Posts Tagged ‘clothes’

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on a McCall’s pattern for a scooter skirt from 1969. I bought it thinking it’d be perfect for bike riding, then when I opened it and saw there were only five pieces and five steps I thought it would be a piece of cake! I’d had this gorgeous dark purple and blue 100% linen plaid material I got to make a dress/jacket combo. However, when I took the jacket pattern pieces out of the envelope, I panicked, and put the whole thing away. Then I found the scooter skirt pattern and knew it would be great in that plaid! It’s basically a pair of shorts with a flap at the front and at the back.

Because of interning it’s taken me two weeks to finish, but that’s another blog post. At some point I’m going to have to get off my duff (maybe when I’m drawing a paycheck) and sign up for some sort of intermediate level sewing class because there’s still tons I don’t know about sewing. The zipper nearly drove me bonkers and in the end I just sort of winged it, doing something between a lap zipper and an invisible zipper. At least I used the zipper foot. I had the problem with a sort of “dip” at the bottom of the zipper that I was warned about if I didn’t sew from the bottom up, but after two tutorials and two books, all of which told me different things, I was sick of it and just got it in however I could because I was afraid if I didn’t, I wouldn’t. It had been sitting there waiting to be put in for a week as it was.

Then, I couldn’t figure out how to do the bottom hems like the pattern wanted so I ended up just doing a double-fold seam so the linen wouldn’t fray. The machine’s manual gave me the hint to cut corners off at certain parts so there wouldn’t be too much bulk and I must say, I’m super happy with the result! I opted to slipstitch the rest of it b/c I didn’t know how to do an invisible stitch and couldn’t figure out if “blind stitch” was my English machine’s manual’s way of saying that.


To top it off, when I got to the snap at the waist band, the two ends didn’t meet up flush, and then I sewed the snap on the wrong side. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. Oh well, this is one of those things where if I don’t tell people about it they won’t know it’s there. And of course, here I am, not only telling but showing. But I don’t know how the sides ended up not matching, so I’ll have to be more careful when I make them next time because THEY ARE AWESOME! I also plan on trying to make them not quite as wide through the legs, because as you can see, they appear to be at least an inch and a half wider on either side than the picture indicates. I don’t think I’ll adjust them quite that much, though.

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Since arriving in London two weeks ago, it has been go! go! go! and I have been riding my bike at least 10 miles nearly every single day. Several days it was more along the lines of 20-30 miles a day. After four months, during which time I only managed four rides, I have lost nearly all of my conditioning and I feel absolutely pathetic on the bike. It was worse before I got my Evelyn back, as the wedding bike is really only a shopper and thus not conducive to even long-ish rides. Both of us can see the change in my pace and I have suffered some physical ill-effects, such as pain at the SITS bones and chilblains. I need more wool socks, new shoes, maybe one more wool sweater and then it’ll be up to my body to re-acclimate to the life of a cyclist.

The boyfriend and I clearly have different paces now, and I’ve just had to accept that and let him go at his pace and me at mine, with him checking in on me and slowing down when necessary. At a certain point my legs just won’t give me any more. So I try to eat healthily, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep (ha! even my hair is tired!) and just keep riding until I’m back up to speed.

The roads at night have been a bit treacherous, you can see frost on the ground sometimes! It’s gorgeous but makes us a bit nervous about taking turns at high speeds, which, after all, is better for me anyway right now! ; ) It is bitterly cold in London, layering is a must, but I have to say, my Milwaukee ES Hoodie is really doin’ me right. Hat, scarf, good gloves, 1 merino wool layer, 1 long-sleeved shirt and I’m set. It’s surprising how warm your body becomes once you get going on the bike.

But for now, the sun is shining, I can actually see blue through the clouds, and it’s time to get on with my To Do list.

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1) Decide to knit a cowl from a pattern, in the round, on the first try knitting, ever. Fail miserably, rip out 7 times before finally deciding to give up on the pattern and simply knit it. Realize have forgotten how to cast on in the two months since you learned.
2) Decide to purchase silk taffeta for your wedding gown and make it at home.
3) Decide to overload your poor mother with patterns for a) wedding gown, b) mock-up for wedding gown (silk taffeta being a terrifying fabric), c,d,e) cotton blouses, f,g) wool skirts, h,j) cotton dress and matching jacket, and k) silk blouse with dolman sleeves. All vintage, all purchased in frenzy of eBay, etsy and other online searches, within about two weeks.
4) Decide to take on J (matching jacket) by yourself, when your mother is not home to troubleshoot. Get about halfway through before machine decides to pitch a fit.

On the whole, my crafting skills aren’t all that fantastic. I rely on my mother and on whim and on luck. I do have some sewing skills but they are leftovers mainly from middle school when I could still get away with running around in a halter top without wearing a bra. Still, I want to sew, I want to make things, and I am blessed with a boyfriend who likes to do the same. He made me the most fantastic birthday present ever last year, a custom-made tool roll for bike tools! On a background of blue-green (my favorite color), he’d cut out of felt a bicycle and the flowers it trailed, sewed it all together, covered it in plastic and made little pouches on the back for it all! I couldn’t believe it when I opened it up. Also, the awesome PB Tools rainbow hex key set I had no idea I desperately needed.

I’m pretty proud of the progress I’ve made on the jacket. It’s good to know that not all items of clothing I may have the skills to make are boxy, boring affairs. Nor that I am relegated to making pillow cases for the next year. I just need some more experience and continued access to my mother’s stash of fabric.

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Yesterday I received in the mail a package of clothing from the States. Ahhh…bliss, I’m wearing all my favorite summer clothes again. Cute tops, my shorts and capris (thank god, no more hot denim in the sun!) and even a few dresses! It’s enough to lift my spirits. Spirits have been low lately due to a lack of information on the job front and a lack of ability to work in NYC during the time I have to go back to the States. As I am still not registered with the GSCC, finding jobs in London has been difficult. It’s not impossible but it looks as though I’ll have to go out of even Greater London, into nearby towns like Essex or Hertfordshire in order to find work. At the very least it will be good interview practice as I haven’t interviewed anywhere in the last four years.

Last week I saw cricket played, and participated in the playing, for the first time in my life. I’d seen maybe 45 continuous seconds of cricket, in a movie, once. Maybe 2 seconds on t.v., before someone changed the channel. The rules of classic cricket, as taught by children, are rather easy to grasp and I have to thank my bicycle riding for enabling me to chase after tennis balls for an hour and a half straight. I even got to hit the ball using one of those bats I first saw in Shawn of the Dead. Yep, I’m American.

Recently changed back to the 19t cog at the back and have bitty knee pains. We did this b/c the boyfriend sold me the excess set of wheels (Miche Primato hubs laced to Araya CT-19N gunmetal grey rims if you’re feelin’ nerdy) and I have to give back the 20t cog I was borrowing from someone else. Mostly cos I didn’t feel like cleaning the 20t cog. So, in short order, I will have almost everything new on my bike. Bought a new crank set (the bits that the pedals attach to and including a 47t chain ring) that is the correct length for me, have new bars (need a new stem), have a “new” seatpost, new wheels, and am picking up a new saddle on lend tomorrow.

It will be nice to really suit the bike to me. Then I’ll need to sell a few bits & bobs, which will make up what I have had to lay out to get this stuff.

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