Finnish national costume of Koivisto
I inherited this costume from my mother’s father’s mother. I’ve never met her. My great-grandmother and her son (my grandfather) were evacuees from the Karelian Isthmus. My great-grandmother purchased this national costume of her lost hometown likely sometime between the end of war and the late 60s. It may be that no one has worn it since she did, though my mother could not be sure. As far as she knows, it has been kept in the attic for years.
I only got it because I saw an old book about Finnish national costumes among all the items my mother had cleared from her parents’ house. I asked if I could have it, and my mother said yes, but was confused why I would want it. I told her I was really interested in the national costumes and really wished I had one. She told me we had one in the attic at her parent’s house and that it was mine if I wanted it!
Words aren’t enough to describe how extremely excited and happy I am about inheriting this costume! Anyone can wear whichever costume they like the best, but I, as many others, specifically wanted a costume that represents my roots. Out of all the possible costumes and areas I could have chosen, Koivisto was always my number one. I feel like it’s fate! I cannot wait for more chances to wear it.
The costume consists of:
- pleated, checkered woolen skirt with striped woolen hem
- cotton linen apron with woven stripes, lace, and fringe trim
- pleated linen shirt with large embroidery on the chest (called rekko) and collar, and embroidered cuffs with strings for securing
- light woolen jacket with embroidery and string for securing
- engraved silver buckle called paljinsolki
- woolen headband called säppäli with tin ornaments
Not featured here:
- white knee-high socks *
- alternative thicker woolen jacket with slightly longer sleeves for winter
- headdress consisting of pleated white veil and wide red band for securing **
* Presumably my great-grandmother would have owned these, but they have likely been misplaced. As they are fairly ordinary socks, they were probably not recognised as part of the costume and are now lost. I’ve been trying to find a pair, but no luck so far. Where are all the natural white knee-high socks???
** This is a married woman’s headdress, so presumably my great-grandmother chose not to purchase one as she was never married.