Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ropa revival ...

Every April as Fiesta San Antonio nears, it's time to survey my collection of hand-embroidered Mexican dresses and select several for the annual festivities. Parades and parties call for a hefty dose of South of the Border embellishment on every bit of attire.

Images above and below are just a few of the festive fashions available at Aida

For three decades, I made the annual pilgrimage with friends to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Visiting every mercado and tiny tienda was a shopper's delight. We brought back appliqued skirts and jackets, hand embroidered dresses and woven huipiles from Oaxaca for our fiesta finery.


But the unrelenting violence in Mexico over the last few years has halted our little shopping forays. Thankfully, I have a closet full of colorful treasures (shown above) to call into service. My favorite skirt (above) is an inspiration piece that is the starting point for many looks just by varying the blouses, shawls and jewelry.  Both images above via Alamodeus.

These wearable works of art are embellished with intricate embroidery designs created by dedicated artisans. Just think of the hours upon hours spent creating such lovely ropa de seƱora.

Pattern via Red Pajama Mama.

I'm fond of sewing, but I don't have the patience for embroidery. So, I scoured the internet for a pattern that I could use to make my own Mexican-style peasant blouses. Lo and behold, I found the one above.

The internet also has a trove of links for buying Otami style embroidered fabric. Vivid colors and fascinating designs were crafted by the Mexican Otami Indians based on ancient cliff drawings. Now, the fabrics are used for everything from clothing to upholstery. It would make unique fiesta wear!

In San Antonio, fiesta-goers are often asked to "show me your shoes." Its a phrase that emanates from our Fiesta royalty (parade queens, princesses and duchesses) wearing sloppy slippers and homely shoes under their bedazzled gowns for the sake of comfort. Everyone wants to know what keeps us in step.

Image via Rhonda Buss.

With so much time spent 'on your feet' during the 10 days of celebratory events, our little tootsies take a beating. But, some great looking boots like these might just be worth the pain!


Krystina said...

Ooh, I would love a tunic of Otami style embroidered fabric! Thanks for putting this on my radar!!

Emma Alison said...

I must say this is really an awesome collection in clothing embroidery.For some more beautiful embroidery visit

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