Practicing Skills, Practicing Patience

I’m going to Orlando soon for a meeting for my industry association and meeting some colleagues a day early to have some fun at Disney World. I promised myself that I would not make or buy anything for this trip – yet there I was, on the Martin Luther King Day holiday, madly trying to finish up a shirt. Promises, promises.

Vogue’s V8772 shirt pattern has universal praise amongst the sewists on Instagram, so I had to see what the fuss was about. I added it to my #2018MakeNine list for later this year, perfect with the lavender Charley Harper scissortail bird print quilt cotton and black reflective fabric for collar and cuffs. I want to finish winter-worthy reflective outerwear instead. But then… trying to decide what to pack for this business trip, I decided that this simple shirt would be easy to whip up over the long weekend, and give me something else #memade for the conference. I love wearing clothing I’ve made when I travel. First I had to practice my skills – reading skills. It seemed like a simple shirt but looks are deceiving – and somehow my brain was not plugged in while I was working on it! I carefully chalked traced all the markings – check. Lengthened the sleeves and body 1/2″ each, and dropped the armhole about an inch – check. Body darts – check. Cuffs – fail. I totally spaced the proper way to do the slash opening, which I only realized when I was congratulating myself on how nicely the birds matched up on the cuff. Gah. I read the correct instructions and did the wrong thing.

It only looks wrong to those who sew, I realize. Don’t look at my wrists when I wear this!

Then I did it again! I read the directions wrong on the front packet and hem, and made the error worse by trimming it, which meant I had to come up with a new way to hem the shirt. Seriously, where was my brain?! The directions pretty much said left and I dyslexically went right. Somehow, my brain is not connecting everything properly. I’ve noticed this before with other thing and hope it’s not a bad sign for my old age!

Such a complicated foot for making buttonholes!

Then, I got to practice my patience when my fancy computerized sewing machine got fussy about the buttonholes. I love this new machine because it does buttonholes automatically, yet having to do 12 of them somehow taxed my brain and my patience. Little did I know (until I took out the buttonhole the fourth time) that the sensor wheel has to be on fabric as well, in order to function properly. Maybe I would have figured that out if my brain was working. So learning about my new machine along the way…Despite the drama, however, I think the shirt turned out pretty well. I had to wash it to get the chalk markings off, so no photos of me in it yet, but it does fit pretty well. And now that I’ve had so much practice with it, the next one will be easier. I’m considering the bow collar option, since I’ve seen so many pretty versions on Instagram. Maybe for Spring? Apparently, a sewist can’t have too many of these shirts!

I think this will look professional with dress pants, a sly nod to my daily commute choice as well as showing off my creative side.And of course, when I’m biking to and from work (once the weather is warmer and I don’t need a coat), the collar and cuffs will show off nicely. Now to get back to my winter coat before winter is over!

Pretty pleased with the placement of this bird in the collar. (The reflective material doesn’t breathe at all, so I wanted cotton against my neck.)

Culottes Again! And Folding Bikes!

Almost a year after I made reflective culottes, I made another pair! Culottes 9

This time, I made this Vogue 9091 pattern out of navy blue tropical suiting and used some of my aurora borealis reflective ribbon from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics for a tux stripe. I love how comfortable they are, and how surprisingly well they fit, considering I stayed with the only alteration I made last time, dropping the crotch depth. However, the construction process did not go as smoothly as I had last time. And I really hate the way the hem looks. It looks like high school theater. Culottes 1I am also considering shortening them – I like the midi length, but maybe it’s too long? I’ll have to ask the women at work and get their thoughts.

The fabric pressed the front inverted pleat nicely, so we’ll see how long that lasts. Based on experience with the previous pair, I stitched the pleats down more, to make them easier to press. I still don’t understand the instructions on stitching the inside pleat, but whatever.

Edge stitched the front pleats - totally visible but I think it will keep the pleat better.

Edge stitched the front pleats – totally visible but I think it will keep the pleat better.

I can’t get a good photo of how the reflective ribbon looks like aurora borealis colors when it’s not reflecting – it glows purple and green, it’s really cool! You’ll have to trust me… But it reflects really well, yay!

You may have noticed that I’m riding a different bike in these photos. Good eye! The Mechanic and I now have both a Tern folding bike, and a Dahon folding bike! I’m SO EXCITED! And they both look nearly identical; what are the chances that Craigslist would work out so well?!?Culottes 3After riding the Tern (named Amsel; persona possibly Goth but I haven’t decided yet) around a bit Sunday, I’m even more excited to take these bikes on trips. They are so much lighter than our standard commuter bikes, and I love the easy step-through.

The Dahon is too new to even have a name, let alone a personality.

The Dahon is too new to even have a name, let alone a personality.

Between warmer, sunny weather, a successful-ish (just don’t look inside…) sewing project, and new bikes, it was a pretty great weekend. Too bad they can’t all be as bike-y and sew-y!

Dahon to the left of me, Tern to the right, here I am....

Dahon to the left of me, Tern to the right, here I am….

Assembling My Fall Capsule Collection Sewing List

It’s almost the end of August, the unofficial end of the summer, and I can’t stop obsessing over what I want to sew in the next few months. (Ignore the fact that I haven’t finished my summer sewing!) This season I am determined to stick to a “capsule collection” of items, to create basic garments that coordinate with each other. The idea behind capsule collections, or capsule wardrobes, is that you really only need a handful of pieces to create dozens of different looks. I really love the idea of hyper-focused collection of clothes, and this is why I constantly weed out my aforementioned closet. My challenge will be to create seven pieces that coordinate, can be worn in the office, and all have reflective details so that I will be extra visible as I bike home in the earlier sunset hours. Oh, and trying to stick to the plan will be a big challenge – I am sooo easily distracted by colors and patterns and designs and….

I already ordered this corduroy from JoAnn Fabrics - I couldn't help it, it was 60% off and I love the print! It is described as being gray and teal but that's not what it looks like online, so I guess I'll be surprised when it arrives!

I already ordered this corduroy from JoAnn Fabrics – I couldn’t help it, it was 60% off and I love the print! It is described as being gray and teal but that’s not what it looks like online, so I guess I’ll be surprised when it arrives!

I started hunting for patterns with some criteria in mind:

  1. I need some outerwear, since as the weather gets cooler, I always end up covering my fun reflective things.
  2. I really want to perfect pants fit, so I need to take the time to slowly make a basic pair of pants.
  3. I want a few tops that coordinate with both a skirt and a basic pair of pants.
  4. The patterns need fun ways to incorporate any of my reflective fabrics and trims.

I have had the Vogue 7910 skirt pattern for ages, so this is easily added. I decided that the McCalls Palmer & Pletsch 6361 pants are one of the best basic pants patterns out there, so that’s done. The Kwik Sew 4104 jacket, version B (minus the collar), offers a great way to use my new reflective digital camo fabric. Then, I sort of fell in love with Version C of the McCalls 6844 knit cardigan pattern; I love those drop peplums! For tops, I found two Simplicity blouses I like, in Simplicity 1779, Version C, and Simplicity 6187 Version B. Lastly, I am obsessed with Vogue 7160, which I plan to make colorblocked – look at the line in that skirt! So perfect for reflective trim.

There are a few other patterns that I’m in love with that I will save for more winter outfits, that is, after I’ve made some of these. The pants and Simplicity 1779 I expect to be more challenging – I’ve been avoiding button plackets, eek! But the rest should be fairly easy. I think I’ll add an expose zipper to the Kwik Sew jacket, since I dislike jackets that don’t actually fasten in some way. Plus, I have another glow-in-the-dark separating zipper, so why not?!

Now I am obsessively hunting for fabrics. It’s hard when your local fabric stores are limited to JoAnn Fabrics (the Virginia G Street Fabrics store closed over the summer, alas), so I’m haunting fabric websites. I’ve found some lovely, lovely options at – I had no idea she sold fabric on her website! I love the black marble knit for the McCalls 6844 cardigan, and the Ashbury stretch denim for the Kwik Sew 4104 jacket, but since they are so similar, I can’t use them both. But which?!

Marcy Tilton Black Marble Knit (Image from website)

Marcy Tilton Black Marble Knit (Image from website)

Marcy Tilton Ashbury Stretch Cottom (Image from website)

Marcy Tilton Ashbury Stretch Cottom (Image from website)

While flailing about for fabric and color ideas, Simplicity suggested on Instagram that I look at the Pantone Fall 2015 color collection. Of course! So perfect! I love all the colors.

Pantone Fall 2015 Colors (I forget which website I found this image on, oops)

Pantone Fall 2015 Colors (I forget which website I found this image on, oops)

So I’ve decided that the Kwik Sew jacket will be Stormy Weather, since the reflective camo fabric is gray; the pants should be Reflecting Pond; the skirt will be Marsala; and Biscay Bay, Oak Buff and Cashmere Rose will be blouse and accent colors. Now I just have to find fabrics that fit! I think I want the skirt to be in corduroy, because I love that fabric and it can be 3-season fabric. I’ll probably use a basic twill for the pants, then branch out into nicer fabrics once I perfect the fit. I have reflective fabric that is practically Biscay Bay, and think that will be fun as the yoke on Simplicity New Look 6187. It will be hard to decide on the blouse fabrics, because I love big, bright prints – so many options!

Trying to work through and sketch out my ideas....

Trying to work through and sketch out my ideas….

I've already picked the fabrics for the color-block dress and can't wait to order them! I'm waiting to get the pattern first, to check fabric requirements.

I’ve already picked the fabrics for the color-block dress and can’t wait to order them! I’m waiting to get the pattern first, to check fabric requirements.

While I’m finishing my last two summer projects, I will take the time to think through what I want these pieces to look like. I will need to be super focused and not get distracted, so maybe the longer I hunt for fabrics, the more focused I’ll stay?!

What sort of plans do you have for this fall, biking or sewing, or otherwise?

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….




Trend in Reflective: Culottes

I had just finished my culottes today when I checked my email, and lo and behold! VeloJoy’s newsletter was about culottes! She sums up the reasons why I decided to embrace this trend, despite my initial skepticism (okay, flashbacks to childhood fashions): freedom of movement yet classy, easy to dress up or dress down. Culottes are bike-friendly midi skirts!  The opposite of everyone’s favorite skinny jeans/pants for biking, culottes offer a more flattering fit (note: you have to get the right cut for your size!) yet are shorter than the other current trend, wide-legged trousers. Oh sure, you can use a pants strap on those, but culottes make it unnecessary. Swing your now covered legs off your bike and it immediately looks like you are wearing a smart skirt. Yep, I’m a convert.V9091

I ordered Vogue Pattern V9091 just this month, and found the plum colored linen blend fabric at JoAnn Fabrics. Initially I’d been thinking of culottes in some sort of faux suede, since suede is also on trend for Spring. I chose V9091 because it had a flat front; I still can’t bring myself to wear pleated pants or culottes or shorts. But once I got the pattern in my hands, I realized that Version B did in fact have a massive inverted pleat right in the front! Oh. So much for my faux suede idea; linen has a better drape.V9091 cullottes I actually cranked these out in two days, after a few days of trying to decide how to alter the pattern. I’m trying to be better about the fit of the things I make, and I know that back in the early 90s, when I took a pattern alterations class, I had to do a certain number of alterations to get pants to fit properly – lengthen the rise, more curve for the bum… I just can’t remember what the exact numbers were. So I only added 1/2″ to the rise and yet somehow they still ended up being rather high-waisted! No matter, it makes my waist look tiny, and I can’t complain about that!

Giant inverted center pleat

Giant inverted center pleat (Lands End tee shirt)

The linen blend was just lovely to work with, pressed up easily, nice and forgiving to sew on, nice drape. I started with the size 14 pattern and then took in the waist enough to fit properly, although maybe I did it a bit too carefully – there is no room to gain an ounce in these now! Not that I want to, just saying I can’t.

I didn’t have much in the way of obvious seams for reflective trim, so I only ended up adding a bit to the side seam. I probably should have done more, because now this falls into the “nice try” category – just enough to say it’s reflective, but not enough to be truly visible. Grr. I considered just edging the hem with it, but thought it would negatively impact the drape, so I didn’t, but that would have been more visible. Given the fullness of these culottes, the reflective bits might not show as much as I’d like.

Reflective bits

Reflective bits – should have extended it higher up the seam

The legs are much fuller than I anticipated, and I feel somewhat like those early cowgirls who wore giant divided skirts to ride their horses. Anyone else remember that Folkwear divided skirt pattern?

They are very comfortable to wear, but I didn’t get to bike in them today because, well, The Mechanic accidentally flung ice cream on my lap and I wanted to wash them right away. <sad face> But I can’t wait to try them out!

The next challenge will be to figure out how to style them. Some of the photos I’ve found on Pinterest show crop tops or oversized shirts, but I think any top I wear with these will need to be fairly fitted, to balance out the bottom. And although the oxfords look fine, I will need to try other shoe options. Even if they aren’t the “bikiest” of the things I’ve made (that is, with the least amount of reflectivity), they will probably become a summer favorite because of the lightweight, easy breezy feel of them.





Sewing Project #15: SF Fog Sweatshirt

To call this top a sweatshirt is slightly misleading. The fabric is a soft, cozy velour, updated from grandmother sweatsuits and collegiate sweats with words across the bum, plus a bit of reflective handmade bias trim. I’ll probably continue to call it a sweatshirt, but I like to think it’s a bit dressier.

I bought the fabric from Britex Fabrics, in San Francisco, while meeting Melissa of Bike Pretty for the first time. I grew up in Sacramento, and trips to The City always involved Britex – as a young stitcher/costume designer, Britex was like Mecca compared to the fabric stores in Sacramento. (Actually, it still is pretty amazing. New York City fabric stores are totally different, geared towards a different audience.) Since this fabric is from San Francisco and gray, and I love (and miss) the fog that rolls in over the city every evening, I’ve decided to name this project the SF Fog Sweatshirt. You will see why!

I used Very Easy Vogue pattern V9026, version A. Initially I wanted to find some cool digital print scuba fabric for the front panel, as shown on the pattern cover, but the prices were a bit more than I was prepared to pay. The helpful salesperson at Britex showed me this velour, and I was hooked. Better to show off the shape with reflective trim in a simple color, I decided.

Not only did I put this together in one day, it went together fairly smoothly, and I am very happy with how it turned out! I lengthened the torso, partially because I have a long waist, and also to cover more whilst biking, which I’m glad I did, although the sleeves are longer than I anticipated, which is a bit unusual. It is comfortable to wear, and am I happy with the overall fit.SF Fog 2 SF Fog 3I asked my friend ZigZagMags to take some pictures for me, and she did an awesome job, don’t you think?!

I ended up adding more reflective trim than I had originally planned. I added it to the shoulder seams mostly to stabilize the stitching, and since there isn’t much on the back that is reflective, I added tabs on each cuff. I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out, but, well, they turned out great!  SF Fog 5 SF Fog 10(Please note, I am wearing my grandmother’s rings while my wedding rings are in Hawaii getting smaller. I had to take them back to Hawaiian jeweler Na Hoku to get resized, and they were sent to Hawaii to do so. It’s hard to be parted with them; we haven’t been married long enough yet that I forget I’m wearing them!)

So the burning question is, of course, how does it reflect?! I tried a selfie, then The Mechanic took a few while I rode circles on a Capital Bikeshare bike. See for yourself – SF Fog 6 SF Fog 7 SF Fog 8 SF Fog 9I’m very pleased with how the reflective tabs on the cuffs worked out! I will probably try this on other projects too.

This was Sewing Project #15 – hard to believe I’ve done so much! You can see some of the others in my Reflective Wear-to-Work Challenge post. I do have some other projects in mind, one for next spring already, but both my sewing machine and my serger are in desperate need of some TLC. It’s probably been 20 years since they had any proper maintenance done, oops. I also need to get my scissors sharpened. Since it is practically the holidays, I might as well do all this now, so that as soon as January hits, I’m ready to jump back into things! If I can wait that long.SF Fog 11


Reflective Wear-to-Work Challenge, in Review

I did it! I wore something I have made to work for thirteen days in a row! I’m pretty impressed – even I didn’t realize I’d made so much reflective bike fashion!

Week 2

Week One Collage

Week Three

One of the days was sort of a bonus day, since I only made the reflective sash I tied on over my dress and cardigan, so it was more like 12 +1 days.

Seeing everything like this makes me wonder if I need to be more strategic about my projects. Should I try to design mini “collections” each season, that all work together? Or should I just do whatever catches my fancy, as I have been doing? The two projects I’m working on right now, pants and a fancy sweatshirt, are designed to coordinate, although I’m not sure they will once both are done! We’ll see.

But the point of this whole initial idea was to make things I could wear at the office, as well as just around town. Part of me feels like I need to be therefore more strategic, and consider my work shoes and blazers and so on, to make sure everything works together a bit more. Not that any of this is inappropriate, but I could probably step it up a bit.

I also posted each outfit every morning on Instagram (I’m disguised as @earlettef), and on one of the days, I decided to tag the McCalls Pattern Company. They were interested enough that they asked if they could post the top, McCalls 6792, on their Facebook page. Well of course! It got at least 100 “Likes,” 12 Shares, and several comments. I was pretty pleased by that!

McCalls Facebook Love

McCalls Facebook Love

I think it also shows that there could be a market for nice clothing that as reflectivity sewn into it, clothing that does even whisper “tech,” that is just fashionable yet functional. But how best to focus that? I’m still deciding.

It’s been fun wearing my own designs, but the rest of my closet missed me, so for a while, I’ll sort through what is left. Now that the weather has cooled off a bit, it means it could be time to dust off the tweed! Yay!

I need to redesign my sewing space and desk, too...

I need to redesign my sewing space and desk, too…


Busy Bike Fashion Week

It’s been a busy week, but bike fashion hasn’t been far from my mind. I continued my reflective wear-to-work challenge, reviewed some bike accessories for The Discerning Cyclist, tested my new Iladora bike top, and got up today at 6am to order the Altuzarra for Target blouse I wanted. Oh, and pre-ordered the new iPhone 6!

I was only able to get in three days of my reflective wear-to-work bike fashion challenge. One day I had to wear the work polo, and I was off the last day of the week, so that meant only three days. On the plus side, it means I can probably do all this coming week! The weather has cooled off enough that I’m not sure about my sleeveless tops, but I’ll risk it!

I got some fun bike accessories from Bike Belle, to review for The Discerning Cyclist. I am very fussy particular about what I put on my bike, but I ended up loving these! Now my bike has a front basket from Denmark, skirt guards from Sweden, and a bike bell from Poland. What next?! I’ll share the review when it’s on the website, but I’ll give you a sneak peek.

Notice anything different about my bike? Think small accessories....

Notice anything different about my bike? Think small accessories….

I broke down and ordered The Lisa Top from Iladora, in pink. I was so excited that they came out with some colors, and it was a dilemma to decide between the blue and the pink, but pink won out. It’s a bit more mauve-y than I was expecting, but I am very happy with it. If you aren’t familiar with Iladora, it is a San Francisco company that also makes pants and a skirt. The top is bamboo jersey, cut with dolman sleeves for comfort, and that all important dropped hem for coverage. It’s super-comfy; the cut of the sleeves means that nothing binds or constricts the arms while biking. (I will say, however, that it is snug over the part of my waist that I’m currently most self-conscious about, and I’m not happy about that – but I know it is my fault, and not the top’s problem.) But overall, I’m happy with it!

For those of you who don’t know, Target teams up with haute couture designers occasionally, and these collaborations turn into big shopping frenzies on the day of the launch. So far I’ve gotten stuff from Liberty of London, Missoni, Jason Wu, and Proenza Schouler, all high-end designers I couldn’t normally afford. The launch of the Missoni collection crashed Target’s system; luckily I’d gotten up super early to order what I wanted online. I did go stand in line at the store for the Jason Wu collection, but also ordered online while standing there! Today was the launch of Altuzarra for Target, and I had planned on getting up at 6am to bike to Target to get in line, but when I checked the website on my phone at 6:12am, and the blouse I wanted was available, I opted to order online and go back to bed. I was tempted to go to the store later in the day, but considering I just pre-ordered the iPhone 6, well, I couldn’t risk being lured into buying something else.

The Altuzarra for Target blouse I ordered

The Altuzarra for Target blouse I ordered. No idea what to wear them with – now I need new pants!

So this week I need to buckle down and alter the pants pattern and get them cut out. I started making the reflective bias, but I think I need more! I’ve created a monster.



Sewing, We’re on a Break

That’s right, we are on a break, just like Ross and Rachel from “Friends.”

No, not really like them – it’s only for this weekend. As much as I want to start another sewing project, I need to just take a break. Tomorrow (Saturday) is going to be a 40 mile Team in Training ride, then running errands, then The Mechanic and I are having drinks with friends. Sunday will be the clean house-recuperate day.  Boring but necessary.  Besides, I don’t know what sewing project to do first! There are new patterns out, and I have found some great options.

I have talked about this batik fabric that I’m in love with, and how well it matches the light pink reflective fabric.


Wish I could get a better picture of this fabric!

But I’m not 100 % sure what to do with it. I bought the last yard and a half. Originally I thought I’d make another peplum top out of it.

Redo this one...

Redo this one…

Then I thought I could alter the neck line to be more of a scoop or V-neck. So I’d have to not only make the bias reflective trim (something I’ve never done before and will require concentration, ie, lots of time), I need to trace then re-draft the pattern. Not a speedy undertaking, and I do like instant gratification projects. Plus I still need to buy a cutting mat to use my rotary cutter on the bias.

Then I found some new patterns! Thank you Vogue and McCalls for coming to my design-challenge rescue! I found several tops that are simple, are conducive to reflective trim, and don’t take much fabric.

A loose and easy top that would be perfect with a reflective sash. Vogue 8915

A loose and easy top that would be perfect with a reflective sash. Vogue 8915

I love this blouse, again with a waist sash. I think I'd just edge the sash in reflective piping. I want to make it in teal or aqua. McCalls 6794

I love this blouse, again with a waist sash. I think I’d just edge the sash in reflective piping. I want to make it in teal or aqua. McCalls 6794

Those are my two favorite options. Then there is an interesting long-sleeve top that shows a short sleeve version with three different floral prints. Well, it’s a sketch so you have to use your imagination. But I can imagine it in a trio of “ditsy” Liberty of London florals. Ah sigh, to dream…

I don't really love how they've made it up. McCalls 6798

I don’t really love how they’ve made it up. McCalls 6798

But the short-sleeve suggestion in floral prints is great! McCalls 6798

But the short-sleeve suggestion in floral prints is great! McCalls 6798

Then there is a fall project that I think is pretty fun. It’s a dress, but I would most likely do the top version. And the square is perfect for some reflective trim! But there aren’t any great options for the back, which is where I feel the most reflectiveness needs to be. So I’m not sure. It might be a non-reflective project (gasp!), I don’t know.

Love this as a dress... McCalls 6792

Love this as a dress… McCalls 6792

...but the top is pretty great. A fun take on the sweatshirt, maybe. McCalls 6792

…but the top is pretty great. A fun take on the sweatshirt, maybe. McCalls 6792

While I’m debating and deciding, I tried another project last night. Something smaller, much smaller. See this humble bracelet?

Innocent-looking link bracelet I've never added charms to...

Innocent-looking link bracelet I’ve never added charms to…

Yep, you guessed it! It's reflective!

Yep, you guessed it! It’s reflective!

I used the reflective embroidery floss I ordered from Sublime Stitching to weave through the links, then make a tassel. Because I twisted the floss to double it and make it a bit stronger, then made the tassel, I used up one whole skein of the floss. I should have made the tassel shorter, but it was hard to know how it would look. And I need to perfect tying it to the bracelet, as well as finishing it off after I’ve woven through the bracelet. It works much better with ribbon, as demonstrated on this cool purse strap from LFLECT Chains by Elena Corchero.

I wore it all day today, and I really like it as a bracelet, but now I’m eager to try another one. I have some other ideas – a chunkier chain, the reflective fabric, the reflective grosgrain…. That too will require a trip to JoAnns and/or Michaels.


But while I’m gathering materials, making decisions, and trying to clean house, I’ll take a break from sewing. After all, the Fourth of July holiday weekend will soon be here, so I’ll have some more time to play.

And I really need to organize my reflective trim collection. It’s a bit of a rat’s nest…

Organize Me!

Organize Me!









Another Weekend of Biking and Sewing

Yes, it’s been another busy weekend of biking and sewing.

Saturday started very very early, when The Mechanic gallantly drove my road bike and me up to Poolesville, MD, where the Team in Training cycling team tackled the first road ride of the summer. Poolesville was an hour away, and someplace neither of us have had reason to venture to yet, and I’m sorry I didn’t get any pictures along the ride. It was a mix of subdivisions with large expensive-looking homes, and farms with fields of corn and wheat. TNT Poolesville MD Endomondo

We did 34 miles in several big loops. I am disappointed that my average speed was so slow, but on the other hand, I spent most of the ride trying to figure out all my gears. I’ve had problems with this, which mostly comes from not riding as often as I should.

I always like to check out the altitude when I'm done with a ride.

I always like to check out the altitude when I’m done with a ride.

The weather was perfect, the blue sky full of puffy white clouds, and there were scenic vistas all along the way. I love how fast the miles go when you have no idea where you are!

TNT Poolesville MD cropped

Then we rushed back to eat and shower (well, I needed to shower) before we headed out to meet friends in Rosslyn. A group of us from our office National Bike Challenge team rode down to Alexandria to check out The Dairy Godmother. What better destination than frozen custard?! I’d never been there before, although a friend has raved about it for years. It is located in the Del Ray neighborhood, a cute area that feels like a small vacation town, with lots of small fun restaurants, local boutiques, and even a music festival that day. My lime mint sorbet-ginger ale float was innovative, tasty, and refreshing, the perfect thing on a hot afternoon. I will have to go back and try the other offerings, however. I had no idea it would have such a large menu! The miles back and forth to Alexandria gave me almost 50 miles on Saturday!

Sunday, however, has seen me camped out at the sewing machine, tired legs working that pedal, rather than a bike pedal. The Mechanic and I had intended to make it to Revolution Cycles (Clarendon location is my favorite local bike shop!) this afternoon but it never quite happened…  But I finished my latest sewing project! Sash Dress Front

Sash Dress Back

I’m excited because I’ve wanted to make this for so long now! And here it is. Of course, I’m once again not 100% happy with it – is this a problem that will haunt me on every sewing project?!?!? Argh! How do people do it?! But it’s cute, summery, and that obi sash makes my waist look tiny, so of course that makes me happy! I can’t wait to wear it to work.

I can’t wait to start on the next project, but I feel like I should wait a week or so before starting something else. I might need to focus on other things once in a while…