Thursday, December 25, 2014

Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad is the holiday greeting used here in Puerto Rico,  where my  family and my sister's family are for our holidays. 

The latest garment out of my sewing room was one  for the trip.  Yes, it is a two piece bathing suit. Yes, it is for me, Yes, my age is closer to 60 than 50. A two piece? yes! Why? Because I can.  Because I am not dead yet!

The fabric is a snakeskin print swimwear fabric from   Quality, adult themed printed swimwear is one of the hardest fabrics to find, even from online vendors.  When I saw this, I hit the Buy Now button even though shipping from the west coast is not cheap. The top is  Butterick pattern 6578, a OOP pattern from 2000. It has halter straps extending into princess seaming on the cup.

  The pattern had pieces for A/B cups and C/D/ cups.    The suit is lined with a skin colored knit swim suit lining. I used the zigzag stitch on my sewing machine to apply the elastic to the inside of the suit edges so I would have control over the stretch of the elastic in key areas of the suit  that have to be snug fitting.  I used my  cover stitch machine for the final finish, turning the elasticized edge to the inside and top stitching with the coverstitch . It was the first time I had used coverstitch for this purpose.  I was impressed by how quick and easy it was .

 The suit bottom is copied from a RTW bottom that fits me well.  I have sewn exercise and swim wear for over 30 years.  I have the same problems with swimwear bottoms that I have with slacks.  Typical pattern drafts  assume that someone with my hip measurement has a booty. Nope, my caboose is wide and flat.   The patterns have too much fabric in the center back and not enough width to cover the assets. When I found this RTW bottom at an end of summer sale, I was delighted and have made a pattern from it.

How did we come to be in Puerto Rico?

My niece’s boyfriend S. is from PR and he suggested we visit and he offered to show us around.  We jumped at the opportunity.  We  rented a lovely modern house  in the town of  Luquilla through the website VRBO (vacation rental by owner).

   Puerto Rico is a US territory.  I won't go into the difference between state and territory, but what it means is Caribbean island passport required. While the cars and road infrastructure are very American, the language is definitely Spanish, and there is a district culture.  We did all the touristy things, like visiting Old San Juan,  and hiking through El Yunque tropical rain forest.

San Juan

Waterfall - El Yunque Rainforest
We took the ferry over to the island of Calebra for a day trip. It has beautiful beaches and snorkeling. It made me angry to read that  the US Army used the island for target practice military exercises until 1975.  As a result there are abandoned tanks scattered about the island which the locals have painted in interesting designs, prettying up the eyesores.

Tank on  Calebra
 In the central part of the island, the cousins zip lined from mountain top to mountain top, 680 ft over the trees . Sis and I watched, taking pictures with the 300x lens of her camera and still only catching small dots moving across the spaces between landing spaces.
Ready for Zip Lining

The guys went deep sea fishing, and caught mahi-mahi, which made a tasty dinner.  Though anyone who has paid for a fishing charter trip, knows that is the most expensive fish they will ever eat.  We also ate at the local barbecue places like Bebo's below,  waiting in long lines for roasted ribs and chicken, rice and (crowder) peas, yucca with onions, and  blood sausage.

 Every morning we visit a local  neighborhood bakery for fresh pastries.   S's family really made us feel welcome. His mother cooked special snacks for us. We ate at his cousin's restaurant, visited his brother at work in Old San Juan, where his boss insisted on giving us free drinks. And yesterday, S’s extended family invited us to their  Christmas Eve party. It was held in a residential neighborhood at the home of his great uncle.

 The meal featured  lechon asados,  roasted suckling pig.

 Some of my family made the trip to the pig farm  the day before to pick out our dinner.  I did not. The party was wonderful, everyone was very friendly despite the language barrier (I speak some French, DS1 is studying Italian, but  no Spanish). There was lots of food, drinks, loud music and lively dancing by people of all ages. It was a lot of fun.

We are already talking about coming back to this lovely island, with its friendly people, and lots to see and do.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

UFO no mo'

I am so proud of myself. I sewed up two UFO’s.

 A pair of pants that I had pre cut and planned to  sew during a sewing retreat this past Jan.   The arrival of the sign up sheet for the 2015 retreat guilted me into finishing  them.  The fabric is off white wool, the pattern a copy of a favorite pair of RTW.  I added hidden pockets in the seam of the waist yoke.

  Pockets just big enough for a few dollars or a charge card. Located in the hollow between my tummy and hip.  That got  me thinking about pockets in women's' pants.  Locating a pocket can be problematic, what with all those curves in the waist to hip area.  Where to find a place for multiple layers of fabric to lay flat.  Not many places on my body.     As I hung the finished pants on the sewing room doorknob, the staging place for garments on their way to my closet, my eye fell on a partially finished jacket I made at the same retreat, using the pattern from  Burda 2/2013 jacket 107

The fabric is a cotton poly jacquard geometric strip.  Just a note: I have decided if the fabric I have used for the garments I blog about was not purchased from Fabric Mart Fabric, I will tell you. Otherwise just assume that is where it was purchased. The jacket pattern has a wide V neck,  and the side  panel  extends from side front to side back.  No side seam.  One less seam to match the stripe on. I took a tuck in the front so that the center front met but did not overlap.


 I hadn’t been able to find the perfect trim for the jacket yet, but there was a 2nd choice trim pinned in place since Jan.  At the rate I was going on finding the perfect trim, I thought I might as well wear the jacket with trim #2 til then.  In 45 minutes the trim was hand tacked in place and the jacket was ready to wear.   Why didn’t I do that sooner???

Close up of Trim

Burda Jacket 2/2013 107


And I finished a basic shirt,  New Look 6266, with  front and back yokes and  side bust darts.

 The fabric, a brown cream animal print, was from a free fabric bundle. A poly rayon challis blend by the feel of it.  The blouse fits well, but the extra fabric in the waist area reminded me of why I prefer blouse patterns with waist fitting, using either darts or princess seams.

New Look 6466 Blouse


But a jacket  hides the extra fabric at the waist.


Since I had a mini coordinated wardrobe going, I went stash diving  and found some other  fabrics that could be used to continue the color scheme. More to come