Meet and Sabine Lintner and Christine Miller. These two young women recently opened the Trachtenwerkstatt in Wattens, Austria, which translate to Traditional Costume workshop. Sabine trained in a fashion program and then worked for a clothing manufacturer. Christine worked with a tailor and learned her skills there. Together the two have founded a business and only recently moved it to a storefront operation in Wattens, a small town in Tirol, a district of Austria near the German border.
The Trachtenwerkstatt specializes in the design and construction of authentic traditional Austrian costume, from the region of Tirol. In addition to creating new garments, using traditional styles and techniques, they also repair and rework ensembles that need repair.
Sabine and Christine were amazingly gracious and willing to share. They showed me many of their techniques and had prepared samples for me to bring back to my students in San Diego. In addition, Sabine demonstrated, step-by-step a trim technique knows as Rosenrueschen (which means ruched rose). See the technique in another blog entry.
Christine, the tailor, showed me an example of the traditional leiderhosen, and I got to examine its construction, particularly the trim, and how one gets into the garment and fastens it. She even put it on for me, as you can see from the pictures. This leiderhosen and shirt belong to Christine’s husband, ad she tailored it for him.
A traditional woman’s ensemble from Tirol would consist of the following: (sorry, I don’t know the correct German name)
Blouse- This was made of linen, and cut rather short (waist-length). Necklines varied a little, as did the sleeve. Some sleeves were fuller, and some had smocking/pleating at the top of the cap.
Dress – The woman’s dress consisted of a bodice attached to a skirt.
The sleeveless bodice itself did not meet at center front. Rather, it has beautiful metal lacing clasps, stitched to each side the front. The style of the metal clasp was specific for the region, as was the number (seven pairs) used on the bodice. An insert of fabric, a latz, is finished and embroidered, would be placed in the center front opening, prior to lacing, and then the bodice would be laced to fit the wearer and the insert would be held in place. The lace in this area is red, which is also significant. The back of the bodice had structural seams (we would call them a princess seam), that were defined and covered with a velvet ribbon. This also was very specific and traditional to the region.
The skirt was made of two rectangles. A pleating tape (called gabelin) is used on the inside top of the skirt to help the seamstress know where to baste, to create the wonderful parallel gathers. (see the Technique in a separate blog). The fine pleating was not done all the way around the waist. The center front of the garment used several larger pleats.. To facilitate getting in and out of the garment, Sabine has utilized a zipper, which is not traditional, but functional for today’s use. A slit and pocket is inserted into the font of the skirt, and this will not be seen under the apron, which is the next garment. At the hem, they must have 1-2 mm. of red wool fabric peek from the underside (as this is distinctive to this region). In other regions the amount is different, or the red band may also
Apron – The apron is very much a part of the costume. A long rectangular piece of fabric is pleated onto a waistband. The wearer ties the apron over her skirt. She will communicate her marital status by where she ties the bow of the apron. Where the bow of the apron’s tie band.
Bow on the Left – she is an unmarried girl
Bow on the Right – she is married
Bow at Center – she is a widow
The information I gained at the Trachtenwerstatt was excellent. I was so impressed with the workshop and work of Christine and Sabine; they are keeping tradition alive and doing it with an energy and joy that is evident.
Visit them at www.trachtenwerkstatt.com