Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mens Costume and Linen Embroidery of Lagartera, Toledo Province, Castille, Spain

Hello all, 
Today I will continue my article on Lagartera by talking about the different forms of the mens costume and the linen embroidery which is associated with it. The two main forms of the costume which are worn today are shown above, the 'grooms costume' at top, and the more usual festive costume just above. There is also an everyday or working costume which is now little worn.

The shirt  is the garment which show the most variation in the different forms of the costume. The everyday work shirt was completely plain, and often a Spanish style smock was worn over it, or replaced it, as we can see here on the right. The man on the left is wearing the normal dress costume. 

The boy in this photo is wearing the plain everyday shirt.

The shirt, el Camison, is made of linen with separate fields for the front and the back. There are shoulder insets sewn between the front and back fields on top of the body. The sleeves are set in at the sides, there is a gusset under the arms, and neck and wrist bands are sewn on. 
In this form of the shirt, only the neckbands cabezon, the cuffs,  punos, and shoulder insets, hombreras, are embroidered. 


The embroidery is generally dark yellow or gold, with much openwork, both hemstitching and pulled thread embroidery being used, along with cross stitch, chain stitch, and other stitches. There is usually a band of hemstitching along the adjacent edge of the upper sleeve. The 'bridegroom's' shirt, which is more formal, also has  embroidery on the front panel, and decorative joining between the cloth panels.


A vest, Chamarreta, is always worn with the festive costume and sometimes with the everyday, but never with the 'bridegroom's costume'. This was  probably originally made of sheepskin, but is now made of heavy wool in a natural cream color. Here is plain version which was worn with the everyday plain shirt.

The front and back are each made of one solid field of cloth. They are sewn together on one side and on one shoulder. The opening is on the other side. They hook together on the shoulder and are held closed by ties on the side under the arm. In the everyday version the neckhole and shoulder opening are bound with plain black cloth, as we see above. 
In the festive version the cloth is replaced by one or two rows of colorful ribbon, as you can see here below. This ribbon continues a short distance down the side that opens.


 Black wool knickers, el Calzon, are worn with these costumes. The everyday and festive versions have button flies. The 'bridegroom's costume' has a fall front which also  closes with bottons. There is a drawstring in a casing around the waist. These are worn over linen pants, Calzoncillos, as is quite common with heavy wool pants around Europe. The bridegroom's calzoncillos are embroidered.

Black wool gaiters, las Calzas, are worn on the lower legs. They are fastened around the leg below the knee, under the knickers. They button down the outside, the more formal ones having 23 buttons each, the everyday somewhat less. A little of the underpants usually shows.

A wide red woolen sash, la Faja is worn with the festive costume but not with the bridegroom's. A scarf, panuelo,  like the ones which the women wear on the head may be tucked into the sash.

Black leather shoes are worn. 

A jacket, el Sayo, may be worn or omitted with either the festive or the bridegroom's costume. It is of black wool and does not close in front, but is fastened in place with cords that cross in front at the waist. It has short tails or lappets in back which are bound in red for festive occasions.

 A round black hat with a wide brim, el, Sombrero is worn, a very practical item in this climate.

And as in many places in Spain, especially in Castile, a full cape  may be worn. This has an additional shoulder cape attached, and is a very impressive garment. It is sometimes worn with modern city clothing as an item of formal wear.

Here again is the image from the head of the article. You can see that on holidays, Corpus Christi in particular, elaborately embroidered linens hang on the walls. These have extensive openwork which form designs, and are embroidered in the same techniques and colors as the men's shirts.

 Here is more of this work, with some closeups.

This type of embroidery continues in Lagartera today. In addition, highly simplified pieces are also produced and sold as boutique items to tourists and online. These are said to have Lagartera embroidery, and certainly use the same techniques, and are beautiful pieces, but are greatly impoverished in comparison to the original Lagartera embroidery which you can see above. Here are some examples. If you find books on Lagartera embroidery, these are the kinds of designs which they contain.

Thank you for reading. I hope that you have found this to be interesting and informative. 
I find even the simplified version of Lagartera embroidery to be beautiful and fascinating.

Roman K

Here is one of the websites from which you can buy the Lagartera boutique embroidery.

Here are some links showing the costume and also the local style of embroidery on house linens. These links were also present in my last article.


Source Material:
'Modelos a Lagartera', N. 751, Ediciones Marcel Lyss
South Australian Embroiderer's Guild, 'Lagartera Embroidery', Bowral NSW, 2003
M.a Guadalupe Fernández González, 'El Traje Tipico de Lagartera', Toledo, Spain, 1993
Florencia Herraez Lozano, H.C. 'Orden i Modo de Vestir el Traje de Lagartera', Toledo, Spain, 2000
Isabel de Palencia, 'The Regional Costumes of Spain', Madrid, 1926
Oscar de la Renta et al, 'Joaquin Sorolla and the Glory of Spanish Dress', New York, 2011 
Jose Ortiz Echague, 'Espana, Tipos y Trajes', Madrid, 1953
Manuel Comba, 'Trajes Regionales Espanoles', Madrid, 1977
Cesar Justel, 'Espana, Trajes Regionales', Madrid, 1997
Lilla Fox, 'Folk Costumes of Southern Europe', Boston, 1972
Jose Manuel Gomez-Tabanera, 'Trajes Populares y Costumbres Tradicionales', Madrid, 1950

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