Saturday, March 14, 2009

Folkwear Patterns, Museum News, Patsy Monk

Kate Mathews wrote to me this week. Kate owns Folkwear Patterns. Whether or not you're familiar with Folkwear patterns, do spend time at the website. Originally the patterns were mostly of ethnic clothing, but now include other categories. They include instructions for embellishment. You're getting the real thing so you can learn the techniques of various old cultures. I love these patterns for their authenticity. I bet one of the most popular is the Tibetan Panel Coat, or the Turkish Coat. They're a staple of the wearable art fashion shows because you can combine so many fabrics and techniques in either one to make a timeless and stylish garment. Most of the ethnic patterns are based on the rectangle, in the width of fabric woven by that culture. I recommend you cut the pieces out of muslin or plain cotton, baste them together and check the fit. It doesn't have to be a major process, you just want to make sure that you are sewing to the right size. You don't want to find out it's too small after you've done all the embroidery. (Be sure to visit the Gallery.)

The latest news about Folkwear Patterns is that two re-published oldies but goodies are on their way. #110 Little Kittel (children's sizes 4-10),
and #148 Black Forest Smock (Misses' 6-16, Men's 36-44) have been out of print since the early 1980s. Traditional smocks like these for girls and boys, women, and men were worn by workers and craftsmen in Germany, Switzerland, France, and other parts of Old Europe. (Now they're back in style!) The loose-fitting garment is pleated into neckband and cuffs. Adult sizes have welt pockets; child's sizes have inseam pockets. Make it in shirt or dress length for any season, in cotton batiste this summer or baby-wale corduroy this fall.

Kate Mathews also writes a newsletter which she sends out as email. You can sign up for Kate's newsletter by sending an email message to with "Email newsletter" in the Subject line. The following is a sampling of her news:

**"The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is putting serious resources into expanding its already-impressive costume and textile collection. The spectacular popularity of recent exhibitions across the country has encouraged museum officials to add quality pieces to an often-ignored area. The Museum will debut an important new exhibit of European garments next year and has formed an elite group of patrons to help expand the museum's collection. Visit for more information." (Browse the Costume and Textiles Collection and look at the Collection Highlights for photos of spectacular clothes.)

**"The Brooklyn Museum has transferred its renowned costume and accessories collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It will be incorporated into the Met's Costume Institute, but will be identified separately as the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection. The bulk of Brooklyn Museum's world-famous holdings have been in storage for years, lacking adequate resources for proper exhibition. The two museums are planning a co-published book about the highlights of the combined collection and an online directory."

Kate says "Get some inspiration if you're out and about. If you are traveling this spring/summer or have guests visiting you, you might want to see some of these interesting events:

**"The Art of the Embroiderer, featuring dazzling garments and textiles from across the world spanning more than 200 years of creativity and innovation. From haute couture gowns to Japanese kimono and Saudi Arabian caftans, 18th century coats and vests, robes and tunics from Turkey, Morocco, Spain, Greece, China, Romania, and India. At the Kent State University Museum in Kent, Ohio, through August 30.

**"Sartorial Sanctuary: Clothing and Tradition in the Eastern Islamic World, an exploration of the range of garment styles, colors, and motifs worn by Muslim men and women across the eastern reaches of the Islamic world, from Syria and Turkey to India and Indonesia. At the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, through April 26.

**"Expressions of Stability and Change: Ethnic Dress and Folk Costume. Garment ensembles from Bhutan, India, Afghanistan, China, Somalia, Cameroon, Egypt, Norway, Portugal, Laos, Mexico, Guatemala, and other countries to illustrate how traditional costume is used as a form of cultural expression and unification. Through June 14, at the Goldstein Museum of Design, University of Minnesota, St. Paul. (Check out the collections too.)

**"Seduction, a chronological survey of 250 years of seductive clothing, featuring a black satin Belle Époque corset, silk jersey evening dress by Halston, black leather evening gown by John Galliano for Christian Dior, Manolo Blahnik stilettos, other garments and accessories. Through June 16 at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

**"The Art of Affluence: Haute Couture & Luxury Fashions 1947-2007, featuring fashions from the museum's collection by Chanel, Schiaparelli, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Patou, Versace, Armani, and others. Through May 2, at the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, NC.

**"Fashioning Felt, an exhibition of historic examples of felt as well as contemporary product design and applications in fashion, architecture, and home furnishings. Through September 7, at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York City."

In My Own News
Not much sewing going on here this week. I had positioned cotton fabric onto a sweatshirt, using temporary fabric glue. I was following instructions in a pattern I'm going to tell you about. The glue stays up to 5 days. Well, we're into day 7, I checked today and the glue has disappeared, so I'm going to have to do it all over again, sigh. Mom's been sick, both cats had to go to the vets, and I've been both taking care of the stray and looking for the owner or someone willing to take the cat. No time left to sit at the sewing machine, but I have high hopes for next week. I'd better respray the glue before we get rain on Sunday. I do my spraying outside.

##I go way back with Patsy Monk. She was my second subscriber when I had started my newsletter on paper. She was a quilter then and gave quilting classes. We took a color class in Houston from Jean Ray Laury where Patsy did well and I failed miserably which is why I'm still learning to trust my color choices. Now Patsy writes to say she's deeply immersed in making glass beads. I found the little birds enchanting, so do have a look. (Click on the little photo to get an enlargement.) It would be nice to hear that people are not only reading this blog but also checking out the websites. You will find Patsy's work at:

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