I first came across Folkwear patterns a couple of years ago when I was looking for an authentic vintage Gibson girl top sewing top. The Chupa dress caught my eye because of its long line look. The Chupa is a Tibetan women's traditional dress. It is a common style of dress for women from the U-Tsang region of Tibet. Called a chuba, this gown is usually made of wool or silk. It is normally worn over a long-sleeved blouse.

The Folkwear Patterns Chupa dress features an asymmetrical wrap front, front and back shaping darts, wide neckband, and simple faced armholes, and unique side extensions that wrap around the back to tie in front. The wrap makes it possible to easily adjust the waist size.

The recommended fabrics range in the middleweight region as it is a design for practicality. I liked that I can wear it with a top underneath which makes it versatile for fall/winter possibilities. Though I have used linen for this first version – I can see myself making a wool version too. Speaking of fabric choices – let us talk about the linen.

Embroidered Linen Viscose Fabrics

This is a linen viscose mix fabric – a good mix. I love linen but the ironing requirement for linen can be demanding. In this regard, mixing it with viscose makes garment care easier. Despite the viscose added to this fabric – it still looks very much like linen. The viscose only reduces linen’s wrinkly tendency. This fabric is elevated by the embroidery on the surface – parts of the embroidery have a fine silver thread that delicately catches the light. The medium-weight works well for dresses, tops, and trousers – not quite flow-y it has a good handle and drape. I prewashed it in a 30 degrees celsius wash and tumble dried on low. The shrinkage was minimal. The width is 51” which gives a lot of fabric to work with. Pressing it gives a sharp look but unironed the fabric carries a lovely relaxed look associated with linen.

Sewing Construction Details

Folkwear sewing patterns come with very detailed instructions. This makes sense as they focus on traditional-type styles made using traditional methods. This dress doesn't have a zip – the closures are all achieved by an array of intricately placed hook and eyes, ties, buttons, and button loops. Paying close attention to the instructions is vital. I suggest reading the instruction through first, as if reading a novel, before starting the sewing project. Some steps don't seem to make sense until 6 steps down the line. Unless you have sewn one of these before it is advisable to stick to the instructions. When it comes to finishing the seams – I’d skip doing that with your first make, you may need to unpick. For this reason, I suggest using a fabric that does not unravel easily. There are some areas of the dress that you cant serge and the only way to finish the seam will be by hand or pinking shears. That being said this dress is certainly worth all of this! I learned a lot from sewing this dress and thoroughly enjoyed the process. With each step, I got more excited to see how it was all coming together.


I love the statuesque look and feel of this dress. The armholes finished with facings create a beautiful finish. Though the black embroidered linen does not show it – the topstitching on the armholes would look fab if a denim fabric had been used with mustard topstitching.

I went against my floral tastes and took a chance by sewing with black. Surprisingly, I can see myself sewing more black fabrics especially if they are textured. This is a #win!

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