Alternative Name(s): National Dress

Traditional Estonian costume made by Aime Metsar in 1953. The costume is from the village of Mustjala, on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia. Aime made the costume at the age of 17, about three years after migrating to Australia from a World War II refugee camp in Germany. She needed the costume as she had joined an Estonian Folk Dancing Group that year and had to wear traditional dress. She made the costume as close to authentic as circumstances permitted.

The clothing in Saaremaa, like the other large Estonian islands Hiiumaa and Muhu, developed quite differently from that of mainland Estonia. The close contacts with neighbouring peoples, meant their clothing shared several common features with that of the Scandinavian peoples, such as the smocked woollen skirt. On Saaremaa women wore smocked woollen skirts, with stripes from the mid 19th Century, a waistcoat (abu) which was either sewn to the skirt or worn separately, short woollen coats, sheepskin winter caps decorated with horns or disc-shaped and knitted bobble hats.

Physical Description

Gathered skirt, top part in dark brown-red colour, lower half with red, blue, green and black horizontal stripes on white background. The vest is in same colour as top part of skirt with red, green and black front panels, gold ribbon, brass rings. Cross stitch on canvas belt in white and red.

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