the traditional costumes of Jarek

The Traditional Costumes of  Jarek

by  Inge Morgenthaler  (nee Schmidt)

translated by  Eleonore Oreskovich

In the course of the 19th century the "Traditional costumes for festivities at Jarek developed from the various costumes worn by the Lutheran immigrants. They came from different South German countries, but also from the Alsace. It can be assumed that above all the dark colours typical of the Lutheran regions of origin prevailed in the costumes. In the Lutheran Alsace you can still find costumes made of black fabric with red or blue flowers, though the skirts are much shorter and less wide.

There were differences between the costumes of married women and the girls.


1.  The Festive Costumes of Girls

Basically the skirts of all the costumes were sewn according to the same pattern. They were about 5 m wide, had no waistband, but were sewn on a ribbon, which was used to tie them together at the front. That was very practical, because the width could be adjusted very well in this way. About 20 cm on each side of the middle seam at the front were left even, then the fabric was folded in pleats of about 2 to 3 cm all the way round, which were only ironed in the upper part. The skirts did not quite reach the ankles, so that the white "Zwickel" stockings with their elaborate patterns could be seen, which were fixed at the knees with the help of garters. With them black buttoned shoes were worn.

The fabrics for the quite young girls were light with multi-coloured flowers; the older girls wore black patterned satin or silk.

About 20 respectively 30 cm from the hem 2 narrow velvet ribbons in the colours of the flowers were sewn onto the skirts. A Part of the costumes were aprons. For the young girls they matched the colours of the skirts, for the older girls and the women they were black and decorated with suitable lace or narrow pleats trimming at the hem.

Picture 1  -  Girls Costume,
                      of about 1914

With the girl's costume a floral silk ribbon of about 5 cm was worn, which was doubled up and put under the waistband, so that it hung over the upper half of the skirt. What was indispensable was the beautiful lace handkerchief with the embroidery, which was pleated very elaborately and worn either in the hand or on one side of the waistband.

The upper parts were different according to the seasons. In winter they were long-sleeved with straight sleeves or sleeves with s mall pleats at the shoulders. The upper parts of the small girls were made of a monochromatic light fabric, for the women and older girls it was dark or black. Very frequently rep, wool or velvet was chosen. For shutting the tops at the front invisible hooks and eyes were used, often with braids in elaborate patterns beside them.

Picture 2  -  Original costumes
                      of 1860.

The girl's costume with
the velvet top is particularly

The man's costume shows
a lot of silver buttons on the
waistcoat and the flat hat
with the wide brim.

The man holds a pipe with
a very long mouthpiece in
his right hand.

The woman wears a necklace
of black pearls.

Picture 3  -  A young family
from Jarek in very' beautiful
festive costumes. The young
mother still wears her girl's

In summer the tops were much lighter. Instead of the long-sleeved upper parts the girls wore white blouses with puffed sleeves made of thin linen and decorated with delicate lace at the high neckline and the sleeves. Over them black waistcoats called 'Leiwl” were worn, which reached to the waistband and were also shut by invisible hooks.

Picture 4  -  The picture shows a group of young girls, some of them
with shawls called 'Chaleurtuch' in festive costumes at the
150th anniversary of the foundation of Jarek in 1937.
Their hairstyle with middle parting and put up plaits
was typical of the 19th century.

A so-called “Chaleurtuch” with fringes, a shawl made of silk or very thin wool, which was crossed at the front and tied at the back, was part of the summer costume. For women it was black, for girls flowery. Moreover a necklace of black polished stones called 'Patra' was worn.

At festivities and dances the women and girls wore up to 6 very stiff starched white petticoats with broad embroidery at the hems under their wide skirts. Considering that until 1922 there was no electric current for ironing, you can appreciate the mothers' task of' preparing all the petticoats of their family with charcoal irons and starch, especially when they had two marriageable daughters who had to look very 'proud' ,when   they went dancing at the inn on Saturdays.

Picture 5  - The folk dance group Jarek - Beuren in costumes
typical of Jarek at the 200th anniversary at the Beuren Kelter.

Picture 6  -  Costumes sewn
according to old patterns at the
200 anniversary at Beuren in 1987.


2.  The Women’s Costumes

The wide skirts of the women's costumes differed from those of the girls only as far as the colours were concerned. The skirts of the women’s festive costumes were black with small flowers in dark colours, or the fabrics shoved a monochromatic pattern. They consisted of thin wool, cashmere and sometimes of silk.

They were accompanied by black aprons with laces or pleats trimmings at the hems. The blouses were made of very thin wool or rep and decorated as described above, often they had a hip part, too.

In summer the shawls of the festive costume were made of thin monochromatic black or grey wool with fringes, in winter of black velvet with silk fringes.

A shawl crocheted of thick home-spun black wool protected from the cold. Some women also had a ”Csurag“, a black woollen coat reaching the ankles, which was lined with a white trimmed lambskin. At all the edges it was trimmed with brown or black stripes of fur about 15 cm wide.

In the open air all the women wore headscarves made of the most different materials. Young women sometimes had lighter transparent scarves made of georgette or rep with patterned garlands at the hems. In any case it was important to fold them u p exactly. To achieve that piece of doubled paper was put in, which was cut out arch- shaped at the back.

Inside women wore the everyday costumes made of light fabrics, of cotton or rayon staple, but likewise blue or black or dark blue with simple blue or black aprons. On their heads they had bonnets with narrow brims and points at the back. Women were never seen bareheaded, that was simply unusual and part of the tradition. The skirts were a little shorter, too and only one undergarment was worn, because women had to work hard and move around in these clothes.

Picture 7  -  Woman’s costume
                      in 1914.


3.  The Men’s Costumes

At festivities the men at Jarek wore black knee breeches with bibs, under which there were chequered handkerchiefs hanging out on both sides. The white linen shirt with pleated sleeves was put in the waistband. It had no collar, but only a narrow strip round the neck and was pleated at the front. Over it there was a black waistcoat with numerous beautiful silver buttons.

In winter a jacket of thick black wool was added. For sleigh-rides and long enterprises outside men also had a 'Bunda', a very long cape made of tanned sheepskin worn with the fur n the inside. In the cold winter of the Pannonian Lowlands the thick black fur caps were indispensablfi1, of course. They were either made of sheepskin or of fine Persian lamb.

In winter boots were worn, and in summer hand-made leather slippers, which were also used for dancing. The hand-knit knee-length socks had an especially elaborate border, which was pulled over the breeches. Outside our ancestors wore the domed black hats with broad brims that were part of the typical men’s costumes and can also be discovered on Stefan Jaeger's painting.

The men’s everyday clothing consisted of simple trousers and jackets with patch pockets made of washable cotton fabric. When it was very hot, they wore simple wide linen trousers in the fields which were tied together with a string.

Picture 8  -  Two couples in traditional costumes.
The men are wearing waistcoats with silver buttons,
black jackets, elt hats, knee long socks and leather slippers.
The picture was taken inside the churchyard in 1937.


Picture 9  -  Presentation of a traditional wedding at Jarek at
the 200th. anniversary of Jarek in 1987 at Beuren. You can see
the tradtional men’s costumes of Jarek, the “bride“ in traditional
original  wedding-costume of 1910 and in the background there
are two “waiter’s” in white artful crocheted “waiter-aprons”
(the hats and shoes are “modern”).

4.  The Wedding Costumes of Jarek

Until about 1920 the brides' skirts at Jarek were made of thin black wool or silk with monochromatic patterns. Black aprons were worn over them. The number and kind of the petticoats was the same as in the festive costumes. The white handkerchief also was indispensable. All this illustrates the fact that after the wedding the bride's costume became the wife's festive costume. In order to embellish the bride and give her some more colours, rosettes were fixed on her upper arms, which held silk ribbons in light colours that almost reached the ground.

As the weddings took place from January to carnival and after Easter, there were no fresh flowers and make shift delicate small waxen flowers were used and tied to a rather broad garland, which almost looked like a bonnet. The black blouse was also decorated with colourful artificial flowers at the front.

(An interesting remark is that in many cases the bride kept this clothing for the rest of her life and after her death she was buried in it as an old woman. The same was the case with the bridegroom. Our ancestors could not afford the luxury of a white robe that was only worn once and remained in the wardrobe ever after.)

The bridegroom wore his usual costume, but boots instead of s1ippers. As the winters were cold, he wore a black woollen jacket. On its right side a great rosette with a silk ribbon was fixed, which was shorter than the bride’s.  A garland of artificial flowers was put on the brim of his flat hat. The bride’s guides could be recognized easily, because they also wore these hats with garlands and rosettes with ribbons on their upper arms.

Picture 10  -  Presentation of a traditional wedding at the
150th. anniversary of Jarek in 1937. You can see
the wedding procession with the bride and bridegroom
as well as the bridegroom’s guides with their
flat hats and ribbons.

Picture 11  -  A group of bride’s guides and bridesmaids
at the 150th anniversary in 1937.

Between 1920 and 1930 the black brides’ skirts were replaced by lighter colours. The brides then wore monochromatic skirts and upper parts in grey blue or beige tints, which were abundantly decorated with braids. There were no aprons. The front seam was hidden in a pleat on one side and the frontal parts of the skirts were even. Moreover a white veil was worn, which reached the ground, and also a bunch of fresh flowers.

Picture 12  -  Bride’s and bridegroom’s
                       costume in the 1920s.

In the 1920s already white wedding dresses became fashionable. Modern wedding habits had also reached Jarek then.

The older women’s black skirts became shorter and in later years reached the middle of the calf. But most of them clung to the back headscarf.

The younger women wore modern clothing following the up-to-date-fashion. The men’s breaches also were replaced by trousers and suits.

by  Inge Morgenthaler

translated by  Eleonore Oreskovich


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