Celebrating My Mid-Life Crisis

Last week I turned 45, and as it is more or less the middle of my life (3 of 4 grandparents lived into their mid-90s), I figured it was a good time to have a midlife crisis. So instead of running off with a younger man (done) or buying an expensive sports car (why?), I opted for two different things – modeling in a fashion show and a weekend trip to London!

I get my hair done at a local Aveda hair salon, Casal’s de Spa and Salon, in Clarendon. I have always been a big Aveda supporter, because they do so much good stuff for the environment. Every April they celebrate Earth Month by focusing on protecting clean water, and salons around the US have fashion shows to fund raise and showcase their stylists’ skills.  So when my hair stylist asked me if I wanted to be one of their two models in the DC area show, I hesitated only briefly. I did have to audition though – that was nerve-wracking enough! I hadn’t thought much about the actual show until we got to the venue. Honestly, being up on that stage by myself made me so nervous that I thought I would collapse! But I was enormously proud of the team of stylists from Casal’s who made the outfit, all from recyclable materials from the salon, cut and colored my hair, and did my makeup, and thrilled that my look won best overall of the show! And now I can add “runway model” to my resume!

Plastic caps, hair color tubes, shampoo and conditioner bottles, and signs and placards make up this outfit, all on a base of an old pair of jeans. The white lashes are individual strips of paper glued on. I wore my own flat shoes, because the stylists didn’t want me towering over everyone else.

Then, a few days later, The Mechanic and I flew to London!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We had found really inexpensive flights, so we went for a long weekend. We arrived on Friday and returned on Monday, giving us three and barely a half days to explore one of the biggest and most exciting cities in the world. I had last been to London in 1990, on my first trip out of the US. I didn’t remember much of London, so it was great to run past all the major sights. And although my girlfriends and I saw Princess Diana in the Natural History Museum in 1990, The Mechanic and I didn’t see any notables on this trip. Of course, I was too busy shopping to pay attention!

And shopping I did – on my list were Liberty of London and Dashing Tweeds. I planned on buying fabric at both locations. I simply *adore* anything Liberty of London, and although there were so many beautiful fabric options, I ended up buying the star print Tana Lawn cotton I wanted. Then at the last minute, I grabbed two pre-made handkerchief/scarves in prints I also loved. Dashing Tweeds is the menswear shop that makes bespoke suits, including lovely reflective tweed suits. They sell their Lumatwills tweed fabric, so naturally that was what I was after. I wasn’t planning on getting more than a yard, but the burgundy color I wanted had a yard and a half on the bolt, so of course I bought it all. And a cap in basic gray. I think I know just the coat pattern I want to use this on…

Then there were the spontaneous purchases – the most amazing shoes ever and an adorable rabbit purse. The shoes are from Cordings, a shop I’d never heard of before, but we walked in simply because they had a huge ad for the Tweed Run in their window. Full of tweed and Liberty of London women’s shirts, the blue suede ankle boots caught my eye and then the rhinestone edging sold me. My first 100% Made in Italy shoes! Definitely my Midlife Crisis Shoes.The first major purchase of the trip was actually this rabbit clutch from Heidi Sturgess London. Made in England, her website claims her small boutique items were a well-kept secret in London. I didn’t know that at the time, having purchased this clutch at a stall in Covent Garden, but I like the idea that these are handmade and the owner has her hands very much in the products. 

We just so happened to be there during London Craft Week, an annual event that showcases exception craftsmanship in all types of things. If I had known about it in advance, I would have made an effort to find some of the events. I think there is a lot of amazing craft work going on in the UK right now, and, as someone who sews their own clothes, I appreciate and admire handwork of all sorts.  It is funny – when I went to Europe for the first time in 1990, I came back with a burning desire to work with clothing, so I gave up my career goals of something international and multilingual to take sewing classes and work in theatrical costuming. Twenty-seven years later, I’m experiencing the same sort of thoughts. I really want to spend more time with handcrafted clothing. Is that the midlife crisis brewing?!?


Re-Introducing My Reflective Bike Fashion

In the five years since I started my blog, I have become obsessed with reflective fashion – not just making it but buying it when I can. Naturally I prefer to make my own but I love seeing what other designers are making (Current fave Chance of Rain). Because my reflective sewing projects are intended to be fashionable in the office AND make me more visible on my bike, I’ve refined what and how – just throwing reflective spots here and there aren’t necessarily the best. So I thought I’d share some of my lessons learned.

Where to Be Reflective

One of the most important things I’ve learned is where reflective trim should go to be most visible to drivers. Shoulders, wrists, elbows, ankles, lower back, side seams of pants and skirts – all the best places. Collars and anything on the front, while there’s nothing wrong with that, tend to be less visible. I’ve made tons of lovely things that are covered up by long coats and scarves in the winter, so I really need to work on making outerwear!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I buy patterns from anywhere; I haven’t yet gotten around to drafting any of my own. I love the big companies, Simplicity, McCalls, Vogue, Butterick, New Look, and wait until they go on sale then buy in bulk. I have also bought patterns from some of the independent companies, and downloaded a few as well, but I don’t use too much of them. The designs tend to be a bit too vintage and sweet for me (I don’t do peter pan collars, for example), and honestly, downloading, printing, taping together and the trying to figure out which size lines to follow, well, it’s more work that I really care to do. I’m thrilled that these companies exist, and love the Colette sewing planner, but I personally want to sew things a bit more on trend.

When I choose patterns, I look for seam details that will easily allow for adding reflective details: back yokes, cuffs, side seams and extra seams, any sort of sleeve interest… Check out this McCalls pattern as an example:

McCalls 7357 - plenty of seams in the sleeves and a back yoke that could be reflective fabric. Or where piping or bias could sneak in.

McCalls 7357 – plenty of seams in the sleeves and a back yoke that could be reflective fabric. Or where piping or bias could sneak in.

Personally, I always struggle with finding patterns that are “corporate” enough for work; most of my sewing projects so far are a bit more “business casual” or “Friday casual.” I have done some things that don’t have any reflective trim at all, like the Simplicity 8166 blouse I finally started.

Reflective Fabric

This is the biggest challenge – where to source reflective fabric? It’s hard to find and usually expensive when I do find it. Mood Fabrics currently has some lovely reflective fabrics (check out the sequined fabric! I can’t tell if it’s “my” reflective or just reflective because of the sequins, but I may need to find out…), and Rockywoods is still selling the water repellent reflective camo nylon fabric I bought last year. I had purchased some silver reflective fabric from Britex Fabrics, in San Francisco, but they don’t carry it anymore, and Dritz Notions stopped making their reflective piping a while ago but Seattle Fabrics sells it. Wherever I find it, I buy it. However…. some of this fabric, as lovely and reflective as it is, has a few drawbacks – it’s heavy, it’s hard to sew, it doesn’t press, and most importantly, it doesn’t breathe! This is a problem for biking in the summer! So I place it with care, knowing that I’ll sweat like mad under wherever the fabric is, yokes, collars, etc. Natural fibers reflective fabric is no! Admittedly, lately I’ve made a few things that don’t easily suggest reflective pieces, so I’ve simply added a tab of reflective grosgrain ribbon – not terribly useful in terms of safety, but, well, I feel obligated…


The other challenge in sewing bike fashion is how bikeable garments are. Pencil skirts are a challenge, and the main reason why I wanted a step-through bike. I don’t mind hicking my skirt up further than is acceptable because I wear Jockey Skimmies Slipshorts or Bikie Girl Bloomers under skirts and dresses, but not being able to throw my leg over the top tube of my commuter bike is the challenge! Full skirts and circle skirts, on the other end of the spectrum, tend to be too much fabric for me, but half-circles, A-lines and similar skirt and dress styles are perfect. I also gravitate towards tops with longer backs; thankfully high-low tops and tunics are stylish these days! Jackets, blouses and other tops need to allow for extended arms, and I always lengthen sleeves anyway, so long sleeves don’t end up halfway up my elbows.

All Together Now

So as you might guess, there are many calculations that go into my reflective bike fashion sewing! Can I bike in the garment? Does the pattern offer easy places to add something reflective? What goes with my limited stash of reflective fabrics and notions? Will the fabric be weather-appropriate? Given all these things, it’s a wonder I get as much sewing done as I do!

As you set about on your reflective sewing projects, I hope that these tips and ideas help. And if you find any new sources for reflective fabric, please be sure to share! Happy sewing!





On a Reflective Roll

I’ve finally had a chance to get some sewing done, and to play with lots of reflective materials, hurrah! Somewhere I got the idea to make reflective neck warmers and so many ideas snowballed from there.

Neck warmer in action - reflective fabric backed with polar fleece

Neck warmer in action – reflective fabric backed with polar fleece

And the neck warmer reflecting!

And the neck warmer reflecting!

I made myself this prototype, complete with elastic drawstring at the top, so I can cinch it up over my nose when it’s really cold, then made one for my Secret Santa coworker. Then, I offered to make some as raffle prizes for the local Hains Point 100 fundraiser for the Washington Area Bicyclists Association’s Women and Bicycles program.

Then…. I had another crazy idea…. A friend brought over some luscious fake fur, to make herself a stole for a fancy holiday party. It was sooooo soft….

You can't tell here but it flowed like water when I brushed my hand over it

You can’t tell here but it flowed like water when I brushed my hand over it

What about a neck warmer lined with fake fur? And to make it super-classy, what if it was reflective tweed?!? I quickly looked up the reflective tweeds at Dashing Tweeds. Every single reflective plaid, check and wave is absolutely stunning and alas, quite expensive. But never one to be deterred by price, I ordered a bunch of samples. They arrived quickly and are so lovely, I almost wanted to cry. dashing-tweed-1

I mean, just look at this!!!

I mean, just look at this!!!

Now I’m thinking beyond the neck warmer – yoke and/or cuffs on a jacket, perhaps?

I also got some swatches of tencel twill and silk/cotton blends from Fabric.com, and this ivory tencel twill goes so nicely with some of the reflective tweeds. It will eventually be a high-necked blouse, which gives me plenty of other ideas.twill-and-tweed I suddenly find myself designing something Downton Abbey Goes Reflective…. I did just get the Butterick Miss Fisher pattern!

I totally have a weakness for traditional riding jodhpurs. Can't explain it.

I totally have a weakness for traditional riding jodhpurs. Can’t explain it.

So while I contemplate reflective tweed and what else I could do with the fabric, I am settling for making a navy blue corduroy A-line skirt with a bit of reflective trim in the side seams. I hope to have it done for Christmas – it’s not the exciting sewing project I’d hoped to complete by then, but its on the list and needs to get done, so that’s okay.

Just a bit of reflective trim in progress

Just a bit of reflective trim in progress

New Reflective Fabric Sources

The hunt for decent reflective fabric is an ongoing obsession, and a sometimes frustrating one (it’s really hard to find!). But lately I have found two great resources that I want to share.

The first option isn’t really new. I have known about Seattle Fabrics, Inc., for a while, but I’ve never ordered from them. So I finally did and wish I hadn’t waited so long! It’s not the prettiest website but they have several reflective options. Alas,  you can’t really search for them on the website, but if you look under “New Arrivals,” and keep scrolling down, you will see “reflective piping tape” in several different colors. I’m pretty excited about these, since they look like they will be easier to sew into seams than piping or the heavy reflective fabric bias tape that I make. The reflective bits are only on one side, just keep in mind. I ordered navy, gray and black, and I wish I’d ordered more of the navy.

Reflective Piping Tape

Reflective Piping Tape

seattle-fabric-3I also ordered several yards of their reflective piping, because although working with piping is not my favorite thing, there is no denying the amazing reflective power of reflective piping. seattle-fabric-2

I mean, WOW

I mean, WOW

You can also order a sample pack of what they offer, and I swear I saw a listing for reflective material, but I can’t seem to find it now. Definitely check it out!

The other new source is none other than Mood Fabrics! Are we going to see reflective fashion on Project Runway soon?!? This is fabulous, because they are selling several different colors of reflective fabrics – but hurry! The blue and the red are almost sold out! I ordered two yards of the blue, a yard of the red and a yard of the brown-gold. I have no idea what I’ll do with them yet but I DON’T CARE. It’s sooo hard to find this, especially in colors, that even at this price (which was a bit eyewatering 0_o). But I also got a free Mood tote and a “Made with Mood” label, so that’s fun.

Pretty colors!

Pretty colors!


It's even pretty reflecting. Somehow this makes me think of a Cinderella dress....

It’s even pretty reflecting. Somehow this makes me think of a Cinderella dress….

I don’t really know yet what I will do with any of these new acquisitions, but I’m happy to see my reflective stash grow. And the timing was right – I just used some black reflective tape (marketed for motorcycle safety) for the first time, in my new Zeus skirt. It looks pretty cool with the lightening-esque design of the fabric. (This skirt is a bit too narrow and short to be a good bike skirt, but will always be good walking around in the evening.)

So make haste to Mood Fabrics! Maybe the demand will convince them to restock. We need our reflective options!!!


When You Combine Pink and Reflective Digital Camo

Even with guests in town a few weekends ago, I managed to crank out a sewing project I’ve been planning for ages. I bought this Kwik Sew 4104 pattern last August, and nine months later, it’s done!

Kwik Sew 4104

Kwik Sew 4104

I knew when I saw this pattern that it would be the perfect garment for the reflective digital camo fabric I ordered from Rockywoods.com, and cut it out almost as soon as I could. Finding the rest of the fabric was a bigger challenge. I wanted something that could be work well with several pieces in my wardrobe, be fun but not an overwhelming print, and still coordinate with the dark gray reflective fabric. I kept returning to this pink/gray/gold Michael Miller Arrow Flight cotton print and finally just ordered it. It’s lined in pink. So much pink…. But it’s Spring, and a happy color combination, so I don’t care!

Just think pink!

Just think pink!

I made two muslins for this jacket. The pattern is sized XS-S-M-L-XL, so I cut out a M, and it was HUGE! I pinned alterations all over it before finally deciding to just try the next size down. Cutting out a size S, dropping the waist a 1/2″, and curving about an inch out of the center back resulted in a much better fit. Alas, I was so focused on the torso fit, and didn’t have enough muslin fabric (in fact an old sheet) to put sleeves into the size S muslin, and didn’t realize how short the 3/4 sleeves really were – the elbow dart is about 2″ above my elbow! D’oh! Also, it’s snug across the back, which I would have realized if I’d added the sleeves to the muslin. Oh well. Reflective Jacket 5The jacket is fully lined, with side seam pockets, with the cuffs and bottom band faced in the same reflective fabric. The instructions directed to understitch the lining but I edgestitched it instead. Reflective fabric doesn’t press well, so I always topstitch to help reduce the pouf. Reflective Jacket 3The jacket doesn’t have a closure, which I suspect will be annoying, especially while biking. However, the bottom band is faced with the same reflective fabric, so if the hem flaps up while I’m biking, I will still be reflective. The reflective cuffs are good for signalling turns as well. Reflective Jacket 2 Reflective Jacket 9The reflective camo is obviously not 100% reflective, and so as a bias trim in seams, it’s not as reflective as the piping. However, as a large fabric detail, it’s pretty spectacular! I’ll have to order more and think of what else I can do with it.

Reflective Jacket 8Initially I thought this pink print would coordinate well with the various burgundy pants I own, but after trying on a few combinations, I’m less convinced. I will start off with gray and see how I feel. But I really love this jacket, or perhaps it’s a bit of Spring Fever and Cherry Blossom Fever that make me completely love this pink jacket. It will be an easy piece to fit into my work wardrobe. I am sure I’ll get a ton of wear out of this!

Happy sewing project face!

Happy sewing project face!


PSA: Betabrand’s 3M Reflective Dress

I can’t believe I almost missed this. It was posted on my Women & Bikes Facebook group, or I might have never seen it, since I rarely check out Betabrand. But this was custom-designed for me! 3M has created a Retroreflective Women’s Dress and it’s *gorgeous*! Currently, Betabrand is taking crowdfunding votes to see if this dress will be made. PLEASE go vote! I need this dress! 3m_flashback_dress_4_5Actually, what I would really prefer to have is that reflective fabric. The dress is cute but I’d love to make my own stuff with the fabric. Pants would be wonderful! I wonder how it breathes….

I did some poking around on the 3M website, and found some interesting things. First of all, this dress was a concept dress, announced in April 2015. 3M designers apparently worked with Safe Reflections to create the fabric out of reflective heat transfer materials. My mind is racing – think of it! Gorgeous, detailed designs turned into reflective fabric. Reflective Liberty of London classics, perhaps?! Safe Reflections has all kinds of fun things on their website, plus some sporty looking reflective fabric in *colors*! I’m not into that kind of fabrics but I could come up with designs so I could use those colors.

I really hope this dress gets crowdfunded so I can get the dress. I really want to hold it in my hands and see the fabric. I’m fantasizing about it already….


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

Denim, Blueberry Soup and Bucket Bags

It’s been a busy weekend! Whew, I’m tired – when is my weekend?!

First of all, I am so excited to have received my Levi’s Commuter Jeans for Women, woo hoo! There has been a lot of buzz about them lately, and I have been anxious to get mine. I’m sort of on a bike jeans binge right now, as I also got the REI Novara bike jeans the week prior. The jeans came in a big fancy box along with some other swag, as part of a special “kit,” since I was selected as a local blogger to, well, blog about them! It was an exciting moment to get a huge box in the mail during the day on Friday, and discover all the goodies in it – a pin, bag with reflective design, and some stickers. But check out the fancy packaging! Clearly I am sucker for the packaging.

Initial thoughts – I really like the high waist, since it holds my the 5lbs I have been too lazy to lose this winter, but man, the legs are super skinny! I can barely get them on over my calves, and I don’t think my calves are abnormally bulky! I wore them this morning to volunteer at the WABA Vasa Ride (see below), and they seemed fine, no major problems, just really skinny in the lower leg.

The Levi's Commute Jeans for Women are so skinny that they make my shoes look huge!

The Levi’s Commute Jeans for Women are so skinny that they make my shoes look huge!

Stay tuned for more details on the jeans!

I volunteered for the Washington Area Bicyclists Association‘s Vasa Ride this morning. The Vasa Ride is held in partnership with the Swedish Embassy in Georgetown, in tribute to the traditional Swedish vasaloppet ski race (check out the crazy history of the race!). The biggest draw, I think, is the warm blueberry soup in the embassy after the ride. I did the morning shift, checking in riders, so no blueberry soup for me, alas. It was nice to meet some social media friends (Hey Mary!), and a special shout-out to Jennifer, a reader of my blog. We met for the first time and chatted knitting. Thanks for saying hi! Of course, Rootchopper was there – I feel like I’ve seen him a lot lately… is he beginning to stalk me?!? About 500 riders braved what turned into a very blustery morning for the first ride of the season. I managed to get a few pictures.

I then spent the rest of the day trying to finish up a gift for a friend. Since bucket bags are really “in” for Spring, I thought I’d make one, and decided to use some of my orange reflective material in combination with some camouflage print. I just made up the pattern and directions in my head, with more or less success. I am pretty happy with the way it came out, and can’t wait to give it to my friend – then start my own! I also bought some printed metallic snakeskin fabric. I have no idea what I’ll do with a half-yard each of gold and silver, but I love it! And I have a bit of silver and gold reflective material left. My thinking cap is definitely on…

I hope this week is a bit calmer than the lat few weeks have been. I’m gearing up for a trip on Easter Weekend to Palm Springs, CA, for a friend’s wedding. I still want to finish altering my wedding dress into a skirt to take, but a bit worried that it won’t happen. Too much other stuff in my head!

So much to make, so little time, as they say!

So much to make, so little time, as they say!

Reflective Bomber Jacket, Reporting for Duty

Bomber Jacket 1

Ready for Spring in my new bomber jacket, Ligne 8 jeans, and Cole Haan oxfords! Soon all that snow will be gone, at last!

Bomber jackets have been popular for a season or two now, and I’ve finally got mine finished and ready to share! Bomber jackets, also called flight jackets, bombardier jackets or captain’s jackets, are a classic jacket style for women (and men, obviously) that never seems to go out of style, but at the moment is enjoying fanciful interpretations. What better way to recreate a classic military style than with some reflective jacket, for bombing around town on a bike?! Using the McCalls 7100 pattern, I opted for fully reflective sleeves, using some of the fabric I got through my Australian blogger friend Oanh. It has a cool pattern, and oh by the way, is amazingly reflective. Bomber Jacket 2

The pattern instructions were a bit challenging, and twice I had to rip out stitches and start over. The zipper I used is actually glow-in-the-dark, although I’m sad to say that it’s hard to see it glow in a photo. The zipper was longer than I needed, and since I don’t have zipper stops, I just faked it and stitched it straight into the seam. It doesn’t look as bad as you might think! The pockets were very easy, because they are set into a seam, however. I opted to flat-line the sleeves, because I disagreed with the way the instructions would have you sew in a dart then trim them, so you’d either have a raw or serged edge right on your shoulder. I am much happier with the lining.

Glow-in-the-dark zipper!

Glow-in-the-dark zipper!

The shoulders actually look pretty nice, I think.

The shoulders actually look pretty nice, I think.

The only bummer part of this garment is that the sleeves are too short. It’s more annoying because I lengthened the sleeves on my SF Fog sweatshirt and they ended up too long, and after measuring the pattern piece, these seemed like they’d be okay. Alas, no – just a tad bit too short. All the better to show off bracelets, I guess! I was also a bit worried that the ribbed band on that sweatshirt rides a bit more snugly than I would prefer, so I made the band on this jacket a bit more relaxed. Although I’m wearing it here with jeans, I can see this going well with skirts and trousers, so it will be a good wear-to-work piece also. Yay for multifunctional!

Fine, you are saying, let’s see it reflecting! Here you are: Bomber Jacket 3 Bomber Jacket 6 Bomber Jacket 9Once the weather is warm enough to not need a heavy coat, this will be a great evening biking piece. It will be hard to miss me when my arms light up so much!

I will wear this to the Women & Bikes Forum on Tuesday (March 10, 2015), along with my Ligne 8 jeans, so if you are there, you will recognize me. I always like to wear my bike fashion sewing project to bike events, and it’s important for me to now have something new for each one. I am really excited about the Forum, and looking forward to hearing all the speakers.

Now that this is done, I’m ready to move on to other projects. Besides my wedding dress conversion, I’ve got plans for a bucket bag (drafting the pattern myself), jumpsuit, top and I’m considering culottes. Culottes are very in this spring, and I am a bit on-the-fence about them.  Maybe shorter ones, just below the knees, would be good for biking – full enough to mimic an A-line skirt, split for ease and comfort, but not so long that the fullness would get caught in the chain rings (it’s happened more frequently than I’d prefer). But am I brave enough to wear them?! Only time will tell…




Lost Without My Sewing Machine

It has been two weeks since I dropped off my sewing machines to be serviced. Knowing that they haven’t been professionally examined in decades, I suspected that they really needed some TLC, so I wasn’t surprised when, last week, the service man said that he’d had to order parts, and it was going to be another week or so. (Actually, I’m pretty happy that he was able to get parts, still.) But knowing that I will have to survive another few weekends without being able to sew is sort of killing me! I feel a little lost without them.Print Corduroy Skirt_2

I don’t actually sew to relax. I know that many people do, but I don’t really find it relaxing. I enjoy the mental challenge of putting pieces together, but also find it stressful, at the same time. Of course, my mother will tell you that I always pick the most challenging projects, so maybe that’s part of it….  For me, sewing is more like an itch that I must scratch – must sew! Must create! Must make something NOW! I’ve been trying to think of non-sewing machine things I can do while I wait.

I made some iron-on patches with scraps of the reflective material I have. I bought the Heat’n Bond and the templates at JoAnn Fabrics, and tried a few of my favorite shapes. Chances are good I will never use the car template!

I am pretty excited about this, but now I’m not sure what to do with them!  I think need to make a floral print spring skirt and add random reflective figures to the hem.

I’ve also been a bit obsessed with making infinity scarves, so I went to G Street Fabrics, and looked around. Although I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, I found many other things!

Scarf Fabric_2I ended up buying this pretty poly chiffon remnant, so I will probably make a scarf out of that, and perhaps add some reflective details. I suppose I could attempt a hand rolled hem, eek! That would keep me busy for a while. I’m also eying my pile of reflective grosgrain ribbon and thinking up things I can hand sew with that. Ribbon cockades come to mind. I will probably try these while I wait to get my machines back; it will be good to try something different. Nevertheless, little hand sewing projects don’t necessarily make up for creating a new garment for me.