20th Century, Textiles & Costume

Exotic Mexico meets Kiwi Housewife

Carrying on from the Mexican theme of a few Thursdays ago, here is the final Mexican themed textile from my stash.

It’s an embroidered apron, made by a Kiwi housewife, probably during the 1950s.

I’d been collecting mid-20th century Mexican themed textiles since my interest in them was first sparked as a teenager by all the Mexican textiles in my Grandmothers stash.

When I moved to NZ, I assumed that was the end of my collecting in that area, because I didn’t think that Mexico would have been a popular theme for fabric escapism so far across the world.

You can imagine my delight when I found this apron in an op-shop a few months ago.

The musician, the dancing senorita, the cactus, I love it all!

I figured it was an anomaly, made by a talented embroiderer who had become tired of all the usual apron embroidery patterns.

The apron was made by a skilled embroiderer.  It uses only a few stitches, but they are expertly executed, and the choice of stitches for the different textures in the design, such as the delicately scalloped senorita’s skirt, are very tricky.

The scallops! The roses! Her scarf! Darling!

It turns out it is not an anomaly though: I shared it with the Wellington Quilters Guild, and some of the more senior women reminisced about how they had made Mexican themed dressers scarves and tablecloths when they were young.  Mexico’s exotic allure stretched across the Pacific!

After all, who wouldn’t want to be serenaded by this dashing senor?

I wonder what song he is singing?

There are a few stains on the apron, and one or two design choices that bug me.

I really wish that brown had been used for the coconuts instead of grey!

Mostly though, I’m just intrigued by the popularity of Mexican textiles in the mid-20th century, especially since the fad even spread to NZ.

Pretty prickly pear


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