Sewing shop in South Moravia to make authentic folk costumes


A traditional folk costume is something that can still be found in many a household, especially in those parts of the Czech Republic where folk traditions are still alive. But what do you do when your old costume is worn out or no longer fits? If you can't sew yourself, you can turn to professionals. A sewing shop in South Moravia which opened recently, says it can make virtually any costume from around the Czech Republic.

South Moravia is a region where folk traditions are probably the most vivid in all of the Czech Republic. Many women there still master the old techniques of embroidery, lacemaking and pleating. A group of women from around the village of Blatnicka recently got the idea to put all their skills together and start an unusual business in a former school building.

"We have four full-time employees. Eight colleagues from around the district who do the embroidery work for us, and more and more women are contacting us who would like to work for us from home,"

says Jana Smutna, the director of the organisation Traditions of Moravian Slovakia. She herself learnt to make folk costumes when her husband put on weight and she had to unstitch his old outfit and make a larger replica. But often, there is no actual pattern to be copied.

"We need to look around. We consult books describing folk costumes, we work with ethnographers and museums. But we also look out for grannies and aunties who can show us how to make things. We have many videotapes and photos of their work. So that's another source of our inspiration."

With the help of EU money and the town hall in Blatnicka, Jana Smutna and her seamstresses opened a sewing shop and an ironing and laundry room on the ground floor of the former school. An exhibition room will be opened in the attic. As part of the same project, a similar shop is soon going to be opened in the nearby town of Uhersky Ostroh, where original fabrics will be woven and two cobblers and a harness maker will produce all the accessories necessary for a complete costume.