Temel Devren

A branch, a flower, a leaf, falling from the dreams into the truth, settles on velvet. It becomes a top side, a down side, patience, a labour. It reaches from hand to hand, from chest to chest, from the mother to the daughter and to the eternity.

Chests are museums where the love, patience, our customs, our traditions and our memories, which we wrapped in the naphthalene smells, are preserved and saved carefully. Saying “Open bundle, open”, we slightly open the dowry chest, to tell you about Temel Devren type of gowns...

As the old saying goes, the bride and henna are precursors of a new home. The Temel Devren is a piece of art, which reflects the taste of clothing of old times, handicraft, and processes velvet with gold yarns, and the brand name of a bridal gown of a point of time. These unique wedding dresses from the early generations are also called "heritage". The clothes generally embroidered with dark red, purple, burgundy velvet fabrics are known as bindalli in Anatolia. They are one piece and cut-free from the waist.

By the 20th century, white wedding dresses take over the place of bindallis. This has not been a sudden change of course. At first, white bindallis were preferred in many regions of Anatolia, and there were changes in the veils and headdresses. Eventually began the transfer of white wedding gowns used today. The handicrafts of the women from Bodrum, eye-catching Temel Devren gowns are today indispensable for henna nights.

Nezahat Özak, whom we visited at her home in Gumusluk, states that, the wedding dresses we call Temel Devren, which were troublesome, costly and insistently requested from the groom by the bride’s parents, used to be called “Temel Deviren”, which means over-turner of the foundation, such as bringing home financial difficulties but it began to be pronounced as "Temel Devren" over time.

As the old saying goes, “Girl in the crib and dowry in the chest”... (That means the girl starts to prepare her dowry as a child.) However, Temel Devren is prepared by the groom’s mother. The mothers, who have a son, roll up their sleeves and the velvet they embroider turns out to be an artefact in their hands, on a whim.

At the henna night, an elderly relative, who has a happy marriage, of the bride helps her wear the Temel Devren. The friends of the bride also wear Temel Devren and accompany the bride during the henna night.

In a traditional Bodrum wedding, we traced the footsteps of the Temel Devren. We have witnessed the happiness of the couple, Hasan and Fatma Kırık, and this unique tradition from the beginning of the wedding to the henna celebration with the accompaniment of a flourish of trumpets.

While Fatma, the bride, was swinging with her Temel Devren on at the night of the henna, her friends accompanied her with their Temel Devren and dances. The embroiderers called Mahfel(gathering-place), Valide (mother), Kosem (guide), Altin Yolu (golden way), Akşam Gunesi (evening sun), Kircicegi (wildflower), Kasimpati (chrysanthemum)… The elegance of the works and the richness of the patterns admired us.

In the tradition of Temel Devren, which reaches today from the Seljuk's, while the works were made with gold and silver during the rise of the Ottoman Empire era, imitated gold work is presently preferred due to economic reasons.

Embroidery frame, velvet, wooden handles, needles, scissors, imitated golden rope, beads, beeswax, rococo (wire), laces, cardboards, fasteners and plenty of patience. The imitated golden and silver ropefollows the needle and turns out to be a Temel Devren in skilled hands. If you get influenced by unique motifs and want to sew it yourself, these are the essential materials you may need.

The pattern to be made is drawn on the cardboard first and then cut and placed on the velvet, which is attached to a wooden embroidery frame. While attaching the velvet to the embroidery frame, another kind of cloth is used so as not to harm the velvet. Seven layers of imitated golden or silver rope are placed on the spool, passed through a blue bead or a button, against the "evil eye" and framed using beeswax. The trick is that the node must always be on top. When you look behind the fabric, you should not see the knots. This is one of the factors that determine the quality of work. The needle is stitched upwards or downwards on the bias. The women from Bodrum summarise how Temel Devren, which requires much labour, must be stored as below:

Because of the use of cardboard in the construction, it is neither washed nor dry-cleaned. Sewing a cover using canvas and putting bay leaves and kindles in it is recommended to store and save Temel Devren. Kindles save it against humidity. Ancient people used to put kindles in the rug while wrapping. Temel Devren should be frequently ventilated, not kept in a dark place and hung up. During the Seljuk period, gaseous tatter was used in order to make it.

During a day, the tatters used to be laid into the gas and hardened, this process was used instead of cardboard which we now use today. This scent used to protect the dress from insects and prevent it from being moth eaten. Therefore, if you visit the section, where the kaftans and the pillows of the sultans’ sons are exhibited, at the Ciragan Palace and at the Dolmabahce Palace, you will smell gas. If you want to have a Temel Devren, renting or buying will not be your only choice.

If you desire to transfer your labour, your handicraft, to the next generation, you can join the Temel Devren courses organised at the Public Education Centre of Bodrum. We were very impressed by the story of Aynur Aydogan, who graduated from the Institute of Maturation and has been training many people in the Temel Devren courses over the years, and we wanted to share, how she encountered this unique heritage, with you. At the end of the '90s, a letter was received from the Ministry of Culture about the studies to be done for the exploration and survival of traditions that has been forgotten. Aynur Aydogan, the instructor had just been appointed to Ortakent. The Mayor of Ortakent, Mehmet Kocadon takes the “Temel Devren” made with golden ropeand the “eseli” of her mother Fatma Hanım’s. Eseli is the veil of a Temel Devren. With the eseli and Temel Devren of Fatma Hanım the journey was started and since the 2000’s, this tradition has been reactivated within the Public Education Center.


It is the bride’s house here, the henna night of the colourful and patterned “Temel Devren” The mother is sad;

her precious one is leaving home


The love of Hurrem Sultan and Suleyman the Magnificent is proverbial. It is rumoured that Hurrem, a concubine in the palace, would not be able to attract the attention of Sultan Suleyman even if she exhibits all her tricks. Just about every day, she watches him and sings when he passes by, but that does not work. "My ugly handed and beautiful faced one" he says while passing by. One day, she consults an elderly woman living in the palace about what to do to attract the attention of the Sultan. The old woman advises her to "take a rope and tambour it to an embroidery frame". When Kanuni, the Sultan who is fond of arts, sees Hurrem with an embroidery frame in her hand, he says, "My ugly handed and beautiful faced one, would you be my favourite?"