Ukraine

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Poltava embroidery avaPeople didn’t have synthetic dyes 200 years ago, so they used various natural pigments to dye threads for needlework. Of course, the available color palette wasn’t very wide. In Ukraine, the most popular colors of embroidery were red, black, brown, gray, yellow, blue, and white. In the mid-19th century, synthetic dyes appeared and quickly became widely used, so natural pigments were almost forgotten by the artisans. But what kind of natural dyes did our ancestors know? How did they get the needed color?

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Indigo avaOnly one small district in Central Ukraine has authentic shirts adorned with indigo blue embroidery. They were made with threads dyed with a rather expensive natural dye – indigo, obviously. What’s so interesting about these garments? Except for the blue color of needlework, which was not typical for Ukraine, indigo is a very resistant dye and the threads don’t lose their bright color after many washings and sunlight influence. This allows for indigo blue embroidered shirts to be used for years and years, as these were festive garments worn only for special occasions.

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Poltava avaWe’ve written about Ukrainian whitework embroidery recently, but, obviously, some fine examples of these patterns are always in situ. So, here you are a number of photos, including many close-ups, of this unusual needlework technique. The shirts adorned with whitework look sophisticated and pristine, don’t they? These garments are vintage embroidered shirts from Central Ukraine, the late 19th – first half of the 20th century.

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Spadok ava3This is the last part of a series of charming videos dedicated to Ukrainian folk dress. This time, you’ll see how married women in Ukraine got dressed 100-150 years ago step by step. These are 7 videos presenting the traditional festive costumes of married females from different regions of the country. All the clothing articles are original, from the late 19th – early 20th century. Note that married women always hid their hair under a headdress, thus there were many cute hairstyles that helped braid and pin the hair around the head.

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Spadok ava2We’re continuing to introduce you to the series of excellent videos dedicated to Ukrainian national clothing. They show you how vintage Ukrainian outfits are put on step by step. Here you are 5 videos that show the most eye-catching headdresses worn by married women, elderly women, and wedding matchmakers in different regions of Ukraine. All the clothing pieces are original, from the late 19th – early 20th century, and designed for special occasions. This is how Ukrainian married females dressed 100-150 years ago.

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Spadok ava1We’d like to offer you a series of great videos dedicated to Ukrainian national costumes. You will see how these gorgeous vintage garments are worn step by step, piece after piece, including authentic hairstyles, footwear, jewelry, and other important items. Here you are 5 videos that show unmarried girls from different regions of Ukraine dressing up for a festive occasion. All the clothing articles are original, from the late 19th – early 20th century. This is how young Ukrainian girls dressed 100-150 years ago.

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Whitework avaThe central Ukrainian regions are characterized by a specific embroidery technique called “whitework” used to embellish the traditional clothing. Actually, every region of Ukraine has its own needlework features, techniques, patterns, and colors. But whitework is mostly seen only in a certain area. This extraordinary embroidery technique not only creates beautiful outfits but demands a lot of skill from a craftswoman. Though in the end, it’s worth all the effort. Let’s find out how Ukrainian whitework looks like, where women took inspirations for new patterns, and what whitework symbolizes.

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Necklace avaWomen from different corners of our planet love beads. And, according to archaeological finds and historical documents, people have been wearing beaded jewelry for ages. We’ve made a short sweep through several Ukrainian archaeological museums to gather for you the photos of beaded necklaces from the oldest historical periods – Scythian, Sarmatian, Age of Antiquity, Medieval, etc. It’s funny but you can barely distinguish the necklaces from eras that are thousands of years apart. Amazing how people could produce such cute handmade glass, stone, clay beads around 3,000 years ago!

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Ukrainian embroidery69 avaThere is one region in Ukraine where you can find a truly unique traditional embroidered shirt. It got the name “sleeves”, and for a particular reason. These women’s shirts are different from any other shirts in Ukraine and beyond. It takes about a year and 700-800 m of thread to finish one shirt. The embroidery designs on these garments aren’t too complicated but they consist of several thousands of repetitive symbols – that’s why this needlework is so time-consuming. These Hutsul “sleeves” represent the proud and hard-working people of the Carpathian region of Ukraine.

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wedding kerchief avaIn the 19th-20th century in Ukraine, there used to be a specific wedding tradition – the couple’s family presented the most honorable guests with little embroidered kerchiefs. These kerchiefs were than kept in the most prominent place at home and collected through the years because the number of such gifts showed the status of the family in the local society and the attitude of their neighbors to them. Some of these cute embroidered kerchiefs today are kept in folk museums and private collections, like these ones.

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manta avaIt’s Christmas time now, the ideal time to remember your traditions and folk culture. This winter is not very harsh and cold, but in the past, winters often were severe and freezing, especially in the northern hemisphere. Also, you must understand that there were no or very few synthetic fabrics 100-150 years ago, so winter outerwear was mostly made from fur, sheepskin, and wool. Here you are a selection of photos that depict Ukrainian vintage winter clothes.

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KR2 avaRuthenia or Kyivan Rus was a rather wealthy and expanded state in Europe in the 9th-13th century. Its rulers could afford the most expensive jewelry, the finest fabrics, and the most elaborate embellishments. Still, at the time, people used only natural materials, but they knew well how to handle these materials and make really exceptional clothing pieces and jewels out of them. Unfortunately, there are very few jewelry pieces (we can find in museums and private collections) and no outfits at all that survived to this day, but here are lovely and accurate modern replicas of costumes used by Ruthenian royals and other citizens.

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Towel avaThese are Ukrainian ceremonial towels used as wedding and ritual accessories and décor items. Many countries around the world have this accessory in their folk culture, especially Slavic countries, but the design of ceremonial towels (by the way, they are called “rushnyk” in Ukraine) you’ll see below is very unique and unusual. We’re not sure if you can find such colorful and naive ornaments anywhere else on this planet. These ceremonial towels impress by their cheerfulness.

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Podillia shirt avaAn embroidered shirt was the basic garment, both male and female, on the territory of modern Ukraine since Kyivan Rus’ or even earlier. It was an underwear item, on top of which people put trousers, skirts, outer garments, etc. Only some parts of these shirts were usually visible – sleeves, cuffs, neckline, sometimes the front, and the hem in women’s shirts. That’s why only these sections were adorned with embroidery. In this material, we’ve gathered for you cute female shirts embroidered with predominantly red threads, predominantly white threads, or predominantly black treads. They have a stylish and sophisticated look.

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Podillia men avaIt is true that Ukrainian museums and private collections have a very limited collection of authentic male embroidered shirts. Usually, such shirts were so worn down that people simply didn’t donate them to museums. So, we’re more than happy to share with you a few extremely beautiful and sophisticated men’s shirts embellished with whitework and other embroidery techniques. They are in mint shape and overwhelm you with their uniqueness and the amount of labor and skill needed to produce such artful pieces of clothes.

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Galicia avaIn the mid-13th century, Kyivan Rus’ fall into pieces after the Mongol invasion. And one of these pieces – the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia – was ruled by the king Daniel of Galicia. Historians know exactly how he looked like and dressed. So, let’s see on his example and the example of his closest royal men, what clothing the European royalty wore in the 1200s. The outfits we’ll show you are modern and very accurate replicas of authentic costumes. Though, they are exhibits in a museum and so are made from cheaper materials – no gold, real pearls and gems, etc.

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Rushnyk1 avaUkrainian embroidered ceremonial towels from different parts of the country look alike; there are certain rules as to how they should be made, what embroidery patterns should be used, and so on. But there is a small region in Ukraine that is famous for its absolutely special and unique ceremonial towels. Just look at these embroidery designs! They are so childish, so cheerful and bright, so unlike any other in the world, they catch your eye immediately and brighten up your mood. In modern life, such art pieces could be used to kill depression.

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Podillia avaThere is a huge variety of Ukrainian folk embroidery patterns used to decorate the clothing. In the past, every woman made unique shirts, there weren’t two identical garments because it is too boring to hand-embroider several shirts with the same pattern. These pieces we’d like to show you are not like the modern machine-made clothing, they are personalized and one of a kind. These are embroidered shirts from Vinnytsia region (Central Ukraine), the mid-19th – mid-20th century.

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Pocket avaThe pocket is a fairly modern invention, at least if to talk about pockets as we know them now. First pockets appeared in the 1600s, but they were separate items attached to a belt or to the waist. Much later, in the late 19th – early 20th century, pockets became sewn to the clothing. Ukrainian folk dress of the 1700s-1900s also had various pockets. And in most cases, they were beautiful and ornate because they served not only to carry goods but were used as adornments of the outfit. Let’s see how they looked like.

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Cossack avaNot many people around the world know but in the 16th-18th century on the territory of modern Ukraine, were formed special semi-military communities of local people called “Cossacks”. They were fierce warriors and skilled horse riders. They were something like elite military forces in the area, and their clothes deserve our attention. In this material, we’d like to show you how they looked like and what they wore. Mostly, these are wealthy Cossacks and the military leaders, so their outfits are lovely. But their weapons are always more ornate, exquisite, and expensive than the costumes.

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Clothing avaUkraine is a comparatively large country, so its clothing traditions are diverse. Ukrainian folk costumes can vary so much that it seems like the outfits belong to different countries. Sure, every geographical area has its own peculiarities and typical features in traditional embroidered clothing, but some of them are more distinct than others. For instance, the central regions of Ukraine are characterized by a very special embroidery technique – the whitework. It doesn’t mean that all the authentic costumes are embroidered with white threads but the majority really are.

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Shoes avaUkrainian authentic shoes may look a bit weird but that’s what people wore 100 years ago. This footwear was not as comfortable as modern high-tech shoes, but these pieces fit their time. And, as you see, our ancestors used to put a lot of effort, taste, and time into making every small clothing article, including shoes – they often are adorned with embroidery, beading, cutting, and stamping on leather, even the buckles were decorative. Such vintage footwear is now displayed in museums and kept in private collections, but looking at these shoes, you can easily imagine people wearing them in daily life.

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Crib avaThere are many specific clothing traditions regarding children in Ukraine. In the past, people used to pay a lot of attention to kid’s costumes. Most of the old customs originated from ancient beliefs that only amulets and protective patterns can keep a child safe – several hundred years ago mothers didn’t know much about viruses, bacteria, immunity, etc., so they protected their babies with sacred knowledge they had. Let’s find out more about the authentic clothing of Ukrainian kids.

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Gorgeous avaThese very elegant, ornate, and colorful wedding costumes are traditional bride&groom’s outfits used in Ukraine 100 years ago. The wedding clothes had to be bright and eye-catching so that each guest could distinguish the bride from the crowd. The costumes in this collection are complemented with modern bridal wreaths and jewelry – wonderful pieces that are replicas of authentic Ukrainian accessories or unique products of artisans’ imagination. Enjoy the bright colors and lovely wedding dresses!

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Sample avaThese are a collection of striking embroidery samples from Ukraine. They are beautiful, very delicate, and seem simple but are charming when you pay attention to details. And it doesn’t matter the embroideries are machine-made. Most of these embroidery patterns are whitework, which is typical for Central Ukraine. Some designs have teeny-tiny spots of red or blue intertwined with white. Some even are created with several different colors and shades. But isn’t whitework the most noble-looking and sophisticated needlework ever?

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Western2 avaTraditional male garments from the 19th – early 20th century seldom get to museum exhibitions because they are too worn and can’t be preserved in good enough condition. Also, men had fewer clothing articles than women – 100 years ago or today, it’s all the same! So these costumes are that much more valuable. Welcome here to view several beautiful men’s handmade and hand-embellished outfits from Ternopil region of Ukraine.