Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

La Falda del Mercado

So here it is, finally, my Meringue. I know, I know, you’ve been waiting with bated breath, desperate for a glimpse at my final version. Or I suppose I should say my first final version, because despite my initial mild reaction to this pattern, I do believe it may have stolen my heart. As long as I eliminate the scallops. And add a waistband. And do all kinds of other stuff to it. Like you do. But still, the shape of the skirt, the simplicity of the design, the placement of the darts, I’m into it! Which is fairly indicative of my character, really, I’m slow to fall in love, but once I do, no skirt is safe.

So here it is, in all it’s bright and gently garish splendor:

Boom, baby!  When I saw this fabric I thought, that is just perfect for Puerto Rico, and lo and behold, it totally is. I even found a house amongst the brightly colored buildings in San Juan (our own house is a brilliant aquamarine, just to give you an idea) that this thing literally matches. Check it out:

Right? Chartreuse, meet Chartreuse. You kids have fun

I wore this skirt to the open air market in Viejo San Juan.

The market has been there since 1847, at least, and was once, I assume, probably the bustling epicenter of commerce in this tiny colonial town. Now that tradition has been revived, and I’m so excited about that.

I’m going to stand on a soapbox for about five seconds and decry the sugar (read rum) industry that supplanted natural sustainable agriculture and the tourist industry, which, while generating income for the Caribbean, has placed a strong emphasis on the importation of goods and almost no emphasis on the quality of life of the actual people who live in these “island paradises”. But I think that’s changing in Puerto Rico, and hopefully in the rest of the Caribbean, and this market, with its organic and local produce and goods, hopefully heralds the return of a sustainable island culture.

Okay, off the soapbox. Sorry. Pretty pictures!

I made this up in a size 8, which fit me much better then my muslin in size 6.

Don’t you agree? I added a waistband, using Sarai’s lovely tutorial, and I used the same zipper insertion technique from the Clover pants.I used a cream-colored invisible zipper I got in a bundle of about 100 9″ invisible zippers for 3 dollars.

The fabric comes from the hoarder stash.  I think its really upolostery weight fabric. Can you imagine having a chair made up in this? Amazing.

I stitched the hem by hand:

I think I  match the brilliant colors of the market quite well:

Local Coffee

Want to see a bunch of machetes getting swung around? Come to the Caribbean and make all your dreams come true.

Puerto Rican Hipsters!

And my Mama matches too, don’t you think?

And I couldn’t help but adore this sign:

So if you are in San Juan any time soon on a Saturday, do check out El Mercado Argicultura.

Of course, you may not look as awesome as I do in this skirt. That’s okay. No one’s perfect.

Glamour Shot!


Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Fabric, Sewing, Vintage


Happy March, everyone!

I’m off today to Puerto Rico for a four-day trip, so I wont be back until Monday evening, but I wanted to leave you with my March crafting plans! Looking ahead, which is what I do, I’m a planner, I can tell that March is, more likely than not, going to be a bitch, schedule wise, so let’s hope I can actually accomplish the list of things I’ve created in my sewing notebook (that charming little covered moleskin featured in my Jump Or Be Pushed Jacket photos)! But at the very least I plan to continue with my Sew Colette challenge (expect a final draft of the Pastille to come, and then it’s on to the Truffle!) and I’m also joining in on the Mad Men Challenge, and I’m using this pattern:

To make a replica of this dress:

I was totally going to go Trudy, guys. I mean, everyone is going Joan, you know? I don’t want to be a follower….But in the spirit of the replica, and in an effort not to buy any new fabric I would rather “shop” my stash and Joan it up. However, in my defense, it’s also reminiscent of this awesome dress worn by Dr. Faye:

Nice, right? Oh, Dr. Faye, you were so awesome. Don, I love you, but you are a stupid stupid man. Megan? Have you seen her TEETH? COME on.

As an added bonus, I may or may not also make this, just for kicks:

Oh! And the lovely Lavender of the delightful Thread Square has gifted me with an award! How lovely is that! This is, in fact, why I think of her as lovely Lavender…(and have you SEEN her Sew Weekly contributions? Girlfriend is on FIRE)

My face is just one giant blush right now. Just one big giant blush.

And now I’m supposed to pass this thing along. So pass it I shall!

According to Lavender:

The Liebster Award is designed to send some love to the online stitching community, and when giving the award, one should stick to blogs with under 200 followers. (Note from Leah: I don’t know how to gauge this, so I’m just going to give it away willy nilly. Just try to stop me.) In other guidelines:

  • You must acknowledge the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  • Give this award to 5 other bloggers. Please let them know through a comment on their blog.
  • Post this wonderful award on your blog.
  • Bask in the glory bestowed upon you and appreciate all the amazing bloggers out there.
  • Enjoy and spread the good vibes around.

I can totally do all of those things. Thank you, Lavender! So here are my five choices, though I can honestly say that ever blog I read deserves an award! Thank you all for your lovely creations, wonderful stories and awesome advice. Go forth and enjoy your awards!

Cindy of Cation Designs

Misty of Misty Skies Aloft

Natalie of Splatastic

Kelli of True Bias

Leah (awesome name) of A Vintage Thread

Now, I’m off to San Juan, and in my bag I’ve got at least 3 garments to photograph in the hot Caribbean sun. Have a lovely weekend, folks! Anyone up to anything fun? March crafting plans? Upcoming trips? Share is out!


Filed under Inspiration, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

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

The Dear Betty Dress

I went back and forth and back and forth about what to name the dress I made to wear on my birthday to dinner. The Buddha Thai dress? (The delicious latinoasian restaurant at which we supped, in the ever so tourist Condado). The Green Roof Dress? (We have a green roof at our house in San Juan, one of only two in the city, courtesy of David Aponte, our excellent green roof guy, and his wife, Vivian). The Viejo San Juan In The Summer dress? Eh, too wordy. In the end, I had to give it to the fabric, the beautiful teal and pink and red floral 1950’s reproduction fabric I bought from Nauvoo Quilt Co. I love the fabric, I love the dress.

Ah, flash. So unflattering. But what can you do, it was nighttime! This dress is a mixture of two patterns, a cocktail, if you will. And in fact, I had several cocktails at dinner, so….yeah, it’s appropriate.

I used BurdaStyle Pattern 2/2011 #101 for the bodice, with a modified neckline. I re-drafted the pattern to make it slightly higher (it’s, um, a little low, guys, and I am not what you might call ungenerous in the curve department) and I gave it a slight sweetheart shape:

In this photo you can see both the neckline AND why I would want to raise it. That’s called multitasking.

So shiny. Hey, it’s HOT in Puerto Rico. Hell, it’s hot in Philadelphia, people, we hit 100 today.

The skirt pattern is from Angela Kane’s FREE PATTERN, the pinafore. It’s more fitted then my usual style, but that’s okay, I’ve really been trying to make different kinds of things, and as full skirts are so my thing, a fitted skirt seemed appropo. Nothing says 24th birthday like a fitted skirt, right? I actually made this dress over a period of two days, and really rushed at the end to get it done. Machine hem, some small mistakes at the back, whatever. It’s my birthday, I’ll screw up stitches if I want to!

Yeah, it’s a little pin up. But hey, the fabric is called “Betty Dear”, right? No use not dealing with the stereotype as it comes.

“Honey, what’s for dinner?”

“Oh, let me check”

“Ummmm, rum?”

“And ME.” (My mamala said, wow, that’s a cheesecake shot. She is such a vintage girl at heart, really.)

And, just for good measure, one without the belt, in the bright light of day:


Filed under Burda Style

The Parque De Palomas Blouse

Paloma is a beautiful word for what is in reality a very ugly thing, and that would be a pigeon. But for some reason Puerto Rico loves itself some pigeons. Not only are they fed with abandon, flying rats that they are, but they even give them love in the culinary culture. No, squab isn’t a big deal there, and frankly, that wouldn’t be love but hate, allow us to fest on the tiny stupid pigeon bodies….ahem, excuse me, I’ve gotten carried away. No, in Puerto Rico they use a word for beans that isn’t used anywhere else. In the world. See, for most of the Spanish speaking world beans are frijoles, but not in the struggle that is PR, no, they call beans habichuelas, or pigeon peas. See? See the love? It’s insane.

And of course there is a park, in San Juan, a little patio, really, called Parque de Palomas, where, on my actual real life birthday, I made my mother shoot photos of my second attempt at Butterick 7490, this time in a white shirting from my grandfather’s attic stash, and a re-drafting for a keyhole neckline:

What did I change? Well, the neckline, obviously, which I like a lot, the keyhole neckline just feels very vintage to me somehow. I also finished off all the hems with self-made bias tape, and I took the darts in the front in by an inch each, which I think gives it a move fitted shape:

Of course, this looks silly with this skirt, so I tuck it in, and that defeats the purpose of the fitted shirt. I’m a smart one, me.

It’s a cute skirt, though. It was on sale, many years ago, at Anthropologie, and I bought it, didn’t like the length, never wore it, then, just recently, chopped it up at the hem and look at me, making it work!

That thing I’m leaning against is one of the most famous monuments in San Juan. It’s actually a shrine, but a particularly picaresque one, and if you’ve ever been to San Juan you probably have a very touristy photo of you by this little chapel. It’s called the Capilla de Cristo and has an interesting and predictably wacky series of myths and stories surrounding it. Not at all the sort of thing a nice jewish girl should be posing against, right?

Of course, I love this arch anyway, because it’s beautiful, and because it’s right by the place where we go to get our nails done. It’s a rare treat for me because I always ruin them right away, and this was no exception. Sigh.

Sad Face.

But why call this blouse the Parque de Palomas blouse? Because the Capilla de Christo is RIGHT NEXT TO the Parque de Palomas! Islands are cool.

A place in which you will see cool trees:

And little lizards (largartos)

And strange young women posing:

And palomas. Lots of em. 

Oh, well, all you can do is smile.

And fantasize about murdering all the palomas you can find.


Filed under Butterick Patterns, Clothing, Sewing, Vintage