Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Portuguese Folk Costume Petticoats

Do you ever feel like you just need an easy and straightforward sewing project to prepare you for a more complicated one? That was exactly how I felt as I delved into making a white cotton petticoat to wear with my Portuguese folkloric costume. A gathered rectangle, some pintucks, no insane embroidery or fiddly pattern creation. This petticoat also fits into the Historical Sew Monthly May Challenge, Practicality!

I began with some research, looking at extant petticoats and modern recreations of these petticoats.

There are two main types of petticoats worn with the Portuguese folkloric costume: the saiote and the saiote travado. The saiote is the main petticoat, usually made of white cotton or linen or red flannel for colder weather. It can be a large rectangle gathered to a waistband or a larger rectangle gathered to a smaller one. The saiote is generally decorated with pintucks, lace insertion, lace trim, or broderie anglaise trim. It can range from 2 metres to 5 metres in width, depending on social class and status. The saiote is usually ankle-length, but some dance groups shorten it to knee-lenght.

The saiote is worn over the saiote travado, a narrow petticoat. The saiote travado is a vestige of the knee-length chemise, or undershirt, worn by women centuries ago. Over time, dance groups shortened the chemise to hip-length and added the saiote travado to the outfit. The saiote travado is characteristically narrow, and significantly shorter than the saiote, usually ending above the knee.

19th or early 20th century white cotton saiote from the Museum of Popular Art
The Traje Vianesa (also known as the Traje Lavradeira) and its appropriate undergarments: a saiote, camisole, bloomers, and crochet socks
An antique saiote with broderie anglaise trim
A saiote decorated with crochet lace
Saiotes decorated with many rows of pintucks and very elaborate crochet in heart, floral, and vandyke motifs
A saiote with narrow pintucks and wide lace insertion
The saiote and saiote travado
The saiote and saiote travado worn with the blue Traje Lavradeira by a dancer of the Rancho Camponeses do Minho from Newark, NJ
A linen saiote travado with handmade crochet trim, pulled threadwork embroidery, and pintucks
A bride (noiva) or mordoma costume, with a saiote travado decorated with crochet lace trim and insertion

Would you ever decorate a petticoat with wide, crochet trim or insertion?