I was reading a great blog about folk costume and embroidery the other day, and I found a post describing in detail the folk costume of the Basque people in the Roncal-Erronkari area of Navarre. The women’s dresses are beautiful, complete with mantillas and embroidered vests, but the most unusual element was their red and blue skirts. As I read on, I found that each woman wears two skirts–the top one folded up in front to showcase the red facing underneath (called an aldar). It’s held in place in the back with a pin called an amabitxi.
I thought it would pair beautifully with a simple tank to contrast the heaviness of the skirt. I also added a silver and turquoise belt. The red part could be permanently sewn up, safety pinned, or secured with matching pairs of hooks and eyes. The skirt could be made in cotton/linen, wool for more warmth, or even mid-weight silk for more formal occasions.
The third ensemble is a modern, wearable version of Rapunzel’s dress in Trina Schart Hyman’s Rapunzel. The sleeves are open at the shoulder and tie at the elbow with dark maroon ribbons. It gives off a hippy vibe too–the shirt in a soft rayon/cotton knit, and the skirt in a printed cotton calico.
The fourth dress in also inspired by the same book, but in a less obvious way. Under the maroon velvet vest thingy, there is a simple white cap-sleeve dress that falls a bit below the knee. The hem of the dress is decorated with appliqued and embroidered stripes. Under the dress, there is a long skirt (the hidden top half is made of light white cotton, don’t worry) with a thickly embroidered panel, ending with a row of maroon tassel fringe (a detail I saw on some Greek dresses, I think).