Leave out the waist shaping darts and enjoy a more leisurely look and fit - perfect for lounging about!

The unlined, semi-fitted vest has a low-cut curved neckline, curved Princess seams (which makes fit adjustments easy), and button-loop front closures. This easy-to-sew garment can be quickly bound along the edges and lavishly embellished with braid, sequins, machine or hand embroidery, and it right in style with the currently popular mid-riff look.  

The short jacket (also called a Yelek or Mintan) has a gently curving front hemline and bell sleeves that fit over the Entari, allowing the Entari sleeves to drape sensuously. This quick-sew garment with bound edges is perfect for elaborate fabrics and embellishments.


Fabric Suggestions

The hardest part in choosing a fabric for any one of these pieces will be narrowing down the options. Each garment offered in this pattern could be made of just about anything, with just a few considerations to think about. Keep in mind how the fabric you chose drapes and the ease of working with certain fabrics when it comes to making binding and button-loops.

Silk would make any of these pieces totally swoon worthy. Just imagine an entire layered ensemble made of beautifully combined silks! Mid-weight linen and handkerchief linen are also ideal and would be perfect for transitioning from early spring to summer wearing. Personally, I think spring is best enjoyed while draped in layers of linen!  And, cottons of all weights are always perfect. A combination of cotton batiste, lawn, and voile would be perfect for easy-breezy-summer layering. Of course, these a just a few possibilities. Below you will find more options for each specific garment.

The Entari already has built-in drape due to it’s flowing panels. So just about any fabric will work, but something drapey or with a bit of structure is perfect. Cottons and linens of all weights are ideal. So are cotton velvet or rayon velvet. You could also use rayon, flannel, or even knits with a bit of body, all of which would be nice for a gown or robe. Light-weight to medium-weight wools would be a good choice for a coat or long-tunic-vest if you eliminate the sleeves. 

Since the vest is more structured, consider the fabrics weight.  Also think about fiber content next to the skin, if you plan to wear it on its own. Of course, it can be worn with a top or blouse underneath. All weights of silk, cotton, linen, velvet, wool, felt, flannel, denim, brocade, satin, suede, or upholstery fabric would work nicely.

The Entari and vest are each finished with bound edges and a front button-loop closure, so see the tips below and in our blog post about making and using bias binding and button-loops.

The short jacket is a piece of cake. Quick and easy to make out of anything - just be sure to make the most of the beautiful drape of it’s sleeves. Because this piece can be worn over and/or layered with just about anything, it can withstand a bit more structure. Using a bit heavier or more tightly woven fabric you automatically give this jacket more structure. Wool, linen, cotton, all come in heavier weights and will work well. Velvet, felt, flannel, denim, brocade, satin, suede, or upholstery fabric are good choices too. For a softer look, a loosely woven or light-weight cotton or linen, silks of all sorts, rayon, knits with bit of body, and lightweight wool challis are examples of fabrics with more drape that would give this jacket an entirely different look and feel. This jacket’s edges are also finished with binding so see the tips below to help make your sewing easy.

No matter the fabrics you choose, keep the layering harmonious. Relegate heavier fabrics for the outer most garment layers. If using light-weight fabrics, consider interfacing the pieces with compatible interfacing before construction.

Fabric Tips for Binding and Button-Loop

When making binding and loops the only rule is to avoid a fabric that wants to unravel. Depending on your experience level and bravery, you may want to avoid fabrics that are slippery or heavy. Lighter weight stable fabrics are much preferred when first attempting to make binding and button-loops. Learn more tips and How to Make Binding and Front Button-Loop Closures.

Because these three pieces go so beautifully together they are perfect of mixing fabric weights, patterns, and textures to create an interesting dynamic aesthetic or keeping things elegantly simple with fabrics that blend subtly. Just keep in mind how different fabrics behave when put together. When layering you want the fabrics to slide against each other enough, to allow for easy getting in and out of and comfortable wearing.

Below are some fabric suggestions from some of our favorite fabric stores.  Please note, these suggested fabrics are based on fabrics that are in stock at the time the blog post is written, and may go out of stock from store at some point.  If link is invalid for specific product, look for a similar fabric you can substitute. 

The textures woven into this golden linen from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics are subtle enough to pair with a bolder fabric for the outer layers, yet unique enough to still draw interest. The light weight would suit itself well to the inner-most Entari layer.

Gold colored linen

Oak Fabrics has a fun and lively cotton lawn option that would make for a more exciting look for the Entari or the vest. 

Gold cotton with a white and red dot pattern

Also from Oak Fabrics is this lovely Russet Stripe cotton flannel. The weight has enough body to be used for any part of the ensemble, and would be beautiful in the jacket.

Brown cotton flannel with white, tan, and orange colored stripes

This cotton canvas from Harts Fabrics is sturdy enough to make for a striking vest or jacket.

Cream and gold striped cotton canvas

For a fabric that would pair nicely with any of our suggested options above, this earthy cotton-linen blend would make a lovely jacket.

Rust colored fabric with a small white repeating cross pattern