Saturday, April 10, 2010

Flock, Focus, and Folkwear

I think I need to get our more...

Several of the members who volunteered as beta-testers listed "Flock" as one of the web browsers they use. Despite the piles of CSS references books around here, I had to visit Google to find out what on earth Flock was. Oh well. Maybe if I ever got out to places like Facebook and Twitter, I'd know these things :-)

Actually, I probably need to get out less and focus more. As much as I love hunting down patterns and the info needed to process donations, one pattern-related site always lead to another. And another. Before you can say "not getting much done, are you?" it's taken a half hour to look up something that should have taken two minutes. Haven't checked, but it's probably not one of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

So I hope you don't mind if I pester you all from time to time for answers that I could look up myself. Tonight's question is about Folkwear Patterns. The two listed in the Trade area the other night drew an incredible number of requests. And since we just got in a whole stack of them from someone else, I want to be sure we're not shortchanging anyone on pattern points.

As I understand it, Folkwear Patterns has gone through a number of ownership changes but most or many of the original 1970s designs are still in print -- with prices in the $15 to $20 range. The envelopes and cover graphics are the same, but the paper used for the patterns is different?

Is there something particularly desirable about the older patterns? Or just certain designs that are especially desirable? How do I tell which is which? What am I missing here? Can you fill me in -- and keep me from getting sidetracked yet again?

BTW (do people still say BTW?) we do still need a few more beta-testers, especially if you use an older version of Internet Explorer or Opera. There's more information and a sign-up form on our Support page.



  1. Folkwear Patterns are great. But they're definitely pricier than the big 3 sewing patterns. And they're carried by fewer and fewer sewing stores so the likelihood of getting them on sale is low.

    I've been buying Folkwear Patterns since the early '80s so here's what I can tell you of the differences: The original patterns were published on heavier "butcher block" type paper. So they are a bit more durable than tissue paper. They were originally published in full envelopes with graphics that took up most of the front of the envelope. In the very beginning, some of the text on the back of the envelope and inside was a print of hand manuscript. Later, things began to be typeset.

    The reasons I can think of why an older Folkwear pattern would be more desirable than a newer one would be if (a) the pattern was out-of-print (b) one wants more durable paper for the pattern pieces. (c) one likes the pattern illustration art and wants them in as large a size as possible.

    The advantage of the newer patterns is that in some cases like the Hong Kong Cheongsam, the pattern has been drafted up so that the size range now is greater. If you prefer tissue paper for any reasons, that would be a reason to get a more recent one. The newer patterns don't come in artwork envelopes. The artwork is a folded piece of paper, the pattern pieces and instructions lie in between and the whole shmear is put into a transparent plastic bag. Of course, there are some newer patterns that weren't available way back when, including some that went in and out of print in a matter of 5 or 10 years.

    The patterns that are especially desirable are the OOP patterns, of course. The easiest way to tell if they're out of print is to try looking them up on Folkwear's site.

  2. I started buying Folkwear Patterns back in the mid 1970's. To date the older patterns, look for a date on the artwork and note the company's location. The oldest ones were made in Forestville, CA and then they moved to San Rafael, CA by 1980. Then they were sold to Taunton Press.