White, flat cardboard boxes, cool and dusty air, shelves overfilled with fur cloaks, bed clothing, shoes, underwear, cloaks, belts and much more. I was aching to take out some of the items to have a closer look, but we had little time and the purpose of our visit to the museum archives of Maihaugen was clearly defined.
In late autumn of last year Mona Løkting had asked me to join her for a visit to Maihaugen in Lillehammer to have a closer look at a special kind of local folk costume called “rondastakk” and to discuss a possible collaboration. Mona Løkting owns the company Staslig Håndverk & Tradisjon, she is a master dress maker and folk costume seamstress and has received several prestigious grants in later years.
The folk costume called rondastakk has been in use since the 1830, it consists of a striped wool or half-wool dress in plain weave with a bodice attached to it. The bodice is plain, laced or with boning.
The skirt fabric was woven on the farms and the variations in stripe patterns were large, and the choice of bodice fabric could vary a lot as well. We discovered damask bodices, embroidered bodices, something that looked to me like ikat-technique, a bodice with whale baleen boning and of course the very typical bodice with the large square patterns.
Rondastakk has its origin in the northern part of Gubrandsdalen and its name means actually striped skirt. It was used all year around and on Sundays and workdays alike. Many dresses have pockets hidden in the side seams and it was often used together with an apron.
Mona uses only sewing patterns found in original folk costumes typical for their time period. She does all the sewing herself, with the sewing machine or by hand, just like in old times. What we call folk costumes now, were just people’s everyday outfits, long time ago.