Embroidery Detail for Little Folks Turkish Tunic

By Molly Hamilton
on December 18, 2017
1 comment

Embroidery Detail for Little Folks Turkish Tunic

I was stuck at home last weekend because of the 13(!) inches of snow we got on Friday and Saturday. I enjoyed being out in the snow with my kids, but I am also not a cold weather person. So, I also enjoyed being inside and warm and dry. And, with the electricity flickering (and eventually going out), I looked for a sewing project I could work on without needing my machines. I picked up the Little Folks Turkish Tunic embroidery pattern, my hoop, some waste canvas, and some organic silk Eri  embroidery thread and set to work.


I decided to try and practice the Tunic embroidery suggestions for around the placket and hems, which use cross stitch and Holbein stitch.  I put down a narrow section of waste canvas or scrim and was able to quickly embroider a long row with the madder red and mid-indigo silk thread.  I only used 4 of the eight strands of thread to do this embroidery and I thought that was adequate. The thread was beautiful and I enjoy sewing with it.  You can find the thread, now in 4 colors, in our store.

Instructions for these embroidery stitches are in the Handwork section of the 109 Little Folks pattern, which you can also get as a PDF file.  I hope to get a video up soon with a demonstration of how to do these stitches, so stay tuned for that.

My favorite part of this kind of embroidery is taking apart the canvas to reveal what I've done.  I admit that I need to keep practicing - my stitches are not perfect.  But, I was satisfied with it and love the contract and colors.  

Who else is out there embroidering anything?

How To Use PDF Patterns

By Molly Hamilton
on December 12, 2017

How To Use PDF Patterns

Downloadable PDF (digitized) sewing patterns have been around for a few years.  And, Folkwear is now starting to produce some of our own digital patterns.  We have plans to digitize some of our out of print patterns as well as some patterns that are smaller (such as children's clothing patterns, accessory patterns, etc.).  

PDF patterns have the benefits of often being cheaper than paper patterns, they don't require shipping (no shipping cost), and there is the instant gratification of being able to start working on your sewing project minutes after purchasing. However, digital patterns take a little bit more work up front to prepare.

Getting Started

When you buy a PDF pattern from us, you will receive a downloadable zip file at check out as well as in your email once the purchase is complete.  This zip file will contain everything for the sewing pattern, including a print-at-home version, a print shop version (or two), and sewing instructions.  You will need Adobe Reader to be able to open the files.  Most computers come with this program, but you can also download it

When you get the link to the file, you can download it to your computer.  We don't suggest downloading to a tablet or phone because these files are often too large for these devices and can be tricky to use from them.  I usually download the zip file to a folder I have specifically for sewing patterns on my computer.  

You can then open the zip file and see what documents are there.

Printing at Home

To print your PDF pattern at home, you will open the file that says "tiled" or "print at home".  This document contains the tiled version of the pattern - which means it is like a large pattern tissue that has been cut up into rectangles (tiles) that can be printed from your computer and stuck back together to create the large "tissue".  

Some of our print-at-home versions will have the patterns separated in the document so that certain parts of the pattern can be printed on their own.  For example, 109 Little Folks has each of the garment patterns separated into their own set of tiles in this document so that you can print the papers needed for each individual pattern (rather than for all 9 garments at once).  You would just click on the garment you wanted in the margin of the document and print only those pages.

Usually, the first page or two of these documents contain the layouts or pattern information, as well as a measurement scale.

It is very important when printing at home to choose "Actual Size" or "100%" when printing so that the pattern prints in the correct size.  If your computer uses the setting "Scale to Fit", the pattern will not come out in the correct size.  You may need to go to Print Properties to make sure your settings are correct.  

While in Print Properties, I usually set my printer to print as a draft since I don't need high quality printing and it will save ink (and therefore money).  

You can also choose the page numbers you want printed to save paper, printing only the pages that have the pattern pieces you want on them.

Print the first page of your pattern before printing any other pages, just so you can measure the test square to make sure you are printing in the correct scale.  

The first page(s) will also show how the tiles (or paper) should be put together.

Assembling the Pattern

Most pages of the pattern will need to be trimmed so that the edges will easily and accurately line up.  Trim off the left and top margin of each page as you go.  If you like, you don't need to trim the top margin of the top row nor the left margin of the first page on each row since they don't overlap with any other pages.

I trim as I assemble, going row by row.  The pages are numbered and have triangles that will align when placed together.  The first page or pages of the pattern will also show how the pages, or tiles, should line up.  Line up the pages on a flat surface next to each other as straight and flat as possible, trimming and taping as you go.  

I use clear tape, but medical tape also works well.  Tape on cut lines that go across page edges and where the four page corners meet.  Otherwise, place small pieces of tape every few inches or so. 

I have sometimes used glue sticks to assemble pdf patterns, but you may need to wait for glue to dry before using the pattern (or, as in my case, you may find that the glue doesn't stick as well as tape).

Once your pattern is assembled, you can cut it out like you would for a paper pattern.  Or, trace the size you need and cut from the tracing paper.  

Printing at a Print or Copy Shop

Printing at a print or copy shop means that you don't have to print out and tape together all those rectangles.  If a pattern is very large and I don't want spend the time taping it together, I will often send it to a print shop since it saves a lot of hassle and time for me. We include two files in the zip folder for printing on large scale printers.  One is for 36" wide paper and the other is for A0 sized paper (metric units).

You can often email a print shop the file and ask for a quote. Or, you can download the print shop version to a jump drive and take it into a print shop.   I can get our local print shop to print patterns for me for $4 to $9 a pattern, depending on the size. Ask for the print shop to print black and white on their cheapest paper, and scale to 100%.  I've heard that big box print shops often charge a lot more (up to $25), so get a quote before having them print.  

When picking up your print, measure the test square to make sure the print was scaled correctly.

That's it!  Not too hard.  When I am finished with my PDF pattern, I store the paper paper, folded up and labeled, in a box or rolled up a stored in a corner basket in my office.  Some people store them on hangers or in physical files.  

Pattern Instructions

Sewing pattern instructions can be left on your computer and referred to as you sew (that's what I do), or they can be printed in part or in full and used while you are sewing.  Folkwear patterns also often come with instructions for handwork like embroidery, crochet, cord-making, etc.  Those instructions are usually found in their own document in the pattern zip file and can also be referred to on your computer, or printed.   

I hope this helps you use and enjoy your Folkwear PDF sewing patterns!

109 Little Folks - PDF Pattern

By Molly Hamilton
on December 05, 2017

Mexican Baby Shirt

We now have our first PDF pattern!

109 Little Folks is an international collection of children's clothing patterns, featuring eight patterns from five countries on four continents!  Each pattern includes sewing  instructions for optional handwork techniques. Dress your sweeties up in a Japanese Kintaro, Mexican Dress and Baby Shirt, Korean Booties, Nepali Chupa, Moroccan Djellaba, or Turkish Tunic and Bloomers.

Moroccan Djellaba

This pattern includes a print-at-home version and a print shop (large format) version.  The print-at-home file is tiled so that you can print each individual garment pattern on its own.  There is also a welcome letter to help you figure out the pattern files, as well as embroidery templates. You will receive a zip file (that includes all the pattern files) at checkout and a link in an email to receive the files.  Save the file to your computer, and get started!

This is instant sewing gratification!  You can get started on your sewing project minutes after purchasing your pattern. And, these patterns make great gifts for the little ones in your life.

Get this pattern on sale for the rest of the month!

We suggest using light to medium weight cottons (like broadcloth, batiste, muslin, voile, corduroy, and flannel) for this pattern.  And, here is the yardage chart.  

The Cravat - FREE PATTERN (plus history and a tutorial)

By Molly Hamilton
on November 26, 2017

free cravat sewing pattern

The Cravat

From the mid 17th century, and to this day, the well-dressed gentleman has never considered his costume complete without some form of neckwear. In 1636 the cravat became fashionable – after the custom of the Croats or Cravates serving in the French army, who wore a length of cloth around their necks to protect the throat.

The first cravats were wound around the neck and usually tied in a bow or with a black ribbon. In 1692, the Battle of Steinkirk (in Belgium) introduced a new fashion. The French cavalry, surprised by the enemy, rushed to the attack with the ends of their cravats flying or carelessly twisted and drawn through a buttonhole. The casual style popularized by their victory was taken up by women as well as men.

For several decades following, the cravat gave way to a neck cloth that was pre-folded and fastened in back – the stock. In the 1770s, a vogue for pastoral English tastes brought back the unconstructed cravat in the form of a large triangle or square of the finest linen or muslin.

After 1830 the collar began to turn down over the cravat, which evolved into the bow tie, the ascot, and the four-in-hand.

Today, the cravat is fashionable for men and women.  It can compliment your outfit, provide a splash of color, and keep your neck warm.  My British father-in-law wears one nearly everyday of the winter – under his dress shirts or denim work shirts.  It gives him an air of gentility, and is a fun and useful accessory.  The instructions provided below create a cravat similar to what he wears.  Simple to make and simple to wear, this pattern is a fun and quick make - a great holiday gift for a man in your life.


The size and shape of cravats have varied over the centuries. In their earliest manifestation (c. 1680), they consisted of a rectangular strip of very fine lawn, the ends often trimmed with lace. By the end of the 18th century, a folded square or triangle had been adopted, folded into a band, with endless varieties and subtleties of knots. Early in the 19th century, cravats were pre-knotted and mounted on a fixed collar that fastened in the back by a button or a pin, although free-tying cravats were still used. Folkwear also offers the triangular cravat pattern in our 217 Poet's Shirt pattern, which is a versatile and adaptable for modern fabrics and fashions.

Choose fabrics that are fine, soft, and have a good drape.  Often, modern cravats are made with paisley print silk or other printed patterned silk, with a soft and plain colored cotton lawn as backing. 

This cravat

This cravat pattern is based on cravats my father-in-law wears all winter.  They are made of silk paisley print and cotton fabric.  They are pleated in the center for ease of wear and are very stylish.  You can see the way he ties and wears his cravat at the end of this post.

Seam allowance for this pattern is 1/4".


  • 1 1/4 yard silk print for the outside fabric of cravat (You may also cut this on the cross grain and therefore only need 1/4 yard of at least 45" wide fabric; Or, you can use a scrap of long 6"-8" wide selvedge edge from another project).
  • 1 1/4 yard plain colored cotton lawn or poplin for inside of cravat (This can also be cut on the cross grain and only need 1/4 yard of at least 45" wide fabric, or be cut from 6"-8" selvedge edge)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Tailors chalk or your favorite marking pen/pencil/tool
  • Pins
  • This pattern, which is also below, but can also be seen (and downloaded) with more drawings as a PDF here


Wash and press fabric before beginning.

Cut one rectangle each from the silk and cotton measuring 42" long by 6" wide, each. To see pattern drawings, you can view or download this article as a PDF here. 

Note: Most markings can be made just on the cotton piece (which can be a plain color and therefore easier to see markings).  Use tailor's chalk, or your favorite marking pen/chalk/pencil/etc.

Mark a line across the center of the fabric (across your fabric at 21").  Line is perpendicular to the long sides.

Make two more lines, one 6 3/4" on each side of this center line.  These will be your stitching lines when sewing down the pleats.

Mark a line, perpendicular to the long edge, 3 1/2" from each end of the long rectangle.

Mark the center of each short end of the rectangle and draw a line from the center to 1/4" inside the above line, on each side, to form a triangle.  Transfer these diagonal lines to the other side of the fabric also.  You will be stitching along these lines in the next step.


Use 1/4" seam allowance.

Place right sides of fabrics together (I would consider the chalk marked side of the cotton to be the "right side").  Pin and sew 1/4" seam allowance on the long sides of the cravat.  At the short ends, sew along 3 of the 4 diagonal lines formed in the previous step.

Turn right sides out. Press so that the ends form a nice flat triangle.  You will be hand stitching one side end closed later.

Now it is time to form the pleats.

Draw, with chalk, horizontal lines every 1/2" from the top edge, going perpendicular to the 3 center lines.  These marking lines should only go from the left-hand vertical line, crossing the center, to the right-hand vertical line.  They do not need to go further.

Start folding from the top, place each horizontal line on the second one below it, so that you have 3 horizontal pleats. Press pleats.

Stitch across pleats along the 3 vertical stitching lines, backstitching at beginning and end to secure thread.

Whipstitch diagonal end closed.

How to wear: 

This is how my father-in-law ties and wears his cravats.

First, hang this cravat around the back of your neck with one end shorter than the other.

 Then, wrap the longer end around the shorter end two times.

Then, tuck the long end behind the wrap and bring it to the front and tuck it into the font of your shirt.

{Alternative} Black Friday to Cyber Monday

By Molly Hamilton
on November 23, 2017
1 comment

{Alternative} Black Friday to Cyber Monday

We at Folkwear want to stay true to our values of sustainability, creativity, global and cultural appreciation, and quality products and service in all that we do.  We also appreciate theincome that can be generated by the shopping days after Thanksgiving.  But somehow it seems incongruous with our values.  So, while shopping is fun (and we love the business), we wanted to come up with some ways that would make these days from Thanksgiving to Tuesday something special that would make the experience fun while being true to our values.  

First, 20% of all retail sales from Thanksgiving to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (Giving Tuesday) will be donated to Global Fund for Women and Heifer International.

On Small Business Saturday, everyone who buys three patterns will get a free pattern from our Homegoods Collection (302 Victoria's Boudoir, 304 Nursery Days, or 305 A Japanese Interior).  These patterns make great gifts!  You can let us know which pattern you want when you order, or let us choose!

On Sunday, we will have a free pattern available for download on our blog!  So, check back for something fun.

We will have also two coupon codes to use on Cyber Monday:  for a 25% discount use the code THANKS25, or for free shipping (US shipping only) use FREESHIP!  This will be our biggest sale of the year!  Codes cannot be used together (sorry!)

Giving Tuesday:  We hope you will consider donating to your favorite cause or charity.  Our favorites are Global Fund for Women, Heifer International, UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), and Wildlife Works.

Gifts for the Sewist

By Molly Hamilton
on November 20, 2017

Gifts for the Sewist

Looking for some small gifts for your sewing friends (or yourself)?  We have some suggestions for fun and unique things in our store that make perfect stocking stuffers and sewing-friend presents.  And, did I mention these are all less than $20 . . . ?

Pattern Tracing Fabric (Swedish Tracing Paper) and Removable Tape.  These two are wonderful for any sewist (or sewer?), making pattern tracing and drafting so much easier!  I use these for nearly all of my sewing projects.  

Asian Knot Templates: button, tear-drop, flower.  With these three templates, anyone can make buttons, embellishments, zipper pulls, tassels, and other fun finishes for sewing projects.

Bias Tape Makers:  Make your own 1/4", 1/2", or 3/4" bias tape from your own fabric with these nifty little bias tape makers.  I love my bias tape maker and use it all the time to make beautiful edge finishes or ribbons with my favorite fabrics.

Organic Eri Silk Embroidery Thread:  A beautiful embroidery thread that is perfect for handwork on any garments (especially Folkwear!).  And feel good about using organic silk that has been naturally dyed!  Comes in madder red and indigo blue - from Botanica Tinctoria.

Fun patterns to give as gifts:

109 Little Folks - for anyone expecting a baby (or grandbaby or niece or nephew) in the next year.  Give this with a yard of special fabric and sweet trim = perfect (and really fun) gift!

129A Japanese Tabi - a fun and unusual pattern.  Great for men or women!  Again, include some interesting fabric (less that 1 yard is needed) for a fun present.

269 Metropolitan Hat - hat patterns are always a good bet, especially for a friend who loves them.  Include a fun hat embellishment (one that you made, perhaps) to complete this gift.




Winter Style Guide - What to Wear?

By Molly Hamilton
on November 10, 2017

233 Glamour Girl Dress

Winter is full of holidays and holiday events that call for slightly more formal or festive attire than what we normally don.  Below, we have some suggestions that may help with the age-old question of, "What should I wear?".  These suggestions range from more formal ensembles to separates that can add a pick me up to the classic staple pieces in your wardrobe.  And, we are including fabric suggestions and sources for each pattern.  We hope you feel fabulous at the many events from the office party to parade, or from a ceremony to celebration.  Whatever tradition you follow, we wish you warmth and joy!

Spice it up with Separates

We all have our favorite go-to basics.  Here are some ideas to refresh your style!

111 Nepali Blouse

The Nepali Blouse is traditionally made of velvet.  Need I say more?  This wrap and tie blouse drapes nicely and is a great pick me up for any closet.  This could be dressed up or down to suit your needs.

Stone Mountain and Daughter Fabrics has some beautiful silk/rayon velvets that would be perfect!

126 Vests form Greece and Poland

The mid-calf Greek vest stands out to me the most.  It would be great in various fabrics ranging from lighter weight to a sturdy wool or blend.  I've been noticing a lot of longer jackets and dusters this fall, so this is very on-trend! 

Vogue Fabrics has beautiful wool boucle coating, designer wool fabric, and wool flannel.

118 Tibetan Panel Coat

This pattern has so much potential for expressing your creativity and style.  Try this pattern to create a one of a kind wearable art piece with function and style that is perfect for the holidays!

Let you imagination run wild with this one!  Hand-woven pieces are great in this; holiday themed are fun; or make from some classic, dark wool solids.

114 Chinese Jacket

The Chinese Jacket pattern is a versatile design.  The pattern features three lengths.  It that could be constructed in a vibrant, rich colored silk to wear as a top or even a lightweight wool as outerwear.







Dresses and Complete Looks

139 Vietnamese Ao Dai

This beautiful pattern can be crafted to a more formal garment if desired.  The tunic has the flow of a dress and the pants drape nicely underneath.  Gorgeous in a silk brocade, and certainly a showstopper at your holiday gathering.

Marcy Tilton has some gorgeous brocades that would be fabulous for this pattern (or for the 114 Chinese Jacket above).  Fabric for this pattern should be more flowing, or have more drape, than fabric for 114 Chinese Jacket.

215 Empire Dress

I can't stop envisioning this dress in a silk velvet.  The option of hemming to "street-length" would modernize the look as well. 

Michael Levine has a huge selection of silk velvets (at a reasonable price).

148 Black Forest Smock

This pattern would be lovely in a lightweight wool or corduroy. The pattern can be made as a dress or shirt.  It also has great potential for handwork and decorative stitching - perfect to add winter or holiday themed embroidery.  If you have any mother-child pairs,the 110 Little Kittel pattern is just a child-sized version of this.

Beautiful wale corduroys at Harts Fabric, here.

233 Glamour Girl

This elegant dress is a stunning option.  It can be made as knee length, mid-calf, or ankle length.  This would be a lovely vintage look to ring in the New Year with style.

Perfect in a rayon crepe, like these from Harts Fabric.

256 At the Hop

Who's ready for some fun?  This pattern already has the instructions for an alpine applique!  Or make your own holiday applique for this skirt (ornaments, tree, snowflakes, etc.).  Perfect for any event where festive clothes are needed!  The sweater will keep you warm on cool days (also come with a winter scene!).  

Fun holiday themed fabrics here from Fabric Depot would work for making the skirt, or shirt, or for making a cute applique.  






Holiday Gift Guide - Gifts to be Sewn

By Molly Hamilton
on October 29, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide - Gifts to be Sewn

Holiday Gift Guide

Here in Western North Carolina we are feeling the season change.  The days are are shortening, the evenings are cool, and the leaves have turned and are dropping.  So, naturally we start looking ahead to the cozy months, months of sewing and creativity . . . and of course the Holidays!  Below, we have a list of wonderful  gift ideas that you can make from Folkwear patterns so you can get a jump start on your handmade holiday gifts.  

Quick for Children:

109 Little Folks PDF Pattern

An international collection, featuring eight(!) patterns and a variety of optional handwork techniques.  This pattern is no longer available as a paper pattern, but we have an easy to use PDF available!  Dress your sweeties up in a Japanese Kintaro, Mexican Dress or Baby Shirt, Korean Booties, Nepali Chupa, Moroccan Djellaba, or Turkish Tunic and Bloomers.  These are easy and quick patterns, and you can make them more personalized with embroidery, homemade tassels, or other handwork which are included in the instructions (or adorable monograms).

225 Childhood Dreams (image above)

Although, this pattern cam be made for day dresses of even special occasions, it also has all the makings for a really nice nightgown.  The choice of fabric and trim can change the look and use of this garment.  It was always a Christmas Eve tradition in my family to open a gift of new sleepwear.  This has carried on from my parents to my children.  This would be a perfect pattern for that tradition. 

What traditions do you have for family's Holiday?  


Wearable and Quick with Little-to-No Sizing or Fitting Required 


269 Metropolitan Hat (above) 

I'm a sucker for a great hat!  It's always fun to find one that is both interesting and practical.  This patterns shows options for decorative fabric rosettes that can be fashioned out of the hat fabric, contrasting materials such as lace, tulle, or glittering silk, or entirely replaced by a vintage brooch or dramatic button. This pattern can be made in 3 sizes, and there are just three pattern pieces: Brim, Band, and Crown.  Constructing this in a wool or felt will certainly help keep your loved one warm!  

129A Japanese Tabi Socks

For the person who has everything!  This unique gift provides warmth and protection for the toes with flip flops or by themselves as comfortable at-home slippers to protect your floors. Traditional to Japan . . . .  A quick, easy, and inexpensive gift!

129 Japanese Hapi and Haori

You can make three garments from this pattern - all of them easy to fit (with lots of ease built into the patterns).  The Hapi is a shorter, unlined cardigan-type jacket that is easy to sew.  The Haori is slightly longer, lined, and similar to a kimono.  This pattern also comes with the Japanese Tabi sock pattern.  These are great garments to make for women or men (sized for both), and are perfect lounge-wear, though I made a Hapi for myself that I use as a light jacket to wear out and about.

113 Japanese Kimono

This classic pattern is for an unlined kimono (yukata) and is a great gift for anyone (sized for women and men).  Our pattern includes instructions for shibori dyeing, sashiko embroidery (image above), and for making an obi or sash.  So, you can make this a unique gift.

132 Moroccan Burnoose

A unique gift, this cape is dramatic when worn un-traditionally over modern clothing.  On trend right now too!  Our pattern details different ways of wearing and draping the finished garment.  No fitting required - just a vision and some great fabric.

For the Home:

302 Victoria's Boudoir 

This pattern has 7 parts to choose from.  The piece that really stands out for me (sweet and simple) is the Potpourri Sachet!  This would be a fun thing to make and have for quick gifts for friends and family - and you can use up your awesome fabric scraps.  There is a recipe for the potpourri blend or you can get creative with your own blend.  

304 Nursery Days

This pattern has 5 parts to choose from.  The Teddy Bear would be so sweet with many fabric choices.  The Pillow Sham has great potential for customization with fabric choice, added embroidery, or applique.  Kids love gifts with their name or favorite things featured on them.  The size of the Quilt would make a nice throw for anywhere in the home (not limited to cribs)!

305 A Japanese Interior

This popular pattern has 8 parts to choose from.  The pattern includes tips for handwork and dyeing techniques.  The Decorative Curtains (Noren) would be a great way to show off some of your handwork skills!  There are 3 different shapes of pillows to choose from as well.  An adaptation for these could be to make them heat friendly (filling with buckwheat or rice and dried herbs), and use them to warm up on a chilly day!  Or, do your own indigo dying and make the pillow covers or quilt.  Oh, did I mention Quilted Sleeping Kimono adaptation instructions using 113 Japanese Kimono?


We hope this helps you with some great ideas for gifts to make your friends and family this holiday season.  To make it easier for you, all of these patterns will be on sale through November!  And, keep a look out for our Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales at the end of the month. 

And, we would love to see what you make!  Tag us on social media (#folkwearpatterns) or send an email!

Happy sewing!!


Unravelling the Story Behind African Fashion

By Molly Hamilton
on October 23, 2017

Unravelling the Story Behind African Fashion

We have a guest post today from writer, Jackie Edwards, about traditional fashion in Africa.  She recently covered 10 of the most beautiful traditional garments from Africa and here introduces that article.  A link to the list is found at the bottom and is well worth the read - lots of fun and inspiration! Folkwear has a patterns from African traditional clothing here and here and a child's pattern in this one - and we will be adding a new one in the spring! 

Thanks, Jackie!


Unravelling the Story Behind African Fashion

African fashion designer, Mahlet Afework, has said “there is beauty in everything and there is beauty in African fashion”. African fashion is extraordinarily beautiful because it all tells a story. By looking at the bright colors and intricate design, one can tell where the garment was made and what it is used for.

In Northeastern Africa, styles have been influenced by Middle Eastern culture, whereas the Northwestern fashions have remained more genuine and true to the African culture. In East Africa, Swahili speaking men wear the kanzu while women wear the kanga and gomesi, and in Sahelian Africa, the dashiki and grand boubou and more popular. Southern African fashion can be identified by shirts that are worn like long dresses, such as the Madiba shirt in South Africa and the safari shirt in Zimbabwe.

The styles and trends in Africa are a true representation of the fashion world. In fashion, you should dress in a way that most represents you and African fashion truly embraces this aspect.

To learn more about the fashion and how you can identify the story behind the clothing, check out these 10 traditional African fashion trends.  

My new Afghan Nomad Dress

By Molly Hamilton
on October 14, 2017

My new Afghan Nomad Dress

I was inspired by Etro's 2017 fall ready-to-wear collection, especially this dress that looked so much like our Afghan Nomad Dress.  

Etro dress

So, I thought I would try to make my own!  When I was in NYC in August I found some beautiful Liberty fabric at a great price at Mood.  I also found a few yards of beautiful, wide embroidered silk trim at Virgin Fabrics in the Garment District.  Then, Rachel at Botanica Tinctoria sent me indigo-dyed organic cotton crocheted lace.  A vision was starting to come together.  

I use our 107 Afghan Nomad Dress pattern and made a few alterations.  First, I shortened the skirt to my knees and took out a lot of the skirt bulk.  I used maybe half to 2/3 the amount of a traditional Afghan nomad dress.  I just did not need or want that much bulk for a shorter skirt (also the fabric was expensive enough that I thought I could do with using less!).  And, I think I probably could have used even less width in the skirt, especially since it is a little bit of a heavier fabric than the lightweight, translucent lawn I used for sleeve and bodice, and doesn't drape as close to the body.  I also flipped the back to be the front (and front to be the back) because I like the neckline of the slit in the front.

I started by sewing the embroidered trim onto the bodice (by machine).  Then, I hand-stitched the crocheted lace between the trims and at the bottom.  The bodice already had the center slash cut into it, so I was just stitching on top as if it was not there.  


I then I cut the slash at the top of the bodice for the neckline through the trim, and tacked the back, or lining, of the bodice to the front bodice piece. From there, I just followed the pattern instructions. I did a blind hem stitch on the bottom edge.  


I love how it turned out - love the colors - and it is very comfortable.  

Anyone else inspired to make their own Afghan Nomad Dress?