And So It Begins: Me-Made-June, Day 1!

Happy June, everyone! Sorry for the late post. Internet was down at the office yesterday, and early this morning, but luckily things are back up and running!

You just never know what’s going to happen when you’re in business. First the postal strike, then a day without internet. Never a dull moment, I tell you! Which also means I haven’t been able to answer all of your cotton batting and padded bra-cup questions. Now that things are back to normal, I’ll be responding to comments shortly.
This is how nice it was on my bike ride in yesterday! The night before, I had the wettest, rainiest ride home EVER. I was soaked through all layers of clothing, hair was drenched. On a good note, the bike path was empty! And still I’ve decided my worst bike ride home is still better than driving. Traffic makes me so mad, people are so rude, and I feel restless sitting in a car for so long. Biking, even at its wettest and coldest, is still more fun. At least I’m doing something!

Back to today. I was hoping the weather would be nice for the kickoff to Me-Made-June, and sure enough it was! I wore my all-time favourite dress, the Twin Spruce Dress. I was terrified of getting the skirt caught in the back brakes or fender, so I wiped down my bike as best as I could using wet-wipes.

The Details:

Dress: Twin Spruce Dress, made from a vintage Simplicity Pattern (3965)
Shoes: Keds
Belt: thrifted
Bike: Norco Malahat

You may have noticed I’ve moved the basket setup to the back of the bike. The original front-basket was scratching up my handlebars, and too much weight up front was making steering difficult. The friendly folks at Jubilee Cycle suggested I switch to a back rack instead, and I’m so glad I did! I instantly noticed the difference with steering, it’s so much easier without all that weight on the front. Although, now I am constantly checking to make sure nothing’s bounced out of the back! I just picked up a set of bungee cords to secure the back load. Anyways, enough bike talk!

Where’d you go today?

To the office, then to dinner with Mr Sewaholic and his parents. And to watch the hockey game – go Canucks! (Any readers from Boston?)

Good things about this outfit:

  • Skirt has lots of room to move!
  • Sleeveless bodice lets me lean forward on the bike comfortably, no restricting sleeves.
  • Full, swingy skirt makes me feel pretty – always a good thing!
  • Keds are cute and practical for bike riding!

Things that weren’t so good:

  • The belt is a little snug for biking. Next time, I’ll pack the belt and put it on at the office. Or loosen it a little!
  • I was worried about the skirt getting caught in the back brakes – I’ve ruined two skirts that way and I really love this dress! Perhaps next time I’d pack the outfit and change once I get to the office.

Would you wear this outfit again?

Absolutely! I love, love, love this dress. Whenever I need to feel pretty and put-together, this is the dress I wear. It feels very ‘me’ – isn’t that how our clothes are supposed to feel?

Anything to add?

Biking makes you way more relaxed. Not only the physical exercise part, but you just can’t control everything when you commute by bike! So you learn to go with the flow. You might arrive with your apple covered in pasta sauce. Just wash it off and get on with your day! (This happened too.)

Perfect hair? Impossible! So you might as well embrace your hair’s natural texture. I have naturally curly hair, that I’ve been straightening for years. Or spending even more time on it: straightening, and then re-curling it into a nicer looking shape. These days, there’s no point when it’s getting squashed under a helmet! Now I just dry the bangs a little, work in some curl cream and let it do its thing. (When all else fails, I have a hat in the office for desperate hair emergencies.)

The other thing I’m doing this month is reassessing my wardrobe and deciding whether to keep or toss some of the items in it. As I’ve gotten older, I want my clothing to fit well, feel good, and reflect me as a person, not just be ‘good enough.’ I want to love the things I wear, not just put them on by default. This is a lifelong process of building and editing, learning from mistakes and cultivating a small but well-thought-out wardrobe of flattering clothing. It’s been a transitional year for me and I want my clothing and appearance to reflect who I am, even as I’m still figuring it out!
I’ve kept a couple of Me-Made items just for the challenge, that I may end up donating at the end of the month either to Dress for Success or to local charities.

I hope this self-reflection isn’t too boring for you guys! The point is not to ramble on about myself, but to keep us thinking about what we put on every day, why we gravitate to certain things (hello, loud floral prints!) and the image we reflect to the outside world. And of course there will be plenty of sewing posts, tutorials and such over the next month, as well as the ramblings!

Here’s to an interesting and thought-provoking month!

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40 Responses to And So It Begins: Me-Made-June, Day 1!

  1. Sofia June 2, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Donate to MEEEEEE!!!!!!! (plus, you’re just so painfully cute. Cute sister. CUTE.) Also, totally agree about the clothing. As I’ve noticed, I literally only wear about 10 or 12 pieces in my closet. The rest are filler. And those 10 pieces I love and feel amazing in. I feel like me. And those are the best pieces. :)

  2. Rachel June 2, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Love the dress! Its way too cute!

  3. Helena June 2, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    Don’t they have protection for skirts on bikes in Canada? Maybe you can find that.

    The dress is very cute as are your curls.

  4. Cynthia June 2, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    You should put a skirt guard on your bike, problem solved! Here is a crochet pattern to make your own:
    http://ridingpretty.blogspot.com/2010/03/diy-bicycle-skirt-guard.html or http://www.instructables.com/id/Quick-%26-Easy-Bicycle-Skirt-Guards/

    Or you can purchase one. I found them here: http://www.theurbanbicycle.com/index.html

    Also, I sometimes use a stretchy headband around my thigh as a sort of garter. I pull much of the volume through it to hold it in place while I ride.

  5. Alex June 2, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    I’ve got a me-made circle skirt that has been caught in my wheel more than once! It didn’t rip, just got dirty. There are such things are skirt guards but they were nearly impossible to find in the US… until JUST now when I searched and found this and, even better, a couple people selling pretty ones on etsy! Oooh! Two of them also sell PDF crochet patterns to make them. New hobby?

    Anyway…I definitely put my belt (and sometimes other accessories like necklaces) in my bag while I’m on my bike. I’ve never been one to do my hair. I don’t really even know how. When I get a haircut I warn the person that all I do is brush it when I get out of the shower and then put a helmet on it – so I can’t have a style that needs body!

  6. Alex June 2, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    P.S. You’re hair looks cute with it’s natural curls!

  7. Sam June 2, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    That dress is simply lovely. Such a flattering shape for many figures I would think and the fabric is gorgeous.

  8. margaret June 2, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Like Cynthia said, you should look into skirt guards! They are common in Europe but for some reason North Americans haven’t caught on. I’ve seen some really neat crochet ones. You could probably make a pretty nice one out of fabric too!

  9. Alex June 2, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Ugh, I just used “you’re” instead of “your” AND “it’s” instead of “its.” In one sentence! And then commented 3 times in a row because I’m a nerd and can’t let those types of mistakes be.

  10. Sewingdina June 2, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Great outfit! I didn’t think this would be suitable for bike riding so well done for managing it! I hope it’s not one of your hand stitched skirts that you’ve ruined on your bike. Maybe you need to sew some clothes more suited to bike riding?

  11. Darci June 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    I love hearing your musings on wardrobe. I’m struggling with that very same thing myself. I’ve got a wardrobe of me-mades (like 60%) that I adore, but am starting to wonder what my style is… I’m kind of all over the place. I also maybe have *too much* in the wardrobe department, but I love most of it, so I’m not sure how/where to start culling. It’s a first world problem, for sure.

    You have amazing hair that I would KILL for. All those bouncy curls! Love, love, love. And that dress is my favourite of all your dresses. SO cute!

  12. Lauren June 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    in reference to bike hair, the best solution i’ve found is to set my hair in pin curls before i start my ride. once i get to my destination, i let them down – beautiful curls! and no hat hair :) of course, natural curls don’t need to be curled, per se, but it is a good way to keep the hair off your neck & sweat-free while you are riding :)

    i miss riding my bike! the weather jumped to a nasty/humid 95+ degrees in the past week, and paired with the direct sunlight, nearly 100% humidity and the cicada apocalypse of 2011, it’s kind of deadly to be anywhere outside these days, especially on a bike! hopefully it’ll cool down a little next week!

  13. bunny June 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    i’m from the boston area, and we’re all hating on canada right now! : ) we can be friends once hockey is done for the season, but right now it’s bruins or die! love your dress btw, it fits you like a glove!

  14. Michelle @ If Toys Could Talk June 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    I love your dress! Not only is it adorable, but it looks really comfortable too. Can’t wait to see more of your Me-Made creations this month!

  15. Sunni June 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    I so love that dress! I love seeing people wear their clothes in real and actually hearing how they worked out the kinks, like bike riding, while wearing a favorite dress. I completely understand about clothing that truly reflects who we are. I’m in the same boat, but I have to admit that I’m going to have to seriously re-assess my wardrobe now as well. It will definitely be an interesting month! Yay Me Made June!

  16. Stacy aka Stacybeads June 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    That dress is so pretty and fun! Also, I’d like to compliment you on your excellent pattern placement. You managed to use a “bullseye” type of print without creating the dreaded “headlight” effect on the bust. ;)

  17. Loretta June 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    I’ve never tried to bike in a skirt. That would be quite an accomplishment indeed; you are quite brave. Your dress is very pretty. I haven’t actually biked since 2009; I thought last year was too wet. LOL This year is a complete wash out! Isn’t today just something else?

  18. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    @Loretta: Yes! It’s disastrous out there today. Can you believe I biked in it? Dreading the ride home, I’ll be soaked in minutes.

    Biking in a skirt is easy! I find it easier than pants, way less restricting, but I do worry about it getting snagged in the brakes. Wearing bike shorts underneath keeps you safe from accidental flashing.

    I decided when I got my bike that if I waited for nice weather, I’d hardly get to bike at all! So now I just go for it and get wet :)

  19. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    @Stacy aka Stacybeads: Ahh, good point! I didn’t even think about it with this print, but you’re right it could have been headlights for sure!

  20. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    @Sunni: Totally agree! It will be an interesting month. It’s funny how life changes make you re-think what you wear. You must be feeling the same thing, now that you’re working from home and not going to an office every day!

  21. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    @Michelle @ If Toys Could Talk: It is totally comfortable! The only part that starts to get a little tight is the waistline, and that’s just the style of the dress.

  22. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    @bunny: I knew I’d have at least one person reading from the Boston area. I do love Boston, just not your hockey team! Ha! Go Canucks! :) The last time our team made it this far, I was twelve. So it’s about time!

  23. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    @Lauren: It’s the absolute opposite here today! Wet, cold, wet, rainy and wet! Probably about ten degrees, and soaking wet. I almost wish it was that hot – then again, I remember being in DC last summer with hundred-degree heat. So maybe I’ll take the rain!

  24. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    @Darci: Thank you!! I just had a great haircut this weekend, so it’s curling quite nicely these days! I know, it’s hard to define a style when you sew, because we can make anything we please! One day we can be girly, another day professional, another day sporty, there’s no restrictions.. which can make our closets a bit crazy. I suppose having a month of evaluation our favourites, likes, and dislikes is a great way to press PAUSE on the sewing, and see what we’re actually wearing and not wearing.

  25. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    @Sewingdina: Nope, I ruined two RTW skirts, well one skirt and one dress. You’re right, I probably do need to make bike gear instead of dresses! At the very least, a rain jacket. It’s on my to-do list!

  26. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    @margaret: Yes! I saw the crochet ones, they’re super cute. Although, they’d get trashed in the rain we have here, and it would be so much work to take them on and off depending on the weather.

  27. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    @Sam: Thank you! It’s my favourite dress, I wanted to start the month off on a good note!

  28. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    @Alex: Thanks for the link! I was about to buy it right away but they only ship to the USA! That happens a lot to us Canadians. :) That would be great, the metal ones. I’ll keep my eyes open! I want something that can get wet, and that I don’t have to take off. Thanks for the hair compliments, yay! :)

  29. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    @Cynthia: Thanks for the links! Skirt guards are a brilliant idea, and something I should really look into if I’m going to be a serious skirt-wearing cyclist. Thank you!

  30. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    This is a great bike-accessory idea, too! Found while browsing Cynthia’s links…
    http://www.thebicyclemuse.com/2010/11/bicycle-muse-at-sf-bike-expo.html
    That link title makes no sense, but it goes to a front handlebar purse holder – brilliant!

  31. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    @Helena: Thank you! You’re right, I’m looking into cool bike accessories, anything to make biking more comfortable and fun!

  32. Tasia June 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    @Rachel: Thank you!!

    @Sofia: Ha, thank you! I know, it’s funny how we wear the same pieces over and over, and have these closets packed with things we rarely wear. Less is more! :)

  33. Sewing princess June 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    I love your curls; you are so pretty. I used to straighten my hair
    For the longest time then got fed up and now it’s just my natural curls.

  34. Nadia June 2, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    I read Sofia’s comment, skipped past the rest, and want to echo the ‘DONATE TO MEEE’ sentiment and “YOU ARE SO CUTE” sentiment.

    Plus, the ‘dammit why does your hair curl so much better than mine does’ sentiment.

  35. Caroline June 2, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    That’s it… I adore you! Good for you for going with the flow… on the bike. You just did a major service for people all over the world considering riding bikes instead of driving cars. I don’t own a car and ride in all weather as well, and you’re right, it is so mellowing, and ultimately just plain fun. Your site is so cheerful, and you’re so open, I can’t help but keep reading. Keep it up! Good luck with your Me-Made-Me June. :D

  36. CGCouture June 2, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    My little sis is what they call a “steer jock”, and she always wears these loose-fitting track pants with the buttons all down the side. You can wear just about anything under them and not feel all bunched up, and it would work well for keeping a skirt out of your bike fenders I’d bet. She wears jeans under hers to keep them clean while she fits and clips, and I’ve seen guys wearing those really baggy jeans under them, so I’m pretty confident you could finagle your skirts under there while you ride to work. Probably wouldn’t work the best with a fabric like linen that really wrinkles though….

  37. lauria June 2, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    I’m from Massachusetts (living just north of Boston), but I won’t hold it against you!!

    Love this dress, as well as the post. I don’t mind the introspection at all! It’s good to see inside someone else’s mind. Your hair is adorably windswept.

    You also really make me want to get a bike! I haven’t ridden since I was a kid. I miss my bike – banana seat with powder blue and pink and I think it said “Dream girl” on the side. I totally rocked it and loved it. I live close enough to work to bike, but will sometimes walk. It would probably be just as fast to ride a bike as to drive because of the stop lights. I end up driving when I’m running late… which is more often than not! Since I often get home late at night, I won’t always walk, either. Either I’ll get a ride home by someone who happens to be going my way, or plan ahead and drive.

    Can’t wait to see the rest of your made-me June!

  38. Jessica June 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    I *love* seeing girls in dresses on bikes. Not because I’m a creeper, but because I am one and I think there’s just something so painfully cute and also just kind of free and easy about bikes and skirts/dresses (the sartorialist agrees).

    I recently upgraded to a step-through Electra Townie (love!!) and as the weather warms (it does so a bit slower here in the mountains) I’ve been improving my keeping-skirt-out-of-tire skills. I usually either safety-pin it together in the middle so there’s not too much hanging down to the sides (I tend to wear some slightly more voluminous than normal types of skirts) or just kind of tuck most of it under me so I’m sitting on it? I’m not sure that’s a great description, but barring the purchase of a skirt/coat guard (as seen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Brosen_city_bicycle.jpg) there’s not much else to do :( Why or why can you only buy bikes with skirt guards in Europe?

    That’s my long rambly comment about bikes and feminine attire :)

  39. Wendy June 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Couldn’t agree more, I’m no longer willing to settle for just anything wearable, I want to be both comfortable and feel attractive in my clothes. Perfect reasons to make your own garments right? The Twin Spruce dress is honestly one of the cutest dresses out on the interwebs, absolutely adorable!

  40. Lenora Jane June 4, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    Mmmmph, I am from Boston but share a Montreal apartment with two Vancouverites who will be far more emotional about the results than I…so I’m a bit torn. It looks beautiful out West! Happy summer!

    And also…skirt guards? I’d never heard of those and they sound brilliant. Thanks sewaholic comment section!

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