Folkwear Patterns from the past and
from around the world
Way back in the 1970's when platform shoes and disco were hyping the nation
with it's flashy, fake, exaggerated hip persona there was another movement
quietly continuing and expanding - that of the ethnic clothing movement.
This trend of fashion evolved from the dewey-eyed idealists known as
the early Hippie movement of embellishing clothing, vintage garments and
lots of frills and lace along side the simple shapes of ethnic clothing and
hiking boots. If you don't remember the late 60's and early 70's then
perhaps it's time to make some memories of your own and start a trend among
Whereas: the styles of Disco clothing was fueled by Hollywood, the fashion
elite and those hyped up on commercialism; the imagination of the Ethnic
& Vintage clothing movement was fueled by the push of the idealistic
minds of those who joined the Peace Corps in the early 1960's, those brave
souls who traveled to these "foreign" countries & cultures and brought
home their passion sharing their treasures found throughout society in many
cultural avenues as well as political.
(Perhaps you've seen the character
on the TV show Seinfeld, J. Peterman - the charismatic catalogue king
who traveled to foreign cultures buying merchandise from around the world.
He's a typical example of how the ethnic movement expanded into everyday
life of nowadays. Back then this was all new to everyone.)
This time period brought a different awareness of the world as a whole, as airline travel expanded after World War II and the Korean War and where the areas of mystery were there to be explored. Hoards of travelers
flocked to distant lands of the east, west, north and south in investigation
of this wonderful world that we live upon. Many worked in the Peace Corp while others had other agendas but these all brought forth the world as you know it today. This is the stuff that Folkwear
patterns are made of, the mystery and desire to know all individual aspect of a culture that makes it unique unto itself perhaps before it disappears through amalgamation and merges into the hip/hop cultural One World Order.
Recently I was amused to hear on TV documentary on the Beatles the commentator state that they were
the ones who brought awareness of India to the fashionable world, which may or may not be true in the broadest sense, but having lived in that time period and hanging out on Haight Street in San Francisco after school as it was a hop, skip and a jump from my high school … lucky me, I know that ethnic fashions of all countries were "hip" a couple of years before 1966 as costumes became all the rage on the street way before George Harrison's famous stroll down Haight Street, when he had his mind blown away by the blossoming of all the different aspects of the counterculture in San Francisco. This explosion was occuring all around the globe as travel to these ethnic countries was exploding as well but mostly fired up by the fashion world in Carnaby Street in London, England. I think if any connection the Beatles brought Mass Society's awareness of the latest fashion to their door. The influences had grown up all around them, like flowers to be plucked and enjoyed.
As a teenager wide-eyed wandering on Haight Street I saw the different outfits
that the rock stars (Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful
Dead and the not so stars but hip in their fashion) were wearing, jeans and
jackets embellished with hand embroidery and buttons, Edwardian underwear covered in lace and tucks (camisoles & slips) worn as outer garments; velvets adorned in dresses, pants and jackets;
and of course beads and ribbons. I also shopped at the fantastic original
clothing stores on Haight Street and Upper Grant Avenue and filled my life
with looking at unusual fabrics and hand embroidered much of my clothing that I wore (especially the Pea Coat in the fog), which echoed the primitive art styles of the times. The Beatnik era
was just ending, away from the stark black look (now emulated by the Goth
movement) into the colorful, costumed world of the 60's generation and as
time went on the love of costumes, hand embroidery and all the hand arts
led many of these people towards the Renaissance Fair, the Society of Creative
Anachronisms and other folk heritage societies where they could wear their
outfits without censure.
It was from this heritage that Folkwear Patterns were born in Forestville,
California, in the heart of Sonoma County where a lot of the real hippies
headed to when San Francisco was no longer a welcoming place (1967-68). The
smells of homemade bread, jams, vegetarian foods and a simpler way of life
gave birth to one of the most famous independent pattern companies of this
era. Folkwear Patterns have been loved for more than 30 years but their
look is timeless and classic. The new owner Kate Mathews formerly of Fiberarts Magazine (and Handmade) is carrying on this rich tradition by bringing forth new patterns each year.
When we first started out in 1986 we offered Folkwear in our mail order catalog
and was delighted to meet so many people who loved dressing up as much as
we did, so in honor of that creative arts time period and in hopes of re-sparking
the energy we are once again offering Folkwear Patterns. If you haven't
had the honor of working with a Folkwear pattern you should know that each
pattern is a course of embroidery and embellishment techniques in itself.
Beautiful instructions with detailed illustrations make it easy to
understand how to put a garment together as well as embellishing as per the
period of the pattern.
Collections of Patterns
FW#225 Childhood Dreams - Victorian style nightgown: Girls 2-12
For a special little girl, here's a scaled-down version of FW#224 Beautiful
Dreamer, the Victorian lady's favorite nightgown. An ideal children's style
for daytime and special occasions, too. Suggested fabrics: Light to medium-weight
cotton, linen, rayon, silk, or blends such as lawn, dotted Swiss, gauze,
voile, muslin, challis, broadcloth, or flannel.
FW#120 Navajo Blouse & Skirt Misses 4-20; Girls 4-10
This pullover blouse was traditionally made of velvet, lined with calico,
embellished with silver buttons, and worn with a calico "broomstick" skirt.
Vary the fabric combinations to match your own personal style. Pattern includes
complete blouse instructions, drawings for tiered skirt, and tips for broomstick
pleating effect. Suggested fabrics: Velvet, velveteen, velour, lightweight
corduroy, light to medium-weight cottons, blends, and wool. For optional
contrasting facings: soft, lightweight cotton (calico is traditional) or
FW#127 Seminole Jacket & Skirt Misses 6-16; Men's 34-44
This dirndl-style skirt and blouson jacket are distinguished by the intricate
and colorful piecing known as Seminole patchwork. The skirt features an optional
dust ruffle and hem tuck. Pattern includes information about the history
and technique of Seminole patchwork. Suggested fabrics: For Jacket without
patchwork, choose medium to heavyweight cotton, wool, linen, flannel, blends,
or napped fabrics such as corduroy or velveteen. For Skirt without patchwork,
choose light to medium-weight cotton, rayon, wool, linen, or blends. For
Jacket and Skirt with patchwork, choose light to medium-weight cotton or
blends that are at least 50% cotton.
Out of Print
FW#142 Old Mexico Dress Misses xS-2X Large
This 16th-century Spanish colonial style has survived through the centuries in Mexico, and it enjoyed immense popularity in the U.S. in the mid-to-late 20th century. Through the years, it has always been colorful, practical, and comfortable to wear.
It is also quick and easy to make, with just four pattern pieces. It can be a below-knee dress or mid-thigh blouse. The traditional garment featured brilliantly colored hand-embroidered floral designs. Today's versatile sewing machines make it easy to go wild with decorative stitching, and experiment with applique, piecing, or color blocking for a creative and fun new fashion.
Suggested Fabrics: Woven cottons and cotton blends; lightweight denim; rayons; lightweight linen and linen blends; silks and silk blends.
Page Two of Folkwear Patterns
Collections of Patterns
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