Embroidery As A Natural Part Of Life In Vietnam

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Two months before the Lunar New Year, fashion houses across Hanoi are launching the latest collections of Vietnamese traditional costumes. Women of all ages consider the traditional costume second to the ones they wear during a wedding of a family member. The most sophisticated costumes are embroidered with an image that includes a message or goal for whoever is wearing it.

Some people assume that the delicate outfit can be quite difficult to wear because it is supposed to show the body under the layers of thin silk or velvet. Actually, the traditional national costume is easy to wear because of the free flowing drapes that can fit any body type. Those who do not want to show skin can wear long sleeves and long trousers.

When Vietnam became a republic in 1945, folks in villages switched to ornate embroidery of table cloths, napkins, paintings, duvet covers and kimonos to earn a living. Many of the artisans depend on embroidery export orders while others do the rice farm work. Parents on the other hand want their children to go to college and work in an office instead of following the traditional craft of the village.

However, embroidery is part of the Vietnamese life. Families in villages have several frames that they use for embroidery. Families would sew together, take a break to prepare meals and then return to embroidery again.

Children learned to make simple stitches. The first detail that they are allowed to embroider is water in a large dragon painting. Next are the clouds and a segment of the dragon’s body while adults embroider the dragon’s scales.

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