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The Romanian Blouse Explained

The Romanian blouse  is a shirt worn by women, characteristic of the Romanian national dress, made of white hemp, cotton, linen or borangic fabric. Ia is adorned with embroidery or stitching.

In Banat ( Western part of Romania), embroideries are often combined with lace, and the embroideries are embroidered and adorned with sheaves, ornamental holes made in canvas.

Types of shirts

According to the tailoring system, there are two types of shirts: the straight or loose shirt and the wrinkled shirt around the neck.

The straight shirt is frequently found, having a T-shape and being cut from three widths (three sheets of cloth). The sheet of paper is folded over the shoulder, the roundness of the neck is crossed, and the front of the shirt is notched in front. The front of the shirt is called the front tin, and the back is called the back tin. The cuffs (two straight strips of cloth to widen the shirt) are inserted under the armpit, and the pava (a square of cloth) is inserted under the armpit to facilitate the movement of the arm. The straight shirt made of hemp cloth or hemp and cotton was worn on weekdays. Her work shirt was unadorned, and her sheets were sewn together by sewing on the needle, with holes in the sleeves. In Moldova there is a straight shirt, made of pan wool. Fringed woolen shirts are considered especially beautiful.

The women's shirt with a high waist, wrinkled around the neck is a festive shirt, thus being more richly decorated. It consists of four straight sheets wrinkled around the neck, of which two represent the front and back sheets and two represent the sleeves. The ornaments are rigorously dosed and are usually placed in the most visible and less worn parts (especially the sleeve, less the chest and back). The ornament is arranged especially on the sleeve on the heel, wrinkle and rivers.


The points where the embroideries of the traditional Romanian shirts and shirts are worked on are numerous, varied and have distinct utilities. What distinguishes the Romanian stitches from the neighbors' stitches is the alternation of the embroidered fields with the non-embroidered ones, in order to obtain a balance between the different fields.

The embroidered fields vary depending on the region, but are generally found next to the seams and on the parts to be highlighted on the shoulders and arm, along the mouth of the shirt, on the chest, sometimes on the back, on the collar and on the headband, the "bracelet" that closes down the sleeve of the shirt, when it is not as wide as in Oltenia, down at the bottom and rarely in the parts, rising slightly to the right and left. Between the shoulders - high - and the seam on the sleeve is often an embroidery called wrinkle or wrinkle. It is placed on the top of the arm and is worked with white or yellow thread, less often of a different color. It consists of exclusively geometric motifs.

The point before the needle
The point before the needle is made by taking a number of threads on the needle, stepping on the same number of threads with the needle.

Needle-based ornamentation points:

1. stitch before the needle
plain weave stitch
close tissue point
diagonal tissue point
2. Banat point in oblique line upside down
3. round trip
4. detour
The point behind the needle

Cross-stitching or cross-stitching or old or flat stitching

Cross-stitching or cross-stitching or old or flat stitching
The tighel point is worked without distance between points. With this point different ornamental motifs are outlined. With this point were joined the sheets of the straight shirt from the Botoșani area. The hem of the shirt was also edged behind the needle.

Needles based on needlework:

1. simple needle stitches

stitch after the simple needle
stitch after double needle
sand point
tighel point
the old point
2. stitches following the loop needle

the point of the chain
chain with high dots and low dots
zigzag chain stitch
Vrancea chain stitch, single and double
Sewing in the "chain or loop" stitch is a very old stitch, known in some regions as "over the needle". It is used in the decoration of shirts and is made on one side.

Oblique point
The oblique point is the point from which the cross point is formed.

Ornamental points based on the oblique stitch technique:

1. the oblique point itself

oblique point
zigzag stitch
half point of cross
cross stitch
with a girl
with two faces
worked in a single row of points
worked on two rows of dots
Bosnian point
star point
punctul dracului
cross stitch
thorny spot
worked obliquely
for flowers, leaves and ears
twig point
2. cord stitch

oblique cord point or drug
straight cord stitch
in a straight line
in a curved line
worked on the corner
a) with thick twisted thread
b) narrowly worked on the contour
c) warp cord stitch
3. festoon point

festoon points worked in a straight line
festoon worked in curved lines (doll's mouth in a circle)
festoon made at right angles (doll's mouth square)
festoon stitches used on keys
piglet key
the key in equal points of the festoon
the key in uneven festoon points
double festoon in writing
The keys are points with which two pieces of cloth are joined. It is made with red, black, sometimes even white thread.


Cross-stitching is an ancient process of embellishment. It is made of straight or single-sided crosses, double-sided and double-sided. Cross stitching can only be done well on a fabric with perfectly regular thread, because in order to work the crosses you have to count the threads on the canvas. The two-sided cross stitch was used in the ethnographic area of ​​Vâlcea and in the north of Oltenia to form ornamental motifs used on sticks, women's shirts, on objects that require double-sided decoration. The technique was borrowed from Transylvania.


The threads used for embroidery are: arnica, gradually replaced by mouline, untwisted silk and ibrishim, cotton, pearl cotton, vegetable silk, wool, tinsel and gold or silver threads. The gold and silver thread is not very old, and the butterflies are newer. Butterflies, a shiny material, were put together with beads to separate certain areas of embroidery from others.


The most common colors are red, purple, lemon yellow, orange, green, black, rarely blue, white, brown. The thread was dyed by the peasant herself according to ancient recipes, which her daughter received from her mother and passed on to her children. The colors were of vegetable origin, carefully and patiently prepared from plants, weeds, fruit trees or wild trees. The oldest ones are generally made of linen or hemp, embroidered with wool or silk. Silk embroidery on cotton cloth was made when cotton was introduced and was still sewn with silk.


Sheep wool, hemp, flax and cotton were the basic materials used since the Neolithic era to make garments. In the Romanian feudal society, since the 13th century, woven silk with gold thread and luxurious fabrics brought by Italian merchants from Asia Minor, Lombardy and Western Europe were used. The use of borangic on the territory inhabited by Romanians has been attested archaeologically since the 10th-13th centuries. Cotton was first introduced in Dobrogea due to its Mediterranean-like climate. Sewing techniques have been widely used on wool, hemp, linen and cotton fabrics. The practice of some of the sewing techniques was conditioned by the structure of the material. The seams were made on cloths, the oldest of which were the linen or hemp woven in the house, the same all over Romania: from cake to cake in Oltenia, from cake to cake in Muntenia, Dobrogea, Moldova and from thick cloth in Maramureș, Oaș County, Lăpuș County, Sălaj. The finer linen or hemp cloths or hemp and linen (wrapped cloth) were used for sewing decoration. Later they were used of hemp or linen with cotton or only cotton. Towels or sheets of towels, sheets or shirts were very popular. From the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the fabrics of the factory began to spread such as:joljul, handkerchief, marquise, grenadine, embroidered tulle. On the stamen that was woven only to be embroidered, the stitches were made very easily and in a variety of ornamental wood.

Embroidery motifs

Socio-economic motive "bypass"

From a thematic point of view, the ornamental motifs that form the decorative structure of the ies are abstract motifs with unclear thematic origin, concrete motifs inspired by nature and the environment and symbolic motifs.

The concrete motives are divided into two other groups: physiomorphic, representing phenomena from plant, animal and human life and skeomorphic, representing work tools, objects used in everyday life.

Physiomorphic motifs are divided into: phytomorphic, zoomorphic, anthropomorphic and cosmic motifs.

Phytomorphic motifs are inspired by plants, zoomorphic ones in the animal world, anthropomorphic ones are those rendered by the popular artist from his own imagination, and cosmic ones are related to celestial bodies.

According to the way they are stylized, they are divided into geometric motifs and freely drawn motifs,

and historically they are traditional or inherited motifs and newly created motifs.

Geographically, they are divided into local and immigrant motives.


The popular port of Oltenia

In the Mehedinți area, the shirt is wrinkled at the neck and with a height of appreciable dimensions, embroidered with red-cherry or black. The wrinkle is sewn with the "warp on the thread" stitch with white or yellow silk thread, the ribbon on the collar has different embroidery, and the sleeve ends with a cuff. Specific to the old Oltenian shirts is the wide sleeve, without the cuff. Sleeve-embroidered rivers are arranged vertically or obliquely. Embroidery is used as a simple contour stitch or stitch, cross stitch and stitch.

In the Gorj area, it is made of cotton fabric woven in the house, embroidered with threads of arnica, silk, gold or silver thread, metal sequins matched with the thread with which the motifs were executed. Very old stitches were used in the embroidery, such as: the chain, the simple single-sided or double-sided stitch, the "cross" stitch, the "warp on the thread" stitch for wrinkle, the "worked upside down" stitch which has a remarkable age, full embroidery stitch or oblique or straight stitch.

In the Vâlcea area, the shirt is wrinkled at the neck, and the top is richly decorated with geometric and floral figures applied in rows separated by openwork or sabac. The ribbon on the collar is embroidered with the stitched on the back, the crease is worked with the stitch "warped on the thread" with geometric figures and color intercalations. The rivers embroidered along the sleeves are worked from the crease down in an oblique direction, and at the bottom the sleeve is tightened in a narrow cuff, embroidered like the ribbon at the collar. In the newer ones, the embroidery on the chest is very rich, being executed with the same motifs and the same chromatic as the high one. In the old days, the motifs that decorate the chest are different from the motifs on the hills and rivers.

Specific to the Romanesque area is the collar and high heel, consisting of gallons arranged transversely in which the "S" shape motif is repeated. The wrinkle is decorated with the "extended rhombus" motif, which also includes smaller rhombuses. The sleeve is adorned with a single gallon placed from the ornament of the crease down, representing one of the gallons of the height. The bracelet or cuff is tight, embroidered with the same ornament. The ornamental motif of the top is repeated on the chest, and the hem of the hem of the shirt is sewn in red. The stitches with which the embroideries are made are: the simple stitch, the contour stitch with filling, the full embroidery worked on threads counted obliquely, the “warp on the thread” stitch, worked with yellow and gold thread and the chain stitch worked with gold metallic thread. The decorative motifs are geometric, floral, stylized human figures, and in chromatics the navy blue predominates, with intercalations of golden metallic threads. On the top, sleeves and chests the decoration is applied diagonally, using navy blue threads, gold thread with a little red with gold yellow interleaving.

In the Dolj area, they have the same classic cut, wrinkled at the neck, with high, wrinkled and rivers. The collar is narrow, in the form of a ribbon.The embroidery is very fine and covers all the components of it,The color of the embroidery is in harmony with the choices that decorate the squares and the valance. Ia is made of cotton cloth, with a ribbon applied on three rows of wrinkles worked with red silk thread. The embroidery is made with the cross stitch with red silk thread, the cross stitch worked on two threads, the stitch, the oblique stitch on numbered threads, the chain stitch, the double cross stitch worked with silver stitching, the "doll's mouth" stitch.

The popular port of Muntenia
The popular costume from Muntenia is wrinkled at the neck, with a ribbon, and the sleeve at the bottom ends with either a bracelet or a cuff consisting of winding the end of the sleeve and covering it with embroidery made on the thread, on the back of the sleeve, tightened with embroidered bracelet or narrow headband. This custom is also found in southern Transylvania.

The decoration of the Argeș area consists of geometric figures, and the embroidery is part of a repeated arrangement. Among the decorative motifs often found in this area is the stylized fir leaf or the notches applied obliquely on a supporting rib. In the Argeș area there is also a very old type of ie, with wide sleeves, of Oltenian type.

In the Dâmbovița area, they have a decoration composed of symbolic and floral figures that are applied on the sleeve below the wrinkle, between the two gallon-shaped strings. The rivers with sleeves, which are applied right from the base of the hill and divide the wrinkle in two are also found in this area as well as in the Muscel area.

Take the costume from Breaza, Prahova has a specific local character through the ornament arranged in one or two horizontal bands that decorate the sleeve. The curls under the collar are supported by the "ciupag", an element penetrated from Transylvania.

The rails in the Râmnicu Sărat area are of the old type, from the 18th century, being made of linen cloth combined with hemp, with a separate cut and the sleeve finished with a ribbon embroidered on the back and turned up on the front. In this area the long hemp shirt was used, with lapels consisting of two sheets and two folds.

The decoration of the Vlașca area is very discreet, the heights have different compositions of geometric figures: square, rhombus, rectangle. In this area, there are also rivers without sleeves along the length of the sleeve, stopping the decoration from wrinkling, and the sleeve ending with a headband and a ruffle discreetly decorated with bibs.

In the Teleorman area, the tiles are richly decorated, and the colors are sober, with a predominance of cherry red, brown, and pastel blue.

In the Olt area, the ia is made up of the same components of the iils from Romania and the Muntenia region, constituting the main piece of the costume.




Sources. Cusăturile și broderiile costumului popular din România, Tomida D. Ecaterina, Ed. Tehnică, București, 1972
Arta populară din zona Botoșanilor, Paveliuc Olariu Angela, 1980
Cusături populare din zona Argeșului, Podoleanu Liliana, Podoleanu Emilia, Ed. Ceres, București, 1983
Arta ţărănească la români, Oprescu Gheorghe, Cultura Naţională, Bucureşti, 1922

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