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The Folkwear Book of Ethnic Clothing: Easy Ways to Sew & Embellish Fabulous Garments from Around the World [Paperback]

Mary Parker
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 2003
“Those familiar with Folkwear Clothing will not be surprised at the quality and integrity of this wonderful book which is an education in itself. This has to be one of my favorite books. Highly recommended.”—Textile Fibre Forum. “Loaded with lush photos, interesting anecdotes and in-depth histories. [A] gorgeous guide.”—Vogue Patterns.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but quirky Jan. 13 2004
By D.
Format:Paperback
This is a beautiful book for costumers and fiber artists, packed with pictures and practical project information, but it is not without its flaws. The author does a fine job in describing the appearance and sometimes construction of modern era ethnic clothing, but this is not a history book. Many of her pictures are captioned, but very few are dated, though they all appear to be from the 20th century or perhaps the late 19th. Some of the uncaptioned pictures might be modern reproductions, but it's not clear in several cases. She makes a few comments about the evolution of fitted clothing with which I disagree. Additionally, she comments on the spiritual and talismanic nature of embellishment, which may or may not be her personal religious opinion, which I feel detracts from the presentation of the subject.
The strong points of the book are the pictures, most of which are clear and in color, except where the original was black and white. There are short embellishment projects which teach the reader methods of decorating the garments which are detailled in the second half of the book. The six clothing projects that are included are worth the price of the book alone, provided you are willing to scale up the diagrams.
Overall a good practical hands-on kind of book, if you take much of the commentary with a grain of salt.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely overview; written for fiber artists. Aug. 16 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I like this book very much. It offers a nice overview of traditional clothing found throughout many cultures, including brief discussions of common garment types (draped, sleeved shifts and tunics, gathered pants, etc), with plenty of old photographs that show how the garments were worn. I wish this part of the text also included line drawings of the garments for more clarity, such as the book, "Cut My Cote." Next is an overview of some common types of embellishment, such as resist dyeing, embroidery, and applique techniques. Some very interesting project ideas with patterns are offered, rated by skill level needed. The final section of the book offers patterns and detailed sewing instructions for garments: a kimono, a Polish vest, Tibetan panel coat, a Syrian dress and Moroccan burnoose--these will be familiar to owners of Folkwear's patterns. The book concludes with an excellent bibliography. Fiber artists, sewists, and costume makers will find plenty of useful material here. Very few books on ethnic costume provide information slanted toward duplicating and adapting techniques and garments--finally one that does! Note that you'll find this material weak if you need to do serious research on ethnic dress or are an experienced costumer or fiber artist.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
97 of 97 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely overview; written for fiber artists. Aug. 16 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I like this book very much. It offers a nice overview of traditional clothing found throughout many cultures, including brief discussions of common garment types (draped, sleeved shifts and tunics, gathered pants, etc), with plenty of old photographs that show how the garments were worn. I wish this part of the text also included line drawings of the garments for more clarity, such as the book, "Cut My Cote." Next is an overview of some common types of embellishment, such as resist dyeing, embroidery, and applique techniques. Some very interesting project ideas with patterns are offered, rated by skill level needed. The final section of the book offers patterns and detailed sewing instructions for garments: a kimono, a Polish vest, Tibetan panel coat, a Syrian dress and Moroccan burnoose--these will be familiar to owners of Folkwear's patterns. The book concludes with an excellent bibliography. Fiber artists, sewists, and costume makers will find plenty of useful material here. Very few books on ethnic costume provide information slanted toward duplicating and adapting techniques and garments--finally one that does! Note that you'll find this material weak if you need to do serious research on ethnic dress or are an experienced costumer or fiber artist.
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but quirky Jan. 13 2004
By D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a beautiful book for costumers and fiber artists, packed with pictures and practical project information, but it is not without its flaws. The author does a fine job in describing the appearance and sometimes construction of modern era ethnic clothing, but this is not a history book. Many of her pictures are captioned, but very few are dated, though they all appear to be from the 20th century or perhaps the late 19th. Some of the uncaptioned pictures might be modern reproductions, but it's not clear in several cases. She makes a few comments about the evolution of fitted clothing with which I disagree. Additionally, she comments on the spiritual and talismanic nature of embellishment, which may or may not be her personal religious opinion, which I feel detracts from the presentation of the subject.
The strong points of the book are the pictures, most of which are clear and in color, except where the original was black and white. There are short embellishment projects which teach the reader methods of decorating the garments which are detailled in the second half of the book. The six clothing projects that are included are worth the price of the book alone, provided you are willing to scale up the diagrams.
Overall a good practical hands-on kind of book, if you take much of the commentary with a grain of salt.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Problems with the Palestinian Section May 15 2010
By Nancy T. Hernandez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Beautiful book, with excellent information on the patterns, and construction of the ethnic garments covered. However, when it comes to the section on Palestinian clothing,the author makes a glaring error, as well as a surprising omission, due to lack of research.

The author clearly never "cracked" a copy of any of the four major books on the topic of Palestinian clothing, all of which were published long before her book. She is totally ignorant of the design of the Bethlehem jacket. A garment discussed at length in all four books. The author says, of an old photo, that the woman is wearing a shawl, when she is actually wearling a short-sleeved, heavily couched, Bethlehem jacket.

The photo of the Palestinian dress is very good, although the mono-chromatic embroidery, on velvet is not the typical combination in Palestine. Far more common is multi-colored embroidery (cotton or silk), on cotton.

The omission is that no mention is made of the embroidery on the back of the dress, called the shinyar, nor is the back of the dress shown. Anyone who has read the books by Shelagh Weir, Y.K. Stillman, or Abed Al-Samih is aware that the designs on the backs of these dresses are of great importance.

When research material is readily available, it is always wise to consult it before embarking on a writing project.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but the price is higher than the value Jan. 31 2006
By gypsy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a lovely, lovely book, full of wonderful patterns and excellent information. But it's not worth over a hundred dollars unless you plan to use it on a daily basis. It's a good read and the pictures are inspiring but unless it's re-issued at a lower price I don't recommend buying it. (I do encourage the publisher to re-print, however, as I would happily have paid the original price for it.)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, beautiful. Sept. 13 2012
By Kate - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Taunton Press is well-known for the production of the Folkwear line of patterns, and for over 25 years they have researched and produced the most amazing collection of clothing patterns from many countries and eras. It's been my pleasure to own and sew many of these. This book, devoted to the glories of ethnic clothing, is a natural out-growth of their love and respect for hand-made and embellished clothing of the world. It is an excellent overview of the major types of indigenous clothing styles and how they were worn. Sadly, most of these regions have succumbed to the lure of cheaply made Western-style garb. But the heritage of these beautiful, practical garments lives on, and the more we are exposed to them, and inspired by them, the greater the opportunity for hand-made and locally relevant clothing styles to live on, and enrich us with their beauty.
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