Poltava region is not only the spiritual capital of our country, the birthplace of the founder of new Ukrainian literature Ivan Kotlyarevsky, legendary singer Marusya Churai and outstanding politician Simon Petliura. It is also a region famous for its peculiar embroidery technique (Poltava residents humbly consider it the most difficult in the Ukrainian territory), which has about 180 different ways of doing it.
The Poltava region's trademark is white thread embroidery on white fabric.
Previously, women embroidered mainly in winter, then there was less housework. Sitting by the window, they watched the patterns that frost painted on the windows, and then transferred them to the canvas. This is how white-on-white embroidery appeared. Legend, you say ?! Perhaps, however, it is not far from reality.
The "white on white" technique was born in the town Reshetylivka of the Poltava region, then spread to other cells of the folk art of the region (Kremenchuk, Lubny, Bolshiye Sorochintsy, Novye Sanzhary), and then gained popularity in other ethnic regions of the country (Chernihiv region, Slobozhanshchina, Prikarpattya). A pure white shirt, embroidered with white threads, was quoted significantly higher than the usual one and served as an element of both men's and women's wardrobes.
In general, shirts of the Poltava region are embroidered mainly with white, less often with red, black, or gray threads. The shirt tops were decorated with a satin stitch pattern. The pattern itself was outlined with black or colored stripes. The technique used for most of the patterns is called "lyshtva" or satin stitch (the name varies depending on the area: in Poltava and Chernihiv regions it is “lyshtva”, in Podolia - “kachalochkovaya lyshtva”). There are more than 80 techniques of satin stitch embroidery alone. The cross-stitch embroidery came to us only in the 18th century from Europe. Poltava embroidery is more melodic. The colors are much muted. Indeed, the variety of patterns embroidered in excess is impressive.
The characteristic feature of Poltava embroidered shirts is a combination of floral and geometric ornaments.
The sleeves were decorated and embroidered most of all, and it formed complex thematic compositions and was densely gathered on the forearms. For the Poltava craftsmen, the most popular motives were “branch”, “broken tree”. Geometric ornament consists of simple shapes: triangle, rhombus, square, oblique cross, star motifs. It is supposed that Poltava embroidery is worth looking at for a long time, because this is the only way to see all that virtuoso palette of motives and images, all the jewelry that the author put into the pattern.
Let's get a look at "look" of Poltava embroidered shirts for men and women.
Women's embroidered shirts did not have a neck as such. But the neckline was decorated with the so-called "chubbies" and gathered with a thin linen "ribbon". Ornaments were made in different places of the shirt and were usually performed using various techniques described in a few paragraphs above: inserts - lyshtva or cutting with lyshtva, sleeves - cutting, and shroud - twisting or hemstitching. In some places there were also models designed in the same style of embroidery. Flowers and other elements of vegetation began to appear on clothes after ukrainians borrowed cross-stitch embroidery from Europe.
This is what Poltava embroidery is - the pride of the region and one of the main attributes of the Sorochinskaya fair. This technique has been raised by the labor of masters for many centuries and that's why this shirt symbolizes everything that the Poltava region is proud of.