Monday, May 27, 2013

Bike Fashion Show: bike friendly outfit

I took week off from sewing after finishing the tweed Laurel because I was riding my bike LOTS in preparation for the Cote de Tolosa (most fun bike race ever!).
That's not entirely true (the part about not sewing), I started a Laurel top and prepped some fabric for a skirt that I'm going to make. But mostly in my free time I thought about sewing, and didn't do any.
Then, at - what feels like - the last minute, I decided I wanted to make something for Bikes & Beauty, the SLO County Bicycle Coalition's members-only bike fashion show.

The Goal(s):

1. make something easy (as in, something I've made before). 2. make it somehow bike specific or bike friendly. 3. make it for a model.
I had some fabric in mind, its been in my stash for about 4 years and it has little orange bikes all over it. I got it at Bolt, in Portland, Oregon one summer when I was home. I also had a model in mind: my friend Vanessa, who was already planning to be a model in the show. I had a feeling that even though she's tiny, she would fit the patterns I like working with. So...
I made an Amy Butler halter top and a Sewaholic Cambie skirt.And I am completely in love with the results.

Clover Bias Tape Maker

But first! let me talk about this little miracle!
Clover Bias Tape Maker
Does everyone already have one of these? I didn't even know they existed until I read about it on the Coletterie blog awhile back. I've been making my own bias tape for awhile but it always lead to burning fingers and swearing, and the smallest I could make it was .5 inch. So I finally got around to buying one at my local fabric store. What I thought I wanted wasn't in stock so what I bought was the 12 mm (1/2") version and it turned out that is exactly what I wanted. It made for bias binding that was 1/4" when folded. Perfect!
It's still pretty hot, and there is still some swearing associated with folding it in half and ironing that fold. But I'll take it! I'm so excited about this!

Good repurposing of pesky zipper packaging!
In addition to learning how to make my own tiny bias binding I also learned that I don't really know when to refer to the double folded width or the folded width.Or really why it is called "double fold", or what it is called when it is not double fold... anyway. I probably should pay more attention when I buy it.Doesn't matter! I managed to accidentally buy and make exactly the width I wanted!

On to the outfit...

The Amy Butler Halter Top + jersey pockets

This is a very simple pattern and I can pretty much make the whole thing in a couple hours. But for the bike fashion show I made it longer in the back and I added jersey pockets. Yes! Jersey pockets (as in bike jersey, not jersey fabric). If you ride a bike you know how great this is! Jersey pockets are on the back of the shirt and they're easily accessible to you while you're riding (snacks, a cell phone, a beer maybe if your on a mountain bike ride; that's what you carry). But look at these!
The orange bias binding makes it!

I love the color combination, so crisp!

The Cambie Skirt + kick pleat for modesty

I didn't come up with on my own. About 6 years ago Dan Rivoire (the dynamic Executive Director of the bike coalition) dreamed up this idea of a skirt you could button closed while riding a bike. The concept was to pull the back of the skirt between your legs and button it to the front, and it was brilliant, but not quite executed perfectly. If you ride a bike in a skirt a lot (or maybe if you sew and you ride your bike in a skirt) you know that in order for this to work it has to be longer in the back. That's just what happens when you bend your body forward, the skirt rides up! Which is also why it's not so good to ride bikes in a mini skirt (in my opinion). The remedy, I decided, was twofold: 1. make it longer in the back, and 2. provide more fabric in the back so it can button to the front without getting tighter across the legs.
And here it is!
White bias tape on the pleats

"Details" to hide the mistakes

Modesty button!

Skirt back

Skirt front
It was fun to add details that I didn't really know how to do, the pleat came together miraculously with only one test run to try to gauge the width of the folds. It's pretty uneven, but it makes me happy anyway. I do enjoy the process of making it up as I go, which is a technique I haven't used in awhile. 
I will post pictures of Vanessa in the outfit after the fashion show...


  1. How adorable! I see a new fashion craze hitting the runways! But pleez don't tell us about mistakes; we can't see any of them! The bow at the top of the pleat is an adorable touch! Miss Jessica, you sure have a unique style! Eileen

  2. Wouldn't a saucy little sailor hat in matching fabric "top" it off? To be used after your helmet is removed, of course! ;)

  3. Jessica - this is awesome! Can't wait to see it in action on Saturday night!