A story to wear 

Semne Cusute Association

Looking into the Traditional Shirts of Romania...

AIDOMA Collection Princess Ileana of Romania's Teleorman Traditional Blouse, Carmen Florea, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
AIDOMA : a celebration of Romanian Traditional Embroidery 
AIDOMA is an initiative that was born from the need to rediscover the old way, a path long forgotten in a busy world. The project initially started with the idea of replicating old Romanian Blouses based on photos from museums around the world as a tribute to our ancestry, in 2015. Since then, AIDOMA has evolved in a collection representing an invitation to the beautiful world of Romanian traditional techniques of cleaving the fabric and creating the Romanian Blouse. With the help of the close-up lens, Semne Cusute Association offers a singular approach, usually unobtainable in a museum, and invites you to see the blouses from the creators' point of view and discover a hidden universe. 
AIDOMA Collection Salaj Traditional Blouse, Alina Tanase Fetcu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
AIDOMA Collection Mehedinti Traditional Blouse, Ioana Corduneanu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Semne Cusute Association can be translated as "Sewn Signs Association".

AIDOMA Collection Gorj Traditional Blouse, Irina Viorica Agachi, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

The AIDOMA Project was born with the help of our dedicated volunteers and endless support from our beautiful community

AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Stefania Atanasiu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

For the Romanian woman, the traditional blouse is more then a simple piece of clothing. It is a statement and a journey.

AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Maria Visan, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

To see the real beauty of the Romanian Traditional Blouse is to know how to read it, as each and every one of them tells a story.

AIDOMA Collection Ilfov Traditional Blouse, Ioana Corduneanu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Each blouse in the AIDOMA Collection is a representation of the woman that created it, and a way to ensure the continuity of craftsmanship.

AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Maria Visan, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

The Romanian Traditional Blouse is made for a specific person. It is like a second skin, intended to protect in any way, from natural elements and the unseen.

AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Angelica Costache, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Every little detail is important, each stitch is made with a clear purpose in mind, thread color, fabric density, all of them have to be in balance.

AIDOMA Collection Salaj Traditional Blouse, Alina Tanase Fetcu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Small imperfections are cherished, as no one can obtain perfection in this life time.
But you can make the world a little bit more colorful, one blouse at a time.

AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Ioana Andreea Sora, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Glass beads, metallic and cotton thread are combined to give texture and volume.

AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Daniela Ivu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
AIDOMA Collection Traditional Blouse from Mehedinti, Ioana Corduneanu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

When asked why they do it, the women that made the blouses from AIDOMA Collection said this was a way to feel close to their loved ones.

AIDOMA Collection Princess Ileana of Romania's Teleorman Traditional Blouse, Carmen Florea, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
The old way
Each Romanian region has its own unique features, some of them derived from the need of thermal comfort and others to serve a specific functionality, for a specific type of blouse. Part of a whole, the embroidery varies from a few small accents designed to offer protection to complex patterns filled with symbols. And so, the blouse is like an extension of yourself, through which you can express yourself in a way that honors the ancestors, because this craftsmanship is passed down for generations, from mother to daughter. This type of Romanian Teleorman Region Blouse was associated with women of high rank from the early 20th century, due to the materials used for it. The pattern evokes the nature in bud, the start of a new natural circle.  
AIDOMA Collection Princess Ileana of Romania's Teleorman Traditional Blouse, Carmen Florea, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

The wealthy population had access to better materials, such as natural silk and fine cloth.

AIDOMA Collection Princess Ileana of Romania's Teleorman Traditional Blouse, Carmen Florea, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

In the past, the metallic thread could be gold or silver.

AIDOMA Collection Mehedinti Traditional Blouse, Ioana Corduneanu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Due to the fact that a blouse calls for hundreds of thousands of stitches, the woman must maintain an even pull force during the whole embroidery.

AIDOMA Collection Traditional Blouse from Mehedinti, Ioana Corduneanu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Throughout their lives, Romanian women would wear different types of blouses, depending on their social status as well as to mark the important events of everyday life.

AIDOMA Collection Cernauti Traditional Blouse, Ioana Corduneanu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Bridal blouse from the far north region

The symbols and the red shade mark the sacrifice and the start of a new cycle.

AIDOMA Collection Cernauti Traditional Blouse, Ioana Corduneanu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Ioana Andreea Sora, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

In the past, the seam of the blouse was usually red, in an effort to protect the person from evil and to make the blouse a whole, where the stitch was visible.

AIDOMA Collection Vrancea Traditional Blouse, Daniela Ivu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

The neck is a very vulnerable area of the human body, and so extra protection is needed. The red line is a wolf fang pattern that secures the crinkles.

AIDOMA Collection Salaj Traditional Blouse, Alina Tanase Fetcu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

To mark the major joints in the body, red thread was sometimes woven.
This pattern was inspired by folk dances.

AIDOMA Collection Salaj Traditional Blouse, Alina Tanase Fetcu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Elena Aron, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

The concept of Spring is one of the dearest to Romanian women. In a variety of shapes, colors and embroidery techniques, we love to wear it as a reminder that just around the corner is a new beginning.

AIDOMA Collection "Flower buds of Bucovina" Traditional Blouse, Ioana Corduneanu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Bees, the never ending path of the river, the perfect sleeve finish for a Spring Blouse.

AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Ioana Corduneanu, Daniela Ivu, Alexandrina Vasile, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

The Cypress tree representation depicts strength, and placed on the shoulder will act as a protector.

AIDOMA Collection Neamt Traditional Blouse, Violeta Ciurlea, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Due to the agrarian influence, black is the perfect choice when phytomorphic elements are shown, like spring soil.

AIDOMA Collection Princess Ileana of Romania's Arges Traditional Blouse, Irina Serpol, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
AIDOMA Collection Gorj Traditional Blouse, Irina Viorica Agachi, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
There is more to it than meets the eye
As we have mentioned before, the blouse was a status statement. So, the total image was a big indicator and different techniques were used to reduce and shape the fabric. The fabric grid varied between 12 and 22 threads/centimeters, home made, and so the width was not always the right one for the job. The sleeve might have a bracelet ending, or a 40 centimeters neckband might hold up to 3 meters of fabric in crinkles. If in the mountain region, the dense structure and thick yarn usually had a hidden hem, while lowland garments had big decorated seams. 
AIDOMA Collection Princess Ileana of Romania's Arges Traditional Blouse, Irina Serpol, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

This piece is a very important structural component. Placed at armpit level, it allows the sleeve to have a superior amplitude.

AIDOMA Collection Princess Ileana of Romania's Arges Traditional Blouse, Irina Serpol, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Joining three pieces of fabric, as follows: chest, shoulder and sleeve. Again, the aesthetic is integrated in the functional design.

AIDOMA Collection Traditional Blouse from Mehedinti, Ioana Corduneanu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Daniela Ivu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

The sleeve ending also helps keep the air cushion.

AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Delia Bolovan, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Elena Aron, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Delia Bolovan, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

The Romanian embroidery technique is based on the fabric grid.

AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Delia Bolovan, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
AIDOMA Collection Vrancea Traditional Blouse, Daniela Ivu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
AIDOMA Collection Bucovina Traditional Blouse, Delia Bolovan, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Every stitch will be made by counting the fabric threads, and so there is no need for a preexisting outline.

AIDOMA Collection Traditional Blouse from Mehedinti, Ioana Corduneanu, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

As you go closer, you can see that the woman used the thread direction to mimic the plant texture.

AIDOMA Collection Gorj Traditional Blouse, Irina Viorica Agachi, 2015-2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
AIDOMA Collection Traditional Romanian Embroidery, Andrei Contiu, 2017, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association
The Storytellers
Many of the beautiful stories in the Romanian culture are passed from one generation to the next with the help of the traditional Romanian blouse. The cleaving process itself is a story about thrift, harmony and the greatest voyage of them all. As the creator, the blouse is a piece of a bigger aggregate and only in perfect balance with it will serve the intended part. We are able, with the help of modern technology, to share stories like AIDOMA by Semne Cusute, a story about dedicated women, powerful and delicate in their one unique way, ready to tell the story with threads and needles. 
AIDOMA Collection Traditional Romanian Embroidery, Raluca Savulescu, 2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

And so, one stitch at a time, a new story is born, a hidden universe is created and the Romanian blouse lives on, one generation at a time.

AIDOMA Collection Traditional Romanian Embroidery, Raluca Savulescu, 2018, From the collection of: Semne Cusute Association

Projects like AIDOMA are the manner in which Semne Cusute Association chooses to tell the traditional Romanian Blouse story.

Credits: Story

Photographs by
Mihaela Contiu
Raluca Savulescu

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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