Women’s Clothing from Lielvārde

Brief information

  • Shirt – cut straight to mid-calf length with whitework embroidery and a turnover collar;
  • Skirt – constructed with an attached bodice of the same red plaid fabric;
  • Belt – patterned woven belt;
  • Shawl – white wool with a few narrow red stripes along the sides and ends;
  • Headdresses
    • an unmarried woman’s headdress (vainags) is a crown-type structure made of red fabric embroidered with multi-coloured glass seed beads;
    • a married woman’s headdress is an embroidered white cap, worn with its peak folded down toward the front;
  • Legwear – knitted white socks;
  • Jewellery – the shirt is fastened with a small to medium size silver annular brooch (sakta) set with coloured glass stones.

History and Origin

Women’s clothing from the Lielvārde district of the provide of Vidzeme is characterized by a long, mid-calf length linen shirt in one of two styles.  One style consists of separate, rectangular fabric pieces sewn together at the shoulders, while the other is a tunic-style, where the front and back are made of one contiguous piece of fabric folded over at the shoulders.  The shirt is fastened with a small to medium size silver or bronze annular brooch (sakta), set with polished glass stones.

The skirt is usually constructed jumper-style with an attached bodice. The skirt fabric is a red and black plaid, with finer black bands. While less common, separate striped or plaid skirts were also found in outlying parishes.

Belts were handwoven with intricate patterns in red on a white background. One end was finished with an interlaced plait.

Jackets were plain and black, usually worn with skirts, not the jumper-dress.

The Shawl was woven of white wool with a few narrow interwoven red wool stripes.

An unmarried woman wore a wide red fabric, crown-type headdress (vainags) embroidered with multi-coloured glass seed beads.

Married women wore fine linen fabric caps with multi-coloured wool embroidery. The hat is worn with the peak folded down toward the forehead.

Legwear:  knitted white knee-length socks, tied below the knee with woven patterned bands

Footwear: closed black shoes, fastened with a cord or buckle.

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