Friday, July 22, 2016

New Project

So in my love of the 1920s and linen, I discovered that embroidered linen dresses was a really common theme in the past 100 years, not just the 1920s. However, you get into racist overtones. Whether it's the Mexican version of the embroidered dress, or the "gypsy fashion!" Romani version of the embroidered dress, you see a lot of "I'm a white tourist in your country who wants to buy your shit". And then I discovered/re-remembered that Slavic style was ALSO considered "exotic" in the 1920s. Enter the Вишиванка. (N.B. I haven't installed Cyrillic alphabet keyboard on this comp, so the rest will be Roman alphabet.)

The Vyshyvanka is the traditional embroidered shirt or chemise in Ukrainian national costume.

As I have Ukrainian heritage, I feel comfortable wearing a Ukrainian embroidered garment. Because I am cheap, insane, and talented, I of course want to make it. This has meant research.

Research into what embroideries are common, what stitches are common (answer: it's VERY VERY regional). Research with very little information as to where my Great Grandfather came from (I got diddly on my Great Grandmother, not to mention it was her PARENTS who immigrated). I have my Great Grandfather's original name before Ellis Island. That... helps very little. Apparently his first name is a common Rusyn name (from Transcarpathian region of Ukraine, Slovakia and Romania). Apparently variation of his last name are from either Slovakia or Austria. Apparently he was BORN in Austria, but identified as Ukrainian. All of these little bits of information has meant that I will be basing my embroidery off of the Bukovyna area in Ukraine.

Bukovynian Vyshyvanka look like this:

The bulk of the embroidery is on the sleeves, which is in three sections. A horizontal pattern on top, a monochromatic (and usually pale) band in the middle, and diagonal or vertical stripes toward the wrist. There are vertical bands alongside the front opening and the neckline, and occasionally a band near the hem. The embroidery patterns I'm going to use are based off of these two images:

However, in my practice efforts at embroidering, the middle band, which uses a stitch called morshchynka, is my least favorite embroidery stitch ever.

I find it difficult to use and unwieldy. Oh well. We shall see how it goes.


  1. Best of luck to you, my dear. I absolutely adore traditional Central and Eastern European fashions as well (my ancestry is largely German and Russian, and I'm sure on some deep level, I must be drawn to such all the more because of that heritage), though haven't really owned much in the way of such over the year. It's awesome that you're working on an embroidered blouse/tunic of your own. I really hope that it goes well - unwieldy morshchynka stitch and all.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you Jessica! It's going to be one of my winter projects this year. My goal is to complete it before the May holiday "Vyshyvanka Day" where apparently Ukrainian heritage folk all around the world wear their culture with pride.

      Thank you for the support -- it means a lot. :)