folk flowers

September 23, 2013  in handmade goodness, vintage finds

Sania Pell - vintage Croatian embroidery

Having worked as a textile designer, one of my great loves is embroidery, either by hand or on the machine. It was when my mother was renovating her little house by the sea on the Dalmatian coast that we discovered these beautiful embroideries. We were looking for interesting decorative elements to add character to the holiday house and at the local antique bazaar in Zadar we found two of these hand-stitched embroideries and a bright rug amongst a pile of folded old fabrics.

vintage Croatian embroidery, by Sania Pell

They have so much Slavic character and charm in a simple, understated way. I am not sure what they were used for, (we use them as hangings between doors) but we bought one each. I rarely see them for sale in the markets or in piles of vintage fabrics and embroideries, so I count myself very lucky to have one. My mother’s hanging has embroidered writing on both sides and mine is plain at the top. The script translates as “Look, my darling, at these red roses, they’ll be yours when you come to fetch me.”

by Sania Pell

vintage Croatia, by Sania Pell

vintage Croatia, by Sania Pell

vintage Croatian embroidery, by Sania Pel

The colours are bright and bold, the traditional Croatian deep red and white combined with interesting combinations like peach and turquoise. The burgundy colour acts as a neutral to the other brighter colours.

by Sania Pell

vintage Croatian embroidery, by Sania Pell

The other side translates as “Long live the joyful Anica Speht” (a lady’s name). Perhaps it was made as a gift for a loved one or she is simply congratulating herself on her accomplishment at finishing the embroidery.

I photographed them alongside the simple furniture I had available, flowers from the garden and fruit bought from the village market to give a cacophony of pattern and colour.


Comment (RSS)  |  Trackback



  1. Mark says:

    Lovely items, I particularly like the combination with the green wooden chair, so simple, stylish and elegant.

  2. elisa says:

    ah, there are a few little pieces around my mother’s house like this, only they are finnish. charmingly handmade, sometimes folk and sometimes quite abstract. i love the writing with an eye to the personal and also to the future – such a different way of making an object than what we would do now! i love to see your cottage. x

  3. Jo S says:

    Gorgeous, Sania. They must have taken her so long to embroider by hand! Jo x

  4. merci pour l’info , great je vais approfondir mes recherches !!

  5. Tony Harris says:

    Hi Sania,

    Amazing idea, lovely pics! I love embroideries in modern spaces; I love the combination of modern and traditional in the same space in general! Thank you for this post, it reminded me of my grandma’s embroideries as well! 🙂

  6. Aggy says:

    They look absolutely stunning … My grandmother use to hand her embroidered picture on the walls…my parent still got some of her works they are priceless examples of traditional craft and they looking amazing in modern interiors!

Leave a Reply



Sania Pell freelance interior stylist London.

Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.

To enquire about commissioning Sania for commercial or editorial projects, please use the contact form.

Read biography



To enquire about commissioning Sania for commercial or editorial projects, please use the form below.

Please note we do not accept advertising, sponsored posts or guest writers on the blog.

Please click here to agree to be contacted by Sania Pell. Your data will not be shared with third parties. View the privacy policy via the link below.