A Mexican Embroidered Dress Begins with a Few Good Ideas
Get inspired by my sketches to make your own, unique Mexican style dress.
For more than a decade, now, I've been working as a professional fine artist and graphic designer.
If there was one tip I could share with anyone who feels like they just can't create artwork, this
is what it would be:
True art is based on two simple things: Looking and Feeling
Painters, potters, quilters and pretty much all artists and artisans learn by looking. Rather
than simply passing by the form of a flower, a facial expression, a cloud in the sky, taking these
daily sights for granted, artistic people stop and study what they see all around them. This is what
enables them to turn visual encounters into physical works of art. If you want to be able to capture
the beautiful things you see, simply looking at them, really looking, is the first step.
Next, because we are human creatures, we need to pay attention to how what we see makes us feel.
Think about things you love and things you just don't like at all. For example, a bouquet of old-fashioned
violets might make you feel nostalgic, a tall stalk of sunflowers might make you feel powerful, or a
new-bloomed spring crocus might fill you with a sense of hope and expectation. It is by connecting our
feelings with what we see that turns what would otherwise be rather lifeless decorations into genuine
art. It is also what makes the works of art you make about you and this is why they are special
because they express your unique feelings about the world.
Once I had completed the very basic sewing of my Mexican dress, I was so excited to get embroidering.
I knew that this was my chance to really let my creativity shine so that I'd be making something that had
a very special meaning to me. My husband and I are avid birders, and wild birds mean a great deal to us. I
chose to incorporate beautiful tree swallows into the embroidered design of my Mexican dress because of the
special, soaring, carefree, serene feeling these birds always give me. By choosing this motif, it is like I get
to pull on those feelings of bliss every time I wear my Mexican dress.
The flowers I chose also have meanings to me. The bleeding hearts represent the sorrows and struggles
I've known in my life - and who hasn't known such times? The forget-me-nots are my romantic soul coming out
in my embroidery. They are sweet, tender little flowers that remind us to remember something dear. My third
flower choice, the wild calendula, is a nod to my region of California where these pretty golden blooms cover
the meadows every Spring. These say something to me about where I live. As you can see, I put a lot of
thought into the design of my Mexican dress, and just like a vintage quilt, it tells a little story about the
maker who lived life, knew love and heartache, and who spent the time to create a beautiful, lasting thing.
You can do this, too!
I invite you to read more about the complete details of my instruction booklet
that will take you through all
the steps of sewing and embroidering this elegant Mexican peasant dress. If you want to make your own Mexican
dress, you can use my detailed instructions for this, and then, you can begin making further dresses using your
own creativity if you like, once you've got the basic pattern down!
Price: $5.00 per PDF download
Further inspiration for your Mexican Embroidered Dress
Here are some quick, simple sketches I've whipped up of flowers that will translate very well to embroidery. I embroidered my
Mexican dress by hand, but if you are a machine embroidery whiz, this will be a fabulous project for you, too.
Embroider a Camellia
This simple, elegant flower can be used to make a camellia or an old-fashioned rose. Pinks and reds will
be your color choices, and I would suggest buying at least 3 different tones or shades so that you can use your
embroidery floss to create the gradients of color that make these delicate blooms lovely. I would use a stem
stitch to do the outlines of the petals and then fill in with satin stitch. The embroidery techniques for both of these
stitches are included in my booklet.
Emerald green will be just right for the oval-shaped leaves.
Embroider a Ranunculus
Ranunculus are a fabulous idea for this dress as they so resemble the lovely Mexican crepe paper
flowers used at fiestas. They come in sunset colors; yellow, orange and crimson and with a combo
of stem and satin stitch you can create the slightly ruffled petals of this wonderful spring
I can just picture the elegance of a Mexican dress embroidered with scrolling vines of romantic
wisteria. You could create a very beautiful design across the yoke of the dress with this motif. The
individual flowers that make up a stem of wisteria are shaped rather like sweet peas. Choose palest
lavender for the top and a richer shade of violet for the bottom portion of each blossom. You might
also consider making your Mexican Puebla dress out of lavender colored cotton and then embroidering
it with white wisteria. How pretty that would be!
Impatiens come in hot shades of salmon, orange, scarlet, pink and white. They grow in the shade
and have a feeling of the deep, mysterious rainforest. The 5 petal structure of this flower could
also be used for forget-me-nots, phlox, plumbago and a whole bouquet of other blooms. Impatiens
would look pretty on a white background, but I can also see them being lovely against pale pink or
The ornamental sunflowers that have come to our gardens over the past decade are a far cry from
the traditional yellow and brown combination. Gold splashed with red, or palest cream, or deep
burgundy...you pick. The basic shape of this flower can also be used for daisies, and I think
a soft, sage green dress embroidered with white and yellow daisies, or the pink and white
marguerite daisies would be amazingly appealing.
Embroider a Chocolate Cosmos
The deep, deep velvety burgundy of the chocolate cosmos flower is almost as amazing as its rich
cocoa scent. A red or sage green dress embroidered with these would be striking. Or, you could
use this basic flower shape to make zinnias of every color from yellow, to pink, to orange, to
red, to pastel plum. Yellow or scarlet geum is another bloom brought to mind by the simple
form of this flower.
Embroider a Marigold
Marigolds are the flower associated with the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico, and
would certainly be appropriate on a traditional Mexican Puebla dress. The high petal count of this
flower will require some patience to embroider, but the end result would be so graphic and interesting
to look at. Marigolds come in yellow, orange and red and will give a very warm feel to your dress.
You could also use this shape to make button chrysanthemums in their autumnal hues of copper, rust
and lavender, or the ball-shaped dahlias that come in every color of the rainbow.
Further tips on embroidering flowers
It's going to be easier if you stick with simpler flowers. For a beginning embroiderer, a 5-petaled
bloom may be enough of a challenge without trying to tackle a wisteria vine! Also, you can either
opt for a more symbolic, flat look with few details and colors, or you can achieve something that
looks truly 3-dimensional by using a palette of colors that suggest light, shadow and gradients
of tone. You are quite welcome to copy and size the above flower illustrations for tracing on your
personal projects, or you can simply take a good look and free-hand draw your designs with a fabric
marking pen. To avoid a soldiers-in-a-row look to your design, vary the size of your blooms and add
leaves and buds. Remember, nature is not a fan of straight lines!
Other interesting ideas for your Mexican Dress embroidery:
- A loving mother could embroider her children playing, perhaps among flowers
- Embroider a picturesque Mexican village with its white and peach houses, red roofs and church steeple on a sky blue dress
- Make water your motif with a fountain of rippling water on a pale aqua gown. Maybe some doves flying? Lovely!
- Red, white and green are the colors of the Mexican flag. A graphic motif such as zigzags, scallops or stripes can be very
effective when the color palette is strong.
- Poinsettias or Easter lilies come into play for a fabulous holiday gown with a background fabric which properly contrasts
with your embroidery.
- Use of metallic embroidery flosses could result in a very fancy Mexican party dress.
- You don't have to use embroidery. You could use cross stitch, applique, beadwork or even fabric paint to create a unique dress.
I hope this page of ideas has gotten your brainstorming started. The Mexican dress offers us a unique opportunity to express
ourselves throught the medium of textiles, and I know that your dress will be beautiful if start look around, paying attention
to your feelings and following your heart.
For only $5.00, you get complete detailed instructions for sewing
and embroidering my Mexican dress. What have you got to lose? Read
the details here.