Boho style

Boho – Love it or hate it?

With flowing fabrics, linens & laces and mixed up with comfy yet contrasting casuals like denim, it's certainly a definitive style.  It's creative, fun and a great way to explore style and fabrics. 

How to style Boho

What is Boho?

It is hard to find a good definition of boho! Wikipedia states “Boho-chic is a style of fashion drawing on various bohemian and hippie influences”.

The dictionary definition of bohemian is “a socially unconventional person, especially one who is involved in the arts.”

Here at The Sewing Revival HQ we didn’t find that really defined what we saw as modern boho style. We have had a couple of what my children would call ‘discussing and disagreeing’ moments this morning over what constitutes boho or boho-chic. Questions that have arisen have included: Can it include black? What about bright colours? Can it be plain colours or only patterns? 

We believe that the key features of boho when it comes to sewing is that the fashion is grounded in natural fabrics. Silks, linens, and cottons are the key both in fabric and in embellishments. For a modern twist, Rayon (made from cellulose from trees….so we’ll include this man-made-from-natural sources textile), especially since it does have the drape and crushability common to “boho”. Rayon in a crepe or in a print that takes its lead from old fashioned small flower prints works well. Prints need to be small and are generally flowers or ethnic/mandala style. Plain fabrics, crinkled, embellished, gathered or layered is quite a separate style but equally boho. Old and worn fabrics are ideal, upcycling is encouraged! The juxtaposition of hard lines and softness is also a common theme in boho. Combining denim and floaty fabrics, rough edges and lace. We can’t seem to totally agree on the dark/bright colour options so we think this is might be up to the individual and your personal take on it!

Boho with sari silk

How do I make boho work for me?

The key to loving boho is to find what works for you! Again, at The Sewing Revival HQ there is some discussion on this! We gravitate towards different looks and so therefore think it is ok to make boho your own as long as you stick to the underlying basics of natural materials. Some of us find the ‘hippy’ style of boho hard to pull off with the natural chunky jewellery and beads and the muted colour palette. Shed those ideas of boho and start looking at the bits that inspire you – soft floaty fabrics? Long flowing dresses? Voluminous sleeves? Lace? Florals? You don’t have to do it all! Modern boho can be brightly coloured if you pick the right fabric, minimalist in accessories or made more edgy with boots, a structured jacket or a rough pair of jeans. The Heron top and dress lend themselves to this modern take on boho perfectly (we think). Raid the stash of lace doilies and bits and bobs from your grandmother, or check out your local thrift shop for lace or worn tablecloths etc. You can also keep it simple with a a fabric in a beautiful small floral print. If you are not a purist, this is easy to achieve with rayons. One way to achieve that boho look without being “over the top” is just to start with just a mix of two small floral prints on the sleeves and mix it with an old pair of jeans. The key is not to look too ‘put together’. Remember again that the style was born from having to make do!

 DIY boho dress

 We've been collecting a heap more pics on Boho Style over on our Pinterest boards. For more inspo head over to Pinterest via this link.

Here’s the history for all you history buffs!

Bohemian or Boho as it is more commonly referred to is a style that is usually associated with hippies and the style of clothing that emerged during the 1960's and 1970's, but the history behind the bohemian style actually began in France during the 19th century, after the French revolution. During this period, due to a shift in the economic climate, a large number of artists were shoved into poverty and turned to clothing as a way of expression. They style features embroidery, embellished beading, earth tones, mixed prints and long flowing skirts and dresses. During the 19th century, boho was considered eccentric and ‘out of the norm’, but that is no longer the case. Boho was embraced during the hippie era and over the decades since, has continued to pop in and out of fashion.

The style has gained popularity after celebrities such as Kate Moss and Sienna Miller adopted this free-spirited style. It is one of those styles that never truly disappears, but is adapted to suit changing trends. In recent years, festivals such as Coachella, Splendour in the Grass and Rhythm and Vine have become popular destinations to showcase the re-emergence of the bohemian style. As it becomes more popular, designers such as Alexander McQueen and Robert Cavalli have created collections emphasising a modern bohemian style that is making a resurgence among all generations, often emphasising chunky pieces of jewellery, loose tunics with neutral and warm shades mixed with retro patterns.

Ok …I’m keen to have a play. What should I do now?

Check out your fabric stash and sort out your natural materials. Check out your second-hand shops, online and your fabric stores for fabric that fit the look that YOU want to create. If embellishment is your thing, search out lace, doilies and old embroidery.

Keeping with the natural theme, check out the tips and tricks for dyeing with ingredients such as onion skins and avocados!

Patterns such as the Heron shirt and Heron dress with the new sleeve and dress length hack lend themselves perfectly to boho, and we have more styles coming soon that will add to your repertoire, so keep your eye out for them on our social media. This is a ‘live’ blog and as our boho ideas and creative discussions continue we will add to this blog. Feel free to add your voice to the discussion!

DIY boho dress DIY boho shirt DIY Boho silk shirt DIY boho shirt rayon Sew your own boho dress DIY boho shirt with silk and lace

The attachment of cotton doilies to the pink Heron shirt above gives it a boho look. The shirt was cut out of calico, the doilies attached to the pattern pieces, and once sewn up the shirt was dyed. Be sure that your doilies (and thread) are made from cotton as polyester and nylon do not dye well.

Patterns for beginners

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