Archive for the ‘Mexican Peasant Blouses’ Category

It’s always fun to do a little online window shopping.  Here are a few embroidery designs that could be used to embellish Mexican blouses or any tops that you like.

The designs above are Decorative Flowers from Sweet Heirloom Embroidery at Oregon Patch Works.  These would combine well around a neckline or across a yoke.

Above is Folk Flowers Deco also from  Sweet Heirloom Embroidery at Oregon Patch Works.  A single motif can be placed around a neckline attractively as I tried to do in one of my Mexican blouses by curving the placement of the design:

The corner designs are from Folk Flower Corners from Sweet Heirloom Embroidery.  I have lots of corner designs and want to try grouping them around the neckline as in the blouse above.  The designs below, Heirloom Decor from Sweet Heirloom Embroidery at Oregon Patch Works, have a Victorian feel to them.  Sometimes it is nice to do embroidery in one color only for an elegant look.

In actual real-life sewing, I’m still working on the black gauze top but hope to finish today.  I got interrupted by the apricots which ripened sooner than expected and had to be prepared for batches of jam.  I froze the batches to be cooked in cooler weather next fall.

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Summer is almost here. In fact, it was in the 90’s here last week.  It’s time to sew cool and beautiful Mexican-inspired embroidered tops.  You don’t have to limit the wearing of these tops to summertime, though, since you can wear them under a cute cardigan in the fall and winter like my daughter does.  I’ve been sketching out some classic embroidery placement ideas for these tops:

This blouse includes many of the ideas I have seen on commercially available blouses – the crocheted edging at the neckline, buttonhole stitching, the curlicue line at the side edges of the yoke, and the rickracky up and down line of embroidery above the buttonhole stitch at the bottom of the yoke.  On the front ‘skirt’ portion of the top, there are three panels of embroidery outlined by the up-and-down stitch.  The center panel is shorter and thinner, usually.  These panels are extra work, of course, but they are really slimming.  Lots of the blouses have trim or embroidery on the sleeves.  The blouse below uses more buttonhole stitching.

The backs of the blouses are often decorated, too, with a few motifs and the continuation of the buttonhole stitch.:

The blouse above shows a classic old-style blouse with gusset construction.  There are bands of embroidery on the sleeves, around the neckline, and forming the body embroidery panels.  The particular blouse I used for inspiration for this drawing was embroidered with a straight-stitch machine doing free motion embroidery, or at least that’s what it looked like.  If you have a fancier machine, you could use bands of your machine’s embroidery stitches in different colors.  You don’t have to have a pricey embroidery machine to make one of these blouses, and you can always do hand embroidery.

Many  other cultures have traditional embroidered blouses.  The drawing below shows a modern top based on the Eastern European peasant blouse:

The embroidery can be multi-colored, but you can also make a gorgeous top with embroidery in just one color.  For example, I have seen a lovely turquoise blouse with white embroidery.  Other ideas are red embroidery on yellow fabric, black embroidery on red fabric, white embroidery on green fabric,  and purple embroidery on mustard yellow.

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I was lucky when I bought one of the pretty Mexican dresses because it fit me really well and I could take the measurements off of it to reproduce it in my sewing room.  If you don’t have a dress to copy for yourself, you will have to find out about how much ease you want in the dress or blouse.  This can take some trial and error.  I thought I would see how much ease is in my dress compared to my measurements.

First, I tried the dress on and found out that the total width of the dress is about 10-12 inches larger than my hip measurement.   This means that there is an extra 5 to 6 inches of width in the front and the same in the back.  This will give you an idea of where to start, but the ease can be adjusted depending on how close fitting or loose you want the dress to be.

In the drawing above, you can see how the dress hangs on the body.  The shoulders are wider than the natural shoulder line forming a dropped shoulder.   Since you will be pleating or gathering the top of the body piece onto the bottom of the yoke, the measurement you need is the width of the bottom of the yoke.  Measure from the middle of the underarm across the chest above the bust to the other side middle of the underarm.  Of course, seam allowances and any ease you want should be added to this measurement.

The drawing of the dress in red shows the more modern type of sleeve with the triangular gusset section grafted onto the rectangular  sleeve piece.  The drawing below shows a separate piece for the gusset. You can refer to my other posts to see how to sew in a gusset if you want to go the old traditional route, and to get an idea of how low the armhole is in my dress.  It seems to be about 4 1/2  to 6 inches below the finished bottom yoke line.




I hope this helps you on your way to a comfortable and pretty Mexican blouse.

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Most of the embroidery designs on the market seem to be for quilts, other linens, or modern clothing.  I have been looking for designs that will adapt to the traditional peasant blouse format with an attractive ethnic vibe.  Here are some I have found:

This image, from the Oregon Patch Works site, shows most of the components available in the Gypsy Feast set from Enigma Embroidery.  This is the set I used for the lavender girl dress I just finished.  I look for photos of Mexican blouses and use them as guides on the combination of the designs.  http://www.oregonpatchworks.com/items.php?did=55784&pid=103464

This one, called Fancy Flower Corner, is also from Oregon Patch Works by designer Wind Bell Embroidery.  I would set these on point, wide end toward the neckline, spaced around the neckline.  http://www.oregonpatchworks.com/items.php?did=134674&pid=134982

This one from Oregon Patch Works by designer Wind Bell Embroidery has really caught my imagination.  It has a slightly Aztec/Art Nouveau feel to it that I love and can be combined in many ways.  Plus, the colors they used are great.  http://www.oregonpatchworks.com/items.php?did=134674&pid=135644

I’ve never had anything but good results ordering from Oregon Patch Works, and am not associated with them in any way.

Today I was at the Joann sale buying a few patterns including Vogue 1250 which I have heard so much about.  It seems to look great on women of all sizes, so it is worth a try.  I would love to have a nice dressy dress or two in the closet so I didn’t have to panic every time I have to go to one of the spouse’s office functions.

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Too bad this dress is hard to photograph today, because it is one of my favorite little girl dresses that I have sewn.  I used a turquoise embroidery thread to hand embroider the blanket stitch around the yoke and at the top of the pockets.

The puffed sleeves have elastic casings.  I used bias bars to make the casings which is easy and produces a nice even casing.  Here’s a tutorial showing how to make bias strips with bias bars:


My sewing machine did not like trying to make buttonholes on this fabric, and produced very sloppy-looking  buttonholes.  I covered up the mess by embroidering over the buttonholes with buttonhole stitch to match the edging.

The dresses will be on their way to my niece today along with a useful white cardigan sweater.  Now that I am done sewing kids’ clothes, it’s back to the regular sewing routine.

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It’s time to make some more dresses for a little girl.  I want to try some more embroidered Mexican dress ideas, but the weather is very cold this year, here in California and in the Midwest where the little girl lives.  She is at the age where the idea of wearing anything but a dress is a crime against femininity, so I want to make some dresses that are warmer.  Ideas so far are long sleeves, and an attached slip to add a layer of warmth.  Lots of little girls hate the idea of wearing a slip, but if it is part of the dress, especially if it has some frills or ruffles, it wins approval.  The slip would be cut from the same pattern as the skirt portion of the dress and attached to the yoke with the main fabric, though the rest of it will hang free.

Here’s the pattern, McCalls 5695:

The short puffed sleeves are cute, too.

Pockets could be added to the front:

Here’s a yoke with ribbons and an embroidery motif:

The little girl these dresses are for loves ribbons, lace and sparkle.  I saw some really pretty sparkle buttons in the fabric store on sale for half off, but while I was standing in line for the cashier, I read the back of the button card and saw that the instructions say the buttons could not be washed or dry cleaned.  This is so ridiculous that I put the buttons back.  What good are buttons that can’t ever go through the wash?  What are the manufacturers thinking?

Embroidery motifs for a little dress include hearts, butterflies, flowers, and unfortunately, not robots.  I have some really colorful and fun robot designs.  Fabrics could be a soft corduroy, soft denim, linen blends, and maybe even velvet.

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For me, this has been the year of machine embroidery.  I am still loving the fun of it, and of course, it’s all about the color.  The blouse embroidered with the Brother card is finally finished.

This blouse is made from this pattern, and I rounded the inner corners of the square neckline:

And embroidered with this design card on my Bernette Deco 500:

The yokes are lined with the same fabric, a white 100% cotton.  The  fabric needs to be a little bit drapier, but will soften up with washing, I hope.

These designs are very attractive with their chain-stitch look and texture.

Next week is Thanksgiving, and it would be nice to make a few things ahead, except that there’s not much room in the freezer or refrigerator.  For which I should give thanks that we live such a blessed life to have so much food in my house that there is not room for more.

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