Inspiration – Macedonian folk dress

The month of May was a slow one sewing wise for me. For very good reasons, because I was travelling 3 out of 4 weeks for both work and holiday. I hope to get back to sewing soon, but for now I wanted to share shome holiday photos. These pictures were taken in the Museum of Macedonia, Skopje, in their costume department (yes, photography was allowed). They’re not all of great quality (low light + glass casing is not a good combination), and although I tried to keep track of the signs I don’t know exactly which costume is from which region or for which occasion. Despite all this, I hope to give some idea of the wonderful costumes and embroidery. The amount of detail in these costumes is truly astonishing. By far the most are costumes for special occasions and weddings. Especially the bridal costumes can by very eleborate and heavy. I made a selection of my favorites, which was very difficult, so if you don’t like loads of pictures, this might be the time to stop scrolling. To see a full-scale (huge) version, just click on the picture.

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What I love most about this costume is the embroidery, the little buttons and the pavti (the metal belt thing). I actually bought earrings with these little antique buttons.

 

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One of the more elaborate headdresses. Clearly only for special occasions! (This is a bridal costume). And I love the socks.

 

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More lovely embrodery, with a traditional pattern on the sleeves. The little thing in the bottom corner is bridal jewellry and worn on the head. (you can see it if you look closely).

 

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This costumes was one of my favourites, mostly because of the coat. It has a lot of pleats in the side-backs, and gorgeous gold braid embroidery patterns. Also, look at those pockets and sleeve cuffs!

 

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More colorful! I tried to count the nr. of layers she’s wearing, but failed… There’s an underdress for sure, and a vest, but there seem to be 2 more layers. My best guess is that its 1. chemisette, 2 underdress, 3 inset of vest and 4 vest. But if anyone has more info…

 

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Love this headdress. The chains and little coins, and all the embroidery and tuffs on the veil…

 

 

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And yet another lovely headdress. You’d need to be careful not to get it into your eyes though!

 

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Ignoring the fact that I’m getting repetitive, love the headwear. It’s a type of crown, with again a beautifully embroidered veil.

 

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More embroidery on this one, I love the gold/red/white scheme.

 

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Another lovely crown. The little coins under the neck are a perfect example of how traditional costume is not ‘thought up’ by someone, but evolved. (Because who would think of this? 😉 ).

 

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I really like the vest on this. It’s a bit difficult to see because of all the layers, but it’s a very unique colorcombination of pink and gold.

 

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I think this one holds the record for the most coins, it must be very heavy.

 

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A slightly different, darker costume.

 

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Orange and fringes for this one. The embroidery is, again, beautiful.

 

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I think this was my favourite costume (hence the many photos). The skirt is slightly shorter than most, and wider. The apron was of velvet, which looks very luxurious along all the linnen and wool. There seem to be at least 2 decorated vests, and a crown.

 

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I believe this was the most extreme headdress, again obviously meant for a bride. To balance this thing must’ve been a challenge!

 

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Another darker colorscheme. I really love the head-chain and roses on this one.

 

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This was another favourite. This one has a slightly shorter and wider skirt, with colorfull embroidery on the jacket and apron. Also, she has leg-warmers! The jacket has half-sleeves which are open at the front and then meet again at the cuffs.

 

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The sleeves on this costume are spectacular, the very inricate gold braid in different patterns. You can barely see the ground colors.

Pink roses – Lolita skirt

This skirt was a birthday gift, inspired mostly when I saw the fabric. The girl it was for wears a lot of Lolita clothing, a Japanese fashion style inspired by Victorian and Roccoco fashions. The one of the main characteristics of lolita is the knee-length (sometimes calf-length) skirts, alwasy worn with a petticoat. The fabric I found was perfect for the style, so I decided to make her a skirt!

The base of the skirt is similar to most of my own cotton skirts, a pleated rectangle with a waistband and lace at the bottom. I wanted to make it a bit customizable as well though. Loads of lolita skirts have high waists decorated with bows and lace, so I decided to make a ‘belt’ thing to wear with the skirt. This way it seems high-waisted, but can be worn without the belt for more casual wear as well. Finally, I also made a big fabric bow which can be worn with the skirt or as corsage. (I just attached a safety-pin to put it on or off). The fabric is cotton I found in Edinburgh, the lace I already had but was pure white, so I tea-deyed it.

So, pictures:

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The whole ensemble. Skirt, belt and bow

 

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The side of the skirt with belt.

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And the back. The belt laces in the back. The laces are still quite long, so she can cut them to the length she prefers.

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The front of the belt, with lace and 2 little bows.

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The lacing in the back.

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The skirt without the belt, as a more casual look.

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The zipper.

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And with the bow-corsage-thing to the waistband. Here it’s on the front/side.

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The bow.

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It can also be worn at the back.

Cotton flowers

Aside from my historical projects, I also sew more modern stuff for my regular wardrobe. Mostly I make skirts and dresses, I rarely wear any pants, and I love skirts! They’re also so easy to make, which makes them really gratifying. I recently started several projects with regular printed cotton fabrics. I’ve found I really love it, even though it sometimes creases a bit, it’s lovely fabric to work with. For my skirts, I’ve found that if I line the skirt with lining-fabric it also falls really nice and doesn’t cling to my legs. All photo’s are taken with a petticoat by the way, a-line tulle for the dresses, and my cotton bell-shaped one for the skirts.

This was one of the first cotton projects. I just loved the fabric. It’s very summery, and very cute, and I couldn’t resist. The pattern was Vogue – 8701. It’s a very nice pattern, and went together well. I do have to say that it’s better for ‘special occasion’ dresses than for ‘everyday wear’ dresses. The bodice sits beautifully when standing still, but when moving my arms it shifts a bit and I have to pull it back into place again.

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I found the fabric for these next two skirts at the market. I hadn’t planned on buying anything, but I couldn’t resist and the price was very good. The red skirt is a circle, the other one a pleated rectangle. The white lace I bought at a market for 2 euro, and I still have about 25 meters left… A bargain!

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The next fabric was also spotted at the market. I originally wanted to make a dress from this pattern, but with a wider skirt:

Burda, Dress with Petticoat 09/2014 #111

 

I didn’t think I had enough fabric to make a full dress, so I decided to make the skirt of plain black with just a flowered border. I ended up making a circle skirt with the bodice from the pattern, and omitting the collar and sleeve collars. I really love the dress, and it seems to fit me better than the model in the photo! I didn’t have to make any alterations to the bodice either, so I might use it again in future projects. I’m really starting to like dresses with sleeves as well, so you can wear them in other seasons then summer ;). I lined the skirt with lining fabric, and the bodice with black cotton because that feels nicer to the skin. The one mistake I made was that I didn’t pre-wash the fabric. The cotton shrunk more than the lining, making the skirt lining a bit baggy. I eventually sewed a seam between the black and flower border in the skirt to make sure it didn’t show.

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In the end, I did have quite a lot of fabric left, enough for another skirt! I really love the fabric, so I was very happy with this. The skirt is again a simple rectangle pleated to a waistband, but this time with a ruffle attached at the bottom. It gives a nice touch.

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This last skirt was made from cotton bought in a quilt-fabric store. I love quilting cottons, they’re such good quality and gorgeous prints, but not the cheapest. I decided to treat myself with this fabric. The lace at the bottom is made in a lace-museum, with the original cotton bobbin-lace making machines.

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