Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Whitework embroidery of Vinnytsia region, East Podillia, Ukraine

Hello all, 
Today I will talk about another tradition of whitework in Ukraine, around Vinnytsia in Eastern Podillia. Here you can see a man's shirt embroidered in this technique.  As in Sniatyn, the main feature of this embroidery are the eyelets, 'nightingale eyes'. The distinction is that in this region the eyelets are always square, and even when they form groups, they never share stiches. This gives them a distinctive look, quite different from the work of Sniatyn.

As in most whitework, a combination of stitches is used, faggot stitch, reverse faggot stitch, counted satin stitch, hemstitch and others. On men's shirts these were used on the front placket, cuffs and collars. 

 These make for very elegant designs.

 Here you can see the overall cut of the man's shirt.

Usually the composition is based on diamonds, some larger, some smaller.

As in Sniatyn, different subtle shades may be used. Yellow is often added. This collar and cuff feature a surface stitch which in Ukrainian is called Verkhoplut.

Women's chemises were also embroidered using this technique. Here is a shoulder inset from one such chemise.

Here is an example of a chemise made with the sleeves and shoulder parts cut out of a single piece of cloth.

Another chemise with much yellow in the embroidery and scattered motifs down the sleeve.

 Some of these are made with an unusual cut, A rectangular yoke, called koketka forms the top of the chemise from shoulder to shoulder, with a circle cut out for the neck opening.

 These not only have a wide band of embroidery across the end at the shoulder, but often a narrow band the length of the yoke from side to side.

 A darker color may be added, as in this man's shirt.

Or this yoke of a woman's chemise.

Perhaps the most unusual variant is adding beads of various colors as accents.

This is found on men's shirts as well as on women's chemises.


One of my readers in Ukraine wrote in to share a couple of photos which she took of this type of embroidery. She goes by the name of 'Mawka Lisova'.


You can see more of her photography at her website.

  This is not the only kind of embroidery found in this area, and eyelet embroidery is also found in other parts of Ukraine as well.
 Thank you for reading, I hope that you have found this interesting and inspiring. This kind of embroidery could be used for many different projects of your own. I will close with some closeups.


Feel free to contact me with requests for research. I hope to eventually cover all of Europe and the Former Russian Empire/Soviet Union. I also gratefully accept tips on source materials which i may not have. I also accept commissions to research/design, sew, and/or embroider costumes or other items for groups or individuals. I also choreograph and teach folk dance.
Roman K.


Source Material:
Liudmyla Bulakova-Sytnyk, 'Podil's'ka Narodna Vyshywka', Lviw, 2005
Yevhen and Tetiana Prychepiy, 'Embroidery of Eastern Podillia', Kyjiw [Kiev], 2007
E. Hasiuk and M. Stepan, 'Khudozhnje Vyshyvannia', Kyjiw [Kiev], 1986


  1. Beautiful! Very delicate looking style. :)

  2. White work with colored glass beads! Fantastic! Why do I have so little time to experiment... :(

  3. Thanks for this post. I saw nice men's shirt with whitework and beads on the exhibition in Vinnytsya https://picasaweb.google.com/115068169732517408090/PaMaZH#5794843055972678834 You can see another Podillya's embroidered things from that exhibition in my album https://picasaweb.google.com/115068169732517408090/PaMaZH#

  4. Thank you Mawko,
    I took the time to look at your photos and they are very well done! such wonderful closeups! Thank you for sharing your work. I would to ask you if you would allow me to put a couple of your znymky in my blog. I would of course include a link to your photographs and give you full credit for those photos.
    znovy shchyro vam diakuju.

    1. Thank you. Of course, you can use my photos.