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!