Dresses on vacation

I sew for the fun of it, and the challenge. Some of my efforts turn into favorites and others end up in the back of the closet. A handful are on their last hurrah by now, after years of wear and launderings. So I took them on a cruise! This one is just one year old. I never did blog about it. The fabric is cotton. It reminded me of blue willow china, which I love! It’s a fit and flare, and a wardrobe go-to.

In fact it was a retirement cruise, celebrating Roger’s tossing in the corporate ID badge and the beginning of our next adventure! It was a blast, with 21 days of Caribbean sun and breezes. This pic is taken at a rooftop restaurant in one of Cartagena’s historic districts. Amazing place. I’ll get back to that.

This trip was two cruises, one after the other, on the same ship. Three weeks, with eleven ports of call. I’m onboard  here, enjoying the warm day in a linen, made up with Pauline Alice’s Xera dress pattern. The loose fitting style makes it perfect for hot weather. And it’s a good thing there were pockets! I used them to keep the dress from flying away like my hair!

This was a trip to remember. I have enough pictures and memories for quite a travel series. But it’s a sewing blog… so just a few highlights.

I’ve worn this dotted cotton for some time now. Blogged about in in July of 2014. I made it by merging By Hand London’s Flora bodice with Christine Haynes’ Emery skirt, as I’m not tall enough for circle skirts. It’s held up well to many washings, but is starting to look tired. And it may have gotten shorter. Unless I’m getting taller. Of course! That must be it!

One of the wonders of the world, the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula are simply awe inspiring. This pyramid is the largest and most famous of the many monuments and temples. Only the priests and princes lived in the city. The culture was agricultural, with most people living in huts outside the walls and only coming inside for special occasions. Such as a ceremonial ‘game’ played with a ball in a stadium not unlike our current soccer or football fields. The Mayan feared their gods. They depended on them for sun and water – their survival. So teams played to the death. And because they sacrificed only the best, the winners were honored to die.

On a lighter note, yes, it was windy! If you look in the distance, you can see a nice tropical rain swirling behind us. The dress is a silk jersey, from 2013. I think this one performed best of the dozen I brought on the trip. Very comfortable, never needed ironing and the maxi length was nice in some over-airconditioned areas onboard.

Another Pauline Alice design. I’ve found that the lighter weight linen doesn’t show wrinkles as much as the heavier, and the print helps hide them. The loose style made it another favorite in the southern heat. This was in a farmer’s market on St Martin. The statue honors the many women who worked the land and sold their produce here over the generations.

Of course there’s always time for shopping! On this trip I bought some hand dyed batik fabric (hopefully a great post coming soon), a handpainted linen scarf and top, and a handmade purse. I had the best luck on the little island of Barbados. It will get its own post.

Here’s that blue willow dress again! With golf shoes from Icon (Monet’s Red Boats), it was perfect for for climbing up to Fort San Felipe, in Cartagena, Colombia.

The oldest and largest fort in the Caribbean, it overlooks the city and its harbor. Its history is one of battles between the French and Spanish.

Cartagena is one of our favorite places. This is the view as you sail into port. We didn’t spend any time in the modern high-rise part of the city, so I can’t tell you what it’s like, but the old town is gorgeous. Some areas are undergoing a gentrification – like this, the Jardin de Bethesda. It’s the smaller and less grand of the historic areas. But to me, the more quaint and welcoming.

You can see examples of the before and after process every where you go. But there’s probably no way to fix the parking problem! These narrow streets were made for walking or riding horses. So people park on the sidewalks.

This part of the city was once a garden, as the name suggests. Tiny row houses – former laborer or slave quarters – are going for big bucks here. People are adding second stories with balconies and modernizing inside. Outside, it seemed that people are respecting the architecture of the region and keeping with traditional colors and materials.

There are flowers and murals everywhere.

There is a lot of tourism. Despite the parking issue, it’s a great place to be. Friendly people, excellent food, music on the street and perfect weather, as long as you like it hot!

One more island shot. This maxi worked well as a beach coverup on Grand Cayman. It’s a Merimekko cotton, made up as an a-line shift with a side zip. It’s good to get your toes in the sand every now and then!

We’re home now. I’m seriously sewing for summer, inspired by the people and colors and styles of the islands. In fact I’m working on a dress right now, precisely the color of the teal you see here, between the froth of the surf and the deeper blue of the sea, along the coast at St Kitts.

9 thoughts on “Dresses on vacation

  1. Always awesome traveling with my best friend who happens to be my wife! Let’s plan the next one! Love you so much😍.

  2. Terrific post!!! I love the pictures and dresses. If it is not to much trouble, could you post the blue willow china dress? Appears to be a wrap skirt dress and I assume the bodice is lined. Which pattern? You have reminded me to get busy and start sewing my warm weather dresses. I love sleeveless dresses. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and vacation. I truly enjoyed this post. : )

  3. Beautiful dresses, perfect for your holiday! What is the pattern for your blue willow dress? It’s so perfect:)

    1. Thanks so much! It’s New Look 6824… I’ve used it over and over. You’re the second person to ask, so I’ll talk about it in my next post. Which may be tomorrow, if the rain lets up enough to get outside for pics!

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