Textile Spotlight: Serapes

I’m headed to Mexico next weekend for a girl cousin get together, and whenever I travel I always like to bring home a small souvenir. I was considering bringing home a Mexican blanket to add pattern as a cover for a light sofa.

Mexican blankets are known as serapes (or serepes), saltillos, or falsa blankets. This textile that’s been around for hundreds of years. Saltillo is the capital of the Mexican state of Coahuila and they remain famous for these multi-colored woven blankets. Serapes refers to the weaving term “serapes” that makes up the banded colorful Mexican blanket design of today. Traditionally, the largest stripe is the primary color and repeated throughout weave, along with complementary colors. Serapes include a darker base of black or brown or gray paired with stripes of brighter oranges, pinks, blues, greens, and a variety of vibrant colors, however they are also available in tone on tone patterns as well.

Saltillo serapes were ideally suited for horseback wear. In the 18th century, the Saltillo serape was worn as a poncho and served as a sign of position for Mexican landowners. By the late 19th century, the serape became a national symbol of Mexico and was worn by rich and poor. The blankets are hand-woven and the ends are usually fringed.

 

 

 

 

 

gunn & swain

 

Serapes are available in neutral or colorful patterns, they’re lightweight and washable so they make the perfect outdoor accessory for chilly fall evenings or a day at the beach. In their original incarnation, serapes were used as an inexpensive garment outdoors, as a poncho or wrapped around the body like a shawl. In modern times, Mexican serapes are as versatile outside as they are inside, and are handy for any kind of outdoor activity.

 

 

  gunn & swain / westpath

 

With their eye-catching colors, serapes can be used as any other fabric for home decor to add color or that well traveled look: think slipcovers, tablecloths, and pillows for your sofa.

 

my domaine

 

 

old brand new

Add one to your textile collection…

 

mint & orange / black & white 

burgundy & black / pink & gray 

lagoon bright blue / tan & gray

 

Remember last year when I made pillows out of cotton rugs? Do the very same thing with serapes to make textured pillows for a unique accent for your sofa or bedroom.

 

Sources for Mexican Blankets:

Gunn & Swain

Mex Craftworks

Del Mex

The Little Market

Sunshine Yoga

Earthbound Trading

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