Pattern Adjustments 4

Fall Fashion Begins Before Summer Sewing Ends

It’s August and suddenly my inbox and the stores at the mall are full of fall clothing. Eek! I’m not even done with my summer sewing yet! We still have a good two months of warm hot weather left! I’m simply not ready for cooler temperatures.

I was home this past weekend for the first time in a month, thank goodness! I love travel but back-to-back weekends away from home get a bit grueling. I spent most of the weekend cleaning the apartment, doing laundry, resuscitating neglected plants, and cooking (this is why I don’t sign up for a CSA – too many veggies to cook!). I really, really, really wanted to start the jumpsuit I’ve been dying to make since at least January, so consider my disappointment when I got the pattern adjusted and realized I don’t have enough fabric.

If you read my blog regularly, this will seem familiar. I've been wanting to make it for ages! McCalls 7099

If you read my blog regularly, this will seem familiar. I’ve been wanting to make it for ages! McCalls 7099

I have a long waist, and I know that jumpsuits tend to be short-waisted on me, so I carefully measured everything on the pattern and on me, and lengthened both the top and the rise and the legs. I also added some width to the legs, since the way they measured out would never comfortably fit my thighs or calves. I also figured that if I added too much, it would be easier to take in than to have minimum seam allowance to let out.

The Mechanic was doing bike maintenance at the same time. You can see why we need a bit more space! And I need a real cutting table that is the proper height. A cutting mat on the ironing board isn’t comfy. Pattern Adjustments 3Imagine my disappointment when I pulled the fabric out and decided to lay it out on the bed, just to see it. Thank goodness I did that before I started cutting out the pattern pieces, because there isn’t enough!!! Ack! Pattern Adjustments 5I ordered a bit more than the pattern called for, as I usually do, but apparently lengthening the torso, rise and leg was more that that, and the pieces don’t all fit together. I can only tighten up the spacing so much. Wah! So now I’m trying to decide how to recover – buy more fabric (which would mean buying three new yards, because it’s tie dyed, and different dye lots mean it would never match), or buy a new pattern. I barely have 2.5 yards, so there aren’t many dresses I can squeeze out of this lovely stretchy, swingy, bamboo jersey.

I found two pattern options – Kwik Sew K3489 and Kwik Sew K4026. I love K3489 because I love the careless wrap design and think it speaks well to this dye tied fabric. But the wrap doesn’t seem very bike friendly. Unlike Forest and Fin’s Bicycle Wrap Skirt, this doesn’t look like it wraps very far, and would most likely blow up as I bike. The skirt on K4026 would be perfect, and I like the drapy cowl neckline. But I just don’t think the fabric is appropriate for this more corporate design. So I’ll have to decide….  Although my new Bikie Girl Bloomers would be super cute under the wrap design!

Kwik Sew k3489

Kwik Sew K3489

Kwik Sew K4026

Kwik Sew K4026

The next two weekends are full of out-of-town guests so I’ll have plenty of time to regroup. But I don’t want to take too long to decide – fall is upon us, and I need to make this summer dress before it gets here!

In the meantime, I’m going to channel my energy into an Instagram challenge. Rachel, of House of Pinheiro, is holding a challenge to post something sewing related every day and tag her (@houseofpinheiro)  and #SewPhotoHop. I started a day late, but hope to post everyday. I’ve never done anything like this so I’m not sure how I’ll do, and I’m a bit unclear on some of the categories, but feel free to follow along to see what I come up with!Capture

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ICYMI: Reid Miller Apparel on Kickstarter

There’s another bike fashion line in town! Reid Miller Apparel has recently launched on Kickstarter, and Reid will be in Washington, DC, in a few weeks to showcase her line. I’m excited about this line because I met Reid at the National Forum on Women & Bicycling this past March and we talked about the fit of women’s clothing. She conducted a survey on women’s bicycling clothing this spring, complete with detailed measurements, because she knows that the average woman isn’t actually shaped like a fashion model – you can read her thoughts on this here. I don’t know how many responses she got from her measurements, but I hope mine skewed the average on the fuller size. Skinny jeans for not skinny legs? Yes please!

Reid has created three pieces of clothing for her first collection, basics that many women will want in their wardrobe as classics for years to come – jeans, a crew neck sweater, and a tweed blazer – and pieces that can be worn together and stand on their own.

Although I don’t need another pair of bicycle jeans, I want to try these on because I know how much research she’s done on fit and sizing, and has designed skinny jeans that aren’t cut for skinny women (Levi’s Commuter Jeans, I’m looking at you). Also, I really like the stitch detailing on the back pockets. The jeans have a high waist in the back and a reinforced crotch, and are a nice classic dark denim. RMA-112 RMA-113 (1)The sweater looks lovely – except that I can’t wear wool (and before you ask, *yes* I have tried on cashmere and *yes* I have tried on merino and *yes* I’m old enough to know that wearing wool drives me nuts because it is SO ITCHY and I can feel it through linings). I know what many people who bike love wearing wool because it is natural, moisture-wicking and doesn’t hold the stink the way many tech fabrics do. And I love that she chose to go with a waffle weave for some texture. I’m all about texture. Actually, I really love that burgundy color and could see myself wearing that a lot. RMA-070 (3) RMA-081 (4)The most gorgeous piece, however, is the tweed blazer. I have such a weakness for tweed blazers! This one will last forever, because it is made with Harris Tweed, the king of tweeds. Only woven in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, this fabric is worth it’s weight in gold. Smart to create a blazer out of this. Even smarter, though, are some of the bike-friendly details in the coat: longer sleeves, center back box pleat for movement, extra buttons in front to snuggle against the cold and wind, zip pockets in the front, and I especially love the center back pocket – brilliant! RMA-047 (2)I want to try this on as well, because I want to see how it’s lined. Luckily I will soon get a chance to! Reid is doing a trunk show at Bicycle Space, one of the best bike shops in Washington, DC. I haven’t been to the Adams Morgan location yet, which is where the trunk show will be, so I’ll get to cross off another thing from my to-do list. That will be on Thursday, August 13, from 6-8pm, so if you are in the area, come join us! If not, look for a write-up afterwards.

If you don’t need to wait for my thoughts after seeing these pieces in person, get thee to the Kickstarter and pick your prize! There are a range of options (I want the handkerchief just because I like the design), from smaller support amounts to all three pieces at once. The Kickstarter page also has information about the production of each piece, her production timeline, and stretch goals. I’d really love to see what she has up her sleeve for the Spring 2016 line, so let’s help her get there! RMA-090 (1)All photos courtesy of Reid Miller

 

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Baltimore and TDM

I am in Baltimore, MD, at the moment, to attend the Association for Commuter Transportation’s annual conference. Attendees from across the country network, present, and learn about a range of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) topics, such as carpool/vanpool management, marketing campaigns, public policy, innovations and so on.  

 Today we started off with an inspiring, humorous and thought-provoking presentation by Andrew Evans of National Geographic. He walked us through his bus-only trip from Washington, DC, to Tierra del Fuego, where he hopped on the NatGeo ship to Antarctica, and challenged us every step of the way to rethink public transportation. I wish our lunchtime guest speakers, the Honorable Dennis R. Schrader, Deputy Secretary of Maryland DOT, and the Honorable Nicholas Donohue, Deputy Secretary of Virgina DOT, could have heard this presentation as well.  

 I enjoy seeing friends who work in other states whom I rarely get to see. We have been busy, and I haven’t seen as much of Baltimore as I’d hoped/planned. We did tour the four historic ships in the Inner Harbour, however. And we took pictures on the block with the crazy bikes lanes – a sharrows that turns into a sort of lane on a one-way street with a bike lane going the opposite direction. ?!? I’m sure it makes sense when you use it…  

    

 Love the dragon boats! And love this ad on a nearby bus stop –  

  “Remind your kids to ride, respect and relax when using public transit.” Nice.

The conference will be over all too soon but the lessons and experiences will stay.  

 

Lots and lots of kids bikes....

Arlington Bike Love

I’m feeling all warm and squishy about biking in Arlington, VA. Wednesday was a very bike love day – I wore my Bikie Girl Bloomers today, got a second pair in the mail, did a bike event with kids, The Mechanic and I had an impromptu bike date, we found out that our soon-to-be-nine-years-old niece has been tearing around her MD neighborhood on her bike, and we saw two parents and daughter groups out biking tonight. Yay bike love! Bikie Girl Bloomers in actionI helped organize a bike rodeo for some Arlington Public School Extended Day students at Jamestown Elementary – 40 plus kids learning their bike ABCs (Air – Brakes – Chainring), getting helmets properly fitted, practicing hand signals, and then riding bikes in the (roped off) parking lots! It was hot but it was so much fun for them! I was so amazed and impressed by the skill and experience with which Meg from Phoenix Bikes, Erin from BikeArlington and Gillian from Kidical Mass Arlington patiently and with humor wrangled and directed Pre-K through 5th grade kids. I was equally or perhaps more impressed with the way the Phoenix Bikes kids helped out – the four of them worked on bikes, directed kids on the biking parts, and gave high-fives during the awards ceremony. I know that whatever they did created a bigger impact that us adults and I am even more supportive of Phoenix Bikes’ youth program. And can we talk about Gillian biking to the school with a push car in her bakfiets?!?!

The Mechanic actually got off work at a reasonable time, so we met at his favorite cafe in Courthouse for a light dinner. While we sat there, a huge cargo van went by, and he fantasized about the number and range of bikes he could store in it. It’s been a while since we went on a fun ride together, regardless of how short a trip, and we definitely need to do it again. Bike Date Bike Van on SteroidsI’m excited to wear my new Bikie Girl Bloomers. They are the Leaping Lady print – I don’t normally do animal prints, but these are my colors, and besides, when I took a poll at work, these got several votes. (What, you don’t ask friends and colleagues about the clothes you buy?) Leopard bloomersI am buoyed by the Arlington bike love and bike love in general. It’s hard sometimes, when you do bike advocacy work (or TDM in general, which includes more than just bikes), to not get discouraged by the resistance or outright negativity, so having a bike love day will have to get me through some of those days. That’s part of the reason why I wrote this post, so I can look back and remember that there *are* good days.

You know what else makes me feel better? A gorgeous summer day with blue skies, white clouds, bright green grass and pink trees. Just looking at this photo makes me relax. Jamestown Trees

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My Danish Bike Light

While I was in Vancouver, a colleague and his girlfriend were dashing around Europe, culminating their trip in Copenhagen. Although they were there for Noma, they graciously (and perhaps patiently on her part) ducked into a few bike shops in search of the light that goes on the front of my Copenhagen-purchased front basket. Last summer I took a picture of one when The Mechanic and I were briefly in Copenhagen, so I begged my colleague to look while he was there.

Success!  

 
He found the perfect light! Flat, with bolts that fit the panel on the front of my basket, and an on-and-off switch under the realtors.  

 
It was super easy to install, although The a Mechanic is going to cut the bolts down so they don’t snag whatever I put in the basket. I love the way it looks, too. The front basket finally feels complete.  

 
I do wish it had a blink option, and it’s not as bright as my current front light, but since I rarely ride after dark on the unlit trails, I don’t foresee this being a problem. I’m sure this light is enough for Copenhageners, who get to bike in separated bike lanes in mostly well-lit streets. (Yes, envious.) 

I also looked up Spectra – spectraparts.com – and they sell some lovely bike bags. Lesigh. The tag says “made in Finland,” although I don’t know if that refers to the card or the light, and there is a CyclEurope logo on the back. It’s hard not to be envious.

But for now I am quite happy with my Danish bike light! It feels perfectly, no?  

 

Vancouver, as seen from the SeaBus

A Close Encounter with Vancouver

I apologize for letting my blogging drop off for a while! I was in Vancouver and too busy to blog. But here is a recap of what I did!

I went to Vancouver with my best friend, to visit her sister, brother-in-law, and teenage nieces. They live in North Vancouver, a SeaBus ride across the water. I love it when ferries are part of the public transportation system! I also love it when you can walk out of the airport terminal (amazing airport!) and right onto a metro train that takes you straight to aforementioned SeaBus.

Nature Around Us

The lure of Vancouver is of course the amazing scenery. You barely have to leave the city to find it, too. Within walking distance from where we were staying in North Vancouver was not only Lynn Valley town center with coffee shops, the library, a bike shop and restaurants, but a canyon with a small non-touristy suspension bridge. Either direction took us through some gorgeous wooded paths, too. Vancouver apparently had been suffering from lack of rain, so the water levels were low, but it was still cool and amazingly clear. One evening after dinner we drove somewhere and walked along the waterfront. The beach is that rocky, full-of-driftwood sort of northwestern beach that I grew up with, and the setting sun made the colors stunning. Stanley Park was packed full of people when we drove to the Vancouver Aquarium, many of them on bikes.

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Mountain Bike City

I spent most of the trip trying to arrange a visit with Chris and Melissa Bruntlett of Modacity, as well as get to Sidesaddle Bikes (the recently opened women-focused bike shop), but alas, neither happened. The drawback to not being on your own trip. But I did go into my first mountain bike-only bike shop, Lynn Valley Bikes, and pop into another North Vancouver bike shop, Obsession Bikes (they had the cutest sleeves there that I almost bought and somewhat regret not buying). I didn’t get to bike but of course eyed the bike infrastructure wherever we went. I was impressed at the number of green lanes and separated lanes. Everyone was either on a mountain bike or had a stack of them on the back of their cars, and those who were not on mountain bikes were on city/urban bikes. I spotted very few road bikes. I guess that’s just the culture there, and with so many opportunities nearby, why wouldn’t you grow up mountain biking?!

Where We Went

Again, this was a family trip, so most of our time was spent with them. The first full day we were there was the youngest niece’s 16th birthday, so to celebrate, we all got pedicures then spent about 6 hours in the area’s largest mall. I bought a cute kimono-style blazer from Zara, visited the Roots store, and tried to check out anything else that wasn’t available in the US. Pedicures

We also went to Granville Island one day. I could have spent more time there because we barely scratched the surface. We had lunch at Edible Canada, a restaurant that focuses on Canadian products and produce. Then we checked out the vendors’ shops. I love the First Nations artwork of the area and couldn’t see enough of it. Granville IslandWe also went to the Vancouver Aquarium. It was helpful to see all the local exhibits, to get a sense of what the waters are around the area. The Sea Monsters exhibit was cool, too. And randomly, we realized at one point that we were standing next to David Duchovny and his teenage children. This was funny for my best friend and me because when she was doing her undergrad work in Seattle in the mid-90s, we drove up to Vancouver for a weekend and randomly happened to be staying in a motel where an episode of X-Files had been filmed. I guess David Duchovny and Vancouver are now synonymous to me! No photos of him, however.

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What I Wore and Bought

I took my Levi’s Commuter Jeans, my new asymmetrical reflective floral top, my ShadowplayNYC scarf, and my reflective bomber jacket, my faux leather skirt, my reflective Cole Haan shoes and my latest Danskos (among other things). I’m so glad I took the jacket – this trip cemented it’s everyday status in my mind. It looks look on and off the bike.

I bought the Zara blazer and a beautiful necklace by local artist Corrine Hunt. I didn’t pick the necklace because she had also designed the 2010 Olympic medals, but that’s definitely a plus! It’s a lovely blend of modern and First Nations designs and I’m sure I’ll get plenty of wear out of it. And somehow, it goes really well with the Zara blazer! Corrine Hunt Necklace

Blazer and necklace back at work

Blazer and necklace back at work

We found a really cool sequin dress that I might have bought if I could think of a reason to have one – the sequins were matte white on one side and gold on the other, so if you ran your hands across it, it would move the sequins around and create an abstract look. I really love this idea. Sequin DressWe also had to go to the Fluevog store in Gastown. Fluevog originates in Vancouver, and I love that they always have a full-page ad in Momentum Magazine. The shoes are so wonderful, but just out of my current budget, so I didn’t buy anything but my friend and her sister did – matching shoes! Luckily they don’t live near each other, haha! Fluevog 1What We Ate and Drank

I think I ate more sashimi over five days than I have in years. I don’t eat meat anymore but my weakness is seafood, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity when surrounded by so much fresh fish. We had a chef tasting at Brown’s Socialhouse in North Vancouver, amazing sashimi in Sushi Town tucked next to a McDonald’s, inventive sushi and sashimi at Guu Izakaya in Gastown, Canadian foods at Edible Canada, and lots and lots of local beer. Oh, and Tim Horton’s.

It was a trip that left me wanting more of Vancouver. Someday The Mechanic and I will go up and do all the bikey things I didn’t get to this trip, and explore more of the city. Me on a Vancouver beach

Asymmetrical Top Reflecting 1

Trends in Reflective: Floral Prints

Anyone who knows me or follows this blog knows that I love floral prints. Big flowers, small flowers, Liberty of London flowers, embroidered, printed, batik – just check out my Pinterest board for proof. And this summer, floral prints seem to be everywhere. Naturally, I did my best to keep up with this trend!

I’ve had this top planned forever, it seems, but only now was able to complete it. It’s Vogue V9087, an asymmetrical top that I decided was perfect for the blue floral reflective fabric I have. I hunted around for a long time trying to find a floral print to coordinate, and since I kept coming back to the same Robert Kaufman London Calling one, decided it was meant to be. And I think they go together nicely! Asymmetrical Floral Top 7Asymmetrical Floral Top 8The unusual pieces had me scratching my head in confusion more than once – I’m normally pretty good at visualizing how pattern pieces fit together, but this one was not as intuitive. Thankfully, this blue reflective fabric doesn’t have the same rubbery backing as the teal in the Hummingbird blouse, so at least it was easier to sew. Doesn’t press well, however, even with a press cloth. Nonetheless, I’m pretty excited about it. This is an unusual pattern, and makes the ditsy floral print a bit less precious. At least, I hope it does.

Some of the details up close:

Naturally, you want to know how reflective it is. I carefully picked the left side for the reflective pieces, as I feel that is where a car is most likely to see anything reflective. And the whole side, under my arm and everything, is quite reflective! (Before you get too upset, please note that we ran out to take photos in front of our apartment and I completely forgot to grab my helmet. I didn’t feel like going back to get it. So although I am paranoid and almost always wear a helmet, no helmet appears in these photos.) Asymmetrical Top Reflecting 1Asymmetrical Top Reflecting 3Asymmetrical Top Reflecting 4I’m amazed that we don’t see more garments made out of this reflective fabric. It’s just so cool! Asymmetrical Top Reflecting 2I can’t wait until The Mechanic and I have our next bike date night, so I can wear this out in public! A night when we can’t get reservations until later, so I can get the full effect of biking home after dark and lighting up the roads in this asymmetrical reflective floral top!

This will have to keep me going for a while, because I will not be at home for the next three weekends, which means no sewing. <sniff> Very sad. I can’t wait to finally start my jumpsuit, and hope to get that made in August. I covered the machines, like I’m closing up shop.

Until we meet again, old friends....

Until we meet again, old friends….

 

 

 

Target Flicker Tee Shirt

ICYMI June: More Bike Fashion Happened

Well, half the year is gone already. The Mechanic and I booked a trip for March 2016. I guess I’d better start my Christmas shopping list, since the holidays will be here soon enough!

I realized a lot more stuff happened in June that I thought it had – I thought it was a pretty relaxed month, especially compared to what July is going to be (out of town half the month, not at home for three of the four weekends!). So to catch you up a bit on other goings-ons, here are some photos:

Thor Nebula Scarf from ShadowplayNYC

Thor Nebula Scarf from Shadowplay New York

I’ve loved Shadowplay New York for a really long time, even though I’m much more into oceans and trees and flowers for patterns and prints. I love their concept of taking real NASA photos and making fabric out it them, and turning them into clothes and accessories. The first dresses I wanted were unusual shapes as well as fabric, but out of my price range, so I’ve been stalking them ever since. They’ve expanded their collection to cool mineral and meteorite prints as well. Anyway, I got an Etsy giftcard for my birthday and went straight to their page and pre-ordered the Thor Nebula scarf. It arrived in June and I love it! Its huge, and I admit that I’m scarf-challenged, but I’m going to wear it no matter what.

I normally wear small earrings with a back closure, so that I don’t risk losing them when putting my helmet on and and pulling it off. But The Mechanic and I had a date night that I wanted to dress up for and wear big earrings, so I braved the helmet strap. And it worked! These hoops are so fun, with this cool 3-D flower, but a bit too heavy, so I don’t think I’ll wear them as much as I’d hoped.

Oops, twisted backwards under the strap!

Oops, twisted backwards under the strap!

While I was making my reflective hummingbird top, I found a bird-print tee shirt at Target that I had to have. I have a thing for bird stuff (this pre-dates Portlandia, I’d like to point out), and was happy to add this stylized Northern Flicker to my collection. Target Flicker Tee ShirtTarget also continues to surprise and please with it’s bike accessories collection. They are really expanding their urban/casual bike rider line. I love the baskets and bags, and almost bought a mint green bungie net. And liked the Bell helmet that looks kinda like a Yakkay bike helmet cover.

How cute are those lined baskets?!

How cute are those lined baskets?!

Target Bell Bike HelmetI like to think that because Target is based in one of the most bike-friendly cities, they understand the demand for a wider range of bike styles.

Speaking of bike styles, one day I had emails featuring models and bicycles. Sure, two were bike companies, but one was Ann Taylor Loft! And the model is wearing the cutest floral print jumpsuit, the perfect thing to go biking in. I can’t wait to get mine made! Bike adsIt’s the Fourth of July weekend, and I need to get my latest sewing project done. I’d like to take it on one of my upcoming trips, so the pressure is on! And then I’m going to start the jumpsuit I’ve been wanting to make FOREVER (or so it seems), after doing some mad pattern measurements and adjustments. But having several projects queued up didn’t stop me from buying a new pattern – this Simplicity pattern was only to be found by an individual seller on Etsy, so even though I’d had it in my hand at JoAnn’s, I was forced to buy it before I’m ready for it. But doesn’t it scream for some reflective fabric?! Simplicity 0419July will be a month of few blog posts, and fewer completed sewing projects, I’m afraid. You can always keep up with my travels and adventures on my Instagram account in case the blog posts don’t come in fast and furious enough! I hope your summer is also full of adventures – who has fun travels planned?

Hummingbird 9

Rainy Day Reflective Hummingbird Blouse

Saturday, June 27th, was not only a rainy Saturday, it became a record-breaking day for rainfall (2.75″, beating the previous 2.59″ record of 1881) and made June 2015 the second wettest June on record since 1871. Just look at the photos and videos at the bottom of the article to see how dramatic it was.

What’s a bicyclist to do when it pours rain? Sew! I was anxious for some sewing instant gratification, so having planned ahead and trekked to JoAnn Fabrics in Seven Corners (on the bus, so I could also buy new fish and not jostle them too much before getting them home), I was prepared with thread, the Butterick pattern I wanted, and my fabric. I set aside the cool blue floral asymmetrical top for a weekend when I have more time, and cranked out Butterick B6214.

Fish on a bus! Three new Platys and a horned snail made it home on the bus

Fish on a bus! Three new Platys and a horned snail made it home on the bus

I thought this pattern was a perfect design to show off the reflective fabric from King Tech Industry I have, as well as give perfect 360* visibility for the reflective design. The fact that it is a pretty easy pattern didn’t hurt. I opted to do French seams again, because they are easy and I like the clean look. Hummingbird 5Probably because I was in a hurry, I spaced and cut out the longer sleeve pattern, rather than the shorter one designed for Version C, the version I chose. It didn’t even occur to me until I had finished the top and was putting the pattern envelope away and looked at it again. D’oh! Thankfully I had cut it out too long, but rather than try to recreate it as designed, I just shortened the sleeves a few inches. It definitely made the top look better; I am still a bit dissatisfied about exactly how boxy it is.

One of the reasons why I liked this pattern is because of the dropped hem in the back. It’s subtle, but it’s there. Just a nice touch for biking – the subtle drop will be just enough while I’m on my bike, since my position isn’t too aggressively forward. Hummingbird 7I am pretty much in love with the fabric. The lavender and teal hummingbird print is the cotton lawn I purchased at B&J Fabrics when I was in New York last month. I had been hunting for something to coordinate with the teal reflective fabric and almost missed this. I’ve never worked with cotton lawn before and I might be a convert. It’s so lovely, soft, fine, presses up well….. The reflective fabric, unlike the others I have, is very rubbery on the back, so for the first time, I tried the tissue trick – I used a bit of the pattern tissue scraps to put between the fabric and the feed dogs, plus used my new Teflon foot. It worked amazingly well! After all the projects I’ve struggled through… Hummingbird 6The reflective fabric doesn’t press well and doesn’t drape well, so it’s not really an ideal fabric for this drapey boxy top. I’m sure it won’t breathe either. But it doesn’t matter! It’s my favorite color and it’s REFLECTIVE!

Hummingbird 10Hummingbird 8The only thing that I don’t love about this top is that it is *so* huge. I’m still debating on whether or not to try to take it in at all on the sides. Normally I prefer to wear clothes that fit my torso a bit closer, so I’m not 100% sold on this shape. (I didn’t use a bunch of photos here because they made me look pregnant, which I definitely am not; that’s never a good look if you aren’t actually pregnant.) But I’m going to try it out and see what I think – and what my friends at work think. I need their fashion advice sometimes, too.

I mean, that's a lot of fabric until you get to my waist....

I mean, that’s a lot of fabric until you get to my waist…. (Also, note the Levi’s Commuter Jeans and purple Dansko heels)

I will need to test out a few different skirts and pants to figure out the best way to wear this blouse to work, but I think the fabric (both print and texture) and fun reflective fabric will win out over the fit. It’s just so pretty! Hummingbird 9

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Guest Blogger Wannabe (Pick Me!)

I got distracted last night by a pin I saw on Pinterest: BloggerCollage-600x600It was accompanied by the words “Want to join our team of Guest Bloggers?” – well heck yeah! I clicked on the link and practically drooled on my computer screen. Blog about sewing? I think I can do that!

The fantasies swirled in my head as I envisioned all the cool things I would make with Britex Fabric, for a fabric store I’ve loved since the late 1980s. It was Mecca when I was in high school and still has that same feel, despite experiencing Manhattan Garment District shops. I did make something last fall with fabric I purchased at Britex last summer, and naturally I sent that blog post in with my “application.”

I studied the current Britex Guest Bloggers, too. They look like a group of really talented people and have some pretty interesting blogs and shops of their own. It’s cool to see so many who design and sell their own patterns, too, since pattern drafting is something I enjoyed when I took the classes decades ago. Check out Grainline Studio’s collection, and By Hand London, and I particularly love April Rhodes’ “Riding Peplum and Party Dress” pattern – designed for “a horse, a bike or a motorcycle”! I feel like I need to buy that pattern just because (and one of the models is wearing the same Dansko sandals I have and love). And Jamie Christina is modeling her “Sunny Day Dress” on a bicycle! I think these people understand the sewing and biking success combo!

April Rhodes "The Riding Peplum & Party Dress pattern (image from website) - cute, designed for biking, and the blonde model is wearing my shoes!

April Rhodes “The Riding Peplum & Party Dress pattern (image from website) – cute, designed for biking, and the blonde model is wearing my shoes!

Although I got an email shortly after I applied thanking me for my application and saying I was being considered, I can’t imagine they’ll pick me. I think my sewing theme (reflective office fashion) is a bit too avant garde, even for San Francisco. But it got me thinking about my sewing and where I might want to take it next. Rather than design and sell my own line, I’d rather guest blog for other companies and review other people’s designs and products.

And continue to sew for myself. Although the pattern is a bit complicated and stretches all my spatial visualization skills to picture in my head, the Vogue V9087 asymmetrical top with the floral reflective fabric is coming together well. I’m trying hard to get through the work week until Saturday when I can sit down again and SEW! My fingers are itching to get this done and start the next project! I definitely identify with this funny blog post on the McCalls Pattern Company Blog, about what happens to the writer when she goes too long without sewing. I’m glad to know it isn’t just me who feels this way! Check out all the comments!

V9087 coming together

V9087 coming together

I don't know how this fabuous floral reflective pattern will read to others but I LOVE it!

I don’t know how this fabulous floral reflective pattern will read to others but I LOVE it!

Funny how I can’t seem to get away from the need to design and sew…