Yucatan embroidery

I’ve been planning to write this post for a while, taking pictures, finding the info, and finally I decided to post it. One of the things I like the most about Mexico is the beauty of the handcrafts, The skillful hands of the men and women artisans make Mexican handcrafts true works of art. And every state has it’s own style some similar some totally different to the rest of the country, today I’ll talk about my part of the country, the yucatan peninsula.

The “huipil is one of the symbols that characterize the Yucatan culture, this is the everyday attire for yucatecan women. The dress of Mayan women has not changed much since the pre-Hispanic era, and was known by the name “Kub“, a word which has been lost because now it’s called “huipil“, which is a nahuatl word. Made from white cotton fabric, embroidered with cross-stitched flowers around the square neck and hem. It is worn with a special petticoat called a “fustán”, ( “pic ” in Maya) which has lace around the lower edge that shows beneath the huipil.

The ceremonial dress, called the terno, has three pieces: the huipil, this time made from a silky material with embroidery around the square neck-line and hem, is finished with a wide lace border. The jubón is a short, fully-embroidered, square-necked blouse worn over the huipil. And, finally the fustán, embroidered with flowers which can be seen through the transparent lace of the huipil, also has a wide lace edge. The embroidery is done in cross-stitch and the motifs are usually flowers or geometric forms. The dress is completed with white or embroidered shoes, filigree necklaces of gold and coral, a headdress of ribbons and flowers, and the shawl of Santa Maria.

The embroidery can be done in different types, the most beautiful, and also the most complicated is the “xocbichuy” or cross-stitch, which is done by hand. The embroideries are combined, sometimes with the technique of “manicté” (xmanikté), which is a draught or deshilado by hand to form shapes or flowers by tethers. Some garments are only ornaments of this type, which shows the hard work and taste of women by making clothing. In the villages you can still see the classic image of a mestizo sitting on a bench in the courtyard or the door of the house, embroidering pieces of satin, chermés, Dacron or silk that later adorned some suits.


He estado planeando escribir este post desde hace mucho, y finalmente me decidi. Una de las cosas que mas me gustan de Mexico, es la belleza de sus artesanias, hay cosas tan hermosas y detalladas!!  Los hombres y mujeres que con sus manos nos deleitan, hacen de las artesanías mexicanas, verdaderas obras de arte. Asi que hoy hablare de una de estas bellezas.

El hipil, es uno de los símbolos que caracterizan a la cultura Yucateca, este es el atuendo cotidiano para la mujer campesina. traje típico de las mujeres yucatecas, se hace con tela blanca de algodón con hermosos bordados de flores en punto de cruz, alrededor del escote cuadrado y en el ruedo. El hipil se acompaña de una falda conocida como fustán, (“pic” en maya) con encaje en la orilla que se asoma por debajo.

El vestido de gala se llama terno y consta de tres piezas: el hipil, que se elabora de material sedoso con bordados, el jubón una especie de cuello cuadrado con una cenefa bordada en el ruedo y el fustán, que tiene una banda de bordados que se transparenta a través del encaje del hipil y termina en otro encaje. El traje se complementa con zapatillas blancas o bordadas, collares de filigrana de oro y coral, así como el tocado de lazos y flores para el peinado y el rebozo de Santa María.

El bordado se puede hacer de diferentes tipos, el más bello, y también el más complicado es el xocbichuy, o punto de cruz, el cual se hace a mano. Los bordados se combinan, en ocasiones, con la técnica de “manicté” (del maya xmanikté), que es un calado o deshilado a mano para formar figuras o flores mediante amarres. Algunas prendas tienen únicamente adornos de este tipo, lo cual muestra la laboriosidad y el gusto de la mujer por la confección del vestido. En los pueblos aun se puede observar la veterana, clásica estampa de una mestiza sentada en un banquillo, en el patio o a la puerta de la casa de paja, bordando pedazos de raso, chermés, dacrón o seda que más tarde engalanarán algún terno.


14 thoughts on “Yucatan embroidery

  1. Becky says:

    Hi Jordy,
    I’ve come to visit for the first time. You left a comment, and tagged me, but I have been away from blogging for more than 6 months. I’ve come back and will try to be regular.
    I love your sewing and all the photos of the Mexican handcrafts. Keep it coming!

  2. Katie says:

    I love this post with all the pictures of the traditional crafts. When I was a kid living in the midwest of the United States a relative who went on vacation in Mexico brought home an embroidered top for me. It looked very similar to some of your photos. I loved that top so much I wore it as often as possible. I had forgotten about it until your pictures reminded me of it.

  3. Chano Santamaria says:

    So many memories of my father’s side of the family. My abuela used to wear these articles every Sunday. The pictures are very reminiscent of the stories they always told me about the peninsula – where they considered “home” to be. My wife and I are planning to stop their on our next trip to Mexico.

  4. Nuemi says:

    I have been trying to find out where i can buy one of these dresses. I am getting married in August and I want this style of dress. I have relatives in Mexico but none in the yucatan area. I was wondering if anyone knew where I could order one?

  5. Nancy says:

    Hi there,

    I live near San Antonio and love love love your blog. I have or have had numerous clothing items with this type of embroidery over the years. Brings back wonderful memories of fun times with my dad and family.

    Mil Gracias,

  6. Julia says:

    Me fascina toda la cultura maya. Acabo de volver del Mayakoba Rosewood. Compre un huipil “bordado en Indonesia”! Lo devolvi. Me gustaria comprar otro…autentico…seria Ud. tan amable de ponerme en contacto con un cooperativo o tienda. Gracias

  7. Carolyn Bell says:


    I’m not altogether clear what this web site provides other than gorgeous photos of the crafts and embroidery I fell in love with while in Cancun a couple of weeks ago for two weeks.
    Unfortunately, I came down with severe pneumonia (Legionnaire’s Disease) so couldn’t go back to the Mayan Village at Xcaret to buy one of the magnificent dresses I had decided I wanted to purchase. Is there a way of buying one from you? Does anyone know of a way to buy – see a selection, including cross-stitch dresses?
    Thank you so much!


  8. blacksash says:

    I love the vibrant colors in the photos! Im researching the traditional attire for my 12 year old daughter, who is being required to wear this for her Primaria graduation ceremony. Thanks Great Post

  9. Nancy McCutcheon says:

    Love your site, we go to Playa Del Carmen twice a year and adore the area. I need a Huipil for a Mayan theme dinner. I am going to attemt to make one and your photos have given me some great ideas. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s