What is a Qaspeq?


What Is a Kuspuk? Well- Actually it’s a Qaspeq!!

A kuspuk is the traditional Yupik over-shirt type garment worn by both men and women. Men tend to wear them primarily for ceremonial occasions or for hunting, but for women they are everyday wear. Loose-fitting, they are extremely comfortable.
Basically, a kuspuk is a long-sleeved hooded slip-over shirt with a large pocket in the front, like a hooded sweatshirt without a banded bottom. The cuffs, pocket and hood are trimmed with rick-rack or a similar decorative trim. The size of the pocket and the way the trim is applied vary widely among kuspuk makers. Men’s kuspuks are usually made with solid colors, such as blue, green, black or white, or with some print, and have a straight bottom that ends at the hips. Women’s kuspuks are usually made from a patterned fabric, often a small floral print, and may have a short gathered skirt at the bottom. They may also be longer, essentially a dress, mid-thigh or knee length.
Kuspuks are the appropriate garment to wear for any occasion, from cutting fish to picking berries to Eskimo dancing to formal occasions such as weddings.
Summer kuspuks are often made from light-weight cotton, and can be worn as a shirt or layered with a shirt. They are great to wear for berry picking, cutting fish, or other outdoor activities, as they help protect from the mosquitoes and gnats. Many women also wear them as work attire, especially those that designate a “qaspeq day” at work.
Kuspuks for formal occasions can be made in either the short or long style. I was delighted to have made the short style kuspuks for the bridesmaids and junior bridesmaids of a wedding party, and the long style for the flower girl. The sheer kuskpuks are often preferred by many business women for everyday work, business meetings, conferences, or banquets.
The fall or winter kuspuks that I make are made of heavier fabric and lined with flannel or satin type of material. They have a full length zipper and have simple or elaborate trim.
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