Traditions by the Sea

We are so pleased to welcome Muriel Romero, a member of the Twig + Tale Storyteller team, to the Twig + Tale blog.  In this beautiful photo essay, Muriel takes us on a trip to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain, and discusses how family tradition inspired her to sew a very special Forester Coat for her partner.  

Traditions have no scale.  They can be something small, occurring daily within the home, or they can move into an entire population.  And when they pass from generation to generation, they become something great and beautiful.  My beloved's family has had a second residence in Sanlúcar de Barrameda for more than 100 years.  They went there not only in the summer, but to enjoy any vacation or holiday whenever they could.  His parents carry on the tradition and we enjoy visiting the city whenever we can. 

In the background of the following image, you can see the old ancestral house, Villa Luz.  Unfortunately it is no longer owned by the family, but from the actual family home you can still see the beach and we have not lost contact with the city and its atmosphere.  So there was no better place to show you a garment sewn with a lot of love than this place that is home to many of our memories.  

Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a coastal city in the South of Spain.  It is a natural port, located right at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River, in the province of Cádiz, Andalusia.  It is one step away from the Atlantic, but it is really the river that bathes its beaches.  It is a seafaring city of fishermen, marked by the rhythm of the food market and the afternoons at sea.  

Its golden sand beaches are perfect for taking long walks or going on photographic explorations and capturing memories of the fishermen's boats, the salt flats or the port.  Just on the other side of the Guadalquivir River, you can glimpse the province of Huelva and the Doñana National Park, a protected natural area where you can see numerous species of birds throughout the year because it is a place of passage, breeding and rest for thousands of them. 

An Inspiring Location

Inspired by this place, I decided to sew for Nacho, my love, a light, waterproof coat, in which he could walk along the coast on cool summer nights and days when the winds blow strong.  My first encouragement came from the sea in winter: deep blue or grey.  But Nacho remembered that as a child he had a yellow raincoat and wanted to bring that memory to the present by choosing a mango-coloured softshell for his garment.  

He usually dresses in sober tones, but sometimes adds points of colour and light to his day to day.  I loved the choice and being able to relive childhood next to the waves with such and intense colour.  

Like the Sun

The main colour was decided!  To give it contrast, we decided together to put as many of the details as possible in black, but only in the interior!  It would be like a shared secret that will only be seen when he wears his coat open or takes it off.  

The Forester Coat pattern is designed to be sewn with two layers, but because of the type of fabric I chose, I decided to keep the fleece back of the fabric visible.  For this I had to think of a way to solve the seam allowances elegantly and I found the solution using bias tape.  In this way, the finish would be impeccable inside and out and would add the extra touch of contrast that we were looking for. 

Step by step and thinking carefully about each stitch, the coat has been taking shape throughout the months of March and April.  I like to sew slowly, giving myself time to pay attention to the details, enjoying the process and putting all my love into it.  I like to do it this way with all my projects, but in the garments that I sew for the people I love, I take even more care.  

A Coat to Walk Around the City and the Beach

The artistic heritage of Sanlúcar de Barrameda is wonderful.  In this city you can visit castles, old convents, churches, walls, palaces, interesting historical buildings and old wineries where Manzanilla Sherry, a typical wine from the area, is made.  

We love to stroll the small streets of the historic centre, stop at a street stand to have churros for breakfast and then pay a visit to the food market.  There you can find fruit and vegetables from nearby producers, meat and, above all, fresh fish from the coast.  It is a spectacle to see the boxes full of fish, crustaceans and molluscs and the bustle of customers choosing their groceries.  

This relationship with fresh products has meant that this year, Sanlúcar de Barrameda has been named the Spanish Capital of Gastronomy 2022.

A Day at the Races

One of the most spectacular traditions is the horse races on the beach that have been held every summer since 1845.  After checking the days of maximum low tide in August, six days are selected to hold a series of races.  It is a very intense experience to have the horses and the riders so close, in a very relaxed way, unique in the world.  People line the shoreline, in bathing suits, and attend exciting races with family or friends because it is an open and free event that anyone can attend.  

During the last race, already at sunset, the sea breeze begins to cool the atmosphere and it is necessary to look for the warmth of a light jacket.  I am sure that this summer, Nacho will not be lost in the crowd.  

Muriel loves architecture, photography, design, illustration, sewing, knitting and cooking and is obsessed with details.  She lives in Andalusia and has a small design studio with her partner.  You can find her work here.