Hi guys, nice to see you again!
As you know, in a few days it will be February 17th and, as usual, this year as well in the Waldensian Valleys the anniversary of the granting of civil rights through the Letters Patent, which took place in 1848, will be celebrated.
Since I already told you about this event on several occasions, today I would like to tell you something special about Waldensian habits and in particular about something that concerns me very closely … today I’m telling you about the traditional Waldensian costume!
I told you something about the dress I wear few months ago, but today I’d like to take you to the discovery of its production; in order to do that I spent some time with my friend Monique Piston, a great seamstress from Villar Pellice that stitches these costumes with her own hands.
Monique sewed her first Waldensian costume when she was 15, as she was attending the sewing school in Pinerolo: in preparation of her Confirmation, she brought to class her mother’s costume, and with the sewing teacher they copied the model. Through the years Monique has had the opportunity to see and study many other costumes, and today she offers different versions (more or less elaborate) based on the tastes of her customers.
The realization of a traditional Waldensian dress requires at least three full days of work! Monique told me that the pleats are the longest parts to be made, but the part she has to pay more attention to is the collar, since it is the point of more sight of the whole dress.
The materials used are the brocade for the dress and satin or taffeta for the apron; the shawl, instead, is made of silk or synthetic cadis, depending on the customer’s request. Almost no one asks for shawls made of wool because they’re very hard to preserve. In the shawl the longest parts to be realized are the fringes: they have to be cut and knotted by hand one by one!
As for the colors, the clothes are required in the classic versions: black, dark blue, burgundy. The apron matches the dress and the shawl design, and it is usually light blue, pink or lilac, but you can also choose more showy colors like yellow or orange.
Usually on the shawls there are embroidered flowers; less often you can find some other paintings (in Pellice Valley, for example, there are no longer painters for shawls, while Monique remembers that once in Chisone Valley she saw a wonderful shawl with a mountain landscape painted on it).
If you’re curious to see up close the way a Waldensian costume is sewn and made… well, just reach Monique in her studio “Le magie del filo” at 2, Jervis square, Villar Pellice, Torino.
Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?