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I am declaring today as Vatnik Vednesday.

A vatnik, or quilted jacket. Photo: blog.langsom.com

My great-grandmother Anna Klebansky’s maiden name was Anna Israelovna Vatnik (1858-1954). The name Vatnik is based on the Russian root word “vata” which means batting – the stuff that gets put into quilted bedding or clothing. The name Vatnik means a quilted jacket, and by extension, “maker of quilted jackets.” In Northern Europe, including the town of Slonim where Anna was born, it gets bitterly cold in winter. Thus, the need for tailors who make quilted things to wear. Anna’s parents owned a dry goods shop in Slonim, so I’m guessing that the original makers of quilted clothing were several generations further back in history.

This photo illustrates a telogreika, a quilted jacket that was issued to soldiers serving in the Soviet army. The method of construction (at the top) shows the batting between two layers of fabric, with lines of quilting stitches making channels of batting, preventing the innards from bunching up when the item is worn or washed.

 

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