Friday, 25 April 2008

Long silence

That was longer than I intended. The problem was, I noticed that my next post was going to be the hundredth, and I became paralysed, unable to come up with an idea worthy of the occasion. It's taken me nearly a fortnight to decide that a blog which expired prematurely on its 99th post would be Even Worse. Then today I finally found something I had to blog right now.

Mysterious Shirt

I bought this shirt in the Salvation Army shop for £3 this lunchtime. It's a heavy plain weave cotton (rather like vintage sheets in feel). The seams are machine-sewn, finished with zig-zagging rather than an overlocking stitch. The embroidery is hand-done, quite well despite the screaming colours. it's obviously a traditional pattern. Almost every shape is a rectangle, with extra fabric being dealt with by pleating (there is a box pleat in the back as well as the front).

The question is, where does it come from? It looks central or Eastern European to me, which is perfectly plausible - Yarmouth has sizeable Polish and Hungarian populations these days. On the other hand, it could have been made by someone British in a folkloric, hippy, mood - the fabric feels old to me, and I can picture it being worn with flared jeans and bare feet in the 1970s. I'll never know - the shop had no idea where it had come from.

My next task is to wash it carefully, with some vinegar in the water because I do not trust the embroidery threads to be colourfast. I'd leave it alone, but it has some staining at the back of the neck, and that musty charity shop smell.
The only curve in the garment is at the front neck. The shading in the flowers seems to be due to variegated threads. The buttonholes are machine-sewn, clumsily (like the ones your Elna produced, Mum).

It will join the other items in my miniature Museum of Clothes I Don't Wear (although it's a slightly more credible fit for me than most of those).

1 comment:

jeanfromcornwall said...

The colours and style of the embroidery made me think Mexican at first, but the cut and shape are pretty much European. Definitely something traditional from the cut. Straight lines = minimum wastage of fabric. I reckon probably Czech/Polish/Slovak/thereabouts.
Now who can we ask?