As long as Goretti can remember, she’s been passionate about embroidery and has an almost magnetic attraction to the Bordados dos Namorados (Embroidery of Lovers) style of embroidery. In her recent trip to Portugal, the most important thing to Goretti was visiting the Vila Verde region and meeting with a master embroider of Bordados dos Namorados style embroidery.
Goretti learned about both Bordados dos Namorados and Bordados de Viana. Because both are beautiful and different from each other, Bordados de Viana will be covered in its own blog. Namorados dos Bordados was practiced by the country girls of Northern Portugal during an era when modesty was enforced strictly. Until marriage, young couples were never unchaperoned and certainly there couldn’t be any display of affection between men and women. When a young girl became interested in a young man, she would secretly embroider a handkerchief with messages of her love. The handkerchief was passed on to the young man in hopes he’d accept it as a show of mutual interest. These simple and sweet symbols of love often contained misspellings as the young girls had little or no education. The designs, however, were beautiful with each stitch placed by hopeful and loving hands.
As sometimes happens when a person is on a trip of a lifetime, what is experienced in the present opens opportunities for the reflection of the person’s past. Hearing the history of Bordados dos Namorados brought back memories of Goretti’s mother’s stories of her own Aҫorean girlhood crushes. She envisioned her mother secretly writing a little love note and sending it to someone she hoped would be her beloved, much like those who created the Bordados dos Namorados. It made more sense to Goretti how her mother, who was raised in a strict Catholic household, acted on girlhood crushes. It was certainly nothing Goretti’s Avó would have allowed to happen openly!
While the time spent learning from the master embroider was a dream come true, it was also laced with some sadness. Goretti discovered that, as the years go on, this art is dying as there are fewer people able to do this type of work. Much like in the US where Goretti has seen the decline of her trade in skill sewing operators and detailed hand embroidery over her career in the fashion industry, Portugal is experiencing the same decline. Everything she learned on this trip validated Goretti’s commitment to sharing the beauty of embroidery with others. We are all waiting on pins and needles as Goretti is gearing up to take on this passion project and start making videos to teach and show people some of these Portuguese embroidery stitches. Goretti is committed to creating these videos and teaching kids how to hold a needle and sew stitches.
We have some styles that are what Goretti refers to as the embroidery series and she'll be soon teaching myself and others how to add some extra touches to our Rooster Camisa styles. Currently, you can find embroidery styles for sale in Meu Amor, Felicidade, and Meu Mundo.
Shop our Bordados Collection here