This was an amazing adventure, and has unsurprisingly cut into my sewing for the past 6 months or so, even though we were only away for 6 weeks. The preparation was a tad intense, and the recovery phase equally busy !Work will not just go away whilst I am on holidays, darn it.
So, you will want to see sewing. There was sewing, I promise, it just didn't make it to the blog. In fact I was almost about to leap into writing about my current project (a fancy dress, because you know I love to sew a fancy dress), when I was struck by a sense of blogger duty.
Its been such a long time since I wrote anything about sewing.This is a just-dipping-the-toe-in post about the minimalist, suitable- for- cycling- all- day- and- drying- overnight- whilst- hung- up- in- the- tent, yet co-ordinated wardrobe that I partly sewed myself for the cycling holiday, but as I
You will see from the photos that I really didn't want to ride around France in lycra, but it is there underneath!.
To keep the sewing simple, I mostly used patterns with which I was already familiar
1. Shirt dress, heavily adapted from Burda Style 02-2009-120 (pattern first made up here)
Liberty Tana Lawn, with contrast linen collar stand, plackets etc.
I used french seams or felled seams for robustness, and also used Claudine's button instructions with Gutterman polyester thread. This method of attaching buttons I found to be less robust in 6 weeks of wear and wash second-daily, than a nice strong but admittedly sticking out knot, undoubtedly due to my poor stitching technique, but I had to reattch buttons on this garment whilst travelling, which I did not need to do with my other garments (alternative button attachment technique with Gutterman), or my son's shirt (hand made), which I had attached using Claudine's instructions with stranded cotton embroidery thread.. I also had to reattach buttons to my husband's purchased clothing.
Additions - internal passport pocket
Waist elastic gathering on either side at the front, and in the centre back because its not really comfortable to wear a belt on the bike.
2. mid/top layer Merino cardigan, Burda Style 03-2012-122 previously made, described here. I don't have a great photo of this whilst on the trip, but I wore it nearly every day, in the evenings. I made this last year.
3. Long sleeved tunic blouse, Burda Style 2-2009-120 again. I told you I was making my life easy with familiar patterns! The fabric was a slightly translucent silk/cotton batiste, white on blue print ,I wore any of my 3 base layer tanks under this shirt. The coolest was a rayon knit tank (base layer 1) originally sewn several years ago to wear under a long sleeved lace t shirt.
4. base layer 2 Merino princess t with cut on cap sleeve McCalls 5890 (fabric
I wore this as both a stand alone top, and as an underlayer garment. I made this garment longer at the back for additional coverage whilst cycling.
5. base layer 3 Merino vogue sleeveless t, pink, Vogue 2925 made about 10 times so far. Review here
Hemmed with embroidery floss, toning colour
(Embellished with running stitch seam emphasis, DMC cotton
You can see this in the neckline of the cardigan photo and also in the one below, under my rainjacket. I wore this mainly as an undergarment, but this was also cut longer at the back to allow for the cycling position.
6. Merino buff, copied from RTW. This was an incredibly useful item, and took up hardly any room. I found it added considerably to my warmth, and from about the second week of the holiday was cursing myself for not making 2 or 3 (it was very cold at night whilst camping!)
Edited to add: I've been asked to identify a "buff". I did not use a pattern, but here is a very nice tutorial and some photographs by Melissa at Fehr trade, where she also describes the many uses of a buff.
7. Long sleeved merino t - made a few years ago. I used an older Burda pattern, and this was worn mainly as a pyjama top
Accessories:. Silk scarf A , blue, cream, pink, (not really sewing, but once upon a time it was raw edged fabric lurking in my collection.....Silk scarf B blue, dark brown, cream and an old, squashable sunhat which I intended to replace in France, but did not see a suitable subject. This was possibly because clothes shopping was extremely low on my husband's agenda- unless the clothing could be bought in a cycling shop.....
Rayon knit "denim" leggings - I sewed these a few years ago, they're very useful for camping, both as pyjamas and as an underlayer for warmth.
Skirt/petticoat - silk cotton, purple, 2 layers, originally the skirt of this dress here. I loved this dress so much that I have to get every possible skerrick of wear from it. It makes a terrific petticoat skirt.
Not sewn :
-1 pair short cycling knicks,which I wore under the dress and skirts. Later on, as the weather cooled down, I looked for a long pair, but was not able to find these, so bought running tights instead, which I wore over the top of the knicks to keep my legs warm whilst cycling.
- 1 pair stretch woven cycling capris with under-knicks
-1 metallicus A line grey knit skirt - merino/rayon blend
-1 rainjacket, blue/green
Purchased on route (planned purchases, as we started in warm weather and cycled through to cool weather).
-1 thin, warm pullover, coral (very hard to find, and rather $$$, I should have taken one and carried it for 3 weeks without wearing it)
-1 new scarf to blend the coral jumper with my black capris and grey skirt and blue cardigan (yes, I needed the jumper and the cardigan at the same time)
-1 hideously ugly polar fleece beanie for 2 euros from the supermarket. - this was very painful as another buff would have prevented the purchase and been much more flattering.
I sewed a very luxurious sand washed silk charmeuse double sleeping bag liner too :)
I also sewed a shirt, a buff, a merino long sleeved t shirt and some cycling knicks for my son.He took a previously made polar fleece jacket, now four and 1/2 years old, which I threw out at the end of the trip despite his vehemenent protests that it still fit (a lie!). I tried to steal his buff after a week or so as I hadn't seen him wearing it but he said it was extremely warm at night, so no chance Mum!
I had an exciting adventure holiday, but currently, I am greatly appreciating my extensive wardrobe, fabric collection and comfortable bed.
So in summary, I started with these clothes, which looked much more respectable before the trip.
3 base layer tops - tanks
2 base layer bottoms, 1 batiste skirt/petticoat, 1 leggings
3 light mid layer tops - 1 blouse batiste, 1 long sleeved merino t-shirt, 1 shirt dress lawn
1 medium layer top - merino long cardigan (missing in action)
3 bottoms - 1 pr capris, one wool skirt, one batiste skirt
1 outerlayer rainjacket
2 scarves, 1 buff , 1 sunhat
(cycling gloves and helmet)
When the weather cooled further
I added a mid layer top (coral pullover)
another pair of leggings
another scarf, and a warm hat. These new items did not co-ordinate with everything, but with enough of the travel wardrobe to make them useful purchases.
My entire wardrobe fit in this bag (up to the "stop" section), a bag only slightly larger in height and width to an A4 sheet of paper, and weighed less than 3kg, provided I was clad at the time. I admit that although this is a compressable bag, closing it was not terribly easy on a hot day, when I just wore a tank top and capris, but for most of the trip, I wore 2 to 4 layers, especially when we were not actually cycling.
So now that I am almost caught up, perhaps I will do some sewing.
P.S. I am such a rebel, in Paris, I forsook husband and son whom were visiting the Eiffel tower and went to the fabric district in Montmarte. I have never seen so many people in a fabric shop at once before.Surely that is a more culturally valuable experience than a second visit to a tourist icon?