Today I’m bringing you a pattern review for the misses blouse from the Folkwear 256 “At the Hop” sewing pattern.
In August 2019 I attended the Asheville Frocktails party and received this pattern in the event’s gift bag given to attendees.
I’ll admit, this pattern sat in my sewing pattern box for over 6 months before I re-discovered it, and now I wish I’d given it a closer look sooner.
I distinctly remember looking at the Folkwear 256 sewing pattern at Frocktails and assuming it was a costume. The artwork on the front does appear very costume-esque, but I think my assumption was also hindered by my lack of familiarity with the Folkwear brand and their full catalog of patterns.
While their patterns could also be used to make costumes, their catalog has a sense of versatility for everyday clothing (this one in particular might be my next Folkwear make for autumn!). If you’ve never explored their patterns, I encourage you to have a look.
Folkwear 256 “At the Hop”: The Blouse I Was Looking for…
I can’t say for sure what made me rethink my “costumey” bias towards this pattern, but I am very glad I did. I had a “wardrobe hole” for a simple, comfortable staple blouse in my wardrobe, so I had been on the hunt. When I found this pattern in my stash and looked at the front and back views on the back of the package, I had a feeling I’d found it.
On the front illustration, there is much more focus on the fun cardigan and poodle skirt.
On the back of the pattern packaging, however, you can see the simple, classic 50s style blouse in the front/back view diagrams much more clearly.
A Closer Look at the Folkwear 256 “At the Hop” Sewing Pattern
Folkwear 256 “At the Hop” includes sewing patterns for a blouse and skirt, plus a knitting pattern for a cardigan in both “misses” (6-20) and “child” (4-14) sizing. It is marked “easy to sew”.
The skirt pattern appears to be a fairly straight-forward circle skirt with only three steps. It is very similar to the ready-to-wear denim circle skirt in my photos, which I have only just noticed. The cardigan has a separate set of instructions, and looks like it would be very cute. I’m afraid I don’t know how to knit, so can’t speak to how easy the pattern looks. Both the skirt and cardigan have two coordinating motif options for the applique/knit in designs: skiers and trees or matching poodles.
The blouse features a peter-pan collar and very simple button-down front that mirrors the few true vintage blouses I have from the 1950s. There are front and back shaping darts to pull the blouse close to the body, and little cuffs at the sleeve edges.
After much debating, I finally decided to give it a go.
My Sewing Experience
I cut a muslin, found the size I wanted (more on that below), and cut out my main fabric pieces…and thennnnnn lockdown started and I was in the middle of a situation where I had to move house during a pandemic.
I ended up folding the pieces and pattern up (still pinned!) and packing it all away for the move. It took me a few months, but once I had settled into my new home I pulled out the pieces and got to work.
While the pattern says one should use “crisp light- to medium-weight cotton and blends,” I decided to use a mystery-blend black crepe-y fabric from a materials salvage thrift store.
You know… just for the challenge. (yikes!)
This fabric has a bit of that 90s clingy stretch to it, so I needed to size up to make sure it didn’t pull too much along the button placket. I also opted not to include the front and back vertical shaping darts, because I suspected this fabric would sit oddly if I had. I graded the hips out one size larger, because I am pear-shaped.
The construction of the collar was ridiculously easy and non-fuss. The sleeves are also a breeze due to them being sewn to the armscye while the side seam is open. This method much easier – and much preferred – for me than a set-in sleeve.
The only step instructions I struggled with were the cuffs in Step 2. As you can see in the photos, the stitch lines on my cuffs are nearly right in the middle. This is because I literally could not figure out the instructions, and this is not Folkwear’s fault.
Sometimes I struggle with the 2D diagrams in sewing patterns when I am learning a new technique. I suspect this has to do with how I personally learn, since everyone learns differently. For whatever reason, I just could not figure it out how these cuffs worked. It seemed completely counter-intuitive to my brain and I very nearly winged it with a basic rolled edge. This is usually when I turn to YouTube for some kind of sew-along or tutorial, but unfortunately I couldn’t find one for this pattern (or even a similar tutorial for a similar cuffed sleeve).
Luckily, I persevered. I gave it my best shot, and ended up with an almost correct result. I could have unpicked it and sewn it properly, but I decided to leave it and match the other cuff. Homemade garments don’t have to be 100% perfect, and now I will always remember how silly I felt when I finally realized that the instructions DID in fact make sense, and I was a goose. I’m confident that the next one I make in white will show my newly-gained insight.
Difficulty of Instructions
My issue with not-braining the cuffs aside, this was an easy, stress-free sew. My process was obviously interrupted, but I suspect it only took me a few hours from cut to finish (excluding the muslin process).
In my opinion, the way that the sleeves and collar are constructed make this pattern very accessible for a beginner. This pattern might have the most easily-constructed, no-big-deal collar I’ve ever sewn. You can even see that my collar is a bit floppy, but I think that’s mostly due to the fabric I used. (And honestly I like it.)
Speaking of fabric, I chose to use a ridiculous fabric for this, and it STILL turned out great!
While I have not yet made the blouse with the vertical shaping darts, I suspect I will try them out if I use a less drapey-crepey fabric.
The range of sizing for the misses blouse is from busts measuring 30″ to 42″ and the misses skirt waist ranges from 24″ to 34″. I did find a blog post from Folkwear discussing their efforts to include more sizing, so perhaps this one is on the list for future grading.
I’ve learned the hard way that making a muslin is a good idea the first time I sew up a pattern because I have narrow shoulders, a short waist, and am slightly pear-shaped. My goal for this blouse was to make sure it didn’t fit snugly, because this fabric would have pulled horribly at the buttons and gaped if it did. Since the sizing chart put me (36″ bust – 29/30 inch waist depending on the day – 41 inch hip) somewhere between a 14 and a 16, I cut a muslin for a straight size 14 to start.
The size 14 ended up bringing the shoulder seams over the edge of my shoulder. The bust was about two inches too large, even when accounting for movement ease. The waist was loose (I omitted the shaping darts), but the hips were a little snug. I decided I would make a size 14 graded out to a 16 at the hips, and – for this fabric – it perfectly achieved the slightly relaxed fit I wanted.
I plan to make a new muslin when using a more “crisp” fabric as the pattern suggests. I have a feeling I might need to grade more from a 12 at the shoulders to a 16 at the hips, but we’ll see!
Verdict: An Overlooked Wardrobe Staple
When I say this is an “overlooked wardrobe staple”, I really mean “seemingly unremarked-upon” online. After vigorous searching, I couldn’t find a single detailed review for this pattern. There are only three posts under the Instagram hashtag #folkwearatthehop: two are from me and the other is from Folkwear showing a gorgeous cardigan knitted from this pattern.
Seriously, this pattern needs more love!
I really enjoyed sewing the Folkwear 256 “At the Hop” blouse pattern, and I am very happy with the finished garment. The fold-over cuffs are a nice little detail, and I love that the collar isn’t too rounded or wide. The shape of the collar, I would argue, actually falls somewhere between a club collar and a peter-pan collar…which I LOVE. Also, I prefer the look/feel of a collar without a stand, so this pattern really was ideal for me. I’ve come away with a very versatile, comfortable staple for my wardrobe. I will absolutely be making more.
Thank you to Folkwear for generously providing this pattern free to the 2019 Asheville Frocktails event! (They did not request any reviews in exchange, this is a freely offered review from me!)
Bonus: Here’s me trying to emulate the cover of the pattern, because as I said before… I am a goose.