My passion for sewing, and garment making in general, came from my grandmother. From a very young age I started spending my holidays in the countryside and I used to be around her quite a lot in those days. So I ended up taking note of everything she did and even developed a passion for one of the things she did best, which was sewing.
One of my favorite memories from those times are from when my grandmother would clear up the kitchen table and turn it into her little workshop. She would get out her sewing utensils and start working for hours on end. But she was always keeping an eye on her grandchildren from a little window to her right, from which she could see the front yard.
At first I have to admit that I did not appreciate her work that much. And the perfect example would be a piece handmade by her, which I did not understand or even like at first, but which has become a source of inspiration to me today. This piece is known as a “peretar” or, roughly translated, a “wall cloth”. To give a more official definition, this is either a small carpet or piece of cloth on which there are sewn different motifs, and these were used with a decorative purpose in countryside houses. But the specific peretar of which I am talking about in today’s article was actually handmade, crochet, by my grandmother. And to me, when I was little, it seemed ugly. I thought the colors were wrong, the patterns were weird, and it just didn’t make sense to me.
It wasn’t until I grew older that I dared to ask my grandmother about her reasons for picking that particular pattern and those particular colors to hang on her wall. And she gave a simple answer that I did not think about until that moment: it was just what she had on hand. And the fact that I didn’t like it didn’t mean that she put any less work or effort into that piece. It was that simple of a reason, and she was right.
But by then I had already realized what a brilliant mind my grandmother had. And the best example of this would be to describe her little kitchen workshop. The only things she would get out in order to do her work, besides the sewing machine, was a blanket that would cover the kitchen table, a tape line, scissors, and a piece of chalk. That was it. No patterns, books, shapes, or help of any form. And with just these utensils she would not only make things for herself and for her home. But she would also make some extra income by making dresses and other garments for the women in the village. So not only did she do a useful thing around the house, but she also used her skills to provide for her family as well. A wonderful woman indeed.
Lucky for me, when I grew up, even without her constant guidance, I managed to keep this passion for sewing alive and develop it into something more, hopefully making her proud. And today I want to do just that by getting back to my roots and grabbing some inspiration from my beginnings in this field. I am going back to my first lessons of sewing and I am going to pay a tribute to that particular piece, that puzzled me as a child. Taking inspiration from my grandmother’s work and talent that went into the making of the “peretar” I am going to put it into some modern clothing items. And by faithfully recreating its colors and patterns, I hope to pay it the respect it deserves and end up with more than just a few garment pieces. I hope to end up with a story to tell, wear, and pass on as well as she did.
Styling and clothing: Black Diamond Design by Lia Lugojan
Photo, make-up and hairstyle: Viktoriia Lykhachova