A Stitch in Time: Part 5 – On Cowsheds and Velvet Dresses

Photo: archive of Johana Trejtnar

In this episode we have four stories set in the Czech or Moravian countryside, tales of ordinary people living through times that were anything but ordinary. Three of them take us back to the Stalinist years of the early 1950s in Czechoslovakia, and the fourth story is more universal, a tale of good advice well taken.

In her story The Blue Velvet Dress, seventeen-year-old Johana Trejtnar tells us about a dress made by her great-grandmother, who was a seamstress in the mountains of north-eastern Bohemia. “I feel that a lot of what I live today comes from everything that my ancestors went through,” Johana says.

The following extracts gives us a flavour of Johana’s writing:

She touched the soft material for the future dress, buried her fingers in it, imagined her daughter, walking down the street in the beautiful blue velvet, and for a moment she got lost in the back of her mind, in a maze of spools and buttons and years long past. Only the toll of the faraway church bell urged her to get up, blow out the candle, carefully fold the fabric into the darkness of a closet to be continued the next day and get to bed.

The dress has remained in the family to this day – and was the inspiration for the title of this whole series: A Stitch in Time.

See the rest here.

Author: David Vaughan