Tag Archives: Nautical

The San Cristobel Skirt

There are technically three forts that once defended San Juan from pirates and foreign (i.e. non-Spanish) invaders. Puerto Rico was, in it’s conquering from those pesky indigenous Tainos, one of the first colonies of the Spanish Empire, and it was conquered by Columbus on his second trip West. Originally the entire island was called San Juan for St. John the Baptist (fitting, I suppose, it is surrounded by water….) but as Puerto Rico was such a rich port (get it?) the moniker faded from all but the city itself.  San Juan actually faces the water on two sides, there is a harbor and there is the sea itself, which frequently rinses La Perla, the most picturesque slum in the world, according to many guidebooks, and hits the rocky cliffs on that side of the city in it’s salty spray. Now only two of the forts, El Castillo de San Felipe del Morro and  El Castillo de San Cristobel, still stand and you can visit them. I have been going to Puerto Rico literally since I was born, and I have never been inside either of them. The third, La Fortaleza, is just a heap of rocks, really, and not at all good for tourist photos. Sigh. You can’t have everything.

From our house in Viejo San Juan you feel like you can reach out and touch San Cristobel, named, of course, for the saint, but I secretly think it pleased Columbus’ vanity as well. But what do I know, I’m jewish. So when I decided to take photos of this skirt, a vintage pattern a-line business that I made, I wanted to include the fort. After all, I may have never been inside, but it’s nice on the outside, right?

Very fort-like, no? Enough about the architecture, let’s talk about the skirt!

Ignore the squinty face. The sun is hot and bright there. The pattern is a vintage McCall’s from the 1970’s, it’s number 8161. The actual pattern is a skirt, a vest, and a shirt. I like the skirt and the shirt, and it came as a grab bag from Kateandskippy, an etsy seller. I had to re-size it up one size, which was fine for the skirt, but I think will be a bitch for the shirt, so I don’t know if I will actually do it, or just break down and buy a peter-pan collar shirt pattern from someone else. Decisions, decisions.

I used a slightly heavy cotton I bought for 1.98 a yard and my beloved PA Fabric outlet. I wanted to cut it on the bias for the chevron effect. I must say, I don’t think it’s half bad!

It wasn’t as hard as I feared to match the stripes, and while it’s not perfect, I can live.

These little guard towers are very cute. I totally monopolized this one for my photo shoot. Sorry, tourists, stand next to a palm tree instead.

I crack myself up. You wanna see the whole thing? Okay, fine, whatever, 500 year old tower, no big deal.

Yes, it’s pretty. Matches the skirt, don’t you think?

I bought these espidrilles in San Juan, and I thought they went well with the skirt. They also pair nicely with the cobblestones of the city, which are blue, and ceramic, and horrible when wet. Bu people really love them….

Here it the view to the ocean at sunset. Pretty gorgeous, right?

And there the fort is at night. Beautiful, right? I really need to go in there one of these days….


Filed under McCalls Patterns, Sewing, Vintage