There 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.
The embroidered shirts are exhibited in the Ukrainian national center of folk culture “Ivan Honchar Museum” in Kyiv
As you see, different colors of thread are used to make these embroidery designs but red and black are the dominant colors – it is rather traditional for Ukraine. Also, the cuts and silhouettes of the women’s shirts are similar but every garment is unique. There is a slight difference in the type of neckline and cuffs but, in general, the shirts look pretty similar because they belong to the same area.
Note that some shirts are made from two different types of fabric – the upper part is made from fine, thin cloth, while the hem is coarser and thicker. That’s because the lower part is not visible under the skirt, so women often saved the family budget and used cheaper and less labor-intensive fabric. Also, they could easily change the lower part when it got worn out without having to embroider the whole garment anew.
Interesting fact! When a woman gave birth, the child was often wrapped in this lower part of the mother’s shirt. They just tore this piece of cloth off and used to wrap the baby. People believed that this fabric had the mother’s energetics that could protect the infant.