Many years ago, Coban huipiles were woven on a backstrap loom, most often in a very fine gauze weave to which was added hand embroidery. In the past 20-30 years, however, commercial cloth has been used for the foundation fabric. Embroidery is then added in the traditional designs, or using more contemporary embroidery techniques.
This ca. 1980 woman's huipil was woven using the older gauze weave. The use of black rather than white foundation is quite unusual. The garment was woven in 3 panels. All lower edges of both sides are selvage-finished. The designs are so finely stitched that it is difficult to tell if they were added suing embroidery or brocading techniques, but I believe that hand embroidery was used. The crochet adornment around the head- and arm-holes is complete. The stitching at the sides, which makes the huipil into a finished garment to be used, is also complete, so that this blouse can be worn as originally intended. Rather severe couching has been added to make the garment more form-fitting. Also, since the gauze weave is somewhat transparent, this huipil has been lined with a black commercial cotton cloth, for modesty.
Measurements: 28 inches wide across the shoulders and base, 26 inches wide at the waist, and 20 inches shoulder to hem, more or less.
Condition: Very good withe a few minor flaws, perhaps a few loose threads and light soil. This garment was purchased in 1999 and was old at the time.