Incase you all haven’t noticed, I kind of have a thing for workwear. A bit of an obsession if I may say so myself. Yet with my love for all things denim and heavy duty I surprisingly have never owned a pair of overalls. In my defense, there hasn’t been a pair that I have come across that fits me well, or the style is not quite right. Upon coming across the Rosie the Riveter pattern we carry at Bolt, from Folkwear Patterns, I couldn’t help but do a bit of a happy dance.
Folkwear Patterns are the essence of vintage patterns. Not only is the company actually vintage, having started in the 80’s, the patterns are modern recreations of staple and classic period clothing. Some of the pieces are on the theatrical side, which are great for you costume designers and festivalgoer’s, and some can totally be made for everyday wear. What’s exceptionally great about Folkwear is that even though the pieces can be costume-y, they fit very well! I’ve tried sewing other period clothing patterns that end up looking too much like costumes rather than recreated garments worn back in the day; not so with Folkwear.
The pattern that not surprisingly grabbed my attention is the Rosie the Riveter pattern. The one and only fictional woman character, Rosie, from the 1940’s war effort, inspired this pattern. During WWII America was going through a bit of a rough time. Most of our men were off overseas and not enough were left on the home front to build war supplies or other everyday needs of society. At this time our nation took a quintessential turn toward the future, and realized that women could also complete the jobs performed primarily by men in the past. Rosie the Riveter was the character created for advertisements to encourage women to take part in the war effort. You would find her decked out in workwear, welding, hammering, and building, all while looking exceptionally feminine. Because wearing workwear took away from the femininity of the time, women would tailor their clothing to fit and flatter, and also emphasize their makeup and hair.
The Rosie the Riveter pattern includes a work shirt, that can be long or short sleeved, slacks, overalls, and a sweater and snood knit pattern. All of these pieces not only stay true to the 40’s workwear style, but also are quite flattering and true to size. My beef with overalls I have come across in stores and elsewhere is that they tend to be very boxy and (no pun intended) over all large. Rosie the Riveter overalls are not so at all! The bodice has a feminine princess cut neckline, a high, fitted waist, and pleated straight legs, for easy movement. I don’t think I could have asked for a better fitting pair myself!
What initially inspired me to make these overalls were a variety of denims that we recently restocked at Bolt a couple weeks ago, including a tube of Japanese Selvage denim. A previous employment of mine was working only with denim, and from that I developed a strong love for it. Denim is it’s own animal, and there are many different types, and I am so glad that we carry a great variety at Bolt. For someone who has never worked with denim before and wants to give it a try, I would highly suggest our 12 oz denim that we always have in stock (you can’t miss it, it’s the tallest denim tube!) A common misconception is that denim is difficult to work with. I have found that it is quite the opposite. Because it is so sturdy, you will find that cutting out pattern pieces, matching notches and seams, and feeding the fabric through a machine is quite easy. The hardest thing about sewing with denim can be the weight of the fabric, which can be made easier by sewing on a large table or combining a couple tables to help hold the weight of the fabric while sewing. A helpful trick when sewing with denim is to have a hammer or mallet nearby. The seams of denim can become very thick, such as in the waistband and hems, and sometimes so thick that they won’t fit under your presser foot. To flatten these seams take your hammer, mallet, or anything with a flattop, and give a few good whacks to the bulky seams. Denim, even the most raw, is very easily manipulated and can handle a lot of stress, so do not be shy when working with it. Although you can use regular thread on most denims, if you are using one of our thicker denims, or to just give a decorative finish, I would suggest using our jeans thread. It is also important to use Shmetz Jeans needles when sewing with denim as the needles are stronger, sharper, and a bit thicker than the average needle, which makes them perfect for piercing through many layers of denim.
As most of our North West population is proudly employed in some sort of labor-intensive work field, and with autumn quickly approaching, I encourage you wonderful customers to experiment with our denims and denim appropriate patterns. I will also encourage you all to take a second gander through the Folkwear patterns, as you may find a pattern you have been searching for! There are some great patterns on 50’s style party dresses, blouses from the corporate boom of the 80’s, western shirts for the whole family, capes, gowns, sexy slips and more! Most of all do not fret on asking for our help on finding a pattern or matching the right fabric.
Happy sewing all, and see you soon!
I am often asked about ways of repairing clothing. Chances are if you sew others have asked you as well.
Here is a fast method that I use, most often for repairing jeans.
First I trim back wild threads. I use a coat of Frey check on the hole or rip. This product seals the fabric and helps give it body to receive stitches later.
I try and match the color of the garment with the patch fabric. Iron on some interfacing to the back side of your patch fabric. The interfacing will be touching the skin on the inside of the garment so keep that in mind when choosing your interfacing option.
I then place the prepared patch on the underneath side of the tear.
I first lay a basting stitch around the circumference of the repair. The next step is really trying to mesh the old fabric with the new.
A series of back and forth zig zag movements can really lay down shreds and threads.
I used my pinking shears to trim back the patch to prevent bulk and fraying on the inside.
The hole will be seen, secure and not going to rip or tear more.
The best advice I can give on repairing jeans is do it now. The more often a tear is washed and worn the larger it will become. A fun contrast or decorative patch can also be a great way to repair.
Tackling the repair pile can be a great motivator in starting and finishing other sewing projects.
A fabulous selection of colors of our staple solid soy and bamboo blend knits just came in yesterday. The two on the right end (red and frost) are bamboo/organic cotton/spandex, the rest of the group is soy/organic cotton/spandex. Remember Heather’s lovely Moneta dress in the green bamboo? So pretty! With this shipment we also received more of those loved hemp / organic cotton stripes in indigo and brown. You can see Amy’s sweet napkins made from these, here.
Super plush and cozy organic cotton flannels from Cloud 9.
Bold botanical organic cotton prints from Amy Butler.
Two great books from designers we already know and love. First up, The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction by Christine Haynes. The second one we just received is Tasia St. Germaine’s, The Sewtionary. You’ll recognize her projects from the popular Sewaholic line of women’s clothing patterns. Both of these books are chock full of information, photographs, and demonstrations.We’ve all been oohing and ahhing over these brand new linen blend dish towelings from Moda. Absolutely gorgeous. They are 20” wide, with a fantastic feel and a casual elegance to them.
Lastly, a sweet group of feathers, arrows and geometrics from Camelot, by Allison Cole, called “What a Gem.”
See you soon!