March 1st is Dydd Dewi Sant, St. David’s Day. ( patron saint of Wales). Traditionally, we celebrate with early spring daffodils, dancing, choirs, traditional costume and harp music. This year Cwmpengraig has been blanketed in snow and the winds are sharp and fierce. This little hamlet has been effectively cut off by the snow, and we are keeping warm with delicious Welsh cawl ( made traditionally with root veg and leeks) and scrumptious Welsh cakes made on the griddle.
The above photograph shows ladies in traditional Welsh costume probably in the late 19 th century. At this period, Drefach Felindre, now home of the National Woollen Museum of Wales, and the surrounding villages and hamlets, including here in Cwmpengraig, were busy with the production of woollen cloth, flannel for clothing and heavier weaves for blankets and the famous double cloth produced for “carthen”, the Welsh quilts/ bedcovers. “
As seen in this historical photograph, the costume was layered with flannel petticoats and skirts, aprons, blouses, “betgwyn”( an overjacket with three quarter sleeves and tailed back), shawl, under bonnet and stove pipe hat. Leather boots or clogs may be worn with hose and under garments. Flannel was usually woven in stripes or small checks for ladies clothing and in plain or fine stripes for workmens shirts.
In the 1960s, there was a revival of the popularity of Welsh cloth, particularly of the distinctive double cloth, which, when woven in 1960s bright colours, seemed quite psychedelic. Mary Quant used Welsh cloth in some of her designs, and vintage clothes associated with the 1960s include mini skirts, capes, waistcoats and jackets, with matching accessories, handbags and coin purses. The museum at Drefach Felindre has a great gallery showing the way Welsh cloth has been used through history, including 1960s high fashion.