November 12, 2022

Behind the Belts

Behind the Belts

Belts have been a part of men’s wardrobes for centuries upon centuries. For much of that time, belts were primarily used to hold tools and weapons. It wasn’t until the 1920’s that belts evolved into the functional accessory that we know today, as something that holds your pants up.

Mayamam Weavers has been making 100% cotton canvas belts in two styles for years; both embroidered or striped styles.  Four to five yards of belting are woven on a traditional backstrap loom. But first, the loom must be set up. The first step is warping the yarn on a warping wheel. After selecting the colors needed for the belt, all the yarn is wound onto a warper. It’s usually staged first on a small spool stand which makes it easier to keep it organized, particularly when there are multiple colors involved.

Before the women begin to weave, they form the yarn into a sausage, and then hook one end of the yarn to the ceiling. They begin their weaving completely at the other end of the yarn, stretching it out, beginning at about 5 yards from the end. As they weave, they move their bench closer and closer to the endpoint, slowly making their way across the room.  

For the embroidered belts, the designs are embroidered as part of the weaving process. When the lengths are finished, they are cut into the various size lengths and finished off with a scout style buckle. The weavers select their own motifs, which are drawn from their collective memory or inspired by their surroundings such as from nature, from their huipiles (traditional blouses) or the maya culture.

The inspiration for the striped belts comes from the wristbands or “pulseras” that the women weave. We offer a mix of both practical and fun colors to complement a smart casual style. 

Our belts are available on the website in 4 sizes; 35”, 39”, 43” and 47”.  Each size corresponds to the length of the actual belt and not the size of the waist it’s going to fit. In order to pick the right size, take the waist measurement and add about 4 inches. That will give you a comfortable length to overlap and pull until it fits comfortably.  It is possible to order a smaller or larger size, just reach out, let us know what you need and we can give you an estimate of how long it will take to ship the order. A sporty canvas belt just may be the useful, handmade gift you've been looking for.