"The creation of textiles are techniques that have been learned from generation to generation. Each region has something special, its symbols, colors, type of fabric. Many techniques are embroidered by hand and others are carried out by machine, such as the "chain" on the isthmus of Tehuantepec, where the garment is made on a Singer machine (an old model of a sewing machine). Or the "wooden loom" in communities of Mitla or Teotitlán, they are large machines with pedals, where a great coordination of feet and hands intervenes to create a shawl or a scarf.
Specifically, I would like to tell you about the San Antonino Castillo Velasco blouses which are characterized by their colorful flowers. Each garment can take from one to three months to make. Mrs. Natalia Aguilar is 87 years old and still continues to embroider, she learned from the age of 12 to help her family.
The San Antonino blouse is made part by part: the sleeves, back, chest and front. It is not done in a single piece, the embroidery is done first and then the joining, making and weaving to give it the last details.
For embroidery, they first draw flowers on each part of the fabric, known as "thoughts". They do not use patterns, everything is by hand and in direct pencil on the fabric. They use colored threads, cotton or satin. Despite the continuous practice they have it is the part of the process that takes the most time, since the flowers are small and the embroidery is filling, it requires patience.
After this they go on to make the garment, the assembling of each piece to create the blouse. In this part of the process they make a “gathering” in the fabric, with the technique that they call 'hazme si puedes' (make me if you can). They are small figures that cannot be seen with the naked eye. These are the main steps to make a garment of Saint Antonino."