Tag Archives: clothing

What do we call them? Huipiles. Not Caftans!

In addition to cultural appropriation, there is a debate raging about what to call the hand-woven, back-strap loomed garments from Mexico that many of us know as huipiles. This is plural. The singular is huipil. (Some huipiles for sale below!)

How do you say it?

Whee-peel.

(or What do you do with a banana? We peel. — Thank you, Mary Randall)

Whee-peel-ess.

Caftan (kaftan) or tunic is a misnomer. I am reminded of this via a text message this morning from Ana Paula Fuentes, who introduced me to Las Sanjuaneras some years ago and was the founding director of the Museo Textil de Oaxaca. I promised her that you and I would have a discussion about Mexican clothing as a way to spread the word about culture.

I just want to set the record straight that I called these garments thus because it is what the American and Canadian marketplace knows and understands as a fashion definition. We’ve been acculturated since the 60’s when these garments came to us from Europe and North Africa and Asia as casual wear, beach and pool wear, loungewear. Now, with Covid-19, the idea is being reintroduced to the world of contemporary clothing as a perfect solution to comfort while we are homebound.

Let’s have the conversation: Clothing origins from Mexico deserve to be called by their true name. Huipil. Bluson. Blusa. Rebozo. Quechquemitl. Etc. And, we can spread the word about the quality of Mexico’s indigenous weaving by using the true name of the garment. People need to know these are huipiles. Not caftans or tunics.

Bluson: A short, cropped flowing version of a huipil, usually waist-length or hip-length.

Blusa: A blouse, more fitted than free-form; a universal term.

Rebozo: A shawl whose origins are from the Philippines via Spain.

Quechquemitl: A triangular pull-over shawl, scarf, cover-up that is pre-Hispanic and the first indigenous garment.

So, help us out here. When you wear one of these garments, call it a Huipil. Together, we can be influencers and talk about Mexico as being a fashion innovator rather than a follower of Euro-centric style. You give value to the weavers this way, too. Thank you.

Still some beauties from Las Sanjuaneras For Sale

#10. Andrea. Bluson. Marigold, chocolatillo. 35-1/2×24. $295.

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please be sure to select Send Money to Family and Friends! We also accept Venmo and I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal.

#2. Camerina. Huipil. Indigo, iron oxide. $285. 34-1/2×34. $285.
#18. Aurora. 19×28. Blusa. Nanche, mahogany, almond, beet. $195.
SOLD. #16. Patrocinia. Bluson. Indigo, native cotton, $195.
#24. Aurora. Bluson. Beet, mahogany, nanche, almond, iron oxide. 38×22. $295.
SOLD. #7. Maria Lucia. 40×40. Huipil. Indigo, iron oxide, beet, nanche. $395
#20. Andrea. Blusa. Marigold, iron oxide, native cotton. 22-3/4×30. $195.
#21. Margarita. Blusa. Marigold, iron oxide, beet, brazilwood, 22-3/4×35. $165.

Collector’s Edition: Oaxaca and Chiapas Textile Sale

Today I am offering 9 treasures from my collection for sale. These are pieces I have never or rarely worn. They live in my Durham, NC, closet. Many of you know that I am now walking 8,000 to 10,000 steps at least four times a week and have maintained size small for almost two years. These beautiful clothes are now way too big for me to wear. I’ve decided it is time for these pieces to be with others who appreciate them as much as I do.

To Buy: Send me an email — norma.schafer@icloud.com with your name, address, and item number. I will send you a PayPal invoice to pay with credit card. Please be sure to use the payment optionsending to family and friends.” Once I receive your funds, I will mail via USPS to anywhere in the USA.  I will add on $12 for mailing to the invoice. Thank you VERY much.

#1 Pencil huipil with fuchsine dye, 24-3/4″ wide x 37-1/2″ long, $325

#1 is from the Oaxaca coast in Santiago Ixtlayutla, near Pinotepa de Don Luis. It uses fuchsine dye, which locals call “cochineal” but it isn’t! It actually creates a more purple stain on cotton cloth that then bleeds intentionally into the base fabric. Fine silk thread is woven as the supplementary weft creating the figures in the cotton cloth. It is the silk that takes the dye after the piece is finished. The style is to dye and fold the cloth, soaking it in water so that the dye runs into patterns that are mirrored into the surrounding cloth. Those of us who know these textiles, covet and cherish them. The finishing joinery stitches on this one are very secure and fine.

All fuchsine-dyed garments are rare and collectible!

SOLD. #2. Fine gauze cotton blusa with fuchsine dye, 30″ wide x 27″ long, $245

Notes from Traditional Innovation in Oaxaca Textiles: There is another colour that can be found in several textiles from Oaxaca: fuchsia. The costume of men and women from the Mixtec town of Santiago Ixtayutla use locally-raised silk from San Mateo Peñasco, where silk is dyed with fuchsine, a magenta dye invented in mid-19th century which chemical composition is rosaniline hydrochloride. Since these dyes arrived in Mexico during the second half of the 19th c., weavers started using them: they were quick to use and cheap to obtain.

#3. Fuchsine shawl, 24″ wide x 84″ long including fringes, $285
SOLD. #4. Gauze Blouse from Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas, $145

SOLD. #4 is from the warm, humid coastal region of Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas, where lightweight hand-woven textiles are preferred. This is fine cotton woven on a back-strap loom. The colorful figures uses synthetically-dyed cotton in the supplementary weft. Measures 25″ wide x 25-1/2 long — size L-XL.

SOLD. #5. Olive and Rust Poncho, Chiapas, $165, one size

SOLD. #5 is woven on a back-strap loom in a Chiapas village of medium-weight cotton, hand-tied fringes. The design is incorporated in the weaving using the supplementary weft technique. It is not embroidered!

SOLD. #5, Poncho detail.
SOLD. #6. B&W Poncho, Oxchuc, Chiapas, $185, one-size

SOLD. #6 is a medium-weight cotton poncho with hot red needle work down the front to join the two pieces of cloth together. This is an unusual piece because of the texture of two different weaving styles used in the cloth (it does not have a seam). The front of the piece is shorter, hanging hip length and the back hangs longer to cover the rear!

SOLD. #6. B&W poncho detail.
SOLD. #7. Simply Beautiful Alderwood Dyed Poncho, $295, one size

SOLD. #7 was purchased from Remigio Mestas’ Oaxaca city shop Los Baules de Juana Cata. He is cited as a top authority on Oaxaca textiles, and offers only the finest woven and naturally dyed fabrics for sale, created by the best weavers. The dye is called Palo de Aguila, which translates to Alderwood, and is found in the Sierra Mixe of Oaxaca.

SOLD. #7 Alderwood-dyed poncho detail.
SOLD. #8 Indigo + Purple Snail Dye Oaxaca Blusa, 26-1/2″wide x 28-1/2″long, $285

SOLD. #8 is from the back-strap loom weaving village of Pinotepa de Don Luis. There is a very fine young weaver there named Sebastiana Guzman Hernandez. She was educated and worked as an engineer but preferred to weave and rescue her family’s indigenous traditions. I purchased this huipil from her workshop studio in the village. She dyes the indigo and buys the caracol purpura threads from the few local dyers who collect the rare purple snail dye from the Oaxaca coast.

SOLD. #9. Embroidered blouse, Chiapas, 21″ wide x 29″ long, $95

SOLD. #9 is a slinky blouse, machine embroidery on polyester, with see-through eyelet detail from Zinacantan, Chiapas. It is not hemmed because traditional women will tuck this inside their wrap-around skirts.

#9 Eyelet and embroidery detail.

Bring Mexico to Life: Shop Dresses, Tops, Aprons +

We need color in our lives right now. I dress up for Zoom and FaceTime calls. It feels good to wear something special and put on a little lipstick! When I go out to walk or to the market (always with mask and social distancing), I put on a colorful Mexican top or dress. Today, I’m meeting a friend for a picnic (six-to-eight feet distance) on a blanket at the North Carolina Museum of Art sculpture park. We then walk in the fresh air along the trails, mindful of others. I’ll wear one of my Oaxaca pieces today, too.

I have listed 23 items from my collection for sale. In addition to clothing, the selection includes napkins, woven bags, coin purses, tea towels.

To Buy: Send me an email to norma.schafer@icloud.com with your name, address, and item number. I will send you a PayPal invoice to pay with credit card. Once I receive your funds, I will mail via USPS to anywhere in the USA.  I will add on $12 for mailing to the invoice. Thank you VERY much.


#1. Jamiltepec, Oaxaca, blouse, back-strap loom + embroidered, size M, $55
SOLD. #2. Tlacolula-style apron, M-L, $45
SOLD. #3. San Bartolome Ayautla, Oaxaca, embroidered cotton blouse by Anacleta, M, $225
#4. Chenalho, Chiapas finest cotton embroidered blouse, $75
#5. Hot Pink Fancy Apron, size M-L, $85
#6. Bag L-6 and Bag R-6, $35 each, back-strap loom, Zinacantan, Chiapas
SOLD. #7. Fancy apron, San Miguel del Valle, embroidered, M-L, $85
#7. Apron, pocket detail
#8. Cotton tea towels/napkins, set of 2, $23
SOLD. #9. Dreamweavers Tixinda, blouse, indigo, cochineal, coyuchi, L-XL $250
#10. Elaborate Oaxaca Apron, Size M-L, embroidered, San Miguel del Valle, $125
#11. Indigo shoulder bag, hand-loomed, Chiapas, $45
#12. Chenalho, Chiapas embroidered blouse, fine cotton, M-L, $75
SOLD. #13. Tenejapa, Chiapas, back-strap loomed collector piece, $285 USD
#14. Handwoven, natural dyed wild marigold bag, Chiapas, $45
#15. Pom-Pom Capelet, wool and cotton, Chiapas, $125
#16. San Andres Larrainzar Chiapas cotton blouse, backstrap loom, M-L, $75
SOLD. #17. Set/6 handwoven cotton napkins w/macrame fringe, $60
SOLD. #18. Chiapas finest gauze blouse, with 3/4 sleeves, French knots, M-L, $55
#19. Chiapas woven coin purse w/zipper, your choice, $12 each
SOLD. #20. Chiapas gauze blouse, French knots, embroidered, 3/4 sleeve, M-L, $48
#20. Bodice, French knots detail
#21. Dreamweavers Txinda, Pinotepa de Don Luis, size L-XL, fine huipil, silk dyed w/rare purple snail caracol purpura, backstrap loom finely woven, $245
#22. Birds and Flowers, best embroidery on cotton by Anacleta, $165
#22, inside needlework — amazing, outstanding
SOLD. #23. Embroidered Apron, Teotitlan del Valle style, size M, $35

Mexico Indigenous Clothing Sale: Be a Fashionista!

As of Friday, morning, Oct. 11 — Still Available: #2, #3, #4, #6, #8, #9, #10, #13. Many choices! Time is ticking

I return to Oaxaca next week with a stopover in Mexico City to lead the Art History Tour focusing on the work of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Meanwhile, before I leave the USA, I usually go through my collection to review what I want to part with. Here is outstanding weaving and embroidery from all over Mexico — Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guadalajara. The 13-piece selection is below. Look carefully!

Note: All sizes are Large/Extra Large unless otherwise noted. Several are Collector Pieces: #1, #2, #3 and #13

To Buy: Send me an email to norma.schafer@icloud.com with your name, address, and item number. I will send you an invoice to pay with credit card. Once I receive your funds, I will mail via USPS to anywhere in the USA. Prices include mailing cost. Please buy and pay before Monday, October 14, 2019. This will give me enough time to pack and mail before I return to Mexico on October 16. Thank you VERY much.

SOLD. #1 Oaxaca Blue birds and flowers, fine embroidery on manta cotton, $235
#1 detail, cotton thread on manta cotton
#1 inside finish work is superb
#2 Black and Hot Pink Birds and Flowers, highest quality, $165
#2 detail — yellow is light from camera; natural manta cream cotton cloth
#2 inside fine stitching detail
#3 Pinotepa de Don Luis,Oaxaca back-strap loom cotton w/ rare Caracol Purple Snail, $195
#4 Chiapas blouse, embroidered, 3/4 sleeve, $65
#4 embroidery detail with French knots, Size Medium
SOLD. #5 Chiapas finest blouse, with 3/4 sleeves, French knots, $65
#5 detail, French knots, embroidery, Size Medium
SOLD. #6 Tlahuitoltepec, Oaxaca, cotton blusa, machine embroidered, $65
SOLD. #6, bodice detail
#6 back detail
SOLD. #7 Chiapas backstrap loom fine cotton blouse, $65, Size Medium
#7 detail, the design is in the weaving!
#8 Chiapas, long tunic, size medium, back strap loom, $65
#8 bodice detail, size Medium, design is integrated into weaving
#9 Fancy Chiapas poncho, back-strap loom, magenta with gold threads, $65
#10 PomPom Capelet — Poncho, wool, back-strap loom, $95
#11 Oaxaca Coast, Jamiltepec Blouse, backstrap loom+embroidered, $55
SOLD. #12 Guadalajara Needlepoint Blouse, $85
#13 Chiapas Backstrap Loom + Embroidered Tenejapa Poncho, $235 –Collector’s Piece
#13 Tenejapa poncho detail

Clearance Sale for Discontinued Zayzelle Dresses

Four years ago, I designed this dress, made a pattern and started sewing. In 2018, I created a brand called Zayzelle, opened an online shop, and started making and selling the dress. I sewed the same pattern in many fabrics. I employed my friend Rosario in Teotitlan del Valle to help me. What I discovered is that building a fashion brand takes time and takes me away from Oaxaca Cultural Navigator. So, I closed the store.

Sizes and Dimensions: The dresses are all one size and will fit size large to extra-large. All have similar dimensions: 27″ wide seam-to-seam, 43″ long from the back neck opening to hem, and a 26″ sleeve that can be rolled up. This is easy dressing, unstructured, comfortable style with a relaxed drape.

Every garment is handmade. All the fabrics are fine linen or cotton. The cloth determines the look. Deep patch pockets will hold keys, cell phone, change purse or wallet, cosmetics. Finished French seams guarantee they will never unravel! Easy to care for: wash on delicate setting in the machine and hang to dry. Iron if you wish.

I have priced these dresses to sell. They are 50-75% off of the original price. Price includes USPS mail to anywhere in the USA. Mailing to Canada is extra.

How to Buy: send me an email at norma.schafer@icloud.com and I will send you an invoice to pay with credit card. Please include the Dress Number, your name, and mailing address. Thank you. I return to Mexico on October 16. All orders must be received and paid for by October 10. I will mail by October 12.

Two dresses remain: Dress #2 and Dress #9. Help me sell out!

If you don’t like the price, make an offer!

Dress #2, Periwinkle and Steel Gray Stripe Cotton Dress, lovely drape, $69.95
Detail, Dress #2 with patch pocket
Dress #9, Buttercup yellow, pale and creamy, best quality linen, $43.95
Dress #9, top-stitched pocket detail
SOLD. Dress #1: Gray and white cotton seersucker, $69.95
Dress #1 detail: top-stitched pocket

Dress #2, Periwinkle and Gray Stripe Cotton Dress, $69.95
Dress #2, pocket detail
Dress #3, Mexican Manta (Natural) Cotton, soft and cozy, $39.95 (was $95)
Dress #3, pocket detail
SOLD. Dress #4, Denim Dress, easy-to-wear, $69.95
Dress #4 Detail with top-stitched pocket
SOLD. Dress #5, Caramel brown handkerchief linen, chambray, finest quality, $69.95
Dress #5, detail top-stitched pocket
SOLD. Dress #6, sleek midnight blue dress, slinky rayon, $79.95
Dress #6, detail of top-stitched pocket
SOLD. Dress #7, Gray Chambray Handkerchief Linen, finest quality, $79.95
Dress #7, pocket detail, top-stitching
SOLD. Dress #8, Natural Manta Cotton, $39.95
Dress #8 detail with top-stitched pocket