The Amazing History of a Hand Embroidered Blouse

Traditional Romanian Blouse - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Traditional Romanian Blouse – Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

There is always some wonderful clothing to adore and wish for, there is always some new up and coming trend that you must master and own. But, in today’s bulk offer world, a handmade, hand embroidered traditional blouse can be a breath of fresh timeless air in your life.

Handmade traditional blouses

Handmade traditional blouses

Lately my handmade traditional blouses are the staple of my wardrobe, the perfect texture, perfect for dress up and perfect for casual walks, I can’t imagine a situation in which my blouses can make me feel anything but super extra special.
The two blouses I own with great sacrifice and expense (:P) – are one with a blue, lighter embroidery, for every day wear and a very special one with red pattern that is more dressy and works perfectly with a big belt and high heels for my (very rare) outings. Light make up is a must, the blouses will put enough colour on me anyway, I only need a touch of lip gloss and I am ready to go – which is perfect for days when my kids just run around me screaming.

My son's hand embroidered blouse

My son’s hand embroidered blouse

I tell you, this Blouse is magic!

And it’s not only the way it looks but the thought of how it was made, the centuries of history, tradition and art that brought this blouse to this moment in time – to me. There are no scissors touching the soft thin cotton material, only crafty loving hands that will tear it to measure and then adjust it by sewing.
It takes weeks for the traditional patterns to be embroidered on the blouse and there is no manual to teach you the intricate patterns (yet!). Signs and patterns are passed from mother to daughter on little patches of embroidered cotton. In fact, the signs and patterns are so old, some of them surpass modern day religions in age.
It is a known fact that in World War, men would wear their embroidered tops underneath the uniforms to protect them from harm, as it was believed that the ancient patterns that the loving hand of a mother or a wife had sewn on the blouse would keep soldiers protected from harm. (I learned about the history of the Blouse and how it’s made here).

I guess the official history of the traditional blouse called “IE” begins with Henry Matisse who painted the famous La Blouse Roumaine; some years later, high fashion discovered the never ending source of beauty and reinvented the blouse over and over and over again. Celebrities wear it, paying good amounts of money for designer versions of this Blouse, it just resurfaces in its journey all over the world, in various colours, shapes or lengths, in glossy magazines, on runways and on the street.

Celebrities wearing an Isabel Marant creation - inspired by the traditional Blouse

The Blouse appeals to some raw forgotten emotions in the uber-civilised, uber-consumerist us as it speaks in a long forgotten language.

Now I get cross when people call it a kaftan – which it is not. And coincidentally, this year, high street has revived the peasant top with its shape and pretty embroidery under this name that has a totally different history and origin.
I have worn my blouses occasionally when I was younger, I have forgotten about them for years, thinking I needed to get away from tradition, and now I rediscovered them in all their beauty, with a mature eye and a bit more understanding for authentic and value when it comes to fashion.
I know for sure I am not the only adoring fan of these blouses, not the only one coveting over authentic blouses, hunting them online, whether they are new or vintage –.
I hope I will be able to grow my collection for my own selfish pleasure but also for the hope I contribute to safekeeping an invaluable treasure and inspiration for the generations to come.
Soon I will be able to feature some of these amazing blouses on folklorique and hopefully you will love them too.


One comment

  1. Pingback: One Folk Blouse, Three Generations – Hand Embroidered Folk Blouses NOW in Shop! | folklorique blog

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Natalie Breuer

Natalie. Writer. Photographer. Etc.


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