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Traditional textile manufacturing

By the end of the 19th century, clothes of the rural population were mainly homemade. Women, with a few exceptions, usually did processing of the textile raw materials and its application in the manufacture of various products.


Complex procedure of processing plant fibers, hemp and flax, was usually done at home. People more often sowed hemp. Sowing-time usually took place in the end of April or beginning of May, while collecting (čupanje) took place in late August or September, depending on the plant species. Collected stalks of hemp or flax were submerged in water in order to soften before they were processed on foot scutcher (stupa). After scutching hemp was being plucked by the wooden knife called palica. The plucked parts of hemp (trganice) were further processed on carders (grebeni). Unlike hemp, which was processed on a scutcher, flax was processed on a swingle.


Wool, hemp and flax fibers were spun on various types of distaffs and spindles. Yarn was wound up on motovila (konočela) using rašak (wooden stick forked at one end and T-shaped at the other). Motovila of hemp and flax used for production of bez (type of fabric) were washed in buck-water before skeining. Women used to dye wool if they didn’t plan on using it in its natural color.


Weaving was the main method of producing textile items. Most of the products were woven on a horizontal loom. Certain textile items (women’s sashes, decorative ribbons potkite, etc.) were woven using weaving boards or koturić in the system of at least four up to thirty-five boards.


Sukno or bez (also sukneno or prteno) was a predominant fabric for clothes manufacturing. It was being used for men’s trousers (čakšire), men’s and women’s tunics, zubun chemises and short coats. Fabric was usually rolled after being woven and dyed, except when it had to be used for making šalvare (men's winter trousers). Homemade fabric production seized to exist in modern times.


Fabric bez was used for clothes production. Hemp fabric is the oldest (konopljano or kudeljno), followed by linen (ćetenovo). Hemp fabric was also called predivo bez and debeli bez (thick bez), whereas linen was called ćetenovica.


After weaving, fabric had to be whitened in a traditional way. Fabric had to be spread on a riverbank, sprinkled with ashes, washed over with water around six times a day, and then dried in the sun. This procedure lasted up to eight days, until the wanted whiteness was achieved.


With the arrival of Austro-Hungarian Empire to Bosnia, people started using cotton for fabric production; cotton was used for clothes used only in special occasions, holidays and festive occasions (zboračka). At first people mixed cotton with hemp and flax, but at the beginning of the 20th century they started using the pure cotton fabric.


Wool had been processed in a traditional way until the WWII. In late May, sheep were sheared for fleece. Women would then wash the sheared fleece, and comb it with carders. From the 70’s usage of carders decreases, and people take fleeces to be processed in wool mills. Goat hair (kočet) cutting occurred every two or three years, then it was being sold to mutabdžije (people who processed goat hair, for different types of textile products).


Wool was predominantly used for clothes production. It was also processed for knitting. At first, women used wool for knitting men’s and women’s socks, slip-ons (narotci) and knitted slippers (priglavci): it was also used for gloves, and in recent times mostly for various types of sweaters. Older types of men’s and women’s socks were usually knit with one or five wool knitting needles; these were usually worn by older people.


Many types of laces and ribbons were made using different interweaving techniques, and they had both practical and decorative purpose. Sukno was used for making laces that were used for decoration of men’s and women’s tunic edges. Ribbons with tufts used for decorating aprons were made using the finger interweaving technique.


Embroidery could be seen on clothing until the WWII. Today it can be seen on certain parts of household textile items. Depending on the surface, there are two types of embroidery: embroidery on sukno and embroidery on fine fabric. Fine fabric embroidery required fine woolen yarn, and there were several techniques: prutalačka, krstačka, provlaka and podvlaka. Geometrical and geometrical floral ornaments characterize types of embroidery from the older period. Women were the creators of those ornaments, and on village celebrations (zbor) or other gatherings, they used to copy the patterns from each other. New embroidery patterns were also transferred over the bride’s ruvo, i.e. when girls marry to another village. Embroidery on sukno or felt could be found only on some parts of the older costume type (made from sukno): zubun chemises, women’s tunics, sashes. As the old costume type disappeared, the same thing happened to the embroidery.


In addition to lightly embroidered parts of felt, older folk costumes were often adorned by unembroidered pieces of dark felt. Beside felt, different types of haberdashery ribbons and cords were sewed on the garments: tračić, pašamančić, potkite, kite, etc.


After the Turkish conquering of this area, people started using new materials. The new fabrics were first used for clothing of the urban population, but it gradually spread to rural population. When the new materials arrived, the traditional fabrics altered, thus affecting the existence of the traditional ways of textile processing.