Monday, January 26, 2009

Ballet-Style Czech Dance Costume

In 2006, my daughter, Sarah, was named the Miss Czech-Slovak USA Queen. For the talent portion of the competition she performed an original ballet dance to a piece of music by a Czech composter, Antonin Dvorak. She wanted a costume that would be soft and flowing for the performance.

Maggie Grmela of Czech Costume Creations ( created this lovely costume just for the occasion. The 'blouse' is actually a body suit with a lace collar and full puffed sleeves. The skirt is a two-tiered design made of soft chiffon with sequins along the edge. The vest is embroidered with flowers and embellished with beads and sequins. Maggie made Sarah a small wreath of flowers to match the costume that fit perfectly around her bun. While the costume could not be considered authentic, it was spectacular and perfect for the performance!

For more information on the Miss Czech-Slovak US Queen pageant, log on to

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hanacky Vest

I have gotten some emails, with questions regarding the Hanacky vest. Thanks for the feedback! As anyone making Czech costumes discovers, there are really no patterns. So what I did for the Hanacky vest was to use a vest from one of Sarah's costumes and I made this pattern. I did a lot of research on these costumes but the best suggestion for this vest came from a good friend, Alica Vida. (See her drawing in an earlier post.) The front of the vest will have one closure at the bottom and the front of the vest will be diagonal. All of my embroidery and bead work is done by hand. I know machine embroidery is more practical but I don't have a machine and I have really come to appreciate hand work much like our ancestors did. The design on the front of the vest came from a book I found on the internet, Czecho-Slovakian Embroideries. Once Sarah decided on a design, I scanned it in the computer and printed out the design on transparent vellum. I have found this is the easiest way to trace to the fabric. If you really need a pattern for a vest, this (see photo) is a pattern I found at a local store. As you notice, these are not for Czech costumes. However, you can take the pattern, trim to fit and adorn. Should you make your pattern, I suggest you keep your pattern drawn on kraft paper (or the back of gift wrap works too) for future reference.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Progress on the Hanacky Kroj

My youngest daughter, Sarah, in her Hanacky kroj is pictured with her father, Ed Middlebrook. My husband has been recovering from surgery since before Christmas and we were so glad he was able to attend the meeting of our local chapter of the McLennan-Hill Czech Heritage Society on January 18, 2009.

Sarah happily shows off the embroidery on her Hanacky apron to Jana Vaculik. This costume is, by no means, complete. I still have to make the stiff, lace collar. I plan to make it detachable for convenience. I would also like to make a yellow skirt with yellow-on-yellow embroidery. Sarah also shows off the progress on the vest. So far, I have embroidered down the front of the vest.