Ukrainian National Costume
In the Ukrainian city of Pereyaslav-Khmel’nytsky there is an ancient museum of Ukrainian conventional, national costumes. It is located in an 18th century building and has fabulous collection of about 1600 shirts, attractive chemises and other embellished items, roughly 200 woman’s decorations, over 250 belts, head-dresses, aprons and other pieces of conventional Ukrainian dress plus several other items. One of the essential parts of conventional life is costume, woman’s dress to be precise. The event and the period determined what type of dress to be worn. The marriage dress epitomised the attractiveness and anticipation of the infancy it was magnificent with decorations and decorated lavishly with needlework. In winter period, when the calm of Christmas Eve was happily broken by Ukrainian joyous kolyadka’s (type of Christmas carols), young girls and women who were singing were believed to be wearing pallid sheepskin coats and colourful head kerchiefs. If one can apply the phrase traditional to the national costume one can articulate that the Ukrainian Midland in the Dnipro River is the region where Ukrainian national dress obtained characteristics that can be regarded as traditional, that is very usual of Ukrainian traditional dress in general.
The woman’s chemise — or a blouse, if you wish — worn in the region of Poltava was an extended one, with embellished sleeves; the one from Chernihiv land was the most extended. The blouse to be worn on weekdays differed, obviously, from the dress that was worn on Sunday. Every lady did know how to produce a shirt, and adolescent girls at the age of 12 were trained how to do the mending and whatever else that was needed in order to become a good home maker. A lady of some means had roughly 10-15 shirts and a bride from an affluent family used to have no less than 50 shirts in her dowry. The quantity of shirts, excellence and type of stitching were good signs of what the woman was as a possible housewife. The yarn utilized in adorning shirts along with needlework was coloured with natural dyes and the real method of needlework differed from place to another. The stitches utilized also varied — from very complex to rather basic. In the early 20th century cross-stitch acquired predominance over other forms of stitches. Even if the shade scheme was restricted to two different colours, the designs themselves in arrangement with the shades never failed to generate an influential visual effect.
Zapaska and Plakhta were two types of skirts; the generally chequered plakhta used to have a more cheerful look of the two and therefore was worn on celebratory events and zapaska of passive colours, made of hard-wearing cloth, was a daily piece of clothing. Belts need to keep the skirts in position but besides this entirely practical function they had a task to play in the wide-ranging arrangement of the costume. However, some of the belts used to have extended strips of material, wound numerous times around the waist (hence they served as a support for the backbone and fortification against injury).
Characteristics of Ukrainian National Costume:
- plakhta has chequered design
- zapaska has passive design
- belts have heavy embroidery
- colourful head kerchiefs
- pallid sheepskin coats