Thursday, September 09, 2010

Travel tips: Beware the Chupacabras

Around here, we take our souvenirs to the next level. While in Puerto Rico this Summer, we decided to check out some gift shops near the rainforest since the rainforest was closed due to the tropical storm hovering over us for several days (yeah, yeah, you've heard it before). I hadn't really liked any of the t-shirts in the shop until I came across this AMAZING chupacabra design. Unfortunately, they didn't have any in Zadie's size but it hit me that I could buy the largest one in the shop and cut it up to make a dress.

I used this pattern that I bought off Etsy and didn't really have any problems with it. I made the size 3t. If I were to make this again either larger or smaller, I would make sure that the width of the shoulder seams on the bodice matched the straps. They are spot on for the 3 but as the pattern uses the same strap, it won't be even with all sizes.

The dress is a great fit and should also work next year. I liked how it has a self-lined bodice so it's very soft on the inside. I purposely added the black panel and off-set the image just for visual interest. I don't really like centering things (if you hadn't noticed). The rest of the fabric is from old t-shirts we have in the stuff-to-repurpose bin. I also used my machine's J foot and did faux serged seams for the skirt. That's an amazing technique and I plan to post about it.

I love the Chupa's glowing red eyes in the drawing. It reminds me of our very own mothman. Just in case you need a gentle reminder, we are huge fans of the yeti around here. My own obsession dates back to (roughly) 1983 and a papier mache project gone terribly awry. El Chupa Cabras is another of the cryptids. He originated in Puerto Rico in the mid-1990s. Some fascinating stuff. We were lucky to avoid him (probably because of all the rain).

But one of the reasons I love to travel is to learn about stuff like this. And although I knew about the chupacabras, I didn't know he was from PR. Whenever we go someplace new, I make sure to read fiction by local authors and I get as many guidebooks as possible to learn the history of the place. And buying a shirt like this and making it work really adds to the whole experience. I will keep this dress forever. I would not have kept the shirt forever had we bought one that fit.

Watch out or the Chupa will get ya! This one's female and her claws are sharp.