Friday, August 3, 2018


Huipil - #inspiredbyFrida #dresslikeFridaSAL
Huipilthe most common traditional garment worn by indigenous women from central Mexico to Central America

It's a simple shape for a topper - just rectangles, perfect for narrow fabrics created on backstrap looms. And I've made this shape before, not realizing it had such an exotic name - Huipil. The Huipil has been revisited by many sewists of late due to an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. There is a sew-along underway described here and seen here. I love seeing all the variations in this simple piece.

Here is my very first Huipil. This was before I made the connection to Frida. I still wear these PJs. The top is the simplest shape possible. I cut two squares and seamed them to make shoulder seams. I left a space in the middle large enough for my head. This is a knit so it was easy to just stitch the shoulder seam open to finish the neckline. I placed pockets strategically.

And I've lost this cute top:

Both were blogged here.

This time, I did make one pattern piece: the shape for the neckline - a 5x12 rectangular opening. I used another favorite top - the Cottage shirt - to make rough guesses at my preferred width and length - roughly 30x30.

Using remnants and small pieces from stash, I inadvertently took it from simple to slightly challenging to frustrating.

Because of the small pieces, I decided I did not want to just cut a hole for the neckline. Instead I built up the 12x5 opening as I went.

This meant 2 steps forward, one step back, because I designed it as I made it. You can see in the picture above that, at one time, I had a strip of red print running across the front and the back of the shirt. I hated it - made my shoulders look so sloped!

And of course I obsessed over how to finish the interior. I did not want to use the serger because I was afraid it would add bulk to an otherwise light-weight garment.

Last but not least, that square in the front is a very dense weave cotton. I think it must have a weird finish to it. Both my machine needle and my hand-sewing needle became noticeably dull as I sewed. But I do love that print - so worth it!

I love the deep hems on the Cottage shirt and so wanted to duplicate that here. To do this, I added a deep facing with the small Souleiado red print. It's only slightly visible.

As I was finishing some of the handwork last night, I was thinking - I'll never wear this. Then I put it on just now and I love how it feels. It's a perfect hot-weather top.

Maybe I'll make another one.


  1. Just love it. Brilliant use of leftover fabrics and the square neckline elevates the style.

  2. That's super - I've been so inspired by the Huipils you and Kate have made, but still not got anywhere with mine! :-) s.trish

  3. I have loved following Kate's 'dresslikeFrida' sewalong and seeing everyone's creativity, but it is not a look I would ever be comfortable in.

    However, your huipil is very much the exception. I love the way you have used more subtle colourways and prints but kept totally to the spirit of Frida.

    Thank you for the inspiration, I may have to have a rethink about making one!