June 05, 2017
May 19, 2017 2 Comments on 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.
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!
May 15, 2017
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 loose 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!
I love the great small businesses that stock Folkwear patterns! They are fabric stores, sewing supply shops, online retailers, specialists in historic costuming, and on and on. Folkwear can be found in their shops all through the US, and also in Canada, the U.K., the Netherlands, and Germany. These stores and shops are committed to providing high quality sewing supplies and fabulous customer service. You can see a list of all the companies who stock Folkwear patterns on our Stockist page.
I am going to occasionally post short interviews with Folkwear stockists here on the blog, so you can learn about these great small businesses and check out what else they do.
Bonnie's Pattern Shop has been selling Folkwear patterns for over 8 years.
Tell us a little about your business.
I began selling patterns online around 2001, and it quickly grew. I offer a wide range of patterns (over 350 different patterns!) for the family, home, pets, and crafts. I specialize in designs from independent pattern companies not found in most stores. I offer many patterns for historic costumes ranging from medieval through the mid-1900s. I have a large selection of patterns for Colonial, Pioneer, Victorian, Western, and Civil War ear clothing.
I also carry many patterns for Native American moccasins and costumes for Pow Wows. I offer many patterns for gymnastics and skating costumes as well. My customers have included movie, TV, and theater production companies. I love being in the pattern business.
How can people find you?
I am on several sites: www.bonniespatternshop.com
Anything else you want to let us know about?
Customer service is extremely important! I take care in preparing packages to arrive safely to the buyers. Packages are mailed promptly and buyers are sent confirmation with tracking numbers.
So many patterns! Thanks, Bonnie!
I just finished watching my first episode of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries on PBS, and though I've heard a lot about the great clothing on the show (and it is great), Miss Fisher's hats were my favorite. I love the colors, embellishments, and the style. They are fabulous and she wears them well!
We are featuring the #269 Metropolitan Hat this month (May) in our store. It is a great hat to start building your own hat collection, and similar in style to Miss Fisher. There are so many ways to interpret this hat - from floppy linens to structured wools, fabric prints, and pins, bands, flowers, or your own creation to add to the brim. This hat can be a statement piece or a casual sun hat (and it makes a great sun hat!). I created a new Pinterest board that is starting off with hat inspiration for the Metropolitan Hat (Board is called Hats and Bags, so I'll be filling it up with Folkwear hat and bag photos and inspirations). The Metropolitan Hat is on sale this month!
All the hat inspiration also came from the excitement leading up to the Kentucky Derby - and all the amazing creations coming from that event (or series of events). One of my best friends is from Louisville and she always shares photos of her friends attending Oaks and Derby in their incredible hats. I love seeing the creativity and color of those hats. My friend also pointed to Dee's Hats as great place to get hats made in Louisville, and their website was fun to look at, so if you love hats, you should check it out.
Happy Hat Making!
And, as always, we love to see what people are making, so tag us if you post pictures on Instagram or Facebook or Pinterest. Or, join the Facebook Folkwear Patterns Sewing Group and let us all see what you've made!
Sometimes it is hard to find just the right fabric for your sewing project. Especially since local fabric stores carrying a wide selection of garment fabrics are not a reality for many of us. Often, we are left with the option of online fabric shopping.
Shopping for fabric online can be daunting. Is the color going to be right? the weight? the texture? fabric content?
A couple of things I do to make sure (or at least as close to sure as I can be) that I get good fabric that works for the garment I am making are:
So, after all those tips, I am going to leave you with a few fabrics I would love to use to make our Japanese Kimono. We picked these out from some of the fabric stores we trust as online sources., but there are many more out there, so you can see this as just a starting point.
Rifle Paper Co Wonderland Black from Harts Fabric. This is a beautiful and popular fabric. 100% rayon. $14.79/yard.
Japanese Dragons - Blue from Stone Mountain & Daughter Fabrics. 100% cotton. $11.90/yard
Rayon Challis Crane Print - Red from Stone Mountatin & Daughter Fabrics. Rayon challis with a fluid drape and hand. This light fabric and a pretty print would make a beautiful and drape-y kimono. $11/yard.
Bruce Botanical Satin Faced Silk Print from Vogue Fabrics. This is a beautiful print that I think would make a lovely kimono. 100% silk. $12.99/yard.
Sunstone Abstract Cotton Print from Vogue Fabrfics. 100% cotton, medium weight batic. $8.99/yard.
Geishas and Ginkos - Purple from Michael Levin. 100% chambray. $13.75/yard.
Genuine Handwoven Ikat - Raspberry/Gray from Michael Levin. 100% cotton. A traditional eastern look - very beautiful. $18.50/yard.
April 17, 2017
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! **
April 01, 2017 7 Comments on About me
I thought I should probably tell you all a little about myself! I am Molly Hamilton, the current owner of Folkwear. I am a relatively new owner of Folkwear, just taking over at the end of December 2016 (more of the history here), and I am slowly working on transitioning Folkwear to be more digitally accessible, while remaining true to its roots - and fun to explore and learn!
I grew up in a small farming town in northeastern North Carolina (considered “the South” in the US), where my grandparents were very influential in my life. My grandfather was a farmer and my grandmother a farm wife who cooked, raised 3 daughters, and was an amazing seamstress.
I learned to sew from my grandmother. As a child, I hand-sewed Barbie dresses and machine-sewed lined notebook paper so I would learn to sew straight lines. I finally got into sewing with patterns when I was in college, and I loved it! I sewed through college - mostly concentrating on important dresses that I loved but rarely wore.
I got married to a wonderful man soon after graduating from college, and moved to the beautiful mountains of NC, near Asheville, where my husband’s family has a farm (two actually). Here is where we remain, excepting 2 years when we lived in Raleigh and went to graduate school. I have worked part-time for NC State University for nearly 13 years, doing Extension outreach for organic grain production in our state. Here you can see the farming influence from my grandfather. Agriculture, especially sustainable agriculture, is important to me.
However, I got more excited about sewing after I had my first baby 12 years ago, and a friend gave me a baby present of a large bag filled with sewing patterns for children, cute girly fabrics, thread, and lots of gorgeous trim and notions. I had so much fun with that present! I started sewing as much as I could - clothes for my children, clothes for myself, items for the house.
We now have 4 children - 2 girls and 2 boys (ages from 12 to 4). They love getting the clothes I make for them and I love to sew for them. They are wonderful children - delightful, fun, and lots of work! They are a priority (which is why I am usually not at the Folkwear office in the afternoon/after-school hours), and I love being their mother.
In the last few years I started drafting patterns for myself and my children. I enjoyed it, even though most of the time I had no idea what I was doing - but it worked (mostly!). I also got more involved in the local sewing and art scene, and last year exhibited two outfits I made for a juried Local Cloth fashion show.
I love working for Folkwear and love this company. When I am not sewing or working or taking care of my family, I love to hike (right from my house), garden, read, and just sit and watch the view.
I love to hear from customers too, and see what you all are making. We have a new Facebook Group for customers and fans to share what they are making, ask advice, and chat. It is called Folkwear Patterns Sewing Group. So, join if you are on Facebook and we will get to know each other!
March 28, 2017 4 Comments on Did you know . . . ??
Though I have been a fan of Folkwear for years, I am still the “new” owner of Folkwear, and I am learning a LOT about this company as I go about the daily business of its business. I am trying to wrap my head around the 40 years of history of this independent pattern company, and all the work, details, and passion and so many women have put into (speaking of which, I loved reading the comments from this blog post from Fringe Association). So, I thought I would list a few interesting facts I’ve learned about Folkwear over the past months,
Did you know . . .
March 20, 2017 2 Comments on Pattern Profile: #107 Afghan Nomad Dress
I am starting a series of blog posts (called "Pattern Profiles") that will provide a little more information on each pattern - from its history to geographical, cultural, and historical context, to sewing info. I won't be going in pattern numerical order, but will be picking patterns due to their popularity, seasonality, or perhaps just by whim. So, I hope you'll follow along and enjoy! (and feel free to suggest a pattern for us to cover)
And, I want to start this series with #107 Afghan Nomad Dress. This dress has gotten some love lately: a few customers have sent me pictures of their creations (above), and one is being shown right now at the NYC Museum of Art and Design exhibit "Counter-Couture" (the very top one). It seems everyone who has made this dress loves it.
The pattern features a full skirt and high-waisted bodice, with full three-piece sleeves and arm gussets. With no zippers or button closures (just an opening in the back), this dress is not hard to construct, and can be a way to display multiple beautiful fabrics.
This dress is traditionally worn by nomadic women in Afghanistan and neighboring countries (along the "Silk Road"). Typically, the dresses have embroidery at all the openings - neck, cuffs, and hem. This is said to repel evil spirits. The Folkwear pattern includes three traditional embroidery patterns, as well as some techniques for adding fringe, beads, and shisha mirrors.
Various fabrics are often used in one dress - plain or printed cotton, silk, and sometimes patches of velvet. To be most authentic when making this dress, you can mix colors and prints will wild abandon! The traditional costume is completed by a veil hanging down the back and gathered trousers under the skirt. But, this dress is great however you wish to wear it.
March 12, 2017
It seems like the 1960s and 70s are “in” right now. There has been a renewed interest in the era of free love, peace movements, and the creativity that sprang from youth of the time, especially around fashion. The 1960s and 1970s were known for the renewed and creative use of traditional textile craft such as embroidery, applique, dying, and crochet in clothing to create unique and colorful garments. There is a great article in this month's Vanity Fair about the summer of 1967 and its impact on fashion and culture in America - the era from which Folkwear sprang (note: link only show pictures from article, you must be a subscriber to read the article).
This month a new exhibit called “Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in American Counterculture” opened at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City. This exhibition was organized by Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington, and curated by Guest Curator Michael Cepress. And, Folkwear has a connection to it!
One of the original Folkwear dresses is in the collection on display. Alexandra Jacopetti Hart, one of the founders of Folkwear designed and created the dress when creating the Afghan Nomad Dress (#107) pattern when they founded the company in the mid 1970s.
Folkwear's #107 Afghan Nomad Dress on exhibit at the NY MAD Counter-Couture exhibit. Made by Alexandra Hart.
If you want to check out the exhibit, click on any of the links below and you will see great photos of the garments on display - and learn quite a bit more about the period and fashion. See if you can spot Folkwear’s Afghan Nomad Dress! Bonus if you can find a version of the Gaza Dress (#101) in there too!
Exhibit is open until August 10, 2017
Links to view exhibit (if you can't make it to NYC):Exhibition Link Online with photos of the installation: http://madmuseum.org/exhibition/counter-couture
New York Times Video:
Arts Summary - A Visual Tour:
March 10, 2017 16 Comments on The History of Folkwear
The History of Folkwear
In the mid-1970s, three
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
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.
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 The male actors in the first television episode of The Lonesome Dove all wore a Folkwear pattern (#204
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! And, Gretchen Schields has continued to illustrate nearly all of the patterns since the inception of the company until 2017, contributing to the iconic images associated with Folkwear patterns.
-- written by Kate Mathews - fiber artist, sewer, weaver, and former owner of Folkwear