Mexican Embroidery: From Pre-Hispanic Times to Modern

Take advantage of Mexico’s rich traditions to add colors to your life and create a unique Mexican embroidery masterpiece! 

Mexican embroidery is a traditional form of art and handicraft practiced in Mexico. It is created with colorful cotton embroidered fabric strips. The elements are adorned in a traditional way with religious figures but you can give them modern touch as well. 

Mexican embroidery is one of the best ways to depict traditional values with modern day-to-day life scenarios.

This embroidery consists of needlework and can be done by hand or a sewing machine.

Want to learn more about this beautiful, traditional embroidery? We’ve got you covered. 

In this article, we have covered everything you need to know about Mexican embroidery. From its history, symbols, their popularity, to step-by-step tutorials. You will find everything you need to create and store this traditional embroidery at home.

Let’s begin. 

History of Mexican Embroidery

Before we learn “how to do Mexican embroidery,” it’s essential to know the history of Mexican embroidery.

Mexican embroidery is a folk-art style of embroidery originating in the 16th century in the state of Michoacan, Mexico. 

The fishermen of the Pacific Coast were the original creators of the craft. As they wove nets and made their own accessories and clothing, they used brilliant colors to decorate their embroidery patterns

The designs originate in the indigenous cultures of Mexico and Central America, where they were created by women from the Aztecs, Mixtec, Olmec, Zapotec, and Maya.

This decorative work is now practiced today by many Mexicans who have adapted to modern times and made it an art form. Thanks to this kind of weaving/embroidering technique, your home can be transformed into an original piece.

Mexican embroiderers created handwork that would last through time and generations, telling multi-generational stories through their embroidery ideas. 

How Mexican Otomi Embroidery Become Popular

Mexican Otomi embroidery is Mexico’s most traditional and enduring fold tradition. It is characterized by symmetrical designs with flat colors, stylized images of animals or people, and symbols representing the social structure of ancient communities.

The women were the chief artists in Mexico, producing rugs, shawls, and sashes that were often sold among people as status symbols. 

Mexican story cloths
Image Source: Zinnia Folk Arts

After being discarded as unimportant handcrafts a century ago, Mexican embroidery designs have become popular again in recent years.

People have started adoring handmade, natural-dyed, modern, and vintage Mexican embroideries. 

Today, Mexican embroidery is used in several categories, such as,

    • Women’s shirts
    • Tablecloths
    • Wall hangings
    • Belts
    • Rugs
    • House ornaments
    • Long skirts
    • Accessories 

4 Symbols of Mexican Embroidery Patterns

The history of Mexican embroidery dates back to the 16th century when the artisans learned their skills. Today DIY Mexican embroidery is a major source of income for many people in Mexico. 

Each embroidered textile piece is a work of art created by an artisan who has perfected his or her craft over many years. The rich, intricate Mexican embroidery patterns are easy to recognize.

Symbols of Mexican embroidery patches are at once sophisticated and simple, rich in meaning, and unbridled with imaginative design

From the enigmatic skeleton keys to the vibrant animals, these embroidery designs are informed by unique energy specific to Mexican. 

Understanding the symbols and color combinations used in traditional Mexican embroidery can help you learn more about the meaning behind the designs. 

Here are some common Mexican embroidery symbols

Mexican Embroidery Flowers

Embroidery Mexican flowers represent nature and fertility. 

Mexican floral border
Image Source: Pinterest

Mexican Embroidery Animals

They include deer, roosters, armadillos, and squirrels. The Mexican embroidery animals are represented as the bearers of wisdom and critical news. 

Mexican Bird Embroidery

A free Mexican bird embroidery
Image Source: The Accidental Embroiderer

They include eagles, butterflies, etc. Many Mexican bird embroidery designs were represented before the Spanish conquest. They are used as a combination of ancient and modern embroidery. 

Mexican Embroidery Stars

The four- and eight-pointed Mexican embroidery stars represent the cardinal direction. 

What Stitches Are Used for Embroidery Mexican?

The women in Mexico developed Embroidery Mexican stitches. It includes: 

    • Sashiko
    • Redwork
    • Blind stitching 

They are easy-to-learn embroidery stitches and add a creative edge to quilts, home décor, and clothing.

Otomi embroidery stitch
Image Source: Sarita Creative

The embroidery Mexican stitches are often square, but can also be rectangular or round. The stitches can be worked on their own in groups of colors to create designs and patterns.

They can also work as individual elements that combine together to form more intricate designs.

If you are keen on learning different embroidery stitches, then here are detailed articles from Super Label Store,

Learn How to Make Traditional Mexican Embroidery Patterns at Home

Traditional Mexican embroidery is one of Latin America’s most popular and beautiful types of embroidery. It has been used since the prehispanic era and is characterized by its vibrant colors and characteristic geometric motif that looks like tribal art.

The traditional Mexican embroidery patterns have a big impact on many types of clothing, including dresses. It has elaborated free embroidery designs that use vibrant colors, creating patterns that stand out.

Mexican embroidery
Image Source: Alejandra’s Quilt Studio

With today’s modern designs, this embroidery technique has allowed for some aesthetic, pleasing, and multi-color garment embellishments that are just stunning. 

In this section, you will learn how to Mexican embroidery design. This technique is all hand drawn, so no software or advanced equipment is needed. The result is an eye-catching piece of art that will last for decades and can be displayed in any room of your home. 

Once you have perfected the satin stitch embroidery, you can try adding embellishments like beads or sequins. Don’t forget to place labels on your handmade Mexican embroidery piece. Head to Super Label Store and get your super customizable, high-quality,

Let’s start. 

Supplies You Will Need

If you love Mexican embroidery and are interested in learning more, then here are the embroidery supplies you will need to get started. 

    • Needle
    • Needlework frame
    • 10 precut fabric squares
    • Embroidery thread
    • Scissors
    • Hoop
    • 100% cotton embroidery floss 

Step-By-Step Instruction For Mexican Embroidery

Learn how to create your own beautiful, printable traditional Mexican embroidery patterns at home. This technique is time-consuming, but it is an art form worth experiencing if you are interested in culture. This is also a great project for any skill level, beginner or advanced!

To start with, you will need to draw a simple shape on your Mexican embroidery fabric. It may be a flower, animal, or leaf. Secure your fabric using an embroidery hoop and secure your thread on the fabric’s top side. 

Now you need to insert your embroidery needle through a few threads. Pull the thread till the end so you can have a short tail and then start stitching inside the area to secure this in place.

For this tutorial, we will be working on the left to right. Take your thread on the upper left-hand point of your design, like the left-hand point of the leaf.

Otomi embroidery tutorial
Image Source: Sarita Creative 

Now insert your needle from right to left and stitch it on the bottom edge of a leaf. The first two stitches will be close together as we are making pointed-leaf Mexican embroidery.

Repeat this process until you get the leaf shape. To secure your stitches and threads at the end, you can weave them back under the stitches and trim any excess parts. 

Top 10 Free Mexican Embroidery Patterns

Otomi Mexican embroidery designs or Colcha Embroidery New Mexico patterns are so beautiful that you can’t miss them. 

The dresses, blouses, and skirts will bring a festive look to any day you like. Whether you are decorating your home or making a quilt, these free Mexican embroidery patterns will make the perfect gift.

Otomi embroidery tutorial for beginners
Image Source: Mexican Textiles 

Stitching is an art form whose history stretches back centuries, so take advantage of Mexico’s rich tradition and add a little color to your life!

Here is a list of free-hand and machine embroidery Mexican designs. A variety of colors and beginner embroidery patterns will leave you mesmerized by the beauty of Mexican embroidery. 

Let’s see how we can bring together an exciting mix of classic and modern designs to re-introduce Mexican embroidery with a contemporary twist. 

Let’s explore. 

Mexican Embroidery Dresses

Party in style with this Mexican embroidery dress. Mexican embroidery dresses are hand-sewn and made of the highest quality fabric in Mexican embroidery. They provide stylish, trendy, and comfortable clothing for your next event.

Mexican embroidery dresses
Image Source: Pinterest

These gorgeous dresses display extraordinary detail, created with different types and colors of thread. They are made from lightweight cotton, making them perfect for your next fiesta, birthday party, or even wedding. Each one takes weeks to make.

Traditional designs, wonderful details, and excellent quality embroidery fabric make these Mexican embroidery dresses a must-have addition to your wardrobe. 

Mexican Embroidery Blouse

Add a touch of sophistication to your entire look with the luxurious and delicate Mexican embroidery blouse. 

A one-of-a-kind design reminiscent of the traditional art of Mexican embroidery, this Mexican embroidery blouse features a top mock neck, v-neckline, short sleeves, and a cropped fit. 

Crafted by hand embroidery in Mexico, these blouses are made from the finest natural, breathable and comfortable fabrics. It can be paired well with shorts and skirts.

They are perfect for casual wear or as a layering piece. This Mexican embroidery blouse works well for any style, from classic to contemporary. They are an easy way to add a touch of flair to your wardrobe. 

Mexican Embroidery Shirt

The traditions of embroidery in Mexico are rich and dynamic, full of life and emotion. The Mexican embroidery shirt is a classic wardrobe piece, whether you are on the road or standing in front of a classroom. 

Embroidered Mexican shirt
Image Source: Corbeto’s Boots

It is made of lightweight silk with a drape that moves well and keeps its shape. Slits at the sides add extra length to its relaxed silhouette while updating the look of any ensemble. 

This shirt features colorful printable Mexican embroidery patterns and a classic collar, which is sure to be your go-to for years to come. 

With their vibrant colors, rich textures, and intricate designs, these Mexican embroidery shirts are a fine example of this rich tradition

Choose a Mexican embroidery shirt and get ready to add some culture and glamor to your wardrobe. 

Mexican Embroidery Belt

Mexican cowboys and ranchers popularized the Mexican embroidery belt during the 19th century. The belts were worn around the waist as part of their overall outfit for work in the fields or on cattle drives. 

These hand-embroidered belt designs are colorful and beautiful. They often include flowers and geometric shapes. A thin border surrounds the Mexican floral embroidery pattern on this belt.

If you want to make a Mexican embroidery belt at home, then ensure you get cotton or polyester fabric. 

They are soft, comfortable, and a great way to show off Mexican heritage. It will also be a great addition to your collection of belts. You can wear them with almost anything—from jeans to skirts or dresses. It will go well with any color palette.

Mexican Floral Embroidery Designs

Add an exotic touch to your home with Mexican floral embroidery designs. The handmade Mexican floral embroidery is an inspiration for fine textile design. 

Vintage embroidered Mexican dress
Image Source: Fabulous Vintage Blog

It has bold motifs that lend a sophisticated yet playful touch to any space. The Mexican flower embroidery is perfect for creating colorful and intricate designs on your clothing, t-shirts, bags, hats, and more. 

It is sewn using traditional patterns from Mexico, which spans over three generations. 

Mexican Embroidery Bags

The authentic Mexican embroidery bag is perfect for carrying everything you need. Whether it be a beach trip, a day out with friends, or a quick shopping run. 

The wide straps make it easy to carry them around when traveling light and getting on with your day. They are one of a kind of hand-embroidered designs featuring authentic Mexican traditions and culture. 

Mexican Embroidery Hats

Mexican embroidery hats are the one that is a classic design made with fine quality straw and feature colorful embroidery work while using the traditional methods of Mexican embroidery. 

Embroidered hat finished
Image Source: Sulky

They are hand-stitched by local artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico. The intricate designs are rare in modern hats. Flaunt your sense of style with these embroidery hats inspired by Mexican culture. 

Mexican Embroidery Tattoo

Now that you know some of the reasons to keep Mexican embroidery art in your home, why not start with your own body? Yes. You heard it right. 

A Mexican embroidery tattoo is a form of body decoration that originated in the Mexican state of Michoacan in the early 1900s. It has since spread and evolved into an art form that has its own history, culture, and education.

The traditional Mexican embroidery tattoo was created by women and used as a form of expression. The designs were made on clothing, in favor of having them on your skin. 

In the past, women desired larger tattoos so they could have a better chance of being recognized at work or in the community.

Fernanda Alvarez embroidery tattoos
Image Source: My Modern Met

This embroidery tattoo Mexico artwork is characterized by rich, vivid colors and intricate designs, which include plants, birds, animals, and flower embroidery patterns.

They are made of small embroidery stitches in different colored threads, called bordados. It uses materials such as silk or cotton to place long-lasting artistic designs on the skin.

The Mexican embroidery tattoo designs are all unique, so custom pieces can be created if desired. It is a real work of art. 

Mexican Embroidery Cake

If you are looking for a non-traditional, lighthearted cake that will please a crowd of guests and satisfy the entire spectrum of your guest, then choose Mexican embroidery cake.

The Mexican embroidery cake is about celebrating traditional Mexican embroidery’s beauty, warmth, and color. 

It features hand-embroidered Mexican-inspired dollops of velvet on a vanilla sponge that’s filled with buttercream mousse and topped with buttercream flowers for decoration. 

Everyone adores this dessert, which comes in different sizes to compliment your party. This unique cake is perfect for parties and special occasions. It’s sure to be a hit with all of your friends. 

Mexican Embroidery Home Décor

Otomi embroidery is a rich, colorful, and complex art that is still practiced today by indigenous women in central Mexico. Otomi or Mexican embroidery art is a distinct blend of cultures. 

From the colors to the bold designs, they will become a spectacular piece in your home décor. It is an excellent way to add color and vibrance to any room. 

Otomi embroidery guide
Image Source: House Beautiful

The bright colors give a feeling of warmth, comfort, and peacefulness that no other decorating style can provide. 

Mexican embroidery home décor items also help bring an earthy, natural element to your home décor. You can be creative and mix and match different patterns. 


Embroidery, which is a traditional art form, has been practiced for centuries in Mexico. These designs were fashioned from cotton thread and beads and created for a variety of uses. From clothing to blankets and belts to bags, they are everywhere.

Today, most embroidered pieces are created on embroidery sewing machines, but the designs still remain hand-stitched, using either cotton thread or linen. 

If a piece is authentic and handmade by a woman, it’s labeled as: “Hencho a mano” (made by hand).

If you are looking to make traditional yet modern embroidery pieces, then Mexican embroidery is perfect for you.

Once you finish working on Mexican embroidery, don’t forget to check out the below creative and inspirational embroidery flowers and leaves articles by Super Label Store:

Gather your embroidery kit and create something that helps you polish your embroidery skills while decorating your home.

Happy embroidery!