Dressed with Pride

Permanent exhibition in the Craft Museum of Finland

The Dressed with Pride section at the National Costume Center of Finland presents traditional outfits from different parts of Finland in various eras. The exhibition also explores the history and the manufacturing methods behind the costumes. The exhibition draws attention to the remarkable level of detail in the costumes: flax and wool fabrics, pewter brooches, colourful stripe patterns on the skirts, headgear, pockets…

Finnish national costumes replicate peasant festive costumes from the 18th and 19th centuries. They continue the popular festive costume tradition, which includes skilfully crafted accessories from felt hats to bonnets, felted wool capes to silk aprons – all hand-decorated using elaborate techniques. Traditional festive costumes often combine various craft skills as well as typical features and materials from different eras. Parts of the costumes were home-made, parts bought or tailor-made by professionals. This tradition lives on in national costumes.

The exhibition also raises questions. What happened to these carefully crafted items when they were no longer used?

- In the olden days everything was reused. The parts made of linen were converted into bed linen, and woollen fabrics were made into throws or horse blankets. The most valuable and colourful fabrics ended up as decorative details on pockets and aprons. From the late 19th century onwards old clothing was cut up and woven into rugs, describe the curator Marja Liisa Väisänen and expert Leena Holst from the National Costume Center.