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Folkwear Patterns

Started in California in the 1970s, Folkwear provides sewing patterns that are based on authentic vintage and folk garments from around the world.  Our patterns are flexible enough to be used for historical and theatrical costuming as well as for making unique every-day-wear.
We hope to inspire and provoke interest and understanding of the deeper value of how clothing has helped shape the world. We believe that sewing is made richer, and therefore more enjoyable, when you understand more about the garments you have been inspired to make - including their histories and cultures.
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Sporty Forties Dress by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP235)
Folkwear's Sporty Forties' Dress and Sweater patterns are classic examples of the ingenuity of the 1940s fashion designers. They faced fabric shortages, government regulations, and the perennial desire of women to still look their best even in wartime.
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Japanese Field Clothing by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP112)
Versatile and comfortable garments include the hippari (jacket) for men and women, monpei (pants) and padded jacket for women.
Beautiful in traditional ethnic prints or coordinating new-age fabrics. Instructions included for traditional folded and stitched ties.
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Japanese Kimono by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP113)
The timeless simplicity of this elegant garment is still enchanting. Our unlined informal kimono (yukata) can be worn in various lengths, as a dress, coat, or robe. Pattern includes instructions for shibori dyeing, sashiko embroidery, and for making an informal obi or sash.
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Tibetan Panel Coat by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP118)
A festive full-length vest or sleeveless coat still worn by Tibetans today on special occasions. Its simple rectangular components make it perfect for pieced or handwoven fabrics, or exciting combinations of color and texture. Pattern includes instructions for traditional stamped design and bound edge, as well as notes for handweavers.
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Sarouelles by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP119)
Three comfortable and timeless pants designs from Turkey, Africa, and India, with elastic or drawstring waist and ankle variations. Full and flowing easy-sew styles are perfect for casual wear, yoga, belly dancing, or costuming. Historical lore and traditional embroidery designs included.
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Hong Kong Cheongsam by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP122)
This classic exotic dress in two lengths is synonymous with Oriental elegance. Simple to sew, it has only two main pattern pieces and an appealing side-front opening topped off with a mandarin collar. Pattern includes instructions for custom fitting and authentic embellishment.
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Japanese Hapi & Haori by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP129)
For formal occasions or everyday layered dressing, either jacket offers a special touch to any wardrobe. Simple rectangular shapes are great for inventive color and texture combinations. A pattern for the tabi, the traditional split-toe slipper socks, is included.
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The Tibetan Chupa Skirt and Dress by Folkwear
(Code: FWP131)
This wrapped jumper has a centuries-long history in Tibet. The Chupa features an asymmetrical wrap front, wide neckband, and simple faced armholes. Both the Chupa and Chupa-inspired skirt have unique side extensions that wrap around the back to tie in front. The resulting silhouette is slim, yet the extensions enable enough leg room to make...
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Jewels of India by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP135)
A grouping of truly versatile garments with a tailored kurta overshirt for men and women, kamiz tunic and bias-cut churidar pants for women. The simple shapes of these garments make it easy to vary them creatively. Top everything off with the Gandhi hat. Pattern includes historical information about Indian dress
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Vietnamese Ao Dai by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP139)
This feminine ensemble of flowing Tunic and wide-legged pants is considered the traditional costume of Vietnam. The easy-sew Tunic features front and back waist shaping darts, mandarin collar, front neckline/armhole opening, tapered long sleeves with elbow darts, and long free-hanging front and back panels. The Pants have an easy full-legged fit,...
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Old Mexico Dress by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP142)
This 16th-century Spanish colonial style is quick and easy to make, with just four pattern pieces. Make it as a below-knee dress or a top-of-the-thigh blouse, then fancy it up with the embroidery stitches on your sewing machine, or with other fun and colorful decoration.
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Scottish Kilt by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP152)
The romance of the Scottish Highlands is alive and well in this authentic kilt, kilt skirt, and Prince Charlie jacket and vest. To complete the ensemble, knit the lacy vest for women and the argyle socks for men. Pattern includes complete instructions for measuring, pleating, and constructing the Kilt and Kilt Skirt; pattern pieces for cutting out...
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Moroccan Djellaba Hooded Caftan by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP157)
This loose-fitted, hooded caftan is worn everyday in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Traditionally, they were worn ankle-length and over shirts with or without trousers (for men) and over a caftan for women. The Djellaba protected the wearer from the desert sun as well as the cold nights. This pattern features square sleeves, pockets, and four...
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Ghanaian Smock Top & Dress by Folkwear
(Code: FWP158)
This loose-fitting top originated in northern Ghana, but is now worn in many areas of West Africa, and has become popular around the world. It is called fugu, or batakari, among other terms in Ghana, and is generally made from hand-woven strips of fabric with wedge-shaped godets inserted below the chest to give it a flared shape. Women's and...
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Hawaiian Mu'umu'u by Folkwear
(Code: FWP160)
Considered aloha attire, this loose and breezy garment has its origins in the 1800s when missionaries adapted their Mother Hubbard-style dresses to fit Hawaiian women. Originally a tool of assimilation, native Hawaiians have since embraced this dress as were it social events, family gatherings, and for some styles of hula.
The mu'umu'u's...
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Victorian Shirt by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP202)
This bib-front dress shirt was fashionable for men in the 1870s and is still elegant today. A perfect companion with a vest or as a woman's oversized tunic or nightshirt. Pattern includes instructions for finishing touches.
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Gibson Girl Blouse by Folkwear
(Code: FWP205)
The Gibson Girl was the ideal of feminine beauty at the turn of the 20th century, and by 1905, the Sears Roebuck catalogue offered 150 versions of this blouse. The high-collar, back-buttoning yoke style is still just as flattering today. Instructions for optional tucks and lace insertion included.
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Walking Skirt by Folkwear
(Code: FWP209)
As the Victorian age drew to a close at the beginning of the 20th century and the Edwardian age dawned, women entered the arenas of sports and the professions. This was the skirt they wore, because it was comfortable and yet unencumbered by bustles and hoops. Full-length or street-length, with five gores. Pattern includes instructions for...
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Two Middies Top by Folkwear
(Code: FWP211)
The Middy has been a fashion classic for over a hundred years, although it has been a part of naval tradition since the days of sailing ship. Its popularity peaked in the 1920s when newly-liberated women wore Middies for active sports and with skirts for more dressy occasions.
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Empire Dress by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP215)
This high-waisted dress known today as "empire" was worn in the period following the French Revolution in the late 1700s. The revealing style, requiring few undergarments, reflected a desire to return to simpler, classical Grecian dress after the excesses of the European nobility. Narrow bodice is gathered into a skirt that is slim in front and...
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Schoolmistress Shirtwaist & Skirt by Folkwear
(Code: FWP216)
Based on the vintage uniform of the 19th century schoolmarm, this two-piece outfit features a classic "shirtwaist" or blouse with beautifully different scalloped front opening and flattering princess lines. Wear it with the sweeping seven-gore skirt with optional bias trim.
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Vintage Vests / Waistcoats by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP222)
In Victorian times, gentlemen were not considered properly dressed without a jacket, vest (or waistcoat), and tie. Indeed, even smart Victorian women donned fitted vests for street wear, with walking skirts and long jackets. Today, the vests is still an integral part of business attire and fashion for men and women.
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Edwardian Bridal Gown by Folkwear
(Code: FWP227)
This is Edwardian charm at its best. A perfect vintage wedding dress with high neck, leg o'mutton sleeves, and flounced train. Simplified version can be a coordinated bridesmaid dress, dancing dress, or everyday fashion. Pattern includes instructions for tucks, lace insertions, and a simple veil.
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Sailor Pants by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP229)
Folkwear Sailor Pants originate from those worn by WWII Navy seamen (they actually drafted them from a pair a gentleman needed to have graded up to attend his WWII reunion years ago). This style and design have been worn as part of the Navy uniform, or "Crackerjack" uniform, for many decades; and the nautical style influenced fashion for more...
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Big Sky Riding Skirt by Folkwear
(Code: FWP231)
Bring out the cowgirl in you! Equestrian women of the early 20th century, who were determined to ride astride rather than sidesaddle, wore these divided skirts. An ingenious fashion, with front panel that buttons one way for a skirt and the other way for pants. Pattern is derived from a skirt worn by legendary rancher and rodeo rider, Fannie...
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Glamour Girl Dress by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP233)
Glamour oozed in Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s, and this is the daytime dress the starlets wore. It emphasizes curves, drapes elegantly, and lends an air of discreet sexiness. The close-fitting bodice is visually cinched in with front waistline ties, and fits smoothly into a flared skirt. Shoulder pads lend that commanding air to any aspiring...
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Le Smoking Jacket by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP238)
Smoking jackets symbolized sophistication during the 1920s and 1930s, both on the silver screen and in real life. Our classy version features contrasting or quilted lapels, cuffs, and pocket trim. Pattern includes instructions for women's knitted tank top to wear underneath.
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Rosie the Riveter by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP240)
The heroic working women of World War II inspired this factory wardrobe of camp shirt, pleated slacks, and overalls with sweetheart bib. Pattern includes historical information and instructions for knitted sweater and crocheted snood that keeps hair in place.
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Lindy Shirtdress by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP247)
This dress comes from the 1940's when square shoulders, narrow hips, and skirts that ended just below the knee were the height of fashion. Fabric rationing had lead to the use of darts, pleats, tucks, and other fabric manipulation to add interest to dresses without a lot of extra fabric. Our dress has an interesting bodice construction, with...
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Swing Coat by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP254)
This easy, breezy coat is a snap to make, with just four main pattern pieces. The front pieces have neck extensions that stitch together at center back to form the collar. The back is stitched into a back yoke and features a deep pleat for maximum "swing." Sleeves are narrow at the wrist so you can push them up for a casual look, and they stay...
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Metropolitan Hat by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP269)
This hat dates from the early 20th century and represents a transitional period in millinery history -- following the oversize Victorian confections of veiling and stuffed birds, but before the head-hugging cloches of the 1920s.

Fast and easy to sew, it has a casual and slightly slouchy look, with a modest brim and fabric flowers at center...
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Poiret Cocoon Coat by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWP503)
This fully-lined Cocoon Coat was designed around 1913-1919 by Paul Poiret, a renowned early 20th century designer. It features bat wing sleeves, one-piece front/back body, neckband, and hobble skirt. The easy-sew Reticule (drawstring bag), typical of the same period, is fully lined and closes with decorative cording; it is embellished with a...
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Pinafore Dress From Basics Range by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWPB001)
The apron, or pinafore, is one of humanity's oldest garment forms. Whether worn to cover and protect the body or to mark status, garments that covered the front of the torso and lap are seen in Neolithic art and Renaissance paintings. Our Pinafore dress is both a covering and a garment, with helpful pockets added in.

This easy-to-sew,...
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Tunic From Basics Range by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWPB002)
While the word tunic comes from the Latin tunica, the tunic was not invented by the Romans. Examples of garments that cover the torso and the top of the legs, with sleeves and side seams, can be found in ancient art from South America to Southeast Asia and are worn worldwide today.

This easy-sew tunic pattern features a handkerchief hem, side...
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Jacket From Basics Range by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWPB003)
This simple, fully-lined jacket is the perfect piece - no matter the season. The roomy fit, simple open front design, and built-on sleeves create a lovely jacket that can be made with many different fabrics. The design features a back seam and side seams, patch pockets, and bound sleeve openings.

Because this jacket form is so simple, it makes...
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Overcoat From Basics Range by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWPB004)
Everyone should have a warm coat in their wardrobe, and this roomy, low-calf length Overcoat fits the bill perfectly. Simple, un-lined construction, with built on sleeves (dolman-like) and a one-piece front placket, make this a quick coat to sew up. The roomy fit allows this coat to be layered over bulky winter clothing, and provides a fashionable...
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Pants From Basics Range by Folkwear Patterns
(Code: FWPB005)
These simple, elastic-waist pants are incredibly comfortable. Easy to sew and easy to wear, they feature a high-rise waist and front pockets with a pocket flap detail that is fun to embellish (add embroidery or buttons!).

Make these in a crisp cotton for work, twill for gardening, or soft flannel for lounging. This pattern is also an ideal...
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