It is very simple to bye a vyshyvanka in Kyiv today. Vyshyvanka is sold in many shops: Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Belorussian variant – any is accessible. But now we would talk about Lithuanian vyshyvankas, and about the national costume of Lithuania in general.
Folk costume traditionally was made of vyshyvanka, a skirt, an apron, a belt, a headdress.
The brightest part of the traditional Lithuanian costume was the linen shirt (in Ukraine such shirts are called “vyshyvankas”). The Lithuanian shirt could be one-piece, but more often it consisted of two parts – the lower and the upper one. By fabrication of the upper part the sindon was used, and for the lower part – the more coarse homespan cloth, as in Ukraine. If to speak about the fit of Ukrainian Lithuanian shirts, you can single out 4 general types of it: like a tunice, like a tunice with scapulars, then with scapular, which were sewn on the base and later on the yoke.
Today you can buy vyshyvanka in Kiev almost everywhere, but i
n the ancient times in Lithuania people did not buy the shirts. Dressmakers spent a lot of time and forces to sew the dress by hand. Woman shirts were decorated much with open work of white colour or patterns from colored threads (the basic colours were red, blue, white). Red or black cross-stich was popular as well. And the stylized floral or geometrical ornament was the most popular.
The lower part of the national costume consisted of the skirts made of linen, wool or demiwool. The skirts were also made wide and long, and in the upper part, near the waist they were gathered. We can observe the similarity of Lithuanian and Ukrainian national skirts (plakthiy) in the ornamental stylistics. Transversal or longitudinal striped ornament prevailed on the canvas. Checked skirts as well as the skirts with the floral and geometric ornament were also popular. The basic chord: combination of green and red, black and red, bue and white.
On top of the Lithuanian skirt a linen, wool or cotton apron was tied. The hand embroidery prevailed on the apron from Lithuania. Mistresses of needlework embroided with different technics: loom technique,zastavnaya and a lot of others.
The sleeveless bodice was used as the upper half-length garment. More often this part of wardrobe was worn for the holidays. Bodices were sewn from the homespan wool cloth, and rich peasant women sewed them of silk or satin.
Any costume of Lithuanian women was decorated with the belt. We can distinguish some types of belts: woven on the plank, woven with the tread or on the glasses with the loom or zastavna technique and braided belts. Ornamental symbolics includes rhombuses, triangles, stripes, floral motifs and stars. But the geometrical ornament was the most popular for the belts.
As the winter outerwear coarse heavy caftan and sheepskin coat was used. Coarse heavy caftans were made till waist, they consisted of one-piece back and small gore in the sides. Layout collar, pockets and cuffs were decorated by plush, velvet, black manufactory ribbon floce or embroided with black thread. Sheepskin coats were sewn straight-cut, had a layout collar.
If to speak about the head-dress, for the married women and demoiselles they were different. Married women wrapped the hair with the binder around the head, and the demoiselles plaited two braids and set them around the head.
Women were wearing anadems. Most often they were made of the flowers rue. The most popular decorations of Lithuanian women were silver, coral, amber and glass beads.
Lithunian menswear has much in common with the traditional dress of the Slavs, exactly as womenswear. To the numbers of Lithuanian men we can add a shirt, pants, a vest and a linen coat. In winter the wardrobe was completed by coarse heavy caftan (sermyaha).
Men’s shirts were made of canvas, had layout or stand-up collar and long sleeves on the cuff. Handmade embroidery on white cotton fabric decorated only collar, cuffs and chest. Floral and geometric patterns were the main motive on the ornament.
Pants were sewn narrow, but long. For summer they were made of linen cloth, and for the winter – from linen or half-woolen. Waistcoats were sewn of wool and cloth as well.
Lithuanian men wore coats over the shirt. This number was long till the knees, had a detachable back. On the pockets, chest, cuffs and collar you could see some parts of linen decorated with a lace or black laces. Winter coats were made of sheepskin and decorated with a bright belt.