Estonian Folk Clothes in London

HISTORY

Whilst some Estonians who had arrived in London before the war had brought traditional costumes with them, most of those who came as refugees in the late 1940s did not.

 However, some folk clothing had been made by Estonians in German refugee camps, out of whatever materials were at hand – mattress covers, curtains, bed sheets. Ribbons, embroidery, lace were handcrafted.

This was still insufficient for the dance group, so more costumes were made in the late 1940s by the new arrivals. The War had caused economic chaos in the United Kingdom, and shortages of basic goods continued in peace, with such essentials as needles, cloth and thread hard to come by.

The refugees, however, motivated by their faith in dance and music, managed to muddle through and produce the vital clothing.

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