Home Again! Travel Photos & Holiday Fabric Shopping

Hello, everyone! I’m back from holidays and excited to be home again, both in my house as well as my online space. I’ve missed blogging! It’s good to be writing again and I’m looking forward to sewing again too.

Where did I go? I went to Iceland, the Netherlands and Belgium! Three different countries with three different adventures. I’ll try not to bore you with too many travel pictures. Just a few highlights for the curious, in case these are places you wanted to visit at some point!

Iceland

I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland. When you tell people you’re going to Iceland they either ask you ‘Why Iceland?’ or tell you they’ve always wanted to go, too!

iceland road trip photos

Renting a car is a great way to see the sights outside Reykjavik. You can drive right to the edges of the island, like the photo above.

iceland road trip photos-4

I can’t believe how lucky we were to have sunshine every single day. Makes for really beautiful photographs. Here’s a view of Reyjkavik from the top of the church tower.

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In Thingvellir National Park – hard to tell but we’re standing on a cliff, overlooking the valley with the river and church below. We’d just walked up from that church to the top of the mountain.

iceland road trip photos-7

This is the geyser Strokkur erupting! About every ten minutes it explodes in a burst of water, like this. Much cooler in real life.

A while back, I knit an Icelandic-inspired sweater pattern called Strokkur, now I know where the name comes from. The water is about 100 degrees and the air was just above zero. (You can see a video of the other, non-erupting geyser here. Just bubbling away!)

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Gulfoss, a massive waterfall. You visit it from the top so you can really see its magnitude!

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Selfoss, another waterfall. You can see the mist coming off the falls, look how far it reaches! For some reason I didn’t think it was going to be that cold in Iceland. Possibly the silliest sentence I’ve ever typed, but I thought in May it would be somewhat summery. Not so much. It was just above freezing every day, I lived in my Strokkur sweater, toque, lined gloves, all my winter gear.

iceland road trip photos-10

It’s a cool experience driving around Iceland. You drive on two lane highways where you might not see another car for an hour or more, towards what looks like the edge of the earth, and then turn the corner to find a little town nestled into a valley.

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I didn’t make it a priority to visit fabric stores in Iceland but you can buy yarn everywhere.

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Everywhere includes the grocery store, the airport, the tourist shop – everywhere! You can even buy knitting needles and row counters in the one grocery store in the small town in the last photo, too. Very cool.

iceland road trip photos-3

All in all, an amazing place to visit. All of the flights we looked at to go to the Netherlands had a stopover in Iceland, and we figured, why not stop for a while? That’s the intention I believe, to increase tourism to Iceland if you’re already taking a flight across the globe.

Netherlands

The highlight of our trip in the Netherlands was a seven-day cycling tour around the country. Each day you get up, punch in the day’s route on the GPS and go! In total we cycled 250km, with the longest day being 67km.

netherlands bike trip photos-4

Now, I cycle 6k to work and 6k home. I thought, that’s only ten times my daily bike ride, how hard could it be? Turns out, it’s quite challenging in that your body isn’t used to being on a bike that long. You learn quickly to ride differently, standing when you can, shifting more weight into your hands, and taking breaks. It sure was a beautiful way to see the country and bike through different towns. If you’re interested, the tour was booked through Dutch Bike Tours, they were great to deal with! (We did the Beaches and Towns tour.)

The Netherlands is truly a cycling paradise. You get to ride on a separate path from the cars and often a separate path from pedestrians too.

netherlands bike trip photos
Look at this glorious path! No cars. Just bikes. Beautiful scenery.

netherlands bike trip photos-2

In Vancouver, there are bike paths but not a lot of them. When there’s no bike path, you cycle on the same road as the cars. I felt spoiled, having these great paths all to myself! Sometimes you do ride on the road, but it’s quiet and feels safe.

netherlands bike trip photos-3

I took a ton of photos on the first day of the bike trip! After that, we speeded up the pace and I took a lot less. What was cool was the variety of landscapes and scenery as we crossed the country. Day one was farmland and waterways, day two was forested, day three took us through sand dunes and beaches!

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Totally different views. Which is nice, you feel like you’ve covered a lot of ground this way.

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Day four rained and I took zero photos. I’m just thankful we only had one day of wet cycling! Day five was more farmland, heading back to our starting point.

Good to know if you want to do a bike tour: a seven-day tour means five cycling days, the first and last days are just arriving and leaving days.

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Castles! Ok, it is hard not to post a hundred photos. It’s just such a beautiful place. Bikes are everywhere you go. Hundreds of bikes fill the racks outside each train station.

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People even hold hands on bikes! Tried it, it’s not that easy. (These are our friends, in case it looks like I’m photographing adorable strangers!)

netherlands bike trip photos-9

I knew the Netherlands was bike-friendly but wow, it’s really a part of everyday life. It’s definitely inspired me to get out and cycle more! And possibly create some sewing patterns designed for cycling.

I went to a sewing meetup in Amsterdam and met some fantastic people. I’m nervous to go to a meetup in general, even more so in a different country where I only know a few words of Dutch! Luckily, everyone was wonderful and very friendly. As long as you have sewing in common, the rest is easy! I met Becca (of Becca’s Cambie wedding dress!), Janou, Rachel, and Caroline for lunch, fabric shopping and dinner. We went to two places, a quick stop at a fabric store in Amsterdam (A. Boeken) and the famous lingerie supply shop Kantje Boord!

Kantje Boord

This place is fantastic. I’d heard about it on sewing blogs, when I started sewing lingerie, and looked forward to checking it out! It’s not right in the centre of Amsterdam but a 40-minute tram ride towards the edges of the city. It’s rather unassuming, you can barely make out the sign on the left side of this photo.

kantje boord photos

Once you get inside, it’s lace heaven!

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Step back and there’s even more lace. That’s all wide lingerie lace, most of stretch and some of the more detailed embroidered ones are non-stretch. You can see lingerie samples on the mannequins for inspiration and ideas.

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It’s hard to make a decision, there’s so much to see! Come with a plan and a shopping list, or make it easy on yourself and buy the prepackaged kits. There’s a sale lace section where prices are 1 euro per metre. I mostly focused on lace and lingerie kits, but there’s everything: elastics, bows and appliques, fabrics by the metre.

kantje boord photos-4

I bought a handful of kits, some are gifts so I haven’t taken them apart yet. Once I have ones to keep I can take one apart and show what’s included, if anyone is interested.

Some important things to know:

We arrived later in the day and didn’t know about the cash-only policy, and needed to run to a bank machine, blocks away! Luckily they kept the store open until we came back, even though it was past four o’clock when they closed. That was nice. Well worth the visit if you’re interested in sewing lingerie, swimwear or activewear.

Belgium

We spent a few days in Antwerp and one of them was a sewing meetup day with even more friendly sewing people! We went to the Dries Van Noten fashion exhibit, walked through an underground tunnel to have lunch, then shopped so many fabric stores I lost count. It was at least six and probably more, all within walking distance. Big thanks to Lieke, Anneke, Hanne, Stephanie, Anske, Caroline, Janou and Hilary for a fun and memorable day!

dries van noten exhibit

This is in the fashion museum – we were crouching down to look up the skirt and see what makes it stand out like that. You know you’re with your kind of people, when everyone wants to see the insides of the couture garments as much as the outsides! I was mesmerized by the videos showing how the garments were made: the beading, the handwork, the careful crafting and attention to detail.

The one place I bought fabric was Julija’s Shop, out of the many fabric stores we stopped in! It’s a beautiful store.

julijas shop

This will make a cute skirt:

fabric!

and this, a Granville shirt!

more fabric!

For cycling, Antwerp is a little less bike-friendly than the Netherlands, but they do have a bike-sharing program! I got to ride one of these cute red bikes at the start of our sewing meetup.

antwerp bikes

Our time in Antwerp was short, but it was unforgettable because of the people we met. I’m really fortunate and thankful that through sewing and blogging I was able to connect with people across the globe and make new friends. The internet is wonderful that way, bringing people together over one common interest, people I’d never have met otherwise!

Crafting on Holidays

I didn’t bring a knitting project to save space. I thought that was a smart choice, so I’d have more room to bring back souvenirs and such. For the first few days I was fine, but even on holiday you have downtime or waiting time. After six days of no creative activity, I picked up needles in a grocery store and cast on with the Icelandic wool I’d bought as a souvenir. I’m the sort of person who likes to keep busy, even when I’m supposed to be relaxing!

knitting on holiday

I did bring a notebook to record design ideas, garment details and inspiration. There’s always a notebook in my purse or bag at home, and I knew it would be nice to have a place to write and sketch when ideas come.

By the end of the month I was so excited to get back to sewing! Plus now I have a notebook filled with new ideas. Spending time with people who sew gets me totally inspired. Creative people are inspiring to be around, and that’s how I’m feeling – creatively recharged.

Three Travel Tips

  • Forever map! My number one travel tip. It’s an iPhone app with an offline map that shows your position in real time. Download the country or city you’re going to and favourite your hotels and attractions while you have internet access. Then even without internet you can find your way home, or from place to place.
  • Duolingo to learn languages. It’s another app that teaches you a new language, but in a fun way like a game. I love learning new things, especially something I can try out right away, so I started learning a few words of Dutch. I can translate most of a menu, apparently food is my priority for learning words.
  • The Google translate app lets you photograph text, like a menu, then it scans for words to translate. Super helpful for menus, street signs, posters. It also saves the things you’ve looked up offline, so if you see a familiar word that you know you’ve translated before, you can access the translation in your history. (We were often without internet so having things available offline was super helpful.)

More holiday photos on my personal Instagram account here, if you want to see more!

I’ve felt this before but there’s nothing like a holiday to remind you of the beauty of your hometown. Vancouver truly is gorgeous! You forget when you see the same mountains every day, see the green trees and forest areas, feel the cool fresh air. I’m lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world, even if I appreciate it most after being away.

Next up: back to sewing, working on our summer patterns, and catching up on things. It’s starting to get nice here and I have summer sewing on my mind. If there’s anything you want to know about Iceland or bike tripping in the Netherlands, feel free to ask!

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85 Responses to Home Again! Travel Photos & Holiday Fabric Shopping

  1. Andie L June 3, 2015 at 6:11 am #

    Oh wow! Love the pictures of your trip. I am doing almost the exact trip (minus the biking) next Spring for my honeymoon and you just got me even more excited! :D

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 8:36 am #

      Oh that’s awesome! Same thing, Iceland first and then the Netherlands? What a lovely honeymoon adventure. It was sort of a delayed honeymoon for us too I suppose, since we didn’t have one after getting married. Let me know if there’s anything you want to know and I’d be happy to help!

      • Andie L June 5, 2015 at 5:03 am #

        Similar. We’re going to Iceland first and then on a Scandinavian cruise. It includes Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, etc. I’m super excited even though it is almost a year away! :) Wedding in a month, though. :) If I have any questions, I’ll definitely ask. :)

        • Tasia June 5, 2015 at 10:27 am #

          That sounds unbelievably exciting! So many countries. Best of luck with the planning and congrats on your upcoming wedding!

  2. Barbi June 3, 2015 at 6:40 am #

    What an amazing adventure! I’d love to know how and what you packed for a month away from home :)

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

      Ah, I took out the bits I’d originally written about what I packed because I thought it was too boring! :)
      I packed very light, and only basics. I didn’t want anything that needed ironing. I wore mostly lightweight vee neck tee shirts that I could wash in the sink and that were light enough to dry overnight. Grey ones so they hid the dirt better. Jeans and black jeans, and grey tee shirts, that was my everyday look! Super boring but easy.
      I brought: one wool sweater for Iceland, several tee shirts for layering, one pair of black jeans and one pair of blue jeans, a black skirt I only wore a few times, a waterproof jacket, denim jacket and a leather jacket. Also a blue wool cardigan. The best thing I brought was a denim vest that I’d wear under the leather jacket, for all the extra pockets.

      It was perhaps my most basic series of outfits but it made things really easy! For variety, I brought four colourful scarves so at least I had a bit of colour, and I could change them up with the exact same things underneath. This was pretty much my look the entire month: https://instagram.com/p/2wQaRRFeb_/ and https://instagram.com/p/2obucdFedm/ I swapped my purse for a backpack and wore it every day, too. It takes away the decision of ‘what will I wear?’ today, that’s for sure!

      The only thing I’d change looking back would be to add more sweater. It was colder than expected and I got really tired of wearing the exact same sweater every day in Iceland. Even though you can’t see it under the jackets and scarves. I brought two bathing suits, that was silly.
      Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know! I was fortunate that my sister had just been travelling and gave me advice on what she packed.

  3. Evie June 3, 2015 at 6:58 am #

    Beautiful pictures! My dad has been back and forth to the Netherlands a few times recently for work and just loves it. He’s always sending us all pictures of the seas of bikes everywhere.

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 8:38 am #

      The bikes everywhere are pretty cool! After a week it starts to look normal but when we first arrived I kept wanting to take photographs of bikes. At the really big train stations they have bike parkades, like we would for cars.

  4. Heather L June 3, 2015 at 6:58 am #

    Wow, sounds like an amazing trip! I’m glad you were able to take the time off and have such an amazing getaway but I will say I really missed having you here…:)

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 8:40 am #

      Aw, thanks! That’s nice to hear. I am back and full of energy now! The only way to take time off is to book it way in advance and pay deposits.. then you have to go, no matter how busy it is! It’s hard to get away when you run a business but I’m lucky to have excellent people working with me, that kept everything running smoothly.

  5. Sonia June 3, 2015 at 6:58 am #

    Fantastic, love the cycle paths, your amongst trucks and cars in Coventry GB, I’m just not that brave. I wondered what you used for a knitting pattern on the go?

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 8:48 am #

      Same here! You’re either right on the road with the scary drivers, or on the side streets. I’m actually fortunate to have a multi-use path between home and work for the most part which makes it pretty enjoyable.

      For knitting on the go I used the CustomFit program – it’s a program that creates sweater patterns customized to your measurements. I blogged about it here – http://sewaholic.net/size-yours-my-customfit-sweater/ and on the road, I knit a swatch, washed my swatch in the hotel sink, let it dry, and measured my gauge. While it was drying I decided on what I wanted the sweater to look like – vee neck, long sleeves, 2×2 ribbed trim. Then I input the swatch into the customfit site, chose the sweater design, and it generated a pattern for me! It’s nice because I only bought one set of needles. With a regular pattern, I’d probably swatch a few times to get the gauge right. Custom fit uses whatever gauge you like and makes a pattern for it, no need to match. :) I’m a big fan of the customfit program and it worked well since I’d already used it a few times and I’m happy with my body measurements in the site.
      Otherwise I would check my Ravelry library when I had wifi access, and look for a pattern that suited the yarn, and then download it to my phone. The hard part is you’d have to buy a few sets of needles to get the gauge right, or choose something like a shawl or scarf where the gauge matters less. :)

  6. Rose in SV June 3, 2015 at 7:51 am #

    What a wonderful vacation! thank youi for sharing your pictures and experiences.

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 8:49 am #

      Ah, you’re welcome! I wondered if it would only be interesting to me, so I’m glad it was fun to read.

  7. Charlotte June 3, 2015 at 8:15 am #

    Oh, sewing patterns for cycling by Sewaholic, yes please! Would love that (but then again, I’m Dutch so I can cycle in anything, although I have yet to try cycling in a Gabriola!)

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 8:52 am #

      I think that would be the hardest pattern of all to cycle in, just because of all that fabric! What would you like to see most? I have several ideas but I’d love to know what you’d be most interested in.
      I admire how the Dutch people can cycle in anything! My favourite was all the stylish men in suits on bicycles on their way to work. There’s something about the contract of crisp office wear and sporty bicycles that I can really appreciate.

      • Charlotte June 3, 2015 at 10:22 am #

        Well, I would be mostly interested in some cycling appropriate stuff that is not necessarily sportswear. Something nice that happens to work well on a bike as well. Just as an example, I was looking at Megan Nielsen’s Tania Culottes, but for cycling it would be more convenient to have them be less full (also that would be a more flattering shape around the hips I think) and perhaps made in a knit for extra cycling comfort?
        I’m wondering what kind of ideas you had in mind! Can you tell or should I wait for the patterns?

        • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 10:42 am #

          That’s a great approach – cycling-friendly clothing that isn’t super sports-specific. Things you wouldn’t mind wearing to meet up with friends or hang out in. I think that’s the angle we would take, too. People have recommended the Tania Culottes for cycling but I also think I’d prefer less fullness, and you’d have to have the fit in the crotch just right or it could be uncomfortable.
          It’s too early to share our ideas but I can say we have some in the works! But I’m always interested in what people want to see and what people like to cycle in. Bike style – always an interesting subject to me. I also don’t want to look super-sporty but I like practicality.

          Also – your Gabriola skirt is amazing! Gorgeous work.

          • Charlotte June 3, 2015 at 11:10 am #

            Thanks! I’ll be looking forward to your cycling-friendly patterns!

          • Rosie Sparkleneedles June 5, 2015 at 5:57 am #

            Oh my goodness, please make some cycle friendly clothes! That would be the best!

          • Kim G June 10, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

            I’m super excited about cycling-oriented clothing… I wear a mixture of different styles and materials when cycling (which I do *every* day – no car!). I work at MEC so I have a lot of choices there for outdoor and casual clothes, but I like to make my own!

            Things I find myself gravitating to again and again are capri-length pants in stretch woven fabric; stretchy tops that have a long hemline, so I don’t show everyone my butt when I lean over, and reasonably high necklines so I don’t scoop up a bee and/or flash everyone; knee-length skirts with shorts underneath. I sometimes ride in longer/fuller skirts but it’s annoying to have to slow down so the skirt doesn’t get away from me! (I like to go fast. Mostly I wear technical cycling clothes when I’m out for a training ride or a race,but sometimes the commute turns into an impromptu time trial, haha).

            I’d love to see some designs for midweight layering pieces – sewn cardigans or light jackets that allow a lot of movement through the shoulders.

            • Tasia June 12, 2015 at 9:46 am #

              You work for MEC – that’s so cool! Even so I can imagine you’d be even more inspired to make your own after working around outdoorsy clothing. I find things that are well made and practical there, but I wish for slightly different fit or less details. Or a jacket that fits over my hips *and* fits my shoulders!
              Thanks for the ideas! Lots to think about..

  8. zilredloh June 3, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    This looks like an amazing trip!

    Iceland is on my to-do list, hopefully I can get there in the next few years – and I also didn’t think it would be that chilly even in the summer (as Alaska is even shorts friendly in the summer month/months.)

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 8:57 am #

      Yes, it’s an excellent place to visit! I know right? You’d think it would be just a little warmer, and from the photos in the sunshine it doesn’t look that cold. I followed the blog I Heart Reykjavik (http://www.iheartreykjavik.net -very useful blog for planning an Iceland trip) and she posted a photo of her boyfriend in shorts in April.. so I pictured it being crisp but not super cold. When you get ready to plan let me know if there’s anything you want to ask! Prepare to save room for all the yarn :)

  9. Anya June 3, 2015 at 9:10 am #

    I visited Iceland last year! And took almost the same trip (through Iceland only) as you just did. It is so beautiful and truly is a place to visit. I have nothing but fond memories of my visit. I went in June and it was still cold! I was definitely wearing layers and warm clothes almost every day.
    I love the rest of your trip! I would love to visit Netherlands and Belgium. So awesome that you took the bike trip. That is very inspiring :)

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 9:18 am #

      Ah! So even if we’d waited a month it still would have been cold. Maybe it’s July and August that it gets warmer there. Probably why lopapeysas are so popular! Cool to hear from other people that have been there, it’s such an amazing place.

      • Lynn June 3, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

        I went in July and it was still cool, but like you and other people totally loved the trip! Very different, though sort of the same like home (Pacific Northwest). And unlike you, we had rain almost every day. Not heavy and the sun did peak out, but rain none the less. A very fun trip!

        • Tasia June 4, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

          Still cool in July eh, so there really is no warm time to visit Iceland. Now we know! :) Too bad you had rain but I can imagine that somewhere like Iceland, you just gear up and get on with the adventure, it’s too interesting not to!

  10. Dagbjört June 3, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    When I saw your first photo pop up in my bloglovin feed I thought it looked familiar :) I am from Iceland and believe me you can never count on the weather, but you were lucky to at least get some sunshine!! I live in Norway now and we usually visit during the fall or early spring, because than we don’t get so disappointed with the weather :) Glad you had a good trip and enjoyed your stay in “my” country! :)

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 10:23 am #

      I bet everyone who visits takes a photo from the top of the tower! :) We had sunshine every day, the only day it wasn’t bright and clear was the last day and even then it wasn’t bad. Super lucky! I would love to visit Norway sometime as well.

  11. Albertine June 3, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    What an exciting trip you made, and fantastic to read that you enjoyed the Netherlands! I am Dutch and am going to visit Canada this summer for the first time, starting in Vancouver. Any suggestion for fabric stores?
    And yes, we cycle everyday, everywhere, in every weather, to school, to work, even to party’s of weddings!

  12. Loretta June 3, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    What beautiful photos! My hubby wants to visit Iceland. His parents are from the Netherlands and we’ve been there 8 years ago and loved it all and wish to return. I loved reading your post. I’m glad you had a fun time.

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 11:03 am #

      Thanks! It’s hard to take bad photos, it’s just so beautiful. :) I totally recommend visiting Iceland. I wanted to go more than Mr. Sewaholic did, I think, and he really enjoyed it. Check out the blog I Heart Reykjavik and you’ll be convinced you have to go! http://www.iheartreykjavik.net/ I found it super helpful to know about the area beforehand. We followed the drive-it-yourself guides and it helped to have a plan and know where you’re going and what you plan to see that day. Of course I am sure there are tour buses and such, but I like to have control of my day’s activities. How cool that you have family in the Netherlands – a reason to go back!

  13. Amy June 3, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    Tasia, how fun to see pictures of Antwerp! We lived there for two years and my husband and I go every summer. Isn’t it a charming town? I love that fashion museum ;)

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

      Oh cool! I really liked it, I didn’t know what to expect but found it an easy place to enjoy right away. Going to the fashion museum reminded me to pay closer attention to our local museums and make the time to go, it’s really inspiring.

  14. Len Harrison June 3, 2015 at 11:47 am #

    Hi Tasia
    My wife is the sewer so appreciated the fabric shots, I am a keen photographer and really enjoyed your pictures. Nice work.

    Cheers Len

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

      Oh thanks! That’s a nice compliment coming from a photographer. :)

  15. sandra June 3, 2015 at 11:54 am #

    Hola Tasia!!me ha encantado tu reportaje.que viaje tan bonito!!!!
    Creo que ya me siento menos loca…..cada vez que viajo compró lanas…telas…hilos…veo que no soy la única!!!
    Gracias por tu blog..te sigo hace tiempo desde Madrid (España) y es muy agradable recibir noticias tuyas y coser con tus patrones
    Te mando un fuerte abrazo
    SANDRA

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

      Thanks and I’m glad you enjoyed the photos!

  16. Sox June 3, 2015 at 4:13 pm #

    Thank you for the lovely pictures and app tips.
    I’ve never cycled in the Netherlands but we did go to a few cycling shops and we were very impressed by all the cycling infrastructure. It’s so nice to visit a place where bikes are a way of life. We saw cyclists on the ring road in Iceland too -quite the determined bunch.
    I think all your patterns are pretty bicycle-friendly but it will be cool to see if you design any cycling-specific patterns.

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

      Cyclists in Iceland – now that is dedication! Though you would have nice empty roads and beautiful scenery.
      Glad the app tips were useful – it’s not really sewing related but you never know who has a trip coming up that might use the info!

  17. Shannon June 3, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    Wow, this looks like such an amazing holiday! I’m one of those people that’s always wanted to go to iceland, and I your bike tour looked great. I also love the idea of bike-friendly clothing patterns, since I’ve started biking to work!

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

      It really was! That’s awesome that you’re biking to work. How long is your ride? I didn’t bike for a while and I’ve started again, it’s so much fun compared to driving in traffic!

  18. Kyle June 3, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

    Wow, thanks for sharing all the deets! I feel like I was there! :)

    • Tasia June 3, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

      Oh good! That’s a good impression to have, I think! :)

  19. Sarah June 3, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    Such a great trip, and such interesting destinations. On the topic of cycle friendly clothing, I was just in a Levi’s store last week (Melbourne, Australia) and they’ve released a new commuter range of jeans, with details like a higher rise in the back to avoid flashing bum cleavage, and the side seams being bound in reflective tape to increase visibility when you fold them up. Clever!

    • Kristi June 4, 2015 at 7:35 am #

      That higher-rise-in-the-back thing is something I think a lot of pear shapes (or hourglasses) could benefit from! I know my pearness is due in large part to a trunk with a sizable amount of junk in it, and if I’m wearing any kind of “normal” rise jeans, bum cleavage is totally a concern.

      • Tasia June 4, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

        Agreed. The Tofino Pants are designed with a higher rise in the back, lower in the front because when you wear pyjamas, you’re likely sitting more than you are standing! Bum cleavage is not ideal at any time really, but especially when cycling.

    • Tasia June 4, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

      Now that is cool! For women and men? I’ll have to see if they have them in Canada too for research purposes :)

  20. Juliet June 4, 2015 at 12:12 am #

    Hi Tasia, so glad you are back. I have missed your blogs. I just wanted to let you know that I loved the blog on hemming using a dress form. I am looking at buying a dress form and now I know to look for one that includes the hemming attachment. I have recently started a blog of my own and would love if you could have a look offyousew.blogspot.com

    • Tasia June 4, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

      That’s awesome! I’m glad that post was helpful.

  21. Debra June 4, 2015 at 12:50 am #

    Looks like a great trip. We are thinking of doing a Netherlands cycle tour so I found that bit particularly inspiring. I cycle in London, UK, for work and pleasure. As a result I never wear skirts or dresses, I just can’t be comfortable in them on a bike. How do you do it? Do you just let them flap around your thighs? Safety pins? bulldog clips? I’ve considered experimenting with those weights on clips that are used to hold down tablecloths.

    I’d love to see some non-techy, non-sporty cycle friendly patterns. I did make a waterproof Minoru (slightly modified version) which I use a lot. It works pretty well, apart from the cuffs but long gloves solved that.

    A tailored coat with room for arm and leg movement would be good. A magic skirt that stays in place would be excellent too :)

    • Tasia June 4, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

      Oh good! Do let me know if there’s anything I can help with or tell you about, if you do end up booking a cycle tour. The best part of this tour was that they move your luggage from hotel to hotel, so you just relax and enjoy the ride.
      I wear skirts and dresses on my bike all the time! I just let them flap around I suppose. Sometimes I do end up biking with one hand on my leg if it’s super windy, but I care a lot less about it flapping than I did when I first started biking. If someone sees my upper thigh, so be it.
      But! If that concerns you, you could try this http://www.eleanorsnyc.com/collections/new-arrivals/products/bird-industries-bicycle-skirt-garter-clip
      It would be pretty easy to make one, and then you don’t have to put your hand on your leg, ever. I’m thinking of making one to see how effective it is.
      Magic skirt pattern, coming up! :) Love it. What you could do too is weight the hem a little, even adding a wider hem or hem facing could help, interfacing the hem, adding trim inside the hem so it’s not obvious.

      • Debra June 5, 2015 at 9:59 am #

        Thanks very much for the cycle garter tip, it looks like it has potential. I will have to make a skirt before I can try it out though, so that will give me a chance to experiment with your hem ideas too :)

  22. Stephanie June 4, 2015 at 2:25 am #

    Hi Tasia,

    It was so lovely meeting you and I’m happy you enjoyed Antwerpen and had an amazing time on your well deserved break!
    Can’t wait to see how you use this experience as inspiration :)

    Lots of love!

    • Tasia June 4, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

      It was so wonderful to meet you too, I’m glad you came to the meetup! :)

  23. Nane June 4, 2015 at 4:51 am #

    Hi Tasia. At last, you’re back. I’ve been missing reading your posts. And what a great one… full of things i like and can relate to.
    Love Iceland (been there 4 times already and planning on trekking there again).
    Love your blog and makes.
    Love Vancouver a lot.
    Bike to work almost every day (4 k only but still… it’s biking ).
    Am Belgian… so I almost choked when I read you made it to Belgium… Thank God you didn’t make it to Brussels yet. Next time, as you make it to Brussels, I know a
    Fabric shop you would love to see. Would be glad to send you there or take you there !

    Can’t wait to keep on reading you.

    • Tasia June 4, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

      Ah thanks! It’s good to be back. Four times to Iceland, wow! Did you go to the same places or cover new ground each time? Thanks so much for the offer to show me the fabric shop in Brussels. We heard it was beautiful there, and now I know people in Antwerp so I could go again someday, maybe I will end up in Brussels one of these days!

      • Nane June 10, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

        We covered different areas. Making sure to always leave something to see for a
        next time. As we hike we don’t cover much ground …

        Don’t forget to let know when you make it to Belgium again :-)

        • Tasia June 12, 2015 at 9:43 am #

          For sure!

  24. Donna June 4, 2015 at 5:03 am #

    Loved your blog! I’ve just started experimenting with vintage-style lingerie so I’d love to visit Kantje Boord – I never knew it existed until I saw it here. How fantastic to travel to so many places on one trip – so much inspiration!

    • Tasia June 4, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

      Oh yes! I’d heard of it on Miss Celie’s Pants – http://missceliespants.com/ – and knew I had to go when I was in the area! You’d be able to find all kinds of things for vintage-style lingerie, for sure.

  25. Hebo June 4, 2015 at 6:39 am #

    sounds like a wonderful trip! I would also love to see bike-friendly or bike-inspired Sewaholic patterns. I’m also curious to know what you wore on the cycling portion of your trip. Same jeans and tee combo?

    • Tasia June 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

      Pretty much! This was my daily look: grey tee shirt, denim vest, leather jacket, jeans, socks and either boots or sneakers, then scarf, toque, leather gloves to take on and off depending on the weather. On the rainy day I put the rain jacket overtop of the whole thing, leather jacket and all. I realized it wasn’t important to look stylish and better to have my phone and wallet safe and handy, plus enough layers to keep warm.

      I had grand plans to sew a mini-wardrobe for my trip, with great bike-friendly outfits that would mix and match with regular items! I got too busy to sew anything, which looking back, wasn’t so bad. I would have brought really cute outfits that would have needed ironing, and needed to go with the right other items. Next time, perhaps!

  26. Kristi June 4, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    That was amazing! I had no idea I wanted to go to The Netherlands before seeing all your fantastic pictures!

    Thank you so much for sharing, and I just wanted to chime in that I, too, would love to see patterns made with cycling in mind that can still be “normal” clothes, too. :)

    • Tasia June 4, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

      I know eh? It’s so beautiful! Thanks for the vote for bike-friendly designs, we’ll see what we can come up with!

  27. Ann June 4, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    On the subject of cycling or cycling-friendly patterns, somewhere online I saw a very cute short simple biking cape made out of reflective material, and I thought, gosh, maybe I could sew something like that if I found the right kind of fabric! I have a reflective vest I bought, which pulls on over the head, and it is a real struggle to wrestle it on and off — the idea of the cape seems so much easier. I liked that you could put it on basically over anything, even a winter coat. I think it closed in front with a big snap, or maybe there were a few snaps so you could adjust the size. I wonder if you would ever consider offering something like that as a kit, with the fabric included along with the pattern? If the concept of the pattern was even interesting to you at all!

    Thanks and I’m so glad you had such a fantastic trip!

    • Tasia June 4, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

      A rain cape is definitely an interesting concept! Reflective-ness is also something I want to investigate. Bonus if it’s reflective details done in a cool way. Kits would make it easier but we’re not likely to do them. I’d rather find sources and talk about what to look for instead.

  28. Andrea June 5, 2015 at 1:47 am #

    Dear Tasia,
    I love your travel pictures and thanks for the link to the fabric’s store in Antwerp. I live in Brussels/Belgium and now I know where to go.
    All the best for the future!
    I love your blog!
    Andrea

  29. Catherine June 5, 2015 at 3:16 am #

    Welcome back, I missed you, but glad you had a fantastic and well deserved break.

    • Tasia June 5, 2015 at 10:27 am #

      Aw thanks! It’s really nice to hear you missed my posts, thanks for the comment. I’m back and ready to blog! :)

  30. Hanne June 5, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    Those pictures look amazing. I always love reading how people feel about Belgium and The Netherlands since all of the perks (such as serparate bike lanes) feel so normal to us, we might not appreciate them anymore!
    It was lovely meeting you and I hope you’ll return to Belgium one day! Can’t wait to see your finished outfits and new patterns!

    • Tasia June 10, 2015 at 8:50 am #

      It was so great to meet you too! I’m sure I’ll return. I feel like there’s so much more to see and a few days isn’t enough.
      It’s cool to look at your home from a fresh perspective. You’re so lucky to have the bike lanes, the delicious bread and croissants, and also to have such a nice group of sewing friends! Thanks for making me feel welcome!

  31. Joanne June 5, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    What an amazing blogpost – thanks. I’ve been to Iceland – that wool is rather itchy isn’t it. I bought a sweater styled on The Killing knitted by the farmer’s wife where we stayed!

    • Tasia June 10, 2015 at 8:51 am #

      It is so itchy! I washed and dried the sweater pieces and it’s softer than before, but still a little rough. A long-sleeve shirt worn underneath the sweater will help. So cool that you have a handknit sweater to remember your travels by! (Did you stay long enough that she knit the entire sweater while you were there?)

  32. Anske June 5, 2015 at 10:34 pm #

    The pictures look amazing! Nice te read that you’ve enjoyed our day in antwerp! Hope the rest of the trip was also amazing and the work waiting at home wasn’t to much!

    • Tasia June 10, 2015 at 8:52 am #

      It was a great visit to Antwerp! Thanks for making me feel so welcome and for showing me around! :)

  33. Renee June 9, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    What a terrific and inspiring recap! I’ve never been to Iceland. But, I loved, loved, loved biking through the Netherlands and Belgium. I also ate my weight in frites and stroopwafels. Isn’t Kantje-Boord almost overwhelming?? I can’t even imagine having that kind of regular access to lingerie findings.

    • Tasia June 10, 2015 at 9:36 am #

      Ah me too! Delicious food over there, even the bread tastes better, and the croissants and yes the stroopwafels! Yum. Biked 250km and still gained weight on holidays, no food regrets though! ;)

      I’m pretty sure it was on your blog where I first read about Kantje Boord, thanks for posting about it! It was totally overwhelming, and we didn’t have a long time there, and we had to run to get cash. Pressure to make quick decisions for sure! I know, can you imagine if that was down the street from you? Or even in the same city? Our lingerie drawers would be amazing. :)

  34. Cat June 11, 2015 at 6:13 am #

    Just wanted to add my vote for sewing patterns for stylish everyday clothes that are great for cycling in!

  35. a June 14, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    I just read about this cheap way to secure a skirt while on a bike: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/06/05/penny_in_yo_pants_the_new_indiegogo_campaign_to_help_you_bike_in_a_skirt.html

    It might leave a mark, though.

    • Tasia June 15, 2015 at 10:32 am #

      I’ve seen that! Probably best on dark colours, with clean coins. It’s reminded me that we don’t have pennies anymore in Canada, we’ve phased it out and round everything up or down to the nearest 5 cents.