Tag Archives: buy

Inside Out: Primer to Buying Mexico Handmade Clothing — Quality Tips

On Friday, I took a 40-minute trip with my friend Laurita to Magdalena Teitepac in the foothills on the other side of the Carretera Nacional Mexico 190 (aka Panamerican Highway) for the purposes of textile shopping, always my favorite past-time.

Magdalena Teitipac church next to the municipal building

The Zapotec village is beyond San Juan Guelavia, the basket-making village. A group of entrepreneurial Magdalena women who do needlework staged this First Annual Embroidery and Weaving Fair, promoted with a banner hanging from the highway overpass. Laurita spotted it coming home one day.

Can you tell if this beautiful embroidery is hand- or machine-stitched?

Spaces Open: Chiapas Textile Study Tour 

  • Study Tour 1 — February 13-22, 2018
  • Study Tour 2 — February 27-March 8, 2018

The visit got me thinking about quality variations in clothing that is sewn, embroidered, woven and crocheted here in Oaxaca and throughout Mexico.

Some of the women showing us their needlework blouses.

We are coming into Oaxaca’s peak tourist season when travelers come from all over the world, and many snowbirds plant their wings here from December through March.

Great cut-work and embroidery with unfinished seams

It is particularly challenging for first-time visitors who are blown away by the quantity of blouses, huipils, rebozos and other garments sold by street vendors, in small markets, and in tourist shops throughout the city.

Beaded blouses finished with French seams on 100% cotton, the best

How do you know what to buy and how much to pay for it?

Tip #1: Shop around. Look before buying. Look at lot. Go in and out of stores. Stop and look at the clothing the vendors have for sale. Ask prices. See what you like. Take your time.

Tip #2: Turn the garment inside out. Look at the seam edges of the cloth. Are they finished with a machined zigzag stitch or serger for reinforcement? Has the cloth edge been trimmed with a pinking shears? It is rough and will it unravel after a few washings? How strong are the stitches?

Softest, finest manta cloth, great embroidery, dense pleating

Tip #3: Check out the fabric. Is it populina?  This is what locals call the commercial cloth mix of cotton/polyester blend. Locals like this cloth because it dries much faster than pure cotton. It is also less expensive. Is it manta? This is 100% cotton cloth, more expensive, and preferred by many of us for softness, wearability and comfort.

Populina has a sheen. You can feel the polyester.

Tip #4: Check out the cloth again. If it’s manta, is it a fine, lighter weight weave or it is coarse and scratchy? Is it yellow color or white? What are your preferences?

#whomademyclothes .... is a Fashion Revolution movement dedicated to sourcing textiles direct from makers, awareness for buying disposable clothing made from cheap materials, assembled by underpaid workers.

Tip #5: If the clothing is embroidered, how fine is the embroidery? Is it by hand or machined? Are the stitches dense or loose? What about the crochet edge? Is it tied off or are there loose threads? Is it shiny, synthetic thread, dense/coarse polyester thread or good quality cotton?

Amazing pleated work from the Mixteca, with coarse embroidery yarn

Tip #6: Shop first in some of the better clothing galleries like Los Baules de Juana Cata or Arte de Amusgos to compare what you see on the street. See what the best looks like. Turn these inside out. Look at the finish work. Are the edges straight? What about the stitches that join two lengths of hand-woven cloth together? How is the neckline finished? What about the hem?

Want to buy direct from artisans? Take a study tour!

Tip #7: Price is usually based on quality, but not always. I recently bought a beautiful deshillado and embroidered blusa in San Antonino Castillo Velasco. I paid 2,500 pesos, quite a lot!  The embroidery is exquisite and the crochet edges are fine. The seams are not finished well and I may need to take it under the needle of my sewing machine to reinforce it. But, I knew that when I bought it.

Locals gather for the Magdalena Teitipac Feria

What are you willing to pay? What is it worth to you? Is there a whimsical design you like and you are willing to sacrifice some of the quality issues?

Tip #8: Don’t hesitate to walk away because you notice stains on the cloth, raveling threads or holes in the seams. Work is done quickly and quality can suffer.

I’ve seen excellent work done on very poor cloth.  I’ve seen embroidered, beaded and woven pieces made by one women that are attached to cloth that doesn’t match. Needlework and sewing can often be made by two different people. The sewing can be haphazard. The corners don’t match up and the joining work isn’t good. It is up to us to educate ourselves and to also say in a gracious, caring way, that we would like a better quality product.

We can support artisans and cooperatives who take the time to work on quality improvement.

Banner advertising the event

Tip #9: When is a bargain not a bargain? When the color bleeds. When the seams unravel. When the embroidery stitching loosens. When you get it home and ask, Why did I buy that?

Tip #10: Please know that because you are in Mexico, YOU ARE NOT EXPECTED TO BARGAIN. It is not a culture of bargaining, much to the surprise of many. The average daily wage is 150 pesos, or about $8 USD. We have a big advantage. The exchange rate is about 18-19 pesos to the U.S. dollar. It takes weeks, sometimes months, to create a handmade textile. Let’s pay people a fair wage for their labor and creativity. They will offer a discount because they need to feed their families, not because it is part of the “game.”

On the street, Magdalena Teitipac

Did I buy anything in Magdalena Teitipac? Yes, a lovely, beribboned apron for 100 pesos and some amazing artisan chocolate from Tlacolula, 20 pesos a bag.

Why didn’t I buy a blusa? Because indigenous women here in Oaxaca like their blouses tight across the chest and snug under the arms. Sizes are deceiving and it’s best to try something on first, otherwise you can get it home and find out it doesn’t fit. Nothing fit me!

Basket weavers outside the Magdalena Teitipac market

Cooperatives working with NGOs on product improvement are receiving education about quality control, making finished seams,and patterns to fit women from the U.S.A. and Canada.

If you have any tips you’d like to share, please add them.

Of course, the final caveat is always — if you love it, buy it. You’ll never see the same thing again!



Let’s Go Shopping: Eleven Mexican Shawls, Scarves, Rebozos for Sale

Rebozos are part of Mexican female identity and culture. Frida wore them. So did the women of the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920. Aristocrats from Spain loved their shoulder coverings as they strolled the Alameda. Indigenous women still rely on them to swaddle and carry infants. Women in El Norte (USA and Canada) find them comforting on a chilly fall evening or to adorn a favorite outfit.

These rebozos I am offering for sale today are part of my collection. They are new and never worn. Most are from Tenancingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico, where the men weave ikat cotton and women hand-knot elaborate fringes. I have one piece from Zinacantan, Chiapas, two from Santa Maria del Rio, San Luis Potosi, and one from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca.

How to Buy: Send me an email and identify which one you want by NUMBER, plus your mailing address. I will then send you a PayPal invoice that will include mailing costs.  I will mail on the next business day.

Style 1: Zinacantan Chal, machine embroidered on back strap loomed cloth, 45″ x 20-1/2″, with handmade tassels.  Zinacantan is a village outside of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Floral motifs are predominant here. $120 USD plus shipping.

P.S. I have two spaces open for the February textile study tour to Chiapas. Email me if you are interested and I’ll send you the program description.

Style 1: Zinacantan Chal, $120

Style 1. Zinacantan Chal detail.

Style 2: SOLD. Large Navy Blue Ikat Rebozo, $175, hand-woven in Tenancingo on a flying shuttle loom with hand-knotted fringe. This large shawl measures 92″ long (including an 11″ hand-knotted fringe) and 29″ wide.

Style 2: Navy Blue Rebozo, $175

Style 2: Navy Blue Ikat Rebozo, detail

Style 3: SOLD. Multi-Rebozo with Blue, Red and Yellow, $175. This is what is known as Grande, 92″ long (including 11″ fringe) and 29″ wide. It is a very fine ikat cotton. Hand-woven in Tenancingo with a hand-knotted fringe.

Style 3, Red, Blue, Yellow Rebozo, extra large, $175

Style 3: Blue, Red, Yellow Rebozo

Style 4: SOLD. This striking contrast of rose and black together with a hand-knotted fringe that says Remember Me gives this very fine quality rebozo a subtle, yet powerfully contrasting design. $125. Size Medium. 88″ long (including a 12″ fringe) and 27″ wide.

Style 4: Rose and Black rebozo, Medium Size, $125 — Recuerdame

Style 4: Recuerdame detail

Style 5: SOLD. Chakira Chalina, $150. Rare, pale blue/gray shawl in plain weave, with intricate fringe that is knotted with beadwork.  Each bead in the fringe is part of the hand-knotting process.  A dying art form! Size medium, measures 82″ long (incuding 11″ fringe) and 29″ wide. Made in Tenancingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico.

Style 5: Chakira Chalina, $150

Style 5: Chakira Chalina, fringe detail

Style 6: Black and Red Ikat Scarf. $95. This is loomed in Santa Maria del Rio, San Luis Potosi, and woven of rayon, which the locals call seda or silk, because it has a smooth, shiny, silky finish. The scarf measures 90″ long (including an 8″ fringe) and 13-3/4″ wide.

Style 6, Red/Black Ikat Scarf, $95

Style 6: Red/Black Ikat Scarf, detail

Style 7: SOLD. Small Black/Brown Ikat Scarf, $35. Measures 50″ long (including 5″ fringe) by 18-3/4″ wide. A nice addition to keep your neck warm as the weather chills.

Style 7: Black/Brown Ikat Scarf, $35

Style 7: Black/Brown Ikat Scarf, detail

Style 8: SOLD. Indigo-dyed Scarf, $115, by Juan Carlos from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. Juan Carlos is my neighbor and his work is exceptionally fine. This is a deep, rich blue, all natural with hand-spun wool. 72″ long (including 4″ fringe) by 14″ wide. The fringe is hand-knotted by his wife.

Style 8: Indigo dyed wool scarf, $115

Style 8: Indigo Scarf, detail

Style 9: SOLD. Super Grande Rebozo, $150. This is made in Santa Maria del Rio, San Luis Potosi, handwoven rayon that the locals call seda (or silk) because of its smooth, silky hand. Color is predominantly dark blue and lime green. Measures 114″ long (with huge 20″ hand-knotted fringe) by 30″ wide. A stunner.

Style 9: Super Grande Shawl, $150

Style 9: Fringe detail

Style 10: SOLD. This Rose Chalina shawl, $125,  is made from the highest quality cotton and has a very fine hand. The fabric is soft and glows. The intricate fringe is all hand-knotted. It’s called a Chalina because it is a plain weave with no pattern. It measures 90″ long (including a 12″ fringe) by 28″ wide. Made in Tenancingo.

Style 10: Rose Chalina, Super Fine and Large, $125

Style 10: Rose Chalina detail

Style 11: SOLD. Black with Coral Accents Ikat Rebozo, $110, size medium, measures 78″ long (including 9″ fringe) by 28″ wide. A graphic masterpiece. Made in Tenanciingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico on a flying shuttle loom.

Style 11: Black Ikat with Coral Accents, $110

Style 11: Black Ikat Shawl detail

Location Change: Where To Buy Bus Tickets, Mexico City

October 2016, MEXICO CITY — The place to buy bus tickets has changed. It is no longer next to the McDonald’s across the zocalo.  It is here, a few store fronts down the row:

A little ticket stand, way in the back, Centro Joyero de Mexico

A little bus ticket stand, way in the back, Centro Joyero de Mexico

This is a little ticket stand selling ADO bus tickets on the same stretch of shops lining the street opposite the zocalo, but it’s hard to find. The stand is in the Way Back. Only open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  One person and a computer. Cash only.

Another Option to Buy Bus Tickets in El Centro, CDMX

Travel agency at Hotel Rioja, Av. 5 de Mayo 45, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico, Tel:  +52 55 5521 8333.  The travel agent is there from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can book on any Mexican bus line. Cash  or Mexican credit card.  

Entrance to Hotel Rioja. Travel agent is just inside.

Entrance to Hotel Rioja. Travel agent is just inside.

We used this option to buy our tickets on ADO to Cuetzalan del Progreso the day before we were set to leave. We had to pay first, then return to get the tickets. It seems they were printed/issued in another site.

Hope this helps with your travel plans!


3-Day Pop Up Huipil Sale: Mexican Folk Art Dresses

These textiles — dresses and blouses — huipiles and blusas — are from my personal collection. I’ve decided it’s time to send them on to others who will also appreciate their handwoven and embroidered beauty.

If you buy by Wednesday, March 30, I will bring your purchase with me to the USA and mail to you. Send me an email and tell me which piece(s) you want.

7 pieces left! Scroll down to see. Take 20% off remaining pieces! Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday sale. Say SALE when you email.

  1. San Antonino floral dress, embroidered and crocheted, finest quality. Size L-XL. New. Never worn! See the little dolls that form the bodice gathers? Cotton. Hand wash. $295. USD includes shipping to anywhere USA.


2. Traditional Chinantla Huipil from San Felipe Usila. Size L-XL. Handwoven on back strap loom. New, never worn! Bought on a visit to Usila, 12 hours from Oaxaca. 100% cotton. $375 USD includes shipping to anywhere USA.

3. San Miguel Soyaltepec huipil, size L-XL. Chinantla region of Oaxaca. New, never worn! Hand stitched on finest quality muslim cotton. Bought on a visit to the island village on the Miguel Aleman dam. $295 USD includes shipping to anywhere USA.


4. San Bartolo Yautepec huipil from the Sierra Sur of Oaxaca, hand-woven on back strap loom with 100% fine cotton (cream color), with blue figures and butterscotch yellow accents woven into the cloth (called supplemental weft). Size L-XL. $295 USD include shipping to anywhere USA.

5. SOLD. San Antonino Castillo Velasco blouse. Size L-XL. $85USD includes shipping to anywhere USA. 

6. From the Yucatan, machine stitched cotton dress with cutwork, perfect for a garden party summer, size L-XL. New, never worn! $125 USD includes shipping to anywhere USA.

7. SOLD. Lightweight, easy-to-wear cotton dress from Yalag, all hand embroidered. Size L-XL. $125 USD includes shipping to anywhere USA.


8. From San Juan Bautista Valle Nacional, near Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. Needlepoint embroidery called punto de cruz (cross stitch) on back-strap loomed cotton, breathable and easy-to-wear. $195 USD includes shipping to anywhere USA.

9. Huipil blouse from Amantenango, Chiapas. I loved the graphic beauty of this piece. All hand-embroidered. Size L-XL. Could be repurposed to make a pillow cover. New, never worn! $140 USD includes shipping to anywhere USA.

10. SOLD. From Puebla, Mexico. Hand-embroidered blouse with great detail. Size L-XL. $125 USD includes shipping to anywhere USA.


11. SOLD. Iconic Oaxaca huipil from the Mixteca region, with intricate and finest embroidery on cotton woven on the back-strap loom. Size L-XL. $295 USD includes shipping to anywhere USA.


12. SOLD. Black Rebozo from Tenancingo de Degollado. $125 USD includes shipping to anywhere USA. A beautiful, largest size shawl with hand-knotted fringe.

Tenancingo Rebozos: Pop-Up Sale Online

It’s easy to get carried away and fall in love with ikat cotton rebozos in Tenancingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico. Of course, I bought a few too many during our recent Mexico Textiles and Folk Art Tour Study Tour: Tenancingo Rebozos and More! 

Ikat: a design technique where the warp threads are first dyed before they are tied onto the loom and create the pattern in the cloth. Very time intensive!

I also love to sew and so … I have three rebozos I have repurposed, designed and sewn into pullover ponchos. These are all cotton, have French seams and open sides — one size fits all. Just slip it over a tank top or bathing suit for a summer cover-up, or wear over a light-weight Tee and jeans to add pizzaz. Makes a nice evening wrap, too.

This post offers 3 pullover ponchos and 7 rebozos, scarves or shawls. Keep scrolling to see all.  Send me an email if you want something!

Pop-Up Sale: Buy Before March 29, 2016.

After that, the sale goes away! I’m leaving Oaxaca on March 30 for a several week visit with friends and to take care of business in North Carolina. I’ll take what you buy with me and ship to you (USA only) as soon as I get there. Send me an email and I’ll let you know how to pay. Many thanks.

  • Pullover Poncho #1–Tomato Red and Black. Ikat cloth hand-woven on the counterbalance pedal loom. 28″ long from the shoulder seam, 26″ wide and a 5″ collar that drapes beautifully. French seams. Open sides (sew them closed if you like.) One size fits all. $95 + shipping.
  • Pullover Poncho #2 —  Spring and Olive Green. Ikat hand-woven cloth made on the counterbalance pedal loom. 27″ long and 29″ wide with a 7″ cowl collar. French seams. Open sides. One size fits all. $95 + shipping. See below.


  • SOLD! Pullover Poncho #3–Periwinkle Blue. Ikat cloth hand-woven on the counterbalance pedal loom. 32″ long from the shoulder seam, 28″ wide with a hand-stitched scoop neckline. French seams. Open sides (sew them closed if you like and voila, a dress!) One size fits all. $95 + shipping.

  • Rebozo #1: Blue and Brown by Fito Garcia, one of Tenancingo’s masters. 74″ long. 29″ wide. Plus a 13″ punta (hand-knotted fringe). Below. $185. + shipping.

  • SOLD! Rebozo #2: Black and Brown. Dramatic ikat design with impressive hand-knotted 13″ punta. 74″ long, 29″ wide. $165 + shipping. Below.


  • Rebozo #3: Very finely woven by master Jose Luis Rodriguez, soft as silk chalina in two-tone dark and light blue. 65″ long, 29″ wide with an intricate 13″ punta. $155 + shipping.  See below.


Please send me an email if you want to make a purchase. Thank you!

  • Rebozo #4: Forest green and navy blue ikat rebozo, 68″ long, 26-1/2″ wide, with a knotted 5″ punta. $125 + shipping. See below left.

Blue-Green rebozo (left), $125 + shipping.

L-Blue-Green rebozo, $125+ shipping. R-scarf with chaquira beads, $75+shipping

  • Rebozo #5: Red and camel ikat scarf, 20″ wide, 61″ long with 9″ punta. $85+ shipping. See below.


  • Rebozo #6: Mango scarf with blue ikat accent stripes and chaquira beads hand-knotted into the fringe. Great accent piece! $75+ shipping. See below right.


  • Rebozo #7: Above left is a beautiful, soft silky cotton ikat scarf, 58″ long and 18″ wide, with loose fringes. I loved this one because of the ikat gradations along the center panel of the scarf. $65+ shipping.

Please send me an email if you want to make a purchase. Thank you!

Come along with me on the next Rebozo study tour in September for the annual Rebozo Fair in Tenancingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico.