I’ve been getting quite a few inquiries lately about whether Manta cotton is still being woven in Mexico and if it is available with natural dyes.
What is Manta cotton? It is 100% natural unbleached cotton also known as “cotton crudo” or “wild cotton” or organic cotton. Typically it is used to make men’s shirts, called guayaberas. The cotton fiber is sturdier, more loosely woven and cool.
I asked my friend, Eric Chavez Santiago, director of education at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca about this. He says there is a designer/artisan from Oaxaca who has dyed manta with some natural dyes. His name is:
Juan Manuel Bautista
Macedonio Alcalá 407
Eric says that most of this manta is industrial, machine woven. It is then washed and dyed. It is hard to use natural dyes on the fabric and have the dye come out in a uniform color. You need very big dye pots and cotton does not take nicely to the the natural dyes. You can ask him to see photos of the material if you are interested in buying this.
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