Outlined inlay brocade

20 March 2014

As I was looking at huipils from Mexico, this skirt from Mexico caught my attention, http://www.flickr.com/photos/citlali/5592409551/in/photostream/lightbox. 

If you look closely the bands of brocade are not made in the same way.

two kinds of diamonds

In the top band the center of the diamonds is white and each color occurs in sort of a square area.  In the second band the lower half of the diamond is colored and the color is sort of aligned diagonally.  Obvious in both bands the turns are on the top and they are the focus of the design forming a series of X’s.

So to see if what I think is happening really works I wove this sample:

outlined diamonds two ways

The top row has the empty diamonds and the bottom row the color in the bottom of the diamonds.  I did this using a single strand of embroidery floss for the brocading weft, and put it through in both direction  to completely outline the figure. There are 2 tabby picks for each brocade pick.  (This is the 3rd method in the last post.)

The difference in the fineness of the ground is quite dramatic with the Mexican piece  being so much finer. I can’t see enough detail to see the structure of the ground cloth in the Mexican skirt, I assume it is plain weave. The fact that I can see the inlaid color at all, suggest to me that it is NOT warp faced, it may be warp dominate or more balanced.

The color palette is also different:

  • Mexican-white and bold, crayon colors
  • mine- dark ground with quiet, complex colors.

Still I think that I understand how the skirt was made.

There are no turns on the back of the piece, as expected, and the design is subtle. But it is finshed looking so the design is  two-faced.

outlined diamonds two ways-back

The different color palettes  give each piece a very different feel; the Mixtec skirt is joyous and assertive , my piece has a modern, more austere feel.


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