September 19, 2017 2 Comments on Outlander Costumes and Folkwear
September 06, 2017 2 Comments on Folkwear's 2017 Fall Costume Guide
August 14, 2017
August 04, 2017
August 01, 2017 1 Comment on August News from Folkwear
July 29, 2017
On our second day in England, we took a train to Bath to see some sites and visit the Fashion Museum there. The Romans built the first "baths" here in 74 AD, and the town of Bath grew up around them. Eventually, by the late 1700s, Bath became a fashionable place to come for the healing waters and to be "seen". It is still a quaint and beautiful town with great shops and cultural sites.
We headed first to the Fashion Museum. I've heard about this museum for a while - always touted as a "must-see". And, it really was a gem! Located in the Assembly Rooms (the place to be in 19th century England), the museum is well set up, small, and beautiful.
Two exhibitions were on display at the museum when we were there: A History of Fashion in 100 Objects and Lace in Fashion. They were well curated and simply impressive. The 3 children we had with us enjoyed the museum as well. The exhibitions kept them interested and there were some fun activities (great dress up and some fashion plates to color).
I found a few garments of interest to Folkwear in the 100 Objects exhibit - either because they were garments that Folkwear has patterns for or because some the details of the garments relate to a Folkwear pattern. There were also a few garments that I was inspired to learn more about, as possible future Folkwear patterns.
A quilted skirt from the mid-1700s. Skirt were quilted, just like our 206 Quilted Prairie Skirt, to provide more warmth for the garment. Quilting provides interest and beauty to the garment while being practical. I had not realized that quilted skirts had been around for a while!
A frock coat from the 1790s. This fine English wool coat is well-cut and handsome. These coats became popular about this time because of its simplicity, which mirrored the popular "back to nature" philosophy of the time. Some critics derided this fashion because originally a "frock" was a working man's dress, but these had become popular in the upper classes. Folkwear has a pattern for a frock coat (263 Countryside Frock Coat) but is cut differently than this one.
Traveling suit from the 1910s, specifically, right around the time of WWI. This would not have been called a suit at the time, since men wore suits and this was obviously for women. Also, remarkable is the fact that this was the first dress/skirt that was shortened to above the ankle - so became an important (and slightly shocking) garment. Folkwear's 508 Traveling Suit is very similar to this one.
A Chinese influenced Beach Pyjamas. These beach pyjamas are made of silk and include Chinese embroidery. Beach Pyjamas were some of the first pants that women wore, and helped usher in their popularity. You could make a set like these with our 252 Beach Pyjamas.
I also loved the Lace in Fashion exhibit, as I admire lace, the history of it, how it is made, its beauty, and how it can be used. I usually don't have the confidence to use lace in most of my sewing, but I am now inspired to try more.
This is one garment in the Lace exhibit that related to Folkwear patterns - this cocoon coat had lace overlaid on the upper/collar part of the coat and at the lower sleeves. It was a beautiful coat and a unique way to use lace in this garment. Our 503 Poiret Cocoon Coat is very similar.
I am only posting this gown above because I literally fell in love with it. The lace overlay, the colors, the cut, the metallic gems on the sides, the design - I loved it all. This was my personal favorite, and my heart aches a little when I think of it (see, I really did fall in love with it).
After visiting this wonderful little museum, we headed toward the Roman Bath, but we stopped by a trim store that caught our eye with its colorful window display. VV Rouleaux was the most interesting and prettiest trim shop I've ever seen. I bought some braided buttons and some leather fringe trim, but I could have spent lots more time (and money) there! They have a shop online as well, which I will definitely be returning to.
Finally, on our way back to the train station, we stopped at a tiny little quilt and sewing store where I found a beautiful striped cotton fabric, so bought a few meters (for what project, I don't know yet).
So, all in all, our fashionable trip to Bath was quite a success. I hope to get back again!
July 12, 2017
#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!
July 03, 2017
June 22, 2017 1 Comment on 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.
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).
June 14, 2017 2 Comments on My trip to Southern Africa
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.
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.
June 05, 2017