March 10, 2017 15 Comments
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
January 29, 2019
I have a stack of old Folkwear Patterns in my stash that I’ve had forever…they were $4.50 so they are really old! Let me check… yes 1978-1980. In fact, a Gibson Girl and Armistice Blouse are on my current make list, hopefully they still have all their pieces! I’ll have to grade them up as I am somewhat less, er, more than I was then. I am so glad you are still around and still making groovy patterns. I will no doubt be adding to the pile soon.
October 14, 2018
I just read this part of the website about the founders of the company and how it came to be.
I have 6 of the patterns and hope to post some photos in the next few months. So happy to have found this pattern company!! Thank you.
August 20, 2018
Met Molly today at Stone Mountain And Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. Thank you! It was fascinating and fun and friendly.
I am the one who spoke of sewing Folkwear for dancing and singing groups since I was 15. So many men’s shirts and vests! My husband’s embroidered wedding shirt. My children’s River Boatman favorites.
Here is to your work on keeping Folkwear viable. Looking forward to great new and old patterns.
Warm Regards, Jeri
January 02, 2018
Do you have a catalog? I would like one if you do.
159 Six Mile Canyon Rd.
Dayton, NV 89403
Best regards, Janice Johnson
February 22, 2019
Lovely to know! Just ordered two more as I was craving the Nepalese blouse which will give some punch to my wardrobe. Thank you for sizing up the patterns.