The history of embroidery and vyshyvanka– VALA

The history of embroidery and vyshyvanka

  • by Ольга Туржанская
The history of embroidery and vyshyvanka

Today, traditional Ukrainian costumes and clothes with symbols in support of Ukraine are at the peak of popularity. But only some know that the appearance of Ukrainian embroidery has a vast history that began several centuries ago.

We invite you to plunge into this history and trace the development of Ukrainian national clothing. Perhaps after that, you will also want to buy an embroidered shirt or just support the Ukrainians by purchasing an embroidery t-shirt in our online store.


6th century. Start

First, let's go back to the distant 6th century. At that time, warlike Scythians lived on the territory of modern Ukraine. Even then, they were wearing long shirts embroidered on the chest. This fact is confirmed by archaeological excavations.

Weapons, various figurines, accessories, coins, dishes, and much more were decorated with embroideries and ornaments. The fabrics themselves, due to their naturalness, could not survive in our times.

Kievan Rus

The next stop is the 10th-12th centuries when Kievan Rus existed. The symbolism on embroidered shirts has improved significantly. It has become more luxurious and original. It is because people have mastered new technologies and sewing methods.

During this period, clothing appeared and it was reminiscent of a modern embroidered blouse or traditional Ukrainian embroidered dresses, which have become incredibly popular these days. It is also interesting that two main directions of motifs created by embroidery appeared on embroidered shirts from the times of Kievan Rus:

  • ornaments;
  • stories.

They were used separately and connected in one common canvas on ukrainian embroidered shirts.

The embroidery symbols of those times were understandable to the ancestors, and in our time, they are easy to recognize. Most often, the following motifs were used on ukrainian embroidered shirts, dresses, and blouses:

  • flowers;
  • animals;
  • grape;
  • birds;
  • snakes;
  • insects;
  • geometric figures.

Wealthy people could afford to use silver and gold threads on Ukrainian embroidered shirts. And ordinary people made embroidery from colored threads. The colors of the clothes were also given special attention. Mostly white fabrics with black and red embroidery were used. Our natural Linen Peasant Blouse With Long Sleeves is made with these traditions and color combinations in mind.

It is a mistake to assume that black embroidered shirts are mourning clothes. This value was given to this color much later. Boho shirt Kaftan made according to Ukrainian traditions, can be a great festive outfit for any holiday.

New stage - Zaporizhzhya Sich

It would be a crime to talk about vyshyvanka or ukrainian embroidered shirts and not mention the Zaporizhzhya Sich.

Embroidered shirts served as a talisman for Ukrainian soldiers who defended their land. It was believed that vyshyvanka was able to heal wounds.

A full-fledged national Ukrainian costume was formed during this period. And the shirt has become a real symbol of the nation.

17th century and today

What can we observe during this period of history? Neighboring countries influenced traditions in Ukrainian clothing. So they began to use new fabrics and techniques for making clothes and decorations.

In the 19th century, wealthy Ukrainians switched to the European clothing format, combining it with embroidery elements from expensive fabrics.

Ukrainian vyshyvanka has passed through the centuries, retaining its beauty and strength. Vyshyvanka, in our time, has become a symbol of the struggle for freedom, independence, and fortitude!