The Traditional Czech Gowns Capable of Withstanding Texas Heat

From Texas Monthly magazine:

“Maggie Grmela has been stitching kroj, traditional Czech dresses, for over thirty-five years in her hometown of West, Texas. The dressmaker’s personal adaptation of kroj, which she makes at her shop Maggie’s Fabric Patch, evolved from a need to make costumes that allowed for comfortable dancing in the Lone Star State’s sweltering climate.

“Grmela, whose great-grandparents moved to the U.S. from the Moravia region of the Czech Republic forty-five years ago, helped launch WestFest, the town’s yearly Czech celebration. Every Labor Day Weekend, locals and parade-marchers donning kroj (pronounced “croy”) mingle amidst kolaches, polka, and good pivo (that’s Czech for beer).

“Despite long hours this week tending to last-minute kroj alterations at her shop, Grmela took a few minutes before WestFest to chat with Texas Monthly about the festival, the finer points of kroj-making, and what each part of the costume symbolizes (Grmela made three of the kroj pictured below).”

Read the complete article, including several gorgeous photos.