I’ve known embroidery since childhood, raised by a family practicing and cherishing various crafts, but I didn’t know how to make it truly meaningful to me. Sewn Signs is a major milestone in my life; I witnessed its creation and joined the action group the moment it started. My key to success is thorough documentation for each shirt I embroider, and I don’t like to embroider two shirts alike, so I study a lot. Luckily, there’s so much variety in our traditional shirts! In the last 10 years, I evolved a lot, and although for quite some time I was a disciplined disciple, now I feel like an artist, a creator, as well as a guide to others choosing this way, and that’s very empowering for me.
Semne Cusute fuelled a major shift of perspective in the way I engage with my own intangible heritage. I gained a renewed sense of responsibility for what I see as one of the most important kinds of inheritance: skill. At once an individual and collective effort, embroidery with Semne Cusute is less about the veneration of a “museumified” past, and more about what we can do towards a more just and sustainable future, through the tools and designs inherited from our foremothers.
The desire to sew a shirt seemed impossible to achieve. Until, one day, I discovered the Sewn Signs Association, where I found EVERYTHING I needed to fulfill my dream. It was just the beginning of a long and beautiful journey in discovering the beauty of our Romanian shirt alongside women passionate and eager to discover what defines our identity.
In order to sew a shirt properly, I was looking and waiting for something. "Sewn signs" was recommended, which opened to me like a book. Here I found files with documentation from whatever area you want, lots of drawings of designs, examples from museums, loots of advice on how to embroider properly and recommendations for fabric, threads and other exquisite things that I did not expect. I chose and sewed, the proof is in the shirt I wear. Thank you Sewn Signs for existing!
When I least expected it, I found in the Semne Cusute Association the motives and friends with whom I can share the same passions for threads, textiles, handcrafting, etc. It is a beautiful community where I learn, test techniques, materials, projects, and new ideas. Sustainability, natural materials and protecting nature are important to me and I discovered the same passion for nature among the members of the Association.
Sewn Sign is a portal to my magical world. A world where I learnt the basics of our traditional embroidery. An immense universe of tutorials, information, fantastic artists that share knowledge and inspiration.
SEMNE CUSUTE Association is for me a second family, being attracted by the values, goals and projects that the Association runs. I have been with the Association since its beginnings, and every moment or project I participated in brought me a lot of joy, opportunities for personal development and truly remarkable people.
Semne Cusute Association is for me that nest, under the guidance of which you can grow. Although I am at the beginning, the existing information and the kindness of all the ladies to help and pass on the information and sewing techniques, give me hope. I was part of the generation of children who did not put a needle in their hand until they were 20 years old, but with the help of the videos created by the Association, I learned to sew my first shirts, which, although imperfect, for me represent a great achievement. I thank all the ladies on this path and especially Ioana Corduneanu.
Beyond being an association, SEWED SIGNS is a PHENOMENON! Semne Cusute didn't just "talk" to me about the traditional Romanian shirt. Here I met (virtually) PEOPLE and not persons. Semne Cusute revolutionised my passions to such an extent that I managed to pass on, to others, the curiosity to find out the truth about our traditional shirt, about our roots, thus creating a legacy in Turin. When I talk about Sewn Signs, the words turn into feelings, warmth, friendship, beauty and art.
Semne Cusute initially gave me an identity when I had lost mine or was trying to build one away from Romania. Semne Cusute, in addition to identity, means people, it means the group of ladies like me with whom, if we put our minds to it, I could rule the world and it means the calm, the peace and the joy of seeing completed something done by your hand. I'm already sewing my 9th shirt and I have a waiting list. Semne Cusute means continuous improvement, the top of needlework in Romania, the best quality of materials and the best-argued advice (in the group). In 2023 there is no excuse not to sew the most correct shirts.
Semne Cusute changed my life completely: I learned to take things slowly, with care and patience, it helped me to see the beauty in the texture and color of a silk or wool thread, to enjoy the smell of hemp cloth, to find my best friends even if they are across seas and countries. I received and grew with Semne Cusute and slowly learned to pass on. I learned that nothing is impossible if you want it enough and that you have to aim high. I wanted to sew a shirt, but after the first one you can't stop, it's contagious.
In my desire to sew a shirt, I discovered Asociatia Semne Cusute and it opened a door to another world. Here I found people who shared their passion, but also their knowledge, with all those willing, and above all, willing, to join them on this journey. Thanks to them, on a spur of the moment, I ended up having a passion, a new way to relax, and new friends!
Semne Cusute Association is a complex space, a community that is not limited to learning to sew a traditional Romanian shirt. For me, it is the place where I learned that from one shirt to another, from one exhibition to another, there must be a continuous evolution, to do things better, a principle that must also be applied in personal life. I started with small steps in 2017 with a very simple shirt that I sewed for almost 2 years, and with the experience now I ended up finishing a shirt in 3 months. Here I learned for the first time about intensive agriculture and its harmful consequences on the environment and I discovered that I can make my own clothes from natural materials, which fit me perfectly. It's amazing what I feel when I wear a shirt sewn by me! Must try!
I found Sewn Signs while searching online for information sources on how to sew my own blouse. Sewn Signs community is for me a comprehensive source of information, a quick way to get quality coaching, and an opportunity for inspiration and constant improvement. On top of all, I became part of a community united in its diversity by shared values: preserving tradition, sustainable fashion and women’s empowerment.
Six years ago I decided I wanted to make my own traditional shirt and that's when I joined the Sewn Signs universe. I discovered the blog, joined the group and got all the necessary help for my project. I was amazed by the group's power - people who I only met there helped me with all my questions and struggles. I was drawn in by the community spirit and joined in by sharing information and answering questions in the community. Sewn Signs is the engine of the project, by creating future opportunities through research projects, exhibitions and courses. I will never forget the first exhibition that I visited - IA Aievea in Sibiu, shirts that were sewn in 2018 and are still impressive by today's standards. A few years later I joined the project Sewing for a cause ["Cos pentru o cauză"] with a shirt and it was an amazing experience that keeps on giving with every new exhibition. In the meantime I've finished 5 shirts, 2 are in progress and I have even more plans and dreams. I'm sure that as part of Sewn Signs we will be able to accomplish the unimaginable.
I ended up in Semne Cusute totally by chance and I was welcomed with open arms literally. In Semne Cusute I learned a history that you don't hear about in school, you don't really have to; a history that you only have access to if you are interested. Why a flower, why a rhombus, why this spiral, why silk and hemp, why it gathers around the neck like this and not otherwise, why metallic thread, why in Olt you have those sleeves for big days and the dizzying chromatic in Bucovina? Everything is in an amazing symbiosis!! Semne Cusute is often a visiting card for me outside the borders of the country and my soul grows when I see the fascination in the eyes of those who tell them about rhombus, bird, spike, longing, ardor... Semne Cusute
From the moment I discovered Semne Cusute I knew that I would be sewing many years from now, that I would have an inexhaustible source of designs, fabrics, colours, sewing techniques to create shirts that I would love to wear today and in the future . Here I learned that it is not only about sewing, it is about dedication, perseverance, about the courage to give free rein to your creativity, about the excitement of starting a new shirt and seeing it take shape in your hands because in everything what you do with passion is building a part of you!
For me Semne Cusute is not just an association, it is a community. Being part of this world has helped me learn so much, grow and find purpose. Today, when I look back and see how far we've evolved together in such a short time, it seems incredible to me. We are tens of thousands of passionate people, the exhibitions now are at top level, we sew (and exhibit) in all corners of the world, we have luxury materials available and we can sew complex shirts using techniques that at first seemed lost. Moreover, we have now begun to innovate and tell our own messages through our sewing.
For me, doing needlework together, having projects together always motivates me to do good, to grow and to give. The Association's projects are always intelligent, deep, meaningful; they have given me lasting friendships and opportunities to grow. The most recent project I got involved in, #cospentruocauza (Sewing for a cause), helped me even beyond that, to gain a deep repositioning towards consumerism > limiting the resources used > ecosystem protection > sustainability.