Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pimpin' My Ride || DIY panniers

I'm upping my street cred. 
I've wanted a bike for nearly as long as I've lived in Portland, OR. This is probably the most bike-friendly city in the United States, and I wanted to be part of the bike culture. With gas prices on the rise (again) and the built-in benefit of great exercise, it's a win-win to go by bike. 

About two months ago, my darling boyfriend bought a new bike for himself, and sweetly gave me his old commuter bike. I've been taking it out on longer and longer rides ("Getting my bike butt", he tells me) and I wanted to go beyond casual rides to start doing actual errands with it. Trouble is, I didn't have panniers (aka: bike bags) and I didn't want to shell out the cash when I could make 'em myself.

It rains here A LOT, so I needed something that would shed water and clean up easily. In my art supply stash, I had three castoff large vinyl advertising banners that would work perfectly for the project. I used this tutorial to make the bags, utilized a Teflon foot, Gutterman thread and a universal needle for the sewing. Knowing that the panniers would probably get both dirty and wet, I chose not to line them with fabric. After the inaugural ride this last Sunday where they were flapping around like Dumbo's ears, I also added Velcro strips to the bag flaps.

Right side exterior. The banner used for the flap was for a cruise ship giveaway.
Interior of right pannier. I added a pocket to hold my cell phone and wallet.
The bag strap also tucks in nicely. (I was on my way to the library. See my book?)
I love these little bags, and can't wait to go grocery shopping with them. I'm on the move!

I also made bike shorts awhile ago, and while you won't see a picture, I highly recommend Kwik Sew 1727.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

S3503 | The Lido Deck Dress

Ready to go see Isaac for a cold drink on the Lido deck!

Keeping with the Swingin' 70s theme for the summer, I needed a maxi dress for the party I attended last night. It's still 95º here, which is really unheard of in the Pacific Northwest, but I'm not going to complain about it. Our summer took SO stinkin' long to show up and it was totally worth the wait.
S3503 Pattern Description: Misses' knit dress in two lengths with bodice variations. Mine is View E.

Pattern Sizing: 14-22. I cut a size 14 bodice and skirt. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It really did!

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were clear and concise. This is a dead easy project that went together really quickly.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Hellllllooooo, cleavage! This is a little more of the ladies than I'm used to showing, but in the end, I really like the cut of the neckline and it shows off my me-made necklace really well, too. The bodice also hits at the narrowest part of my waist, so I feel slimmer wearing it!

Fabric Used: Olive bamboo jersey from fabric.com. It's delicious to wear.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did a 1/2" FBA and added 1" width to the bodice front and back. After reading others' reviews of this version of the dress, I also shirred the back bodice so that it would fit more snugly, and I like the results a LOT. Instead of sewing in bra cups, I utilized my trusty reusable Beautiful You Adhesive Garment Cups.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is the second time I've used this pattern, and I'm looking forward to making View F in the future. It's a lovely pattern and were I to make another maxi dress, I'd use this pattern again.

Conclusion: This dress is fantastic! Although it pushed my boundaries for personal comfort, I think it's flattering and comfortable. I could get used to being a little more "boobalicious"! :)