March 28, 2019 4 Comments on Why I Started a Folkwear Clothing Line
Folkwear has been a beloved pattern company since it started over 40 years ago in California. The women who founded Folkwear did so because they were inspired by clothing from other countries, cultures, and time periods. They appreciated the design, textiles, and handwork of the clothing (comfort, practicality, and beauty all in one). This vision has underlined Folkwear's mission as it has released sewing patterns throughout these many years.
It had been in the back of Kate's (the last owner) mind for several years that a clothing line based on Folkwear patterns would be a natural next step when increasing the capacity of the business. I was interested in the idea since there are so many great designs and possibilities. And, it became a goal when I had people stop and ask me where I got my clothes every time I wore my Folkwear garments out (especially when they were in textiles sourced globally). Lots of people in real life and on-line ask about Folkwear's clothes and don't sew or want to sew their own.
I thought about what I wanted the vision for Folkwear Clothing to be. I wanted to start small (to figure it out and do it well). I wanted the line to be sustainable, to celebrate global textiles and artisans, to link different countries and cultures. I wanted the line to be of classic designs (like most of our patterns) that are easy to fit, cover at least 3-seasons, and are not too "trendy". I want these clothes to last, to be worn and loved. I wanted to start with simple designs and textiles that I love. I also wanted to provide jobs with this enterprise, to support artisans and companies doing great work, internationally and domestically.
So, I started with three patterns - the Tibetan Chupa skirt, the Sarouelles (African pants), and the Japanese Hapi. I chose fabrics that are iconic of places in the world - African Wax Prints, handwoven ikat, and hand block-printed cotton. The African Wax Prints are from Ghana and Nigeria. The ikat is from India, as well as the block-printed cottons. The block-printed cotton is actually organic cotton and is made in a fair-trade factory in Jaipur, India. The clothes are being made in a small factory in Hendersonville, NC (just about 45 minutes from Folkwear). This factory produces high-quality clothing, made by skilled textile workers (something our state is known for!).
These garments are beautiful, easy-to-wear, and fun. They are perfect for easy days - wearing out and about, lounging at home, vacations, hanging out with friends, etc.
Sustainability is important to me, and I want to source fabric, as much as possible, that is produced in a sustainable manner for the environment and communities - organic fibers, low-impact dyes, fair trade. "locally-made". We want to reduce or eliminate fabric scraps (another step in sustainability of the clothing line), and have made travel pouches from the African Wax Print scraps. Some fabric waste is used in packaging, and some will be re-used for Folkwear samples. We even have some extra fabric for sale in our shop.
So, this clothing line (and travel pouch group) is now on sale in our on-line shop!
Coming this summer, we will have the Sunset Wrap made with hand-spun and dyed organic cotton, grown, spun, and woven in Burkina Faso. And, the Sarafan from the Russian Settlers' Dress - made in a lovely yard-dyed organic linen.
So, please check out Folkwear Clothing!
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I am excited about this venture of Folkwear! Thank you so much for being along for the journey!
March 31, 2019
I was told you had East Indian clothing patterns. Do you?
March 29, 2019
Enjoyed reading your article on your clothing line at folkwear. Many of us sewists would like fabric from Japan or India to make our folkwear clothing. But, this kind of fabric is not easy to find. I especially love ikat. If you do happen to find smething, the choices are very limited.
Please give this some thought.
March 29, 2019
Dear Molly, so glad to see you branching out like this! I once did a Riverboatman’s shirt (forget the number) with the hand-stitched reinforcement bit at the bottom of the front opening in handwoven natural white cotton from Mexico as a ready-to-wear garment sold in our Ethnic Accessories branch exactly 40 years ago!
I am preparing something in the way of a new idea for you/Folkwear that is taking me more time than it should, but at 80 you just take whatever time you need. So, when it’s ready I’ll be directly in touch!
— Alexandra (the handwork person of the original Folkwear folk.)
May 12, 2023
May 11, 2023 1 Comment on Why I Started a Folkwear Clothing Line
April 01, 2019
Susan, We do have patterns for Indian clothing – 135 Jewels of India, 119 Sarouelles (pants), and 134 South Asian Tops and Wraps.
G – I will definitely keep that in mind (and keep a look out)!
Alexandra – Wonderful! I look forward to hearing from you! Thank you so much – I love to hear about Folkwear history. All the best.