Latvian National Costumes
Selga, dedicated to my mother's memory
My mother made my first and only national costume. This was in 1948 in a DP camp in Germany, where she dyed an army blanket navy blue and with some ribbons made me a Rucava skirt and vest. That Christmas I wore it with a plain blouse but after we got to Australia, mother managed to embroider a blouse for me and make my brother, Udo, a corresponding outfit including knitted sox. The photo shows my brother and myself in 1950 by which time the skirt was a little short on me. The colour photo shows my daughter, Linda, wearing my costume but with different broaches, in 1972 when she was just 5 years old.
My grandmother in turn dressed my mother at the age of 9 as shown in the photo, to the best of her ability during the post-war years in the 1920's. The broach is the same one I am wearing in my photo. My mother made her own costume to wear to song festivals in the 1930's and she also wore it at her wedding in 1941. It was a Barta style, which she also made for my doll in Germany. It is chiefly red and black. The other doll in the picture is wearing a Nicis costume and the cushions I embroidered myself from my mother's patterns in traditional designs, though the colours are a bit bright.