Thursday, August 25, 2011

le Fichu Provençal

Hello all.

Today i am going to talk about the fichus which are worn with the Provençal costume. The fichus are either printed cotton which coordinate with the dress or skirt and bodice worn underneath, or are of white cotton or linen with fine whitework embroidery. The printed cotton fichus were manufactured in several places.
The Paisanne only wore the printed cotton fichus, generally of cheaper make, with brighter colors and simpler designs.

The next higher social class, the Artisanne, wore the printed cotton fichus on normal occasions. They tended to gravitate towards more complex designs and more subtle and restrained colors. There is a great deal of variety in both. Here are some examples.

On Sundays and special occasions, the Artisanne would wear fichus of white linen or cotton muslin, embroidered with free form white embroidery. This embroidery was of stem and satin stitch, or chain stitch, or tambour stitch. Here are a couple of examples.

Some of the floral designs, whether of satin stitch or chain stitch, sometimes had drawn thread stitched designs as the center of the floral composition.

The higher class, the Bastidanne, wore fichus which were substantially the same as the Artisanne as part of normal attire, but on special occasions, they were made of cloth which was even finer and more transparent, sometimes resembling lace, or were in fact embroidered on tulle.

There is nothing unique about this floral embroidery, but it is well executed and quite attractive.
Here are a few sketched examples of the kinds of patterns used.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have found this to be interesting and perhaps inspiring.
Let us try to make more beautiful things for this world, and not rely on that which is mass-produced.

Feel free to contact me with requests for research. I hope to eventually cover all of Europe and the Former Russian Empire/Soviet Union. I also gratefully accept tips on source materials which i may not have. I also accept commissions to research/design, sew, and/or embroider costumes or other items for groups or individuals

Roman K.

Source Material:
Mary Gostelow, 'The Complete International Book of Embroidery', New York, 1977
Rode de Basso Prouvenço, 'Le Costume Populaire Provençal', Aix-en Provençe, 1990
Andre Sainsard, 'Costumes Folkloriques Provinces Françaises', Paris, 1972
Royere, Gardilanne, Moffat et al, 'Les Costumes Regionaux de la France', New York, 1929
Charles-Brun, 'Costumes des Provinces Françaises', Paris, 1937
P. Leroux, 'Costumes Regionaux', Paris, 1940


  1. Im glad that you appreciate it.
    I enjoy doing it, as much work as it is.
    I am still trying to figure out how to get paid to do it, lol
    thank you for letting me know that you enjoy it