Friday, January 27, 2017

More Kosmach Embroidery

Hello all, 

I have recently acquired a book by Hryhoryj Smol'skyj, which has images of ustawky [sleeve insets] of women's chemises from the village of Kosmach in Hutsulshchyna.  I have already written one article about Kosmach. Their embroidery is done in cross stitch, in warm yellow-orange-red tones, as shown in the painting above. 

More recently, the embroiderers of Kosmach have added more colors to their embroidery, such as blue, violet and burgundy, but have not changed the feel of the overall designs. The embroideries shown do not reflect these recent changes.

The following two photos show how the insets are sewn into the chemises.

 Here are the embroidery designs, and the names that they have in the village. Do not take the names too literally.

Pіжкаті  Rizhkati - Horned

Пушкаті Pushkati - fingertips

Лекичі Lekychi or Летячі - Flying

Перлові Perlovi - Pearl

Ільчисті Il'chysti - Flower

 Рітські Ritski - From the village of Richka

Скрепчисті Skrepchysti -Fiddle

 Соснові Sosnovi - Pine tree

Волоськi Voloski - Wallachian

Горiшкові Horishkovi - Nuts

 Кучериві Kucheryvi - Curly

Павукові Pavukovi - Spiders

Ключкові Kljuchkovi - Keys or birds flying in a V

Нумерові Numerovi - Numbers

Микулинськi Mykulynski - From the village of Mykulychyn or Курячі лапки Kurjachi lapky - Chicken feet

Безконечник Bezkonechnyk or без вулиць bez vulyts' - Neverending or without roads

Безконечник Bezkonechnyk - Neverending

Сливові Slyvovi - Plums

Черешневі Chereshnevi - Cherries

Скосики Skosyky - Angled or Зубчисті Zubchysti - Toothed

Рожеві Rozhevi - Roses

Дубовий лист Dubovyj lyst - Oak leaf

Кнігинькові Knihynkovi - Princess

Баранкові Barankovi - Rams

Баранкові Barankovi - Rams 2

Дев'ять пушок Devyat' pushok - Nine fingertips

Качурові Kachurovi - Ducks

Рожнівські Rozhniwski - From the village of Rozhniw

Пушкаті дрібнонькі Pushkati dribnon'ki - Tiny fingertips

Хлопчики Khlopchyky - Boys

Thank you for reading.

Roman K

Hryhoriy Smolsky, 'Kosmach Vustavka', L'viw, 2013

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Costume and Embroidery of Pyritz-Pyrzyce, Pomerania

Hello all
Today I will talk about the costume of the region in south central Pomerania which is called Pyritz in German, Pyrzyce in Polish, and Përzëca in Kaszubian. For a short history of Pomerania, see my article on the Jamund/Jamno costume.

This area lies east of the Oder and about 40 km south of the city of Stettin-Szczecin. It, like Jamund-Jamno, was an integral part of the Duchy of Pomerania. It is roughly coterminous with the contemporary county of Pyrzyce. It was located around the lake known as Miedwie in Polish and Madüsee in German.


This area, once drained of wetlands had a very rich soil. The name of the town seems to be derived from an old Slavic word for wheat. This is reflected in the other German term for the area, Weizacker. The farmers of the area were thus well off, and not being bound by any laws restricting what they could wear, developed what is easily the most colorful costume of this region.

The Chemise was of white linen. It is recorded that it was of a poncho type cut. I cannot verify this. It had a wide band of gathered lace around the collar and cuffs for dressy occasions. It had fairly wide sleeves. The lace collar may have been separate. Early images show the chemise longer than the skirt.

 In more recent times bloomers that reach to the knee were worn. Over the chemise, three to seven underskirts or petticoats were worn. These were linen and very full. Over this was the top skirt. This was usually red, about 5.5 m around, flat on the front, but pleated all around the back with narrow pleats 1-1.5 cm. each. Descriptions of the length vary from about 10 cm below the knee, to just barely above it. This was to keep the skirt clean and away from the mud which was very common. there is a colored band set in about 2 cm above the hem. This was green or blue, or, if you look at the image at the head of the article, both. If you look at the second image above, she is wearing a black skirt with a violet band. This indicates that either she is a widow or in deep mourning for an immediate family member. The same is true for this image. 

In the photograph above, you can see that she is wearing embroidered knee stockings and shoes with buckles. The stockings are generally red, although the widow above has black stockings, as does one of the figures from Kretschmer's print below. They are embroidered in yellow, black, and other colors.

Over the stockings just below the knee, two garters were tied on. These were in the form of an ellipse about 27-29 cm long by 7-9 cm high. It was made of the same material as the matching apron and shawl. If the background was plain then it was embroidered with round floral motifs, and edged with a patterned ribbon 1-2 cm wide. To the lower part a bow of jacquard ribbbon was attached, which hung down in front of the stockings. 

Generally, low shoes were worn, Sometimes embroidered slippers were put on for special occasions. At other times leather shoes were worn. Take a look at the images in this article. Modern dance groups, even German ones, will sometimes replace the stockings and shoes with red Polish lace up boots.


The aprons were full, rich, and colorful. Older images show them being made of silk brocade.

The apron hung rather lower than the skirt and was often fringed. Sometimes it seems that it was striped.

If the silk brocade was rather plain, or if plain satin was used, then the apron was embroidered in floral motifs in satin stitch, large round flowers being predominant, but also including tulips, forget-me-nots, hearts, and stars. Here is a photo of an old apron, followed by a modern one, notice how much richer the old one is.

A loose pocket was worn around the waist, partially under the apron on the right side. Such pockets are common in western Europe and Scandinavia, but rare in eastern Europe.It was made of the same material as the garters, apron and shawl. It was also edged and embroidered like the garters.

A bodice was worn with this, sometimes with a jacket over it, and sometimes not. 

The bodice and the jacket had basically the same cut, but the jacket had sleeves and the neckline was higher.

The jacket, jope, was of black or green wool. It had contrasting cuffs with silver buttons of which the first three actually buttoned. There were two silk ribbons attached just above the cuff which hung down below the arms. These were usually green if the jacket was black. They would be blue, violet or black for widows. In this image she has the green cuffs but not the hanging ribbons.

In these next images you can see the green ribbons, also take a look at the images above.


 A shoulder shawl is worn over the bodice or jacket, sometimes it is silk brocade, but very often it is embroidered in the same way as the apron, pocket, and garters. Here is a good modern example. 

 While some modern dance groups round off the corner, making it into a short cape, this is not correct. 

 The shawl was square, but the center back was generally pinned higher, so that the point was not very visible. Take another look at Kretschmer's print. 

 One diagonal would be embroidered in red, and the other in blue. The red side was worn on the outside normally, and the blue side during periods of mourning.

Here are some examples from museums in Poland. The quality of the photographs is poor, but you can get a good idea of the embroidery. This one clearly shows the two sides. 

 here are more, as clear as I can make them. The embroidery is quite evident. 

The jacket has ribbons hanging from the front where it closes, and some images show ribbons hanging from the back of the neck as well.  A white cap is worn over the hair, and a bonnet over that.  Here are a couple of white caps with extra embroidery, used in the ceremony of covering the bride's hair during the wedding. 

 The older form of the bonnet has a peak in the rear, and sits rather high and back on the head. Take another look at the woman in the left rear of the Kretschmer print above. Here is another example. 

This image is labelled Braunschweig, but it looks like an everyday form of the Pyrytzer costume. 

This image evidently shows a more everyday outfit and the bonnet in an intermediate form..

 The bonnet came to have a small point on top in front, rounded cheek pieces, and to extend further forward on the head, as well as having a rounded rather than a peaked rear. Ribbons hang from the back, and a small area in back is covered with floral embroidery.

The formal costume includes embroidered fingerless gloves and a muff with ribbons on the front and an embroidered white kerchief pulled through it. Modern dance groups will sometimes replace this with a scrap of tulle.


The men's costume includes a linen shirt with full sleeves, yellow or natural leather pants or knickers tucked into black boots, these are often replaced today by white or yellow cloth pants. The vest was originally in dark blue, with buttons, and some embroidery on it. A black silk neckcloth may be embroidered in floral designs. A long frock coat in midnight blue with red lapels, lining and piping is also worn. Some groups have shifted the color to royal blue, others to black. You can see above the three types of hat which are worn with this outfit. Note the woman off to the side wearing a straw hat and cape. 

 Reconstructed cut of the costume from a German source:

Thank you for reading. I hope that you have found this to be interesting and informative. 

I will close with some more images of this costume. Some are old paintings or photos, and others are reconstructed and often simplified versions worn by dance groups, both Polish and German. 



This image shows the bridal dress, with a floral crown and a lace cape over the shawl.

 Roman K

Source material
Besides online sources, I relied mainly on these two books:
Hildegard Haenel et al, 'Pommersche Volkstrachten', Husum, 1995
Agnieszka Dobrowolksa, 'Stroj Pyrzycki', Wroclaw, 1955