It’s July, and still the longest days of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is), there is still a ton of daylight. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about all things reflective!
I recently stumbled cross two reflective things in unexpected places: LeSportsac and Target! Who knew that LeSportsac would even make a reflective bag?!?! I was looking at their Fifi Lapin collaboration (a fashionable bunny, be still my heart!) and somehow came across the reflective bags. Reflective AND on sale, I ordered a cross body bag with no hesitation. Yes, I passed up the bunny bags for the reflective one. Thank goodness – the color I ordered is now sold out. Flat, with two front zippers, short handles on top, but with a long strap, this bag is surprisingly spacious. I was able to fit my water bottle in it with no problems the day we went kayaking. There are still other bags in this collection available, but don’t wait too long! I might buy all the rest.My Target find is admittedly pretty random, especially for someone who has short hair. By the time scrunchies came on the scene in the late 80s, my long hair was already long gone, so not only did I never like them, I never had the need. Apparently scrunchies are enjoying a renaissance, as many sewists are making them with fabric scraps. Again, not something I’ve paid any attention to – until I walked past a display of *reflective* ones in Target the other day!!! And yes, I bought one. I figure it will be a great bracelet. And maybe I’ll get another so I can wear them as wrist ruffles. There are also some to be found on Etsy, like this listing for a totally reflective one.
Another favorite place for reflective scrunchies, as well as other fun accessories, is Reflective Society. I’ve mentioned this company before, because I’ve ordered some of the buttons before. I’m currently in love with the tassel earrings and absolutely adore the little pom-pom pair. The knit reflective scrunchie seems like a good fall piece, if you are looking for one. I haven’t been doing much reflective sewing lately, but I’m gearing up for a big project. I have some luscious wool from Dashing Tweeds that will eventually become a jacket. I just ordered the lining fabric for it. I’ve been *obsessed* with this Moonglow Mystery by Abigal Halpin for Spoonflower print for years, and decided that it would be the perfect lining for the jacket. I ordered two yards of it in satin, and it feels wonderful and the print is nice and sharp. I’m taking a workshop in a few weeks at Stitch Sew Shop in a few weeks that will help us fit any pattern we want. I will definitely want a muslin for this jacket, with all these expensive fabrics, so this seems like the best way to get the best fit. Hopefully Taylor McVay of Blueprints for Sewing has a lot of patience for me, as this isn’t a quick and easy pattern. (Of course this could all go terribly wrong – I hope I can squeeze these pattern pieces out of the tweed I have; I haven’t laid it all out yet….)
So there are a few summer reflective accessories for you, if you want to add something small to your collection while I work on something big. Tell me, did you wear scrunchies in the 80s? Will you wear them this time around?
I can’t be the only person who is seeing this year slip through their fingers, can I? Is the year moving too fast for anyone else?
White embroidered tucked Butterick 5890 short sleeve blouse with gray linen drawstring Burda 6678 drawstring pants
First time I’ve used this white reflective piping and it’s pretty fabulous!
Showing off my new black linen Vogue 9091 culottes!
Admittedly, part of the reason why I’ve felt so busy is because I’ve been sewing up a storm. I’ve been trying to create some summer weather clothing, since a lot of my things from last year do not currently fit. So I made a white blouse and another pair of my favorite culottes in a larger size. I haven’t worn them together yet but they will be nice paired up. And they go with several things in my wardrobe, which means these will get heavy rotation this summer.
I finished up Me Made May 2019 having worn something Me Made a whopping 29 out of 31 days. The two exceptions were work-related. I need to make some super corporate-y things to wear to work events. Here are some of my favorites: I keep analyzing what it is about my favorites so that I can spend more time making things that I’ll actually like once I’m done. A quick read here shows that I like things slightly fitted around my waist. And prints. Lots and lots of prints. Mostly floral.
My main Me Made May pledge this year was to not buy any new patterns or fabric the entire month, and I not only survived that, I realized I have at least half a dozen things to make before I even need anything. But of course, it’s now June, and I pre-ordered some Charley Harper fabric from Fabricworm.com. It’s barkcloth, and I’m not entirely sure what it will feel like, but I love the print. It won’t ship until July at the soonest so I’m thinking a pleated skirt or maybe some sort of cocoon jacket. While all this mad sewing was going on (and a million other things) in May, what was *not* going on was all the biking I promised myself I’d do. I’m not sure I biked any day in May – bad! I need to pull the bike out and clean it up and that’s part of my excuse. Weather, work schedules, after work activities, and everything else have piled up. Maybe I need to stop considering myself a bike commuter. Or a bike rider at all. <very sad face> Ah well, it’s a new month, so many more new opportunities, right?
This Star Wars print fabric *arrived* in May, but I ordered it in March, so that doesn’t count and still supports my Me Made May pledge : )
As I previously posted, May is many many things. The one that is currently taking up most of my time is Me Made May, a sewing/knitting/crafting “challenge” established 10 years ago by blogger Zoe. The goal is to encourage us to wear our handmade wardrobe, and everyone sets their own goal. I always like this challenge because it helps me see the gaps in my sewing wardrobe. So I pledge and post on Instagram as a way to keep me on track, and to track.
The usual part of my pledge is to wear something Me Made every day. I have made myself alot of clothing, but it’s not all work appropriate, so that’s the biggest gap I’m always trying to fill. I don’t always succeed at this… For example, I always have work events in May, and haven’t yet had anything Me Made to wear for them. Last week I had a fancy schmancy corporate-y work event, and I just didn’t feel like anything I’ve made was appropriate, so I wore some of my favorite Ready to Wear. However, just so everyone was clear, I wore a sewing themed pin (that I’ve had since the 90s!), in the Madeline Albright style. The first few days I wore something that was either red or pink or orange. I swore I’d leave those colors alone after I changed my hair color but I rather liked my outfits.
On May 4th, I wore my new Princess Leia tee shirt for May the Fourth/Star Wars Day. I grew up with Princess Leia – was she my first role model? Possibly! This image is a vintage library poster, which the genius people at Out of Print turned into a tee shirt, along with some others.
Princess Leia said read, so I did!
I wore my favorite dress on my birthday, made with fabulous linen from Marcy Tilton. I also matched my floral print top with a floral labeled beer. And Gaston helped me show off my new rabbit print shirt that I whipped up ahead of going to NE Bunfest. Yes, it’s a thing. More on that in a week or so!And over the weekend I kept to my pledge of not buying any new patterns or fabrics this month so I can sew up my stash. I wore a favorite tee shirt into Joann Fabrics, and made out with only zippers and thread. Whew!
Me, fleeing the temptations of Joann Fabrics, in a Me Made tee shirt (horrible lighting, though, yikes!)
I also made a new tee shirt whilst wearing a Me Made tee shirt – so meta. Except that I don’t really need any more casual wear! I need more corporate-y clothing! I have some ideas for summer weather, I just need the time to make them.
I have another three weeks of Me Made May to go, three more weeks to see what other sort of things I need to make myself.
And….. it’s Fall! The temperatures have dropped, with a frost advisory overnight last night and chilly temps for the bike ride to work – overnight lows in the upper 30s! Besides digging out the warm bike gloves and the ear pads for my Nutcase helment, I’m happy to bring out my fabulous Dashing Tweeds reflective coat.
I love this coat so much – reflective tweed, OMG, which I bought in London in 2017 AND I think I did a really good job making this McCalls 7667 coat. It fits so well! I finished in this past February, wore it to New York, then haven’t had much chance to wear it again, let alone bike in it. So it’s very exciting to me.
On a slightly warmer day last week, I wore the dusty rose reflective duster I made from Simplicity 8055. I still can’t believe how perfectly the twill matched the red reflective fabric! It’s flat lined, so it has a bit of weight, but it’s not a *warm* jacket, nor is it meant to be. Perfect for over a long sleeved top when the weather peaks in the 60s. And how cool are the reflective “bubbles” on the cuffs?!?
I’ve also worn the reflective brocade Simplicity 8418 bomber jacket I mentioned last week. Lined with flannel-backed satin, it’s warm, even though it’s short. I don’t have any good recent pictures of it reflecting, so here’s two views from when I finished in March.
I need to focus more on reflective outerwear. I think that more should be done to encourage driver awareness, rather than focusing solely on what people walking and riding bikes wear, but I still want to make sure I am visible while I am out in the short, dark winter days. Since I refuse to just through a hi viz safety vest over my regular outfit, I focus instead on what “normal” looking clothes and accessories I can wear that are reflective and lighter colored. I’ve learned a few things along the way, so here are some tips and easy products to help.
Think about where you are going to most be seen while you are walking and biking. Focus on your back, where you can’t see who is behind you – back, waist, hips, arms, shoulders, feet. Yes, 360* visibility is important, but you can *see* the cars in the front, whereas you can’t from behind you. So make that more visible.
Consider painting shoes with reflective paint. Albedo 100 makes a spray paint in two versions – a non-permanent one for textiles, and a permanent one for wood and metal and so on. I tried the textile one on a pair of sneakers many years ago, and am considering doing the side walls of my winter boots.
Add a fun reflective button from Reflective Society – I know, I said focus on the back, and this is something to wear on the front, but I love her buttons so much! Check out the reflective lace pockets on the jeans, though – hm, total idea….
Also in the reflective accessory line, check out Firefly Reflectors. I love my reflective tassels and the adorable soft reflectors, but also check out their stickers and pins. So. Much. Fun. I hadn’t seen their new soft tassels yet – I think one of those will find its way to me this winter… (OMG, this one has *eyes*!!! I need this.)
So there are a handful of ideas to get you started. It’s much easier to be fashionable and visible than you might think, especially if you aren’t a seamstress like me. There’s always a shop on Etsy or elsewhere on the Internet to help you find the perfect reflective pieces, so you are stylish and seen. Warm, well, I can’t help you much there….
A bunch of my reflective accessories reflecting – even shoe laces!
I recently flew to Los Angeles and used my direct, 5+ hour flight to finish Bike and Bloomers: Victorian Women Inventors and Their Extraordinary Cycle Wear, by Kat Jungnickel. If you are at all interested in women bicycling, women’s fashion, fashion history, sewing, and/or equal rights for women, read this book NOW!
There is so much to unpack and process before Kat even gets into the details of the women’s cycle fashion patents that she and her team recreate that I think that will be an entirely different blog post. But let me try to summarize: Victorian women as well as Victorian men were excited by the independence and exhilaration that the new sport “bicycling” presented. However, centuries of assumptions that women were frail, unmechanical, non-sporty, homemakers, only good for having babies, and that their lower limbs should *never* be seen, presented a challenge for those early adopter women who wanted to bike in public. Kat used diaries and newsletters as well as information from the patents themselves to illustrate the nerve that was required for women to attempt to cycle in late 1880s and 1890s Britain. In her first chapter, she quotes a letter from Kitty J. Buckman in 1897 in which Kitty, a cycling fan, says that “… one wants nerves of iron.” (page 11).
I don’t doubt it – society then was much less used to norms being flaunted, unlike now when our choices are plentiful (although not always well-received). The choices faced by Victorian women when it came to cycling appear to have been: simply don’t; bike in corsets and long skirts; wear Rational Dress, the new and radical women’s fashion movement that rejected tight-laced corsets and layers of hoops and petticoats; or adapt or create something entirely new. Although some of the women Kat quotes in her book were comfortable in their Rational Dress, they recognized that not all women were. So they invented and patented outfits that made them look like ordinary Victorian women while biking safely (no long full skirts to get caught anywhere!), even while they were amazing, barrier-breaking wonder women.
This is the part where I get excited – I am totally inspired to make some Victorian women cyclist-inspired clothes. My long-time goal with sewing is to make clothing that works on the bike and in the office, without having to change upon arrival, without wearing spandex, and without looking “sporty.” Thankfully I live and bike in a time when I have choices – I can bike to work in gym clothes, traditional bike “kit” including padded shorts, a dress, jeans, skirts or whatever I like. That’s not to say that I won’t be judged for whatever I wear, because of course I will be – judging women based on their appearance is an international pastime now as it was then. But society has come to accept women in pants, jeans, and sports – even if we still have a long way to go, we can thank the women in Kat’s book for breaking down barriers for us.
ttps://tinlizzieridesagain.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=5865″ rel=”attachment wp-att-5865″> Check out this casual lady cyclist, gesturing with one hand as she tells her lady cyclist companion a story. I *love* this so much.
[/caption]But back to sewing. Although there are plenty of examples of “the ideal lady cyclist” in bloomers and blazer, what I really love are all the skirts designed to allow “bifurcation,” ie, two separate pant legs. Women invented ways to quickly and creatively convert their skirts into something bike-friendly, then just as quickly back into something that looked socially acceptable to bystanders. This is something I complete understand, although I realize that not everyone does. I don’t want to look like a “cyclist,” I want to look like a normal person who happens to get around by bike.
://tinlizzieridesagain.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=5867″ rel=”attachment wp-att-5867″> This design made me immediately think of the Folkwear Big Sky pattern.
/tinlizzieridesagain.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=5868″ rel=”attachment wp-att-5868″> This Big Sky Riding Skirt pattern looks like it would fit perfectly on a Victorian woman’s London bicycle.
inlizzieridesagain.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=5866″ rel=”attachment wp-att-5866″> Another convertible skirt-culottes design![/caption]Since
Since culottes have been having a moment this year, mainstream stores from Ann Taylor to Anthropology have been showing wide-legged pants cropped at various lengths, and I love my culottes, I was pleased to see that some of the designs look like modern culottes. I first made Vogue 9091 because it looks like a skirt but is “bifurcated” (the word makes me giggle, I can’t say it with a straight face), which makes it perfect for me. I made my first pair in raspberry linen in 2015 and another pair in navy suiting gabardine the following year, and I wear them pretty frequently in the summer. Every time I wear them, I remember how much I love them.
zzieridesagain.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=5869″ rel=”attachment wp-att-5869″> Fabulous office bathroom selfie… but I love this outfit, too, so I don’t care!
[/caption]Since reading this book, I’ve been eyeing all the sewing patterns out there to make something a bit more “skirt” and a bit less “trousers,” and I think I recently found something that might be exactly what I want – the Megan Nielsen Tania pattern. This pattern offers not only different “skirt” lengths but two different fullnesses, so the sewist can pick how much like a skirt she wants her culottes to appear. And shortly after I became obsessed with this pattern, I saw that COS has an almost identical pair of culottes on their website! Guess I’ll be super chic when I make mine.
ridesagain.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=5870″ rel=”attachment wp-att-5870″> So excited about this pattern!
COS Wide Leg Culottes
COS Wide Leg Culottes, split visible
I like these other patterns as well – this is just a sample from the McCall Pattern Company family, but many other pattern companies have made culotte patterns as well. As much as I like these, I’m more obsessed with the Tania skirt-culotte style – it seems like more of a secret, don’t you think?
Check out this casual lady cyclist, gesturing with one hand as she tells her lady cyclist companion a story. I *love* this so much.
My favorite, which are essentially Victorian culottes.
This design made me immediately think of the Folkwear Big Sky pattern.
This Big Sky Riding Skirt pattern looks like it would fit perfectly on a Victorian woman’s London bicycle.
Fabulous office bathroom selfie… but I love this outfit, too, so I don’t care!
So excited about this pattern!
Consider the politics of pockets in men’s clothing but not women’s
COS Wide Leg Culottes, split visible
COS Wide Leg Culottes
Although fall and cooler temperatures are on the way, I still want to make the Tania culottes. I think that out of a heavier yet still drapy fabric, maybe with a lining, they can still be a perfect office option – no one will know that my nice navy “skirt” is actually *pants* that allow me to easily swing my leg over my bike’s top tube and not crumple the fabric on that same piece of bike frame. Similarly to the way some Victorian women wished to appear that they were wearing skirts when they were off the bike, I too wish to appear to wear a skirt when I get off my bike. And now when I wear my culottes, and whatever else I feel like wearing when I ride my bike, I will think of those women who paved the way with their bike fashion patents, and sit up a bit straighter – no corset required.
Two weekends ago, a friend and I went up to New York City to see the Met Museum exhibit, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The exhibit explores how Catholicism inspires designers, both religious designers and fashion designers. There were pieces from the Vatican collections (sorry, no photos allowed) that had embroidery so fine that it looked like photos and gems as large as your eyeball. Then there were chiffon pieces that appeared to float in the exhibits where they were found – everything was scattered throughout the museum. Part of the exhibit was at the Cloisters, at the north end of Manhattan and in my former neighborhood, but we didn’t make it that far. We were at the Fifth Avenue location long enough, admiring everything.
The garments on display ran from the sumptuous…
…to the “mundane.” There was traditional….
…and there was modern. I particularly enjoyed the Versace dresses on display far above our heads, but felt it was a bit weird to be staring up the models’ dresses and skirts. On the other hand, it did let me see some of the structure of the undergarments. I definitely recommend the exhibit. It runs through the beginning of October, so you have time to go see it.
My friend and I inadvertently ended up dressed alike in floral shirt dresses and Dansko sandals – dresses I made! It was a whirlwind trip but we did make it to Mood, where I discovered a huge collection of reflective trims. I got white, blue and black reflective piping – expensive, but in colors I don’t have and it means I don’t have to make it myself! I think I need to call and order more… (by the way, my friend bought her purse from a street vendor on our way to the museum. It was the only one and we both wanted it, but I let her have it – then realized *afterwards* that it is reflective! And we never saw another street vendor the entire rest of the weekend!) Apparently my earthly body was feeling neglected, because I ended up in the hospital again. Three months after my surgery, and three months of constant pain, I went to the surgeon to ask when the pain would stop. After a quick examination, they directed me to the operating room of the hospital for emergency surgery! Internal stitches had popped and bad things were happening. So there I was, checking into the ambulatory surgery center in my business clothes with a full face of makeup, madly emailing and texting everyone who needed to know so I could cancel and rearrange my schedule. Although it ended up being a long day at the hospital and ended with more pain than it started, I was happy to see the same nurses I’d had three months ago. They made me feel much better about everything. One even pointed out that my nail polished matched the hospital gown! Although the repair surgery was not as dramatic (no incisions) as the last surgery, it still means no biking for a while, again, and taking it easy. I’ve been resting, resting, resting – I don’t want another trip to the hospital, no matter how nice the nurses are!
Hospital style, haha!
Hopefully this will be a fast recovery and I can get back to some sort of activity level before this summer is over. At least sewing isn’t too strenuous, right? I’ll be taking care of my earthly body from behind my sewing machine. Take care of yours however makes you happy.
I was pretty impressed with myself during this year’s Me Made May challenge – with the exception of the few days I had to wear company branded clothing and the one day I wore my Diane von Furstenberg dress for a fancy work event, I wore something Me Made every day this month. This might actually be a first. It means that I have things in my sewing collection that I like well enough to wear often. So let’s break that down a bit.
I didn’t like everything I wore – for example, I don’t love my Colette Wren dress but like it under a blazer.
Not everything fits well – e.g., the pink print duster needs to be wider across the back and the sleeves are waaaaay too short.
I don’t actually fit into some stuff I’ve made in the past since I’ve gained more weight in the last year than I should have. (#dislike)
My goal is always to find the right <dress, skirt, top> and I decided that there are some patterns I could repeat, even though I hate repeating patterns.
Having red hair now means that some stuff I made when I had blonde hair doesn’t look quite right.
I finally bought a tripod and remote so I can take pictures someplace other than my office bathroom! My Instagram followers must be relieved, haha!
With the exception of my denim lace dress, which I forgot to take a picture of, here are my top faves for this month:
As I mentioned above, part of the goal for sewing is to find styles and thus patterns that I really love and that really work for me. I’ve had a lot of trial and error, and I’m beginning to figure out things. Gaining weight hasn’t helped, because I’m disappointed in myself at how I look in things, but overall, it’s not that much of a gain that I can’t see what I like and don’t like. I still don’t have me-made pants that I really like, although I do love my culottes, so I guess that’s something. I think I need to focus on perfecting the patterns I do like, rather than just trying new things over and over.
That being said…. on June 1, I finished this dress: (Note: when I bought this fabric, my hair did not match it!)
I absolutely *love* this fabric but I tried a new pattern and don’t love it. It’s McCalls 6885, and I thought it might be a nice simple summer dress. I’m sure it will be, but I don’t think it’s very flattering. It’s rather shapeless, even with the back ties. And the collar is HUGE! I feel like I should be going to a 70s party in that collar. Maybe it will grow on me. The sleeve tabs are reflective, though, which of course I love. I was thinking that I’d make this in an autumnal plaid but I think this will not be a repeat pattern.
well, when you have to take something apart, might as well make the process enjoyable, right?
Another reason to focus on what I like is that I seem to have lost my ability to ease in sleeves properly. I think I need to make a few of the same to figure out what I’m doing wrong.
That all being said, I’m trying a new dress pattern.
I’m doing Version A of this New Look 6095 dress.
I just want a nice simple dress pattern so I can make a few work-appropriate summer linen dresses. Something with a fuller skirt would obviously be more bike friendly, but I’m not in love with the dirndl skirt style at the moment. What to do, what to do? Stay tuned!
A natural blonde of a rather boring sort, I started coloring my hair red when I was first out of high school, and have been every shade of red possible in the 1990s and early 2000s. I would actually buy hair color when I was in Germany, because so many women there had/have the brightest, most red red hair I’ve ever seen. But then over the years, I went dark brown, then gradually lighter and lighter, until the pale blonde of recent weeks.
Most recent blonde, as pale as I have been maybe forever.
The one constant in my life is that nothing is constant – I got bored and decided to go a different route this weekend. Voila! Return of the Red!
This L’Oreal Feria “Power Red” color fell into my hands in Target last week, so here we are. I love the color, properly called Cherry Crush, and The Mechanic likes it too but is having a hard time getting used to it. To be fair, it’s barely been 36 hours.
In other news, I decided to throw together a drawstring backpack this weekend. I’ve been thinking about our Disney World vacation this fall (I know, I know, it’s months away, but I can’t help myself) and wondering what sort of day bag to take. I thought this might be a good option. I didn’t bother with a pattern and just sort of made things up as I went along. It has a long narrow zippered pocket in the front, and two pockets in the back with zippers on the sides, for things I need to reach often, like my phone and maybe wallet. Made with my reflective camo fabric, I added a reflective ribbon loop to the top as well. I don’t know what drawstring I will end up with so for now it’s just black grosgrain ribbon.
I finally got a tripod for my phone/camera, too, so now I can take more interesting Me Made photos that aren’t selfies in the bathroom at work or ones I’ve begged The Mechanic to take for me. I will need some practice, though….
Speaking of fashion, did anyone else watch the Royal Wedding on Saturday? I got up at 4:30am EST to watch guests arrive so I could admire the hats and dresses. I enjoyed drinking my tea and texting with friends as everything unfolded and had to laugh when it looked like Sully wanted to get in on the action too. He and Quinn are *English* angoras after all, haha! (Aren’t the peonies gorgeous?! They are blooming in front of our townhouse!)I think the new Duchess of Sussex could look gorgeous in anything, and her wedding dress was about what I expected – simple, classic and still dramatic. I love the story behind her veil, however – flowers from every country in the Commonwealth, as well as flowers to signify Kensington Palace and California, were embroidered on it. Beyond loving the symbolism, I love anything embroidered and would love to see this close up. There’s a list of all the flowers on the royal family website as well as more details about the wedding party’s outfits. I also loved the Art Deco tiara she wore, but wasn’t horribly exited about the bridesmaids’ and page boys’ outfits. But I absolutely LOVED her second wedding dress! And the photographer who caught the fabulous photo of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their way to their evening reception has hopefully made his or her fortune with that photo! Here copied from Daily Mail:
Thanks to whomever took this photo! I’d love to see a better picture of this dress.
My favorite dress was worn by Sofia Wellesley, wife of James Blunt. The Daily Mail considers her look a “miss” (really, “too wholesome”?) but I love her REDValentino dress. Did you have any favorites?
Sofia Wellesley in REDValentino at the Royal Wedding (photo from Daily Mail)
This is the sort of thing that makes me wonder about my new red hair though – can I pull off a floral dress with crazy red hair?! I need to rethink the sewing projects I have lined up. That yellow gingham might be shelved for another time, not sure how a top out of that will look with this crazy red hair!
Let’s see how this color does over the next few weeks!
Through the magic (!!!) of Twitter, I discovered a revival in Victorian women’s bicycle fashion. Yes, Dear Readers, it’s true – someone out there is biking around London in Victorian women’s bicycle fashions. As a historian (okay, two degrees in history, even if I don’t do that for my daily job), bicycle rider and sewist of reflective bicycle clothing, I couldn’t be more excited about this!
Dr. Kat Jungnickel is a sociologist at Goldsmiths, University of London, and has recently come out with a book that explores how Victorian women adapted their clothing as they adopted the freedom of the new-fangled bicycle. I ordered it but it hasn’t arrived – I’ll update you once I’ve read it. But better than just research and write about this topic, she’s *recreated* some of the clothing AND made the patterns available for free! <squee!!!> Best part is – the patterns were inspired by patents that Victorian women themselves invented and lodged. How cool is that?! Women’s bike style, now AND then! Inspiration for all of us now.
I hope Ms. Barnes doesn’t mind me sharing her photo from the Telegraph – it’s too wonderful to not share!
Some of the clothing has been created with Dashing Tweeds tweed – yes, the reflective stuff! Check it out in her Tweet. One of the skirts converts to a cape as well, predating Cleverhood by over 100 years. Check out the article in the Telegraph for photos and more details. Not only are there some great photos by Charlotte Barnes, there are images of the original patents. Dr. Jungnickel also wrote an article for the Guardian that has examples of other patents, so you get a good idea of what was invented and what she’s had recreated. I also love the photo in the article in The Argus, because you can see the fun printed bloomers under the model’s skirt.
In the Guardian, Dr. Jungnickel shared this 1895 patent by Alice Bygrave (photo by Handout) – how cool is this?!?
Dr. Jungnickel is doing a book tour in costume and although I doubt she’ll make it to Washington, DC, or even New York, I’d sure love to meet her and talk to her about her research and costumes.
While I was reading about Dr. Jungnickel’s book, I found two other books that are related, sort of. The first is a book called Bicycles, Bloomers and Great War Rationing Recipes: The Life and Times of Dorothy Peel, OBE. The review doesn’t say much about the bicycles and bloomers part of the title, but if it’s looking at how society changed, bloomers and bicycles are an obvious place to start. The other book is titledFashioning the Victorians by Rebecca N. Mitchell. A “critical sourcebook,” this pulls together primary sources to examine how fashion changed Victorians and vice versa. This is 100% a topic that I love so I’ll no doubt get my hands on this sometime soon as well.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (as my dad always says), I threw together some bicycle fashion of my own this past weekend. I decided I needed a basic gray skirt so I pulled out some unwanted cotton/poly twill (ordered online and the color wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be) and my trusty Kwik Sew 3877 A-line skirt pattern and cranked it out. I lined it in light blue and of course added reflective piping to the side seams. I love how easy this pattern is, and how surprisingly flattering it is. The twill seems to coordinate with several tops I’ve made, so hopefully I’ll get a ton of use out of it. Wish I’d added pockets though – I always regret it after I decide against it.
Pretty basic – sorta like a flight attendant’s skirt…
“Signature” bicycle trio stitch
Lined in light blue
It’s not surprising to learn that Victorian women invented their own ways of managing their long dresses and skirts on bicycles; humans are extremely creative and adaptive. It’s so refreshing to see their designs and know that they were trying to solve the same problems that many of the rest of us are working on – how to combine a sport we love with the styles we love. But I’m grateful that we don’t have to work around long wool skirts and corsets!
A la francaise – new skirt worn with Ligne 8 striped jersey purchased from Bike Pretty and Cole Haan oxfords – and a rhinestoned beret to add extra flare!
I told you I am obsessed with outerwear right now and here’s more proof! My brocade bomber jacket is done!
I bought this brocade in New York City last year in a store that was going out of business. I am thrilled at how well it coordinates with the bronze reflective fabric from Mood.
I was originally thinking I would make a moto jacket but decided on Simplicity 8418 instead – the simpler lines allow the fabric to shine, plus this pattern includes the lining. And it has pockets! The same flannel backed lining I used on my reflective tweed coat matches perfectly with this as well. (I’m newly converted to how great this lining fabric is.)
I’m pretty happy with how easily this came together. However, I need to automatically add at least an inch to every sleeve I make. The sleeves aren’t horribly short but I would have preferred them longer. Helps keep my wrists warmer while biking.
Speaking of biking, check out how cool the reflective trim looks:
I’m excited to have a dressy casual jacket that I can wear a multitude of ways.