Monday, February 18, 2019

Costume of the Lachy part 2 Podegrodzie Women, Malopolska, Poland

Hello all,
This is the second part of my article on the Lachy. The first part covered the Lachy costume in genera and the Podegrodzie men's costume.
 Today I will cover the womens' costume of the Podegrodzie district of the Sącz region. This is often called the Sącz costume.


A long linen chemise was the original foundation garment. For everyday, it was plain, but was embroidered for festive occasion. The cut was very similar to that used for the mens shirts, with a shoulder inset.

There is a wide round collar, and sometimes fold back cuffs. Embroidery was either in red or white, concentrated on the collar, cuffs, shoulder inset and the front. Sometimes they embroidered both sides of the opening, and at other times a plastron which was attached to one side, similarly to the men's shirts. At some point the chemise was cut in two and the bottom half became a separate garment. I personally find it practical to use the long chemise.

Here are some examples of shirts which are commercially available at


Over the chemise were worn one or more petticoats, depending on the occasion and the weather. Petticoats were slightly longer than the skirts and usually had a toothed edge with broderie anglaise worked around the border. This would show under the skirt and give a rich effect.
The skirts themselves were originally linen. Around the turn of the century hand printed linen cloth of two or three colors was widely traded from Slovakia. Some were resist printed indigo and white, and others had red or yellow in them. These skirts were originally ankle length.

Some festive 'paradna' skirts were made of white linen with openwork embroidery covering up to three quarters of the skirt [up from the hem]. These were called 'fartuch'. Similar skirts were worn in parts of the Krakow region and also by the western Lemkos.

Skirts were very full, 6 or 7 meters being common for dress. They were of many colors when of bought factory cloth. They were gathered into a narrow waistband and secured with cords attached to the ends. A facing was sewn to the inside of the hem to strengthen it and to make it swish more. Often a solid colored skirt had ribbons or lace sewn above the hem.

Lighter cloth with relatively subtle prints was also used for skirts. These often had toothed edging and floral designs formed of soutache; oak leaves are very common. These are called rozowiaki, perhaps because they are often some shade of pink.

Aprons were likewise of many colors and types of cloth from white openwork linen to light cotton prints with soutache designs to heavier darker cloth, which was also sometimes embroidered. Unlike in most parts of Poland, here the apron was sometimes omitted.

Young ladies, but not little girls, would wear the gorset. This garment could be worn by young women starting at 13-14, and would continue to be worn by young wives for a time.
The cut is that typical for Malopolska, with a low round neckline and lappets at the waist. It was made of a dark color, usually black, but sometimes burgundy or dark blue or green, and linen with linen. It was usually closed with hooks and eyes, less commonly it was laced. The ornament was done in embroidery, soutache, beads and sequins. The most common motif was a group of flowers emanating from one point, which might be heart shaped. In this region the central stem was usually a zigzag, either sharp or more soft.


As we can see in this image above, for colder weather and older married women, the garment of choice was a short jacket called katanka. It was closed with buttons, came to just below the waist and was made from many kinds of heavier cloth and was lined. It had no collar. Fancier katanki worn for going out were called wizytki. These were often embroidered down the front, around the bottom edge and the cuffs, often with beadwork in floral designs.



This last example shows a katanka made for the winter, with sheepskin edging and wadding between the layers. This was usually closed with buttons and loops, and often had a sunrise design on the sleeves above the cuffs, and metallic ornament next to the sheepskin. This type of katana was often made somewhat longer and with an extremely full peplum which fell on the hips in many folds. It also had a patch pocket which was also ornamented. Notice that it still has no collar.


 The grandest garment which a well off married woman would wear was called kaftan. It somewhat resembled the katana, but was also much influenced by the waffenrok worn by the men. The older examples are dark green, but today they are often black. They also had a peplum with many folds, patches on the cuffs, and a shoulder cape. this garment was usually made of wool with a cotton lining, but was not wadded.

 Many of the details mirror the waffenrok. There are metal buttons and tassels down the front, usually in red, green and yellow. These are repeated on the pocket flaps and cuffs. there is a single row of buttons around the back just above the peplum. The edges are ornamented with passamenterie and embroidery using similar motifs to those found on the mens' jackets. Floral embroidery is also used in the center back and  corners as well.


Unmarried girls wore their hair uncovered in one or two braids, they would fasten ribbons to them for festive occasions. Kerchiefs were worn for church or colder weather, tied under the chin. See the various images. For festive dress, married women wore the chustka czepcowa, a finely embroidered kerchief about a meter on a side which was wrapped around the head and tied on the forehead in order to cover the hair.

Boots were commonly worn, originally, as in the Krakow region, the women also wore karbiaki.

But today you will often see the tight lace up boots which have become standard over most of Poland, even though they are not really native to this region.

Red beads of coral, fake coral, glass and other materials were commonly worn, usually on shorter strings so that they fall high on the chest. Crosses were often attached to these necklaces.

Just a couple more images.

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

Roman K.


A group from the region of varying ages and wearing many different outfits. They are the first act in some festival, so the video goes on to show Silesians and others. A bit amateurish, but worth watching.

A group from Poligrodzie, costumes similar, but well done.

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

Roman K.


Source Material:
Z Szewczyk and M Brylak-Zaluska, 'Stroj Lachow Sadeckich', Nowy Sacz, 2004
Elzbieta Piskorz-Branekowa, 'Polskie Stroje Ludowe', Warsaw, 2013
Aleksander Blachowski, 'Haft Polskie Szycie', Lublin, 2004
Stanislaw Gadomski, 'Stroj Ludowe w Polsce', Warsaw,
Elzbieta Krokikowska, 'The Polish Folk Dress', Warsaw, 2000
Jan Wielek, 'Stroj Lachow Limanowskich', Warsaw, 1988


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. All these women look amazingly gorgeous in all the pictures, I really wonder why this kind of clothing is not commonly found.

  3. Polish people really excel with embroidery. Talented women

  4. really liked your post, where you have shared regarding embroidery. People should know about folk custom dress embroidery, Keep giving updates.