Saturday, January 25, 2014

Costume and Embroidery of Bukovyna, Ukraine, part 2 khlopianka

Hello all,
Today I will continue my discussion of Bukovynian costume. The other type of chemise used in Bukovyna is called khlopianka, or 'boycut', because it is similar in cut to the men's shirt.
This cut may be seen in this image above. Because the sleeves are sewn to the body of the shirt at right angles, it provides greater freedom of movement. Thus it was used for everyday and working garments. In Ukraine, even everyday garments had at least some embroidery. You can see here there is a strip of embroidery along the seam where the sleeve meets the body, a little around the front opening, and along the sleeve ends. This photo was taken in the 1950's, and you can see that it is a more recent garment by the floral embroidery, the somewhat shortened sleeves and the crotched edging on the sleeves, and likely the neck opening as well.She is also wearing a obhortka with rather plain stripes.
Here is the cut of the khlopianka.

Here is another example of rather modest embroidery of a geometric design. Unusually, both the hem and the sleeve end embroideries have been shifted away from the edges. they should be very close to the edges of the garment. This type of chemise rarely has a cuff. note the short sheepskin vest with floral embroidery.

During the 20th century, the khlopianka began to be the recipient of embroidery which was both simplified and more extensive, the entire sleeve and front sometimes being treated as fields for embroidery. One can distinguish 5 different types, with hybrids also being found. Some of these were no longer confined to Bukovyna, but began to spread and hybridize with the chemises of Podillia and further.

1. The 'tree' typical of the bottom part of the sleeve of the morshchanka extends all the way to the shoulder seam, with the top two parts lost. Usually there is a crosswise strip of embroidery on the body field just above the seam. You can see this diagramed on the schematic above. Sometimes it had a cuff as did the morshchanka. This might be considered to be a hybrid with the morshchanka chemise.

2. Geometric cross stitch embroidery used. This was part of the general spread of cross stitch only designs across western Uraine in the early to mid 20th cent. Typically the designs used combined the Bukovynian love of color with the Hutsul and Podillian type of dense geometric embroidery designs. The shape of the neck opening was sometimes made square because of the use of cross stitch designs. this type of chemise was also made in west Podillia at the same time.

This last image shows type 1 on the left, and type 2 on the right. This chemise on the right also shows a fad which was popular in the late 20th cent., which is embroidery based on blue, which was never a major color in traditional embroidery.

3. Silk embroidery with cutwork. This is usually done in ecru, straw or light yellow. The cutwork is done in grids with the outer edge bound in satin stitch, and the interior grid completed by simply wrapping the remaining threads. This has some similarity to Sniatyn embroidery, but the execution is very different. The cutwork areas offten form a background to the actual design. Often this is combined with other types of embroidery as in these two examples, which combine it with geometric embroidery. Again, I am at a loss to explain the origin of this type of embroidery, as it resembles no other style of embroidery in the region closely. It is admired, and has spread to other nearby regions.

4. In the mid to late 20th cent. floral embroidery became popular. I personally am not fond of this, as floral embroidery often tends to be very generic. Cross stitched flower embroidery pretty much looks the same no matter where it is from. Some of this embroidery could easily be Berlin work, or from Mexico, for that matter.

In spite of this, some of these have an undeniable beauty of their own, and this type of embroidery has spread out of Bukovyna as well.


Most of these chemises, however, are executed in a type of counted satin stitch, which I personally find much more interesting.


5. The last type of chemise which I am covering today has a very similar type of design, but instead of being embroidered, the motifs are made of beads. These today are extremely popular, and have spread over a large part of Ukraine. You will sometimes see these labelled as 'Hutsul wedding shirts', but in fact they started in Bukovyna, where beads have long been used as a minor part of the morshchanka embroidery.


Thank you for reading, I hope that you have found this to be interesting and useful.
I will close with just a few more images.

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.
Roman K.


Source Material:
Myroslava Kot, 'Ukrajin'ska Vyshyta Sorochka', Drohobych, 2007
R. Zakharchuk-Chuhaj, 'Ukrajinska Narodna Vyshywka Zakhidni Oblasti URSR', Kyjiw [Kiev] 1988
Liudmyla Bulakova-Sytnyk et al, 'Zhinocha Sorochka Borshchiws'koho-Zastawniws'koho Prydnistrovia', Kyjiw [Kiev], 2012
Yaroslava Kozholan'ko, 'Traditional Dress of Bukovyna', Chernivtsi - Saskatoon, 1994
O. I. Kubajevych et al., 'Derzhawnyj Muzej Etnohrafiji ta Khudozhnjoho Promyslu AN UkrSSR', Kyjiw [Kiev}, 1976
Oksana Kosmina, 'Traditional Ukrainian Clothing', Kyjiw [Kiev], 2007
M. Bilan et al, 'Ukrajinskyj Strij', L'viw, 2000
Tetiana Kara-Vasylieva, 'Ukrajinska Vyshywka', Kyjiw [Kiev], 1993
Natalia Kalashnikova et al, 'National Costumes of the Soviet Peoples', Moscow, 1990
V Bilozub et al, 'Ukrainian Folk Art - Clothing', Kyjiw [Kiev] 1961
K Matejko, 'Ukrajinskyj Narodnyj Odiah', Kyjiw [Kiev], 1977
Petro Odarchenko et al, 'Ukrainian Folk Costume', Toronto - Philadelphia, 1992
Olena Kulynych-Stakhurska, 'The Art of Ukrainian Embroidery', L'viw, 1996
Lesia Danchenko, 'Ukrainian Folk Art, Leningrad, 1982
M. Uljanova et al, 'The UkrSSR State Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art', Kyjiw [Kiev], 1983
Tamara Nikolaieva 'Ukrajinskyj Kostium - Nadija na Renesans', Kyjiw [Kiev] 2005
Eric Kolbenheier, 'Specimen Embroideries of the Peasant Home Industry in the Bucovina', reprinted in Canada in 1974
Lubow Wolynetz, 'Ukrainian Folk Art', The Ukrainian Museum, New York, 1984


  1. Thank you, Roman, for the fact, that you are writing about Ukraine at this difficult time for us.

  2. Thanks also for the photos 12-13. I see there headdress, which is also saw at the Ukrainian auction ( called "rushnyk". I knew, that somewhere in Bukovyna female peremitka is called "rushnyk" or "ruchnik", but I was not sure, that this one can be dressed on head.

  3. that's Brilliant fashion ideas by Ukrainian Lady. they so good.

  4. Fantastic, great fashion ideas. BE SAFE ❤👍