Monday, 18 April 2016

Bike fashion for girls, who sew

Do you have a bike? Do you cycle to work? Do you spend most of your commuting time cycling? If you answered ‘yes’ to at least one to these three questions, then keep on reading this post.

Over the last two years, I have given a lot of thought to the subject of bike fashion. To make a long story short, I don’t like wearing sport clothes, when I cycle, and I want to wear whatever I feel like, regardless of my commute. Hail, rain or sunshine, I really dislike the idea of changing in the office toilet to look like my normal self again. Full stop!

With this in mind, over the last couple of years I have been trying to adapt my handmade wardrobe to be more bike-friendly and casual, avoiding tight or sophisticated garments for everyday wear. After many hit-and-miss handsewn garments, here is some wisdom, I would like to share with you. There is a big chance that most things are quite obvious to you, but I still decided to put them up on my blog. Also, because of my poetic mood at the moment, I put my suggestions as badly rhymed mottos. Please bear with me!

  1. Wear not a pencil skirt. Pencil skirts and bikes are incompatible, which results in ripped reams. As much as I love pencil skirts and the sharp look they create, I wore my Zaria skirt once and deeply regretted it afterwards. Despite the double vent, the area around the hips is pretty tight, so I ended up with some tears (ˊ̥̥̥̥̥ ³ ˋ̥̥̥̥̥)and had to walk back home, walking my bike next to me.
Named Patterns // Zaria skirt
  1. For a faster ride make your skirt wide. My Miss Chalmers skirt, which slightly narrows down towards the hem, does not like it when I cycle, wearing it, and tends to rip every now and then. Now, I simply pull it up a little bit higher, to mid-hip level, to make cycling easier. To avoid similar unpleasant issues, I have been making more A-line skirts, or even wider.
Papercut Patterns // Chalmers skirt
  1. Sit, if you want to wear knit.  More and more, I tend to privilege knits over wovens. As you all know, knit garments allow wider range of movements, unless you make a really tight skirt!
StyleArc // Jessica dress
  1. Yes to a maxi dress. No problem wearing a maxi dress, when you cycle. I tie it or simply use a hair elastic and a coin, to avoid the skirt being in the way of the chain or wheel.There’s even a TEDTalk about the latter! Although, from my personal experience, using a hair elastic and a coin damages fabric. So I often tie my long skirts in a knot! Alternatively, if the fabric is too thick to tie, I simply pull it up, put the front of the skirt between my legs and sit on it. I also used quilt pegs on a few occasions and they work brilliantly!
Ralph Pink // Maxi dress

  1. Leggings or shorts for mini skirts.  On some occasions, I wear leggings, long or cropped, underneath my shorter skirts. It takes few seconds to put them on and take them off and they don’t occupy a lot of space in my bag. This is an easy way of covering my legs, if I don’t feel like exposing them too much.
Victory Patterns // Lola dress
  1. Cardigans and coats to the rescue. If I do not want to damage a fashionable look with a pair of leggings, I may put on a longer coat or cardigan to cover my legs. It saves me from unpleasant looks that  drivers give me at red traffic lights.
Self-drafted skirt 
Named Patterns // Andy coat
  1. For a better ride make your trousers tight. Or, in the case that your trousers are wide legged, either  use some special trouser clips/bands or simply roll the hems up.
Named Patterns // Jamie Jeans
In addition to #4 and #7, you can equip your bike with a chain protector and skirt guards.
I would also like to hear you personal bike fashion tips and advice! Are there any cyclists who sew out there? What do you do to look fashionable on your bike?

P.S. When writing this article, I discovered an interesting gadget, which prevents skirts, cardigans or other pieces of clothes from flying away. I am so going to order one to try it! Meanwhile, I’ll continue using my old tricks :)

I hope you had a bit of giggle anyway.

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