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Entries in denim (5)

Rosie the Riveter Overall

by Adrianna

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!


Iris by Colette

by Adrianna

To kick off our 2nd annual sale this weekend I’ll be sharing a three-part blog with you ladies on some darling, easy, classic basics you can whip up just in time for summer! I’ll be demonstrating how to pair our fresh stock of lightweight, breathable, summer friendly fabrics with some of our favorite sewing patterns and books.

My first excerpt is about Iris by Colette Patterns paired with Bolt’s cotton/lycra indigo stretch twill, which you can always find in our apparel section mixed in between the Knit and Denim bins. This is my second time working with Colette Patterns and I have found some similarities and differences from my last experience (and blog post).  My recent experience was definitely more enjoyable, the only twists this time are based on personal preferences and fitting. 

I haven’t worn shorts, besides for working out once in a blue moon, in honestly almost a decade. I’ve always wanted a nice pair but the past styles of shorts never have sat well on my body type; no pun intended. Now everyone has his or her own shape, and unfortunately not all styles and trends look very well on certain shapes. To get to the point, tight, hipster, short shorts are not a flattering look for me (talk about muffins), and I am beyond grateful for current fashion re-accepting the high-waist straight leg cut! I am also grateful for this awesome Colette Pattern that adheres to that cut… with some personal adjustments of course.

Having learned the hard way with my last Colette Pattern I started this project out with a muslin, and I would again HIGHLY recommend doing so for the Iris.  When checking my finished garment measurements I noticed I was ranging between 3 sizes. Knowing I would be using a stretch fabric I decided to make my sample out of the middle size, adjusting appropriately in the areas that needed increasing or decreasing.

After sewing the sample I noticed several alterations would need to happen.

A common fitting issue that I read in some reviews, and discovered myself, was the length of the center front seam. This length totally depends on your body shape and where you would like the waistband to sit on your torso. For me, the center front seam came a few inches lower than the side seams, creating a V effect in the front. This was an easy fix as I planned to adjust this seam anyways to make the shorts high waisted. The pattern is supposed to be a higher rise, but the rise will depend on your body type. For me it came to about mid-rise. If you would like to make the rise higher it is important to measure your “center front seam” from crotch to where you would like your waistband to sit, and then separately measure the same distance from your hip to waistband. Depending on your body type these measurements may not be the same, so your waist-line may not be straight from center front to side seam. As long as you do not add or subtract width from the sides to CF you won’t need to adjust your waistband.

Since I combined 3 different sized patterns to create the best fit for my shape I additionally adjusted the waistband, length, circumference of the leg hole, and added a cuff. All very easy adjustments, and if you find yourself in this position and have any questions please come into the shop and either myself or one of the other lovely gals at Bolt will assist you :)

 Colette is wonderful for their sewing instructions. They provide very detailed and easy to read instructions and links to video tutorials if you need additional visual assistance with certain techniques (I sure do sometimes!).  This pattern is very simple and quick to complete. With making a sample, adjusting the pattern, stopping for a snack and a quick episode of the Twilight Zone, I completed these shorts in just less than 4 hours. Also included in the pattern are versions where you can add pockets and buttons for embellishment. I have been a sucker recently for clean and simple, so I did the most basic version, sans pockets, buttons, and back darts (which I adjusted for in the waistband) to have a very clean finish. The pattern does recommend using a woven fabric, but since I personally dislike any sort of restriction on my lower mid section and do a lot of bending, walking, and bike riding in my daily routine I chose to use a stretch fabric with this woven pattern. The result is the most comfortable short I have ever had! ­­Not to mention it actually fits and flatters! Huzzah!

Finally, a short pattern out there that is an essential summer classic piece that can easily be tailored to any shape and pairs well with a variety of tops. I decided to outfit Iris with the Airelle Blouse by Dear and Doe Patterns, which I will discuss more about in my next blog post.

Happy sewing!


Just in: Yuwa/Kei, Kaufman linen and Moda prints

by Gina, photos from Heather

We have a variety of great Japanese fabrics on their way, and some have just arrived.  The following floral linen, cotton lawns (middle picture) and medium weight cotton and canvas prints (bottom picture).  Oooh, la la.

Lately the folks at Robert Kaufman have been delighting us with chambray of all sorts, their Essex yarn dyed linen blend and railroad denims.  This past week we welcomed in a couple more linen blends have arrived, and we love them too!  The grey is their Brussels washer yarn dye, a linen rayon blend, so drapey and lovely.  The red: their chambray stretch linen, a linen cotton blend with just a touch of stretch.  This just may become your new favorite!

Other Kaufman goodies that just arrived include their vintage denim—heavy and dark, think classic Levi’s 501s and a couple of two-sided goods—a denim and a lighter weight textured cotton.  I’m still thinking through some of the best uses of these special ones.

And, from Moda, this cute neighborhood-y print, “Road 15.” Cute!