The History of Folkwear
In the mid-1970s, three California women founded Folkwear to share their passion for finely crafted ethnic clothing with other lovers of fiber and fabric. The garments they collected during travels to other countries served as models for the earliest Folkwear patterns, including #105 Syrian Dress and #106 Turkish Coat. As the three began collecting vintage garments in addition to ethnic, the pattern line expanded to include all types of historic styles from all around the world.

During the recession of the mid-1980s, Folkwear's business health suffered along with so many other small businesses. The company was sold to The Taunton Press, publisher of Threads magazine, and by the early 1990s most of the original patterns were back in print and new patterns were under development.

In 1998, Taunton decided to focus on its core book/magazine publishing business and sold the Folkwear division to Lark Books, publisher of Fiberarts magazine and assorted craft books. Kate Mathews, former Fiberarts editor and author of several Lark sewing titles, was hired to manage Folkwear. In 1999, Lark Books was sold to Sterling Publishing, a large New York book distributor, which then sold Folkwear to its manager in April, 2002.

Folkwear is again an independent, woman-owned firm, just like it was in its earliest days. Through it all, the company has retained a loyal group of fans who keep the passion for vintage and ethnic garments alive!

About the Folkwear Team
Owner Kate Mathews has been sewing with Folkwear since the patterns first appeared in the mid-1970s, when she stocked them in her retail store in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a former editor of Fiberarts magazine and the author/editor of several Lark Books, including the Weekend Sewer's Guides (to Dresses, Blouses, and Skirts/Pants); Quick & Easy Vests and Jackets; Molas; and Sewing a Travel Wardrobe. Kate has a particular interest in garments that are truly unique, and believes that Folkwear patterns are perfect for nurturing creativity in sewing.

With nearly 40 years experience in the garment sewing and design industry, pattern designer Susan Stowall has had a varied career that includes expert tailoring and fine-tuned fitting techniques, pattern and sample making for couture designers, vintage garment reproduction, and theatrical design and creation. She lives in Asheville, NC, and works from her home studio, where her current focus is custom clothing design, patternmaking, design development for local design firms, and teaching in sewing/patternmaking/fitting workshops.

Pattern designer Lisa Sanders graduated from college with a degree in drawing and printmaking, but she was lured into fashion and went on to get a degree from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She received the Bill Blass Award for Outstanding Design in 1984. She has worked in all areas of fashion design, including garment design, production management, fabric development, private label development, and fashion forecasting for well-known labels such as Christian Dior and Victoria's Secret. She is currently a free-lance designer/stylist and master gardener who lives in New Jersey.

Cover illustrator Gretchen Schields has been creating the storybook covers for Folkwear since the patterns first appeared. The unique style of her award-winning work reflects a childhood spent in faraway lands: Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, the Netherlands, and Africa. Her richly detailed illustrations grace the covers of Amy Tan's novels and children's books as well as her own children's books (The Water Shell; Cantsee, The Cat Who Was The Color of The Carpet). Her 30-year illustrating and writing career has ventured into the fields of fashion, advertising, textbooks, songwriting, and the Emmy award winning PBS show "Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat." She is currently designing a line of fabulous ethnic-inspired jewelry and lives in California.

Other important contributors include Elizabeth George, ace pattern-tester, seamstress extraordinare, and all-around office/warehouse staffer, Isabelle Lott for her pattern-grading wizardry; Val Anderson for her production expertise; Bernie Wolf for her technical drawings; generous costume collectors who loan us garments to take patterns from; and all the wonderfully creative Folkwear pattern users who share a passion for interesting clothing.

The Old Fire Station, Box 189
Barnardsville, NC 28709-0189 U.S.A.

Toll Free Order Line: 1-888-200-9099
Phone: 1-828-626-3100
24-Hour Fax Orders: 1-828-626-3030

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