Folkwear Patterns For All

By Molly Hamilton
on January 23, 2019

Folkwear Patterns For All

You have asked for them . . . and Folkwear has worked on getting more patterns graded to larger sizes into the mix.  Many people are surprised by how many plus-sized patterns we have!  We have graded some patterns up, produced patterns in larger sizes, and worked to make sure everyone who sews might be able to use some Folkwear patterns.  Including patterns for women (and men) of all sizes is important to Folkwear. 

We have grouped our patterns below into patterns made in just one size (one-size-fits-all), patterns that go up to Misses Extra Large (XL or size 22-24), 2XL (or size 26-28), and 3XL (size 30-32).  Most of these are sized are according to our own grade rule, though some of the early patterns are sized according to height, or were labeled slightly differently.  

Patterns with an (*) beside the name are also sized for men, which means they have been graded up a bit farther than the misses sizes, depending on the pattern.

For a PDF version of this chart - for downloading or printing - click here.  Note: this chart is not as up-to-date at the list below.

To see our grade rule (sizing chart), click here.  

One Size (check pattern for finished measurements):

132 Moroccan Burnoose*

150 Hungarian Szur*

151 Japanese Hakama & Kataginu*

152 Scottish Kilt*

207 Kinsale Cloak

271 Sunset Wrap 

Patterns that go up to XL (or size 22-24):

112 Japanese Field Clothing*

113 Japanese Kimono*

131 Tibetian Chupa & Skirt

133 Belgian Military Chief's Jacket*

135 Jewels of India (PDF pattern)

137 Australian Drover's Coat*

139 Vietnamese Ao Dai

140 Flamenco Dress & Practice Skirt

141 Korean Han-Bok

145 Chinese Pajamas*

153 Siberian Park

202 Victorian Shirt*

219 Intimacies

231 Big Sky Riding Skirt

254 Swing Coat

255 Swing Suit

261 Paris Promenade Dress

263 Countryside Frock Coat*

264 Monte Carlo Dress

503 Poiret Cocoon Coat

Patterns that go to 2XL:

104 Egyptian Shirt 

108 Turkish Dancer

111 Nepali Blouse 

116 Shirts of Ukraine and Russia*

117 Croatian Shirt*

119 Sarouelles

120 Navajo Blouse and Skirt

126 Vests of Greece and Poland

130 Australian Bush Outfit*

135 Jewels of India (PDF pattern, Kurta Shirt)

143 Japanese Michiyuki

144 Tribal Style Belly Dancer

204 Missouri River Boatman's Shirt*

240 Rosie the Riveter

242 Rodeo Cowgirl Jacket

243 Rodeo Cowgirl Skirt

251 Varsity Jacket

252 Beach Pyjamas

253 Vintage Bathing Costume

256 At The Hop (1950's)

264 Monte Carlo Dress

266 Greek Island Dress

508 Traveling Suit

Patterns up to 3XL (or size 30-32)

121 Guatemalan Gabacha

122 Hong Kong Cheongsam

124 Bolivian Milkmaid's Jacket

134 South Asian Tops & Wraps

142 Old Mexico Dress

157 Moroccan Djellaba

203 Edwardian Underthings

205 Gibson Girl Blouse

209 Walking Skirt

210 Armistice Blouse

215 Empire Dress

223 A Lady's Chemise

227 Edwardian Gown 

247 Lindy Shirt Dress

249 1930's Day Dress

250 Hollywood Pants 

267 M' Lady's Corset

268 Metropolitan Suit

270 Metro Middy Blouse



April 2018 Patterns of the Month! 131 Tibetan Chupa and 223 A Lady's Chemise

By Molly Hamilton
on April 01, 2018

April 2018 Patterns of the Month!  131 Tibetan Chupa and 223 A Lady's Chemise

Our 131 Tibetan Chupa pattern is based on the authentic garment worn as part of the traditional dress for men and women of the Tibetan region of the Himalayas.  For centuries, the chupa (or chuba) was worn with added layers of shirts, aprons, woolen sashes, and a panel coat.  Today, you can wear this on its own or with a blouse for a beautiful modern look.  Our chupa features a wrap front and shaping that results in a slimming silhouette.  The dress is not a full wrap because you step into the skirt portion (or pull over), so will never flap open! 

Sized for Missses Extra Small to Extra Large, it also includes a pattern for a chupa-inspired skirt.  This is a simple garment to sew and very easy to fit.  You can make it in various lengths from above knee to maxi length (I love my above-knee chupa).   This is a such a flattering pattern - and perfect for spring.  It can be worn in this changing weather - layered in cooler temps, and on its own in warmer ones, taking you right into the next season!

We are also featuring the 223 A Lady's Chemise this month.  Usually hand-stitched of fine lawn or muslin, the chemise was the garment worn next to a lady's skin in the Victorian era.  Today, our Lady's Chemise is the perfect nightgown or simple summer dress, or shirt.  Delicate pleats accent the center front and back of the neckline (which is adjustable with ribbon drawstrings), and the short cap sleeves are gathered and ruffled.  This garment can be cut at knee length for a gown/dress or at the hip to make a blouse. We also include instructions and alphabet designs for a Victorian monogram and authentic detailing.

These patterns are on sale all month, so get yours today! 

Isn't this a gorgeous setting?  We do most of our photo shoots now at my husband's grandparents home, a historic inn that his artist great-grandmother decorated in the 1910s (and it hasn't changed much since then!).

Fabric suggestions - #225 Childhood Dreams

By Molly Hamilton
on July 20, 2017

Fabric suggestions - #225 Childhood Dreams

Our #225 Childhood Dreams pattern is on sale for all of July.  This cute dress or nightgown is really a fairly easy garment to sew. And, one of the really fun things about it are all the adorable and beautiful prints out there to make it in.  This garment can be made with cotton lawn, voile, flannel, or even quilting cottons - and there are so many choices.  Even I had a very hard time trying to make any specific suggestions for this post.  Instead, I am going with one fabric in a "collection" or group of fabrics.  Enjoy! And, don't forget to post what your sew on Instagram and Facebook and tag us!  We want to see what you make!

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!

jess and jean.jpg

A Liberty of London Tana Lawn, of course.  For an heirloom dress of beauty and softness, this is hard to beat.  (this is Jess and Jean from Bolt Neighborhood Fabric Boutique)


Best Tree On The Lot Holiday Lights Quilting Fabric - White

This pattern would also make a perfect Christmas nightgown.  And, Christmas fabrics are now hitting the fabric stores.  This one is at The Fabric Depot.


And, there are many adorable flannel prints (and plaids, which would also be pretty) available (Hart's Fabric has this one in their large collection).  I love the elephants, of course, because of the great memories of Africa!



Pattern Profile: Greek Island Dress

By Molly Hamilton
on May 15, 2017

Greek Island Dress #266

Greek Island Dress with jacket

Greek Island Dress with jacket, back

Greek Island Dress with tunic

Greek Island Dress with tunic, back

Greek Island Dress with tunic, sleeves

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 Greek Island Dress line drawingsloose 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!



Bonnie's Pattern Shop - a Folkwear stockist

By Molly Hamilton
on May 11, 2017

Bonnie's Pattern Shop - a Folkwear stockist

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:




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!

Pattern Profile: #107 Afghan Nomad Dress

By Molly Hamilton
on March 20, 2017

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. 


The History of Folkwear

By Molly Hamilton
on March 10, 2017

Founders of Folkwear - from Fiber Arts Magazine

The History of Folkwear
In the mid-1970s, three California women, Barbara Garvey, Alexandra (Jacopetti) Hart, and Ann Wainwright, founded Folkwear to share their passion for finely crafted ethnic clothing with other lovers of fiber and fabric. The garments they collected during travels to other countries served as models for the earliest Folkwear patterns, including #101 Gaza Dress and #106 Turkish Coat. As the three began collecting vintage garments in addition to ethnic, the pattern line expanded to include all types of historic styles from all around the world.

 Photo from Fiber Arts Magazine

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 America was bland and conservative. Ann was trained in the fashion trade and was the company's pattern maker, Alexandra was an embroidery aficionado and researched all the embellishment techniques featured in the patterns, and Barbara was particularly interested in preserving traditional and vintage garments as a basis for contemporary creative inspiration.

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.

In 1998, Taunton decided to focus on its core book/magazine publishing business and sold the Folkwear division to Lark Books, publisher of Fiberarts magazine and assorted craft books, located in Asheville, North Carolina. Kate Mathews, former Fiberarts editor and author of several Lark sewing titles, was hired to manage Folkwear. She was familiar with Folkwear, having sewn with the patterns since their beginning and having sold them in her weaving and fiber supply store in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the 1970s.

 Kate Mathews in an article for the Asheville Citizen Times in 2009.


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 Missouri River Boatman's Shirt). Different patterns have been used in monasteries, Buddhist ashrams, and in children's hospitals (worn by traditionally-costumed Santas). There has even been a custom seamstress who made Folkwear's Victorian patterns in sheer and transparent fabrics for the adult entertainment industry. From theme weddings (Scottish, 1920s, and Japanese) to everyday wear that is more interesting than jeans and tee-shirts, Folkwear offers the perfect pattern.

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


Welcome to Folkwear's new website!

By Molly Hamilton
on March 08, 2017
1 comment

Welcome to Folkwear's new website!

Welcome to Folkwear’s new website! We are so excited to have this new website, shop, and blog in order to share with you Folkwear patterns, and information on sewing, costuming, embellishing, and the history and culture of all our sewing patterns. The new on-line shop is fabulous!  It will be easier to navigate, easy to place your order, and (maybe most exciting for you!) most shipping prices will be lower than ever before!

The shop is organized by categories, and each pattern has illustrations, pictures, and line drawings.  We plan for the blog to showcase our patterns, provide sew-alongs and tutorials, and feature relevant news and events in fashion and sewing. There should be fun things to check out here on a regular basis! And, you can subscribe to our newsletter by entering your email address at the bottom of our page. Thanks for joining us!