Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Challenge of Making Traditional Bulgarian Costumes

This post comes a bit late, but it's better to come late than not to come at all. I haven't stopped sewing but I have been terrible at keeping up with blogging about it.
Making traditional Bulgarian clothes for my children was my biggest project last summer.
I can honestly say that this was the most time and effort consuming project that I have done so far. And the most satisfying. Friends and family asked me why I was dedicating so much time to something that wouldn't be used for long time as children grew so quickly. But I felt I had to do it. Raising my children far from Bulgaria, I wanted to give them ''a piece'' of the bulgarian traditions and culture.

I started with sewing the white shirts first.I made one for my five year old and then graded it down to three year old size.They are both the same style with high collar and front opening. That was the easy part. Then I threw myself into hours and hours of embroidering (after searching the internet for ideas a couple of hours).
The waistcoats were relatively easy to make. I love the black trimming on them. The skirt and the waistcoats are made from thick wool fabric, and the shirts are from cotton woven fabric. I bought all of them from Bulgaria.

The main element of the embroidery is called "shevitza". It has to be made in a closed pattern which symbolize the life cycle. The dominant colour is red and it is a symbol of life, wine, blood.

There were seamstresses whose embroidery work was so beautifully accomplished that it was hard to tell which was the right side and which was the wrong side of the garment. But they always left a small unfinished detail somewhere on the clothes. This was done against ill luck as they believed that too much of a good thing wasn't good.
An interesting fact is that in the past every village had it own embroidery motifs and its villagers had to conform with them.

Nowadays traditional Bulgarian clothes (or "nosii" as we call them in bulgarian) are worn mainly by folklore singers and dancers but back in time people used to wear them when they visited markets in other villages, during celebrations and fairs. The clothes spoke about people's social and family status.

source: balto-slavica.com

source: trakia-tours.com