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Mexican Embroidery Patterns: Embroider Your Own Peasant Blouses

Updated on January 19, 2013

Fine hand embroidery is often associated with the highest level of craftsmanship, quality, and pride of handiwork. Given the sheer number of hours it takes to create even a modestly sized piece, it's no wonder why: weather you're creating a road-worn, vintage styled hippie-esque piece, or something more refined and glamorous, everyone appreciates the patience and skill reflected in the finished work.

The traditional, Mexican-style of embroidery popularized by the counter culture movement of the late 1960s is world-renowned for its simple yet endearing floral symbolism -- it's no wonder that the style became a favorite of flower children far and wide. And while the history of the Mexican peasant blouse actually goes back many hundreds of years, the style is just as relevant today; especially in light of the recent resurgence of interest in bohemian style peasant dress.

Here's a great example of a simple Mexican styled floral embroidery pattern.  You can imagine this on everything from blouses to hand towels.
Here's a great example of a simple Mexican styled floral embroidery pattern. You can imagine this on everything from blouses to hand towels. | Source

The really interesting thing about hand embroidery is that despite it's wide association with apparel that is custom, high-end and couture, it is one of the few forms of tailoring that is accessible to anyone with the desire to give it a try. The only requirements are a needle and thread (called embroidery floss by the pros), which can be had for just a few dollars, and a pattern, which vary in price from free (yea!) to several dollars. Furthermore, the technique is really very basic in comparison to the range of skills required of even a novice cut-and-sew hopeful. There are several more advanced embroidery stitches that can be employed, but you will find that the simple satin stitch and back stitch are all that you need to create beautiful, wearable works of art. Embroidery can be done in any fabric (the thinnest being the easiest, of course), so let your imagination run free: denim pant cuffs, dress ties, and even hats can all make a wonderful canvas for your embroidery work. For a great primer on the basics of embroidery, check out this Hub, complete with detailed video.

Here's the completed piece, based on the free embroidery pattern above.  If you look carefully, you can see where the "stem" and "back" stitches have been used to create a textured, three-dimensional effect.
Here's the completed piece, based on the free embroidery pattern above. If you look carefully, you can see where the "stem" and "back" stitches have been used to create a textured, three-dimensional effect. | Source

While any style of dress can be embellished with hand embroidery, peasant dress is not only historically appropriate, but the thin cotton voile is very easy to handle. And with warmer weather always just around the corner, a lightweight and flowing Mexican peasant blouse is the perfect addition to any wardrobe.

There are many ways to source the patterns you will need if you want to recreate some of the classic 1960s and 70's style Oaxacan floral patterns. You can create your own by sketching your own interpretations of the originals; purchase them with cut and sew peasant top patterns (they are often included; vintage ones from the 60's are still available for sale online if you do some searching); or download them for free from sites like SirenSirenSiren.com, where they not only make their own peasant top interpretations, but encourage others to do the same in the hopes of keeping the tradition alive. If you want to jump straight in to the embroidery, try these beautiful and free Mexican embroidery patterns.

It won't be long before you'll want to take your skills into prime time, embroidering something to make you the envy of the scene.  Here, embroidery and crochet trim are paired to create a striking tribute to the original Oaxacan peasant tops.
It won't be long before you'll want to take your skills into prime time, embroidering something to make you the envy of the scene. Here, embroidery and crochet trim are paired to create a striking tribute to the original Oaxacan peasant tops. | Source

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