Historical Notes 3 – Wendish Clothing

Volume 6, Number 1, February 1993, Texas Wendish Heritage Society Newsletter

Have you ever thought about the style of clothing that your ancestors wore before they immigrated to Texas?

If so, you might like to do a little research in our Library, as we have several books on the traditional clothing of Lusatia, and some garments on exhibit.

The “Volkstracht” books are full of pictures, both men and women’s clothes, and have drawings of the patterns. You can alter commercially available patterns or make your own. You can then make an outfit for yourself which would be representative of your ancestors’ clothing.

The great variety of clothing used in Lusatia is noteworthy. Each area had its own style, and within that area, each village had its own special adaptation. When Lusatians gathered for a festival, they knew where each person lived because of their special style of dress.

In addition to special styles for each area, several factors determined the particular garment just like our own modern times in Texas. Work clothes were different from Sunday clothes, special occasions such as weddings and baptisms required a special outfit. Catholics had different designs than Lutherans, and age was an important factor. Young girls wore brightly colored clothes; middle age women wore dark blues and greens, and older women dark or black.

Each of the books in our library discusses a different area, which includes many villages. To find your ancestors’ style, look on a map of Lusatia and determine a large town near your ancestors’ home. For example, the town of Spreewitz near Hoyerswerda. Next, check the map in the book on Hoyerswerda styles to see if Spreewitz is in that area, or another. (It is.) Although the text is in German, we have many members who can help you. Also, look at the dolls in the Kilian building and the new exhibit in the Peter building which features actual clothing from the Hoyerswerda area.

It would be great to have a style show at the Wendish Fest featuring our members in authentic (as far as possible) dress of the ancestors. Visit the Lillie Moerbe Caldwell Memorial Library and Read More About It!