Sunday, December 19, 2010


Lace Hupils

Lace Huipil of IzabalIn these hot, tropical Caribbean lowlands of Guatemala, the Mayan women wear these lacy blouses (huipil) over spaghetti strapped camisoles rather than the heavy woven fabrics seen in the cool higher alttitude villages. Their shape is a simple rectangle folded in half and a neck opening cut out. Then a small area is sewn up the sides leaving a hole for the arms. This leaves a lot of fabric draped (flopping about) at the sides and underarms. Most of the ones I see are machine made airy fabric with intricate bottom borders, sometimes with floral fringes. Some are hand crocheted such as the three pastel colored huipils at the far left of this photo taken of a local street vendor.

The embroidery around the neck opening is machine made in these, but sometimes you can see hand-embroidered samples walking by. Hmmm. I wonder if anyone would be interested in knitted lace?

Guatemalan textiles for skirtsMayan Woman textilesThe Mayan women wear long woven skirts. You can see the fabrics for the skirts leaning against the huipils in the top photo and also here's another pic. In this area, the skirts are quite full and gathered rather than the straight line wraps of other areas of Guatemala. Mayan Women textilesIt seems that shiny threads of gold running through the skirt fabric are very popular in this area. The black and white semi-patterned areas are ikat or tie-dyed. The threads are dyed before weaving, and the patterns appear as the cloth is woven.

Guatemalan Textiles Vegetable Woman This lovely woman was embroidering a blouse while tending her vegetable stand here in the Rio Dulce. Her huipil is not typical of this area with the heavy tapestry style fabric so she is probably originally from another village (Chichicastenago?).

Guatemalan textile embroidery
These are not "dress-up" or ceremonial clothes, but rather are the everyday wear for these women. I don't know how long this traditional form of dress will be around, but I so enjoy looking at the beautiful and colorful fabrics! So much so that I've been inspired to dig out my embroidery floss and perhaps give it a go as a border on a simple tank top. For me...not for Jonesy. He looks just fine in his traditional cruiser outfit of tee-shirt, shorts, ball cap and sandals or crocs.

They are really pretty vibrant clothes...I love the hand embroidery!
Those clothes are lovely!
I just love those clothes!!!! They are gorgeous!
How beautiful and practical too. I love how they mix the patterned top with the plaid skirt....something we dont see here in the states....and it works perfect for them. Thanx again for a wonderful lesson in culture. I learn so much from your blog.. Darrell
Wonder if I could get away with wearing a top like that here in Louisiana. We certainly get hot enough to enjoy that style!
Meg Swansen knits up something like that....
I, for one, would love to knit lace!
Is there a way I can purchase some of their clothing?
terry you get to see such amazing things :) I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas :) I miss talking to you ..
Without the trip to Guatemala there is a shop in Albequerque, NM that sells some of this clothing. I'm sure there are others, but thia ia the only one I've seen:
They look so beautiful! And sooooo comfy too!
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