Piecing the Huipil

And the 99 Art Project continues!

 

Pictured above is a lovely amuzgo huipil dress my son gave me several years ago.  It fits well so I used its measurements to make a cardboard template for my own huipiles.  Also indicated on the template is where to cut off for a blouse as opposed to a dress length huipil.

 

As I posted HERE, my huipiles begin with other people’s old clothes.  First I cut the clothes up into big pieces then sew them together to get the same proportions as that of my template.

 

To make sure I’m maintaining the right measurements, I use clothes pins to attach the pieced cloth to the template. As you can see from the first foto, I needed to add a long strip of fabric on the right. The other foto shows front and back now completely pieced together.

V Neck

I prefer a V-neck so I cut out the necessary fabric before continuing.

 

Once the front and back are properly pieced together, using my original sketches as a guide, I draw the images onto the fabric with a fabric pen. I’m not afraid of making mistakes but maybe it would be better to use color chalk instead as making corrections is easier that way.

 

Spaces are left below the images for titles. Finally, the stitching can begin!

The huipiles I make are thus called because they share the same basic pattern as those made in Central America. My huipiles also share the philosophy that clothes and wearer live, at least temporarily, in symbiosis. However, true huipiles are made by indigenous women who are continuing a tradition handed down to them by their ancestors. They have my total respect and admiration. And if it were possible, I would buy them by the tons. Unable to do so, I collect fotos of them that I add to my Pinterest collection.  Unfortunately, many well-known designers have inappropriately appropriated indigenous designs as I’ve written about here: Inspiration or Appropriation?

 

Mal Oo

Cynthia Korzekwa ©

4 thoughts on “Piecing the Huipil

  1. Cynthia cara, I wish you lived near me or vice versa! I would follow your example and get your advice on recycling /rebuilding my clothes in a fun and interesting way. I made a big mistake recently, taking a length of beautiful Indian silk printed fabric (that a friend gave me many years ago) to a dressmaker, asking her to make a waistcoat and trousers for me. The result was a disaster and I had to pay far too much for it. I should have trusted myself and done something original, as you are doing.

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    1. Ahh Natalie, what a pity about your fabric….isn’t there anything you can do to minimize the disaster? On Paros I wear mainly dresses and dresses that I’ve made using the huipil dress style. Most of the fabric comes from old clothes my friends give me. Yes, it would be lovely to live near one another! You have so many delightful stories to tell!

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