World Cup and Folkwear!

By Molly Hamilton
on June 19, 2018

World Cup and Folkwear!

You might wonder what the World Cup and sewing have to do with each other, and I have to admit - not much!  But, a fact you may not know about me is that I love soccer (or football as most of the rest of the world calls it).  I love playing - I played in high school and college (recreation), and I play in an adult league now.  I loved coaching my kids soccer teams, and I love watching soccer.  I have been excited to watch the World Cup, even though all the games fall during work hours.  As a side note, I wonder how much work productivity is lost worldwide when World Cup is going on :-).  I am definitely taking 2 hour lunch breaks to watch games!

So I was thinking today about how great it is that all these teams from all over the world come together to compete in this well-loved game.  And, as I was thinking about all the teams playing in this tournament, Folkwear patterns came to my mind as well.  So many of countries that are competing also have patterns in the Folkwear line.  

In case you are interested, Folkwear has patterns from 13 of the 32 countries competing this year:

Australia (130 Australian Bush Outfit,137 Australian Drover's Coat, 138 Child's Australian Drovers Coat)

Russia (128 Russian Settler's Dress)

Japan (lots of patterns: Field Clothing, Kimono, Hapi & Haori, Tabi, Hakama & Kataginu, Michiyuki, Interior)

Mexico (142 Old Mexico Dress, 109 Little Folks)

South Korea (141 Korean Han-Bok)

Germany (123 Austrian Dirndl - ok, its named Austrian, but it is also German!)

Spain (140 Flamenco Dress and Skirt) 

Egypt (104 Egyptian Shirt)

Morocco (109 Little Folks - Moroccan Djellaba and 132 Moroccan Burnoose)

France (102 French Cheesemaker's Smock)

Croatia (117 Croatian Shirt)

England (221 English Smock)

Poland (126 Vests from Greece and Poland)

Belgium (133 Belgian Military Chef's Coat)

And, one of our out-of-print patterns (Yoruba Pants) is from Nigeria.

So, maybe you will root for one of these teams.  I am rooting for all of them, all the underdogs, and Argentina (that may cover all the teams :-))!

I love how soccer/football brings so many cultures together.  Textiles/fashion can do the same, and I hope that Folkwear patterns honors these cultures and the textiles and garments. and I hope now you might have a little more interest in this World Cup!!

So, do you follow soccer/football?  Are you watching this World Cup?


Fabric Suggestions for 205 Gibson Girl Blouse

By Molly Hamilton
on June 18, 2018

Fabric Suggestions for 205 Gibson Girl Blouse

The Gibson Girl was the ideal of feminine beauty at the turn of the 20th century, and by 1905, the Sears Roebuck catalog offered 150 versions of this blouse. The high-collar, back-buttoning yoke style is still just as flattering today. Instructions for optional tucks and lace insertion are included in the pattern.

This blouse should be made of  soft lightweight fabrics such as batiste, lawn, muslin, silk, gingham, or calico.  

PLEASE NOTE: Fabrics used as examples in blog may go out of stock from store.  If link is invalid for specific product, there may be another fabric from the supplier that you can substitute.  These suggestions are based on fabrics that are in stock at the time the blog post is written!

Below are a few ideas for fabric and lace from a few of our favorite fabric shops.

Harts Fabrics has a great selection of lawns in prints and solids, and we love these two below!

Lawn print

 Ivory cotton lawn

Check out the beautiful batiste and voile at Michael Levine's

Organic batiste print

Swiss dot voile


 Vogue Fabrics has a wide range of voile fabrics which would feel so luxurious.

Cotton silk voile



And, Mood Fabrics has a great selection of lace which would be perfect for the lace insertion on this blouse. For this pattern, we recommend a .5" or .75" width.

Lace .75"

Black Lace .5"



Organic Cottons Plus has a lovely selection of sustainable organic and natural-fiber fabrics.

Natural Muslin 100% Organic Cotton

 Naturally Dyed Silk


Whatever you choose, enjoy!  And, let us know what you make - post photos and tag us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

Fabric Suggestions for 111 Nepali Blouse

By Molly Hamilton
on June 14, 2018

Fabric Suggestions for 111 Nepali Blouse

The 111 Nepali Blouse is one of our June 2018 Patterns of the Month! We suggest this beautiful traditional shirt of the Nepal/Tibet region be made with lightweight fabrics with drape such as rayon, velvet, or silk. Medium-weight cottons or lightweight wools are also appropriate. Traditional colors for this blouse are shades of red, pink, or purple.

PLEASE NOTE: Fabrics used as examples in blog may go out of stock from store.  If link is invalid for specific product, there may be another fabric from the supplier that you can substitute.  These suggestions are based on fabrics that are in stock at the time the blog post is written!

We have a few suggestions for picking your fabric from some of our favorite stores below.

Stone Mountain and Daughter has a large selection of silk noil, and this Eggplant Silk Noil would be gorgeous!

eggplant Silk Noil

Also from Stone Mountain and Daughter Fabric, this Double Georgette Hydrangea Print  would make a lovely blouse.  The print is a great size for this!


Michael Levine usually has an amazing selection of silk and rayon velvets , and this burnt orange would be lux!

Also, this Spiced Red Silk Velvet!  

Iridescent Silk Velvet- Spiced Red


Bolt Fabric in Portland, OR has a great selection of cottons.  I love the Kaffe Fassett shot cottons - this apricot especially - but there are dozens of colors to pick from.

Bolt Fabric also has some great prints which would make a beautiful Nepali Blouse, like this Red Floral Lawn.


If you are looking to make a more flow-y Nepali Blouse, Vogue Fabrics has some great rayons, like this Coral Challis.


Also, Harts Fabric has a great selection of rayon prints.  I really like this one!



Embroidering the 119 Sarouelles Cuff

By Molly Hamilton
on May 17, 2018

Embroidering the 119 Sarouelles Cuff

You can easily add embroidery to the cuff of the 119 Sarouelles Indian pants version.  The pattern comes with 4 embroidery patterns that can be used on the cuff (or you can create your own!), and lots of instruction.  These embroidery patterns are designed for using your basic sewing machine to do the embroidery, though you can do it by hand if you like. You will be amazed at how quickly and easily these designs and techniques work up.

I am showing a sample here of one of the patterns worked up on a cuff facing.  Normally, you would do the embroidery right onto the pants leg, and face it with the facing (in the back).  

Also know that your embroidery design does not need to match when the leg seam is sewn.  Having unmatched embroidery design at the seam is very authentic.  

What You Will Need

  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Dressmaker's carbon and tracing wheel or fine tipped washable marker (or other favorite marking tool)

Transferring the Design

We provide 4 embroidery designs for the cuffs of these pants, and they can be worked a variety of ways.  You can transfer the designs freehand (I like to use a washable fine tip marker for this, but I'm not always great at freehand, especially with precise corners!).  Or, you can use dressmaker's carbon and a tracing wheel. Working on a hard surface, secure the fabric and facing design right side up on the cuff.  Make sure you have the design 3/4" above the raw edge.  I used a couple of pattern weights when I did this sample, but the removable tape we sell would also be great!  Slide the tracing paper (carbon side down) under the pattern and trace the design with the wheel, pressing firmly.  


Embroidery Hints

Be sure to stabilize your fabric before embroidering.  I used a medium weight iron-on interfacing.  

It helps to adjust the tension of the top thread to achieve a smoother look.  The top thread should be slightly pulled to the underside of the fabric.  You can test the tension before you start (though I did it in the first pass I did).  

When making sharp curves or corners, always stop stitching with the needle down in the fabric then lift the presser foot and rotate the fabric.  

I used a zigzag stitch for this sample - with a stitch length of 0.8 and a width of 2.5.

Press the embroidery with it facing down when finished.

For straight stitching, use machine embroidery thread top-stitching thread or strong quilting thread so it will be clearly seen.

Start working on the bottom row of the design and move up toward the top of the cuff, which will be the last row you do.

You could add trim, rick-rack, or soutache instead of embroidery, especially on the very geometric designs (like this one). Or, try different color and types of thread.

Stitching on top of the copied design - narrow zigzag.

Adding new colors.

Finished cuff (this is a sample made on a cuff facing), but that's the design.  I like it! Maybe time to try it on a real pair of Sarouelles.






Fabric Suggestions for 261 Paris Promenade Dress

By Molly Hamilton
on May 14, 2018

Fabric Suggestions for 261 Paris Promenade Dress

The 261 Paris Promenade Dress is a great canvas for fabric and embellishment.  It has an uncomplicated design that creates wonderful areas for creative embellishment - around the lower skirt, on the shaped overdress, or along the front and back of the bateau neckline.  Try embroidery, applique, or decorative stitching.  The different sections of the dress are also great for putting together interesting fabric combinations, such as coordinating prints or colors, striped fabrics running in different directions, and contrast effects such as matte and shiny or smooth and textured.  You are only limited by your imagination here (and maybe your budget!).  

Below I have listed several combinations of fabric, from some of our favorite fabric stores, that will work well with this pattern.  Since this dress does call for a lot of fabric, I tried to be economical with these suggestions.  I stayed away from silk velvet and charmuese, but of course, they would be amazing in this dress!  And, of course, if you want to go that route, Michael Levine has a fairly large selection of silk velvets.

For a flowing, draping dress, choose fabrics like silk, rayon, lightweight cotton, or even jersey.  For a more defined look, choose fabrics with more body such as crisp cotton, linen, or taffeta.

PLEASE NOTE: Fabrics used as examples in blog may go out of stock from store.  If link is invalid for specific product, there may be another fabric from the supplier that you can substitute.  These suggestions are based on fabrics that are in stock at the time the blog post is written!

For an amazing look, try this rayon print with the chocolate soprano velvet for the overdress from Vogue Fabrics (use a dark brown lining fabric for the overdress lining).  Looking luxurious, but easy on the wallet!


Or, this beautiful silk crepe print on the overdress with a black silk crepe de chine for the dress and skirt from Stone Mountain and Daughter Fabrics.  A little more expensive, but so elegant!


If you want to play with stripes in the pattern - and have an easy summer dress - this pinstriped linen from Harts Fabric would be fun!  You could also pair it with this gray Florence linen (also from Harts) as the dress or overdress - or just keep it on its own.  


Or, try a couple of simple shot cottons in contrasting or complimenting colors. Bolt Fabric in Portland has these Kaffe Fassett fabrics, as does Hawthorne Threads  



Finally, there are loads of beautiful rayon prints out there.  Here are a selection from Harts Fabrics that could be mixed for the dress, overdress, and lining (use a solid or cheapest fabric for lining since you don't really see it).

Floral garnet challis with this Cotton+Steel rayon, or either with the Olive sandwashed rayon (just below).


For a real statement dress, these two rayons compliment (and contrast) each other and are bold!  But, they can also be paired with a solid rayon to subdue the look a little (navy or cornflower).


I hope this helps you think about what fabric to use for your 261 Paris Promenade Dress.  And, we would LOVE to see what you make!  Tag us on social media on your makes (or email us pictures)!

Happy sewing!




Fabric Suggestions for 119 Sarouelles

By Molly Hamilton
on May 05, 2018

Fabric Suggestions for 119 Sarouelles

The 119 Sarouelles contains patterns for 3 pants from 3 different continents.  For the African and Indian Pants, medium-weight fabrics in cotton, silk, rayon, wool, or blends are perfect.  The Turkish Pants look great in lightweight fabrics with drape, like rayon challis, or gauze.

PLEASE NOTE: Fabrics used as examples in blog may go out of stock from store.  If link is invalid for specific product, there may be another fabric from the supplier that you can substitute.  These suggestions are based on fabrics that are in stock at the time the blog post is written!

Below are some suggestions from some of our favorite fabric stores (online).

For the African or Indian Pants, this beautiful ikat is perfect!  From Stone Mountain and Daughter Fabric.

This rayon challis batik from Vogue Fabrics would be great for any of these pants, especially the Turkish ones:  

So would this cool printed rayon challis (also from Vogue Fabrics):

This Japanese import green metallic print double gauze from Harts Fabric would also be great for any of these pants!

This gorgeous viscose-wool challis blend from B&J Fabrics would be great for the African or Indian Pants.  Come in lots of colors.

Finally, this Sorrento linen from Michael Levine (navy color below) would be great for the African and Indian pants, particularly.  It comes in several colors, too.





Featured Patterns for May - 119 Sarouelles and 261 Paris Promenade Dress

By Molly Hamilton
on May 02, 2018
1 comment

Featured Patterns for May - 119 Sarouelles and 261 Paris Promenade Dress

We have two featured patterns of the month this month - the 119 Sarouelles and 261 Paris Promenade Dress!  Both easy to sew, classic, and beautiful- and are on sale this month!

Folkwear's 119 Sarouelles pattern consists of three patterns for pants from three continents - each unique yet all sharing similarities of cut.  These pants are comfortable, timeless, and practical, and will be perfect in your wardrobe!  African Sarouelles, sized for men and women (above, top), have a simple drawstring waist and taper to the ankle.  The Turkish pants (above, middle) are full and flowing and gathered at the waist and ankles.  The The Indian pants (above, bottom) are gathered in the front above the thigh into a wide hip panel and drawstring waist.  Shaped cuffs are faced and can be traditionally embellished with embroidery.  Instructions and four embroidery designs for the cuff come with the pattern, as well as an extensive history of these pants!  And, all of these pants are quick and easy to sew!  As an added bonus, there is little wasted fabric when making these pants because they are cut with a traditional no-waste design.

The 261 Paris Promenade Dress is inspired by fashion from the early 1920's, when loose, flowing gowns, reminiscent of Classical Greek clothing, was popular.  This simple, but elegant, dress is made from just three main pattern pieces.  The different sections of the dress (dress/skirt, overdress, and lining) are great for putting together interesting fabric combinations for contrast effects -either with different prints, colors, stripes, or textures.  The full dress shape is defined at the waist by a self-fabric sash (or can be made from decorative cord).  This pattern also comes with a pattern for a period drawstring bag with instructions for making your own cording and tassels, as well as a history of fashion of the time.  This flattering dress comes together quickly and is fairly easy to sew.  


Sew and Tell: 264 Monte Carlo Dress

By Molly Hamilton
on April 24, 2018

Sew and Tell: 264 Monte Carlo Dress

Today, we welcome a guest post by Rita DeWitt, who made an amazing 264 Monte Carlo Dress


PROJECT: Folkwear 264 Monte Carlo Dress made with Up-cycled Vintage Silk Kimonos

MY PROJECT GOAL:  Make a unique and inexpensive family wedding reception dress using up-cycled silk kimonos…and have fun doing it!

CHOOSING THE PATTERN:  I began with Folkwear Vintage Pattern #264 for a period Monte Carlo dress “a sleek slip dress in the 1920’s flapper style” (from pattern description). I did not use the coordinating tunic top pattern, as I already had a purchased one.  The design is a simple scooped neckline, shoulder straps, a loose torso, and a bias “twirl” skirt. No zippers or fastenings or buttons or complications.

CHOOSING FABRICS:  I purchased a bulk kimono order from YokoDana Kimono’s vintage silk kimonos. I chose three peach and ivory colored kimonos whose colors harmonized.  I laid out the three kimonos for visual compatibility with my purchased blue velvet tasseled over-garment.

Since I am a “big American woman,” I would need three of the kimonos for adequate yardage, using one kimono for the bodice, and one kimono for each half of the skirt. Choosing three different fabrics allowed a nice variety of color and style.

Sample of vintage silk kimono fabrics from Yoko Dana.

CONSTRUCTION  PLANNING AND MAKING AESTHETIC CHOICES:  I kept the original kimonos’ sewing and linings intact, as the Folkwear pattern pieces are very simple. I used only the lower part of the kimonos and parts of two sleeves for this dress. That leaves the upper parts of all three kimonos mostly intact for further up-cycling.  Since I left all the original stitching in place, and the linings (even parts of the front kimono “flaps”), I ended up with a fully lined dress. The lined silk pieces for the skirt were much heavier fabric than the design called for, but they gave a very full, luxuriant presence.

Sewing tip: if you want to use the kimono fabric with its linings, I suggest that you stay-stitch the linings to the fabric pieces (all loose edges) immediately after you cut the pattern pieces from the kimono. And you definitely want to stay-stitch any bias-cut edges.

Below is the Folkwear Pattern #264 Monte Carlo dress with  my selected thread colors. This pattern was chosen because it is a simple drop tunic which consisted of only three main pattern pieces (bodice front, bodice back, and skirt) which could easily be cut from the flat kimono lower areas. No complicated sleeves, a simple strap for the shoulders, no buttons, no zippers, no other fastenings or detailing. The simple structure also allowed the beauty of the vintage fabrics to be a main focus.

FINISHED BODICE TOP:  After sewing the bodice, I machine embroidered the seams and edges with a rayon Sulky thread in a rich yellow-gold. I stitched down the middle front, around the armholes, and along pieces that I had to patchwork fit to improvise  the torso wide enough for moi.

Machine stitching around neck and armholes shows white bobbin thread on inside of bodice, and gold spool thread on outside of bodice. Stitching down center front was decorative as well as structural. The bodice/top was embroidered after construction, but before attaching the skirt.

The inner linings of the kimonos were patterned fabrics also, as is visible here on the back inside of the bodice and armhole at right.

DETAIL VIEW OF BODICE PIECING:  This finished view of a side seam in the bodice area shows pieced fabric scraps which fill a pattern area not covered by the original kimono fabric. This was emphasized by gold embroidery and topstitching rather than trying to disguise the patchwork construction.

Attached skirt is visible at lower left.

HEM DETAILS OF FINISHED DRESS:  As was noted, the kimono garments were cut apart, but were kept with their original individual linings intact. The fluid design of the skirt allowed movement to show the original kimono linings as well as the surface silks.

After the skirt was attached, I machine embroidered along the hem edges of the skirt, as some of the vintage hand stitching that held the linings in place was fragile. On the hem edges, I used the full embroidery stitch in most places where the combined lining/fabric was thinner. But where there was a heavy facing, I kept stitching with the same yellow thread, but switched it to a single basting stitch, carrying the color onward. Some parts of the kimono construction were just too thick to machine embroider without breaking thread.

CLOSER VIEW OF HEM DETAILS:  Machine embroidery on hem was done to stabilize linings as well as to embellish. On the run, I switched between embroidery stitches to accommodate thinner or thicker fabrics. I used a range from more decorative stitches on light areas, to a basting stitch in very thick fabric areas. Machine embroidery was done with gold spool thread on outside of hem and white bobbin thread showing on inside linings.

FINISHED GARMENT FRONT: Here is my finished garment, shown with a purchased 1980’s vintage blue velvet over-cape edged with beaded tassels. I wore the two with a beaded period macramé necklace with incorporated pink seashell and dropped beading.  So fun!

FINISHED GARMENT BACK:  Back view of Monte Carlo dress with velvet vintage over-cape. Back of macrame necklace counter-weight shows at neckline.


CLOSE-UP OF FINISHED DRESS FRONT:  Here is a little close up of the details on the bodice with the over-cape.

PROJECT RESULTS: I enjoyed “up-cycling” the silk kimonos and got unexpected and unusual effects because of that. The beautiful inner lining colors showed on the skirting when the dress was in motion. I had to change my embroidery patterns to accommodate fabric weights, which actually gave more variety.

The structure of the Folkwear pattern allowed me to utilize vintage kimonos effectively. When worn, the silk fabric combined with the design of the pattern made me feel elegant.

At the family wedding reception I received numerous compliments, even some from the event’s wedding professionals! I was VERY happy with my results.



All text and photographs copyright Rita DeWitt, 2017 and 2018.

Kids Clothes Week and a Sale

By Molly Hamilton
on April 18, 2018

Kids Clothes Week and a Sale

Kids Clothes Week (KCW) is a challenge, organized by a few mom-sewists, to spend one hour each day of one week sewing clothing for the children in your life.  They have a fun website with lots of resources on patterns and sewing, a great community where people post their pictures, and a fun blog.  I have participated many times in the past, and just found out that there is new week coming up (next week)!  

This is such a fun challenge and I always enjoyed being intentional about sewing for my kids.  Sometimes I would get a couple of items sewn up, sometimes I would just get a few projects cut out, but it always got me planning and working on fun projects for them. 

This season, Kids Clothes Week will be April 23-29, 2018, and the theme is Fresh. Read more here.  You can find out more about Kids Clothes Week here, and sign up for the challenge here.  

This would be a great week to work on some of Folkwear's kids patterns!  We have a great selection of children's patterns. And to get your inspired to sew for the kids in your life for Kids Clothes Week, they will be on sale from today (April 17) to the end of KCW!

Happy Sewing (for kids)!

Folkwear Postcards

By Molly Hamilton
on April 14, 2018

Folkwear Postcards

Did you know that April is National Card and Letter Writing Month (as designated by the USPS)?

We have been sending postcards out with our orders for the last year as a fun way to thank you for your order and to provide updated contact information. We love the beautiful (Gretchen Schields) artwork on the cards, and thought you would too!  Do you ever use your postcards?  We would love to know where they end up!  In case you haven't been using them -I mean, they are lovely stuck on a fridge or on your wall, so that's totally fine too - but if you haven't been mailing them, we have a few ideas for you!

  • Write a friend that you haven't seen in a while.  A surprise note in the mail always brightens someone's day!
  • Leave a random note of kindness in a public location (no littering) for a stranger to find (like in a library book or on a coffee shop table, etc.).  You never know how much it may mean to someone!
  • Use them for your thank you note. 
  • Send it with your sewing (or knitting, etc.) creation if your project is a gift for someone.
  • You can always send us a note to let use know what you are making, what you love (or don't) about our patterns, or ideas for new patterns.  We love fan mail!
  • Send a letter to an enlisted soldier through Soldiers' Angels
  • Write your US Representatives!

And, share your ideas in the comments on this post and let us know what great uses you have (or will) put the postcards to!