Traditional Mexican clothing, unlike the complex Mexican celebration costumes, is reasonably simple to replicate. Although the specific clothing styles in Mexico may differ from region to region, the basic pieces remain similar. Men's clothing is fairly Westernized, although the addition of the native "serape," or blanket cape, is common. Women's clothing typically consists of a tunic, or "huipil," a cape, or "quechquemitl," and a shawl, or "rebozo." You can put together your own versions of these traditional garments using a few basic sewing skills.
Measure the distance between your shoulders and your ankles, then double the measurement. Cut a piece of 114-cm (45-inch) wide material to this length.
Fold the material in half along the length. Mark the centre at the folded edge.
Cut a neck opening into the folded edge, using the centre mark as a guide. Make the neck opening as wide as desired.
Place the neck opening over your head, and have a friend help you mark the sleeve openings. Remove the huipil, and turn it inside out.
Pin the side edges of the huipil together, starting at the sleeve markings and ending at the hem. Sew these sides together, 13 mm (1/2 inch) away from the edges.
Fold 13 mm (1/2 inch) of the hem, sleeve edges and neckline to the inside of the huipil, and pin them in place. Sew these folds down to hide the raw edges of the fabric. Turn the huipil right side out.
Cut two rectangles of fabric that are 40 cm (16 inches) wide and long enough to cover half your body, from your chest to your back. Call these pieces Rectangles A and B.
Take one short edge of Rectangle A and pin it to the bottom of one long edge of Rectangle B, matching the corners.
Sew the rectangles together at this edge, using a 13-mm (1/2-inch) seam allowance.
Take the opposite short edge of Rectangle B and pin it to the bottom of one long edge of Rectangle A. This should create a poncho shape. Sew the rectangles together at this edge.
Turn under or bind the raw edges at the neckline and bottom of the quechquemitl. You can also add fringe here.
Rebozo and serape
Cut a 75-cm (30-inch-wide) piece of fabric to a length of 2 metres.
Wrap the fabric around your shoulders and upper body to test the length. If the rebozo makes for too long of a shawl, trim some of the length.
Bind all of the raw edges, or fold them under and stitch the folds in place. You can also use a woven rectangular shawl of similar size for this purpose.
Wear the traditional women's clothing with the huipil underneath, the quechquemitl sandwiched in the middle and the rebozo on top.
Make a serape for men's traditional Mexican clothing using the same method as the rebozo. You can also use an existing wool blanket or wool poncho. Drape the serape over a modern shirt and trousers.
Although Mexican clothing is typically woven and pieced together by hand, you can use modern mechanical sewing and any cloth type you like to make your clothes.
Things you need
- Measuring tape
- 114-cm (45-inch) wide fabric
- Fabric pencil
- Sewing machine