Hudson Trackydaks for Everyone!

I have made myself many True Bias Hudson pants (tee hee, pants) now.

I don’t even know how many.  Let’s see.
1. mock denim jegging fabric one (a bit tight in the legs but loose in the waist because I don’t know, but I still wear it)
2. green fleece  (a bit tight because of fabric, but I still wear it)
3. light grey cotton-lycra (worn to fabric fraying death)
4. spotty blue fleece maternity ones (waist too loose but man, I love these)
5/6. maybe another one or two maternity ones that I’ve since given away

I think I have blogged about a grand total of: None.

You would think I would consider it a TNT, but I don’t, because each of the fabrics I have used have been so different, that the fit is different without any changes to the pattern or size.

These are my modifications to the pattern:
– I don’t bother with the drawstring.  I don’t like drawstrings; they’re fiddly.  I don’t like fiddly.
– I find the length of the ankle cuff too long, so I shortened it to about half width but compensated by lengthening the trouser legs themselves.  Lengthening the legs of a pattern.  Now that was a first for me!
– The pockets were too small.  A greater tragedy than no pockets is pockets that are too small.  I increased the pocket size, by simply slicing the pocket in half, lengthening to fit my whole hand with plenty of wiggle room, and then – I don’t know – trued up the pattern lines.
– For maternity versions, I did a yoga waist band.  I love my blue spotty ones and I still wear it, despite no longer sporting a bump, but I need to replace the waistband as it is too big.  Yeah. One day.
– For future ones:
— I might need to widen the calf or just use the legs from the men’s.
— I should increase the waistband by 2 inches to add length and comfort over the tummy area.

I like the design and the fact that it is such a wardrobe staple (everyone needs trackydaks!) that when True Bias released the Men’s Hudsons and the Mini Hudsons, of course I bought them straight away.

I have made my partner Jedediah trousers twice, but no trackydaks, because he has a pair that he doesn’t really wear much.  He’s had it for at least 10 years.  For a while, I figured he probably just wasn’t into trackydaks.  But then I thought, maybe that pair just wasn’t right for him?  Look, maybe I could have asked him but that seemed like expending effort and I was much more engaged with pondering and dithering.  I decided he needed at least another pair of trackydaks, so I went online and bought fleece fabric and made him a pair.  I haven’t taken a photo of the first pair of Hudsons that I made for my partner because they are dark navy fleece and BORING.  They actually look great on him and he likes them, but I die of boredom just thinking about photographing them.

I bought 3 metres of the boring navy fleece fabric and managed to make myself a pair of Paprika Patterns Ruby Joggers, which are too big (why didn’t I make myself Hudsons? I don’t know.) and from the left overs, made my Babe 2 pairs.  As she is growing like a mushroom, she has already grown out of one pair, mainly because I hemmed instead of cuffing it, without increasing the length of the trouser leg because I’m lazy, so the hemmed pair has been gifted away to a younger child.

While buying the fleece fabric, I happened upon polar fleece fabric with foxes on it.  It was a clearance price of a pittance per metre, so I bought loads.  I am trying not to buy fabric without a plan.  This was a huge fail, but you know FOXES.  I think maybe I thought perhaps I could make myself and Babe jumpers out of the fabric.  Why I thought I needed 4 metres of 152cm wide fabric for jumpers, I don’t really remember, and it is probably best not to interrogate my thinking process.

Did you know 4 metres of polar fleece takes up A LOT of space?

Luckily, my Babe decided it was a blanket when it arrived, so I squared up the fabric width and cut her a blanket.  Fastest blanket ever. Polar fleece doesn’t fray, so I didn’t finish the edges.  In any event, she would not go to sleep that night without “MY foxy blanket,” so I was hardly going to hem it.

But that still left a bajillion metres taking up precious sewing cupboard real estate.

I decided She needed foxy fabric trackydaks, and that the only way to consume all that fabric was to implement Operation Matchy Matchy,

And so I did.

There’s still plenty of foxy fabric, so maybe I’ll make her more Hudsons in larger sizes.

The fabric isn’t great; it’s pilling already after only a few wears.  But they’re warm, and it makes me laugh to wear them, and my Babe loves it when we are all wearing them together at home; we haven’t ventured out in public in them yet…  I know she won’t stand for matchy matchy at some point, but while she does, I’m going to get good mileage out of it.

Some thoughts on making mini Hudsons:
– don’t use fleece for the ankle cuffs on the smaller sizes.  It is nigh on impossible to sew them in.  This is why one of the earlier pairs got hemmed; I tried to sew in the cuff; I failed; I made it work with a hem … Now I use matching / contrasting stretch fabric for the cuffs, and may also do so for the waistband for comfort and fun reasons.
– pockets! My Babe loves pockets as much as I do.  Hers are filled with sand.  I considered not making pockets so that she could not fill them with sand, but she really likes pockets, because she really likes filling them with sand.  I think I have to accept that this is my life now.

I don’t like the waistband method of leaving a gap when attaching the waistband to the main trouser part in order to feed in elastic.  I used to put my elastic inside the waistband and then sew waistband with elastic together onto the trousers, but this involved a degree of finessed handling of fabrics that wasn’t very comfortable or easy.  I have finally hit on a way of doing it that I like: I leave a gap when sewing the waistband short seam so that I can feed elastic into it, instead of leaving the gap when attaching the waistband to the trouser.  I then do not sew the gap in the short seam closed at all.  The idea is that I can switch out elastic when it stretches too much; I’ve never done that, but you never know, I might.

To do the same thing:
1. You will be sewing up the short ends of the waistband.  To do this my way, means you cannot use the overlocker.
2. Mark or eyeball the middle of the short ends of the waistband.
3. Sew from one edge to about a cm after the middle.
4. Leave a gap of slightly wider than your elastic (I tend to use inch wide elastic)
5. Sew up the rest of the waistband
6. Press this short seam open
7. Fold waistband in half lengthwise and press, ready to attach it to the trouser part.
8. When attaching to trouser, ensure that the open part of the short seam will be on the inside of the pants.


Absence Makes Me Wordier!

It has been a long time.  A lifetime, practically.  (My Baby’s lifetime, boom boom!  This is a joke I have been making a lot. I amuse at least myself.)

On the sewing front, I have done very little.  Mostly because I had very little time, and also very little motivation, but I think my lack of motivation was due to my lack of time.  It is all very circular.  I desperately want to get back to sewing, and I have so many ideas (so many!) but time remains an issue.

On the blogging front, well, yeah.  Things were always winding down on the blogging front.  Social media has changed the landscape, too.  Instagram felt like the perfect place for sewing stuff, but it is annoying for a variety of reasons (mostly to do with being taken over by Facebook), and I wonder if we will go back to our blogs as a result? Possibly, but maybe not.

But lo! Some time last year I was struggling with not-sewing and as a result (the truth is I’m still struggling with not-sewing), started re-arranging furniture.  Look, it makes sense, okay? But not only did I need space – that was not the kitchen table – to sew, I also needed motivation. So I bought a ticket to the Sew Melbourne Garden Party, and it was aaaaages away and I figured I’d manage to make something for myself by then.  You can laugh; I’m laughing as I type.  Even before Baby, it could take me FOREVER to finish something.

Exhibit A:
Prior to falling pregnant, I started making the Deer and Doe Bruyere.  I even blogged about it.  My Bruyere muslin is *still* in the state you see in that blog post.  Partially because even then, the waist was probably going to be too tight, so I faffed and have not advanced any further.  Maybe I’ll return to it; maybe I should now be looking at making the next size up in any event!

I do need new clothes.  All kinds of new clothes.  Outwardly, my body has not changed significantly post Baby (who is insisting that I cease to refer to her as Baby but this is MY blog, Baby, and you cannot read yet, so take that!) but there have been huge psychological shifts (er, I’m responsible for an entire human being now) and discomforts in my current clothes, and I still have lots of wardrobe gaps because, I don’t know, life? laziness?

I have actually been sewing some bits and bobs here and there.  Mostly harem pants for Baby because they are so fun, and I have been upcycling things that don’t fit me anymore into things for Baby.  Harem pants are fun because you get to this point where they just look ridiculous, then you put in the waist elastic and – ta dah! – cute baby-butt pants.

For the Garden Party, I decided on the fabric – bought when Baby was an actual baby with the intention of making a breastfeeding friendly summer dress.  LOL. And then I spent forever dithering about patterns.  I had two in mind in particular: Megan Nielsen’s Darling Ranges (a pattern I bought after Baby’s birth with the intention of making many breastfeeding friendly dresses. All the LOLZ) and Deer and Doe’s Reglisse (a pattern I’ve had for ages but just never got around to making).  I put the pictures side-by-side and left them on my phone, and looked at them randomly as I tried to decide.

Darling Ranges is definitely more me, and I’ve liked the pattern ever since it was released, but my sewing nemesis: buttons! (Well, many things are my sewing nemesis…)  Reglisse sits squarely within ‘party dress’ territory for me.  But I like lots about it (hello, elastic waist and bias cut bodice).  Darling Ranges has pockets; Reglisse does not.  Darling Ranges has a straight skirt; Reglisse’s is a 3/4 circle skirt – dangerous territory for me.

I finally decided I would sew Darling Ranges, printed the pattern, cut out my size and then – Baby got hold of my phone, found the picture and said, unprompted, “I hate this. I love this.  Mummy make this.”  She hated Darling Ranges and liked Reglisse.

Look, maybe it’s not the most sensible thing to have your 2 year old direct your sewing plans, but that threw me.  I dithered some more.

And then the weekend before Sew Garden Party had arrived and I had not even started! I eventually decided to make Reglisse, helped along by the fact that I had traced my size so long ago that I didn’t remember doing it and discovered that when I traced my size I had also modified the skirt to include slash pockets.  Thanks, past me.  You’re a champ!  Thanks to the elastic waist, I decided it didn’t matter that I had traced a size 38 without grading out the waist.  I figured I’d just have a less gathered waist than many.

Serendipitously, I had the weekend before Sew Garden Party all to myself.  So, on Friday night, I cut out the pieces.  I spent all of Saturday sewing it up.  Slowly, with lots of breaks to watch random youtube videos completely unrelated to sewing.  It’s just a thing I do when my partner is not at home.  I had to dredge up from my memory how on earth to sew darts.  I followed the sewing instructions, but not the order, so I had to keep reading the entirety of the instructions to develop a process that works for me, which I used to be pretty good at doing after a quick read of sewing instructions but that muscle memory needs some work.  By the end of Saturday, I had the bodice pieced, the skirt pieced and the waistband done.  All that was left was to put them together.

I went for a long walk on Sunday, and on Sunday night put the whole thing together, packed up my kitchen table so it looked like a table again and let the dress hang in my sewing wardrobe to allow the hem to drop.  That and I did not have anywhere near enough of the right coloured bias tape to do the hem.  The Saturday before the garden party, I dashed off to Spotlight to purchase some bias binding during Her nap and that night, attempted to true the hem and hem the dress.  My truing didn’t work.  I put my dress on and asked my partner how terrible he thought the hem looked (yes, I skewed the result by asking a loaded question) and he tried to be kind and honest by saying it was definitely uneven but looked okay.  I didn’t take a photo.  I went to bed a bit miserable about it, and woke the following morning despondent.  So despondent, I announced that I didn’t feel like going to the garden party anymore.

No one who doesn’t sew would notice; every one who does sew, would.  They were whom I had made the dress for (and myself of course.) And I was sad that my first full not-t-shirt garment in the life of my Baby was not resoundingly successful.  There’s lots tied up in how I felt that morning, having much to do with how I feel about myself now that Baby is in my life, and it took my partner’s unfazed, “Are you going to fix it or wear it?” that had me madly working out how to fix it in the time I had left.

I unpicked the bias bound hem and my partner helped me true it.  My Baby kept asking us what we were doing and then wanted me to true a hem for her (she wasn’t actually wearing any clothes at the time but details, details).  Then Partner and Baby departed the house and I used the overlocker to trim the hem and tried to decide whether to use bias binding or something else for the hem.  I’d cut off quite a lot of hem by now and I like my skirts at knee length.  At this time, it was 11 and the garden party started at 12 and I needed to leave the house! Instead of the bias binding, I decided to do a dodgy narrow hem.  No pinning, just eyeballing.  It wasn’t perfect but it was much, much better.  About 15 minutes later, I was out the door!

The garden party was, of course, lovely.  I arrived an hour late, but I walked in at the same time as Li-ann (@happylat), so at least we both arrived late together! Everyone looked fabulous, it was so lovely to see and talk to everyone again, and I stayed pretty much until the end, gasbagging.  At some point, I started trying to make my way around to all the faces I didn’t know or knew only through Instagram but not in person but I think I got waylaid by Finska, cheese or strawberries and suddenly, people were slowly departing and I was saying bye to people I had not even said hi to!

Oh well, next year!

Baby on My Bike

Well. It’s been a while. I have a very good, very adorable reason. But I’m back! I don’t know if I’m back consistently because divining the future is not one of my superpowers.

Anyway, I am here to tell you all about the saga of getting my Adorable Reason on the bike with me. Since Her arrival into my life, I have not ridden my bike very much. While we shared one corporeal entity, I had some issues so I was not allowed to ride my bike. The medical profession can be very, very mean. After our corporeal entities split, there were other issues, like the fact that there was this new human being who was completely dependent on me for survival. Seriously, who knew?

She has had her own corporeal existence for the entire time that it takes the earth to rotate around the sun and She is very keen to establish that actually She doesn’t need me for very much at all. Except for bringing that favourite toy to Her because She’s too lazy to crawl the whole distance. Or feeding Her yoghurt because She loves yoghurt but is not yet competent with a spoon, and knows I am Her servant so She just opens up Her mouth and waits, and I, mug that I am, dutifully spoon in yoghurt (although not always at a rate that satisfies Her greed). Or sleeping. She needs quite a bit of help sleeping.

Mmm sleep. Sweet friend whom I have not visited as much as I would like. We will meet again one day.

Once I was recovered from the cleaving apart of our bodies, I wanted Baby on the bike with me. I wanted to ride places, like I had in The Time Before. I pictured us blissfully doing our groceries and attending mothers group and playgroup, all by means of bike. I wanted to make us both reflective clothing. But – woe! – I learned that it’s not wise to haul a baby on the bike when she’s a little infant because, actually, they’re really quite fragile and wobbly jelly blob like things and now that I was a mother I discovered I had a fear of EVERYTHING endangering Her and a simultaneous nervousness that I was being terribly irresponsible ALL OF THE TIME, so I parked my blissful imaginings and awaited the arrival of that happy time When She Could Hold Her Own Head Up All By Herself Like A Genius Super Baby.

During pregnancy, I researched and coveted this pram bike things.

But you cannot get them in Australia. Nope.

Here’s a good summary of the options available, in Australia (and elsewhere too) for how to carry your own Adorable Reason on the bike with you. I went back and forth about cargo bikes (SO MUCH WANT), baby bike seats or trailer. I settled on the idea that I WANTED a box cargo bike (oh so very much) but it was overkill for the time being, so I was really just oscillating (or more accurately vacillating) between baby bike seat and trailer.

We eventually settled on a Wee Ride. Partially, friend’s recommendation; partially, succumbing to the marketing spiel. I love the idea that She would be in front of me and in my arms while riding, and that the mount of the Wee Ride is between the handlebar and the seat, so better centre of gravity and less effect on steering. Other front seats are mounted on the handlebar stem, which means they would affect steering. I read everything on the internet and watched a gazillion Youtube videos about the Wee Ride. This is research in the internet age.

There was some drama but in short, while the Wee Ride would fit on one of my bikes (a Trek Belleville ) and on my partner’s bike, neither of us could actually get on our bikes because there was not enough room to stand over the top tube with the seat in the middle. Some people had reported this as a problem, but it was reported as hitting the seat (and hence your baby) with your stomach. It was a bit more extreme for us: not being able to get onto the seat at all. For me, the mounting bar created a horizontal top tube that I simply could not stand over.

We decided to consider back seats. (Although I admit to having a moment of going, To hell with the expense and the overkill nature of a box bike, let’s just get a box bike!)

I set off to the bike shop again. The internet had let me down so now I wanted to explore my options with a real live person. Sadly, though the dude at my bike shop was most helpful, he was relying on the internet for information. He himself had never ridden a bike with a baby seat. I had done a little bit of reading. After inspecting all the available seats they had, and reading information on the internet with the bike shop dude, I left with a Bobike One Maxi seat. The bike shop was very happy for me to try it out and simply return it if it was not suitable. I left with a huge box* and a cheery, “Let’s hope you don’t see me again today!”

And they didn’t.

But mostly because it was a hot and windy day, and our desire to do anything remotely active or brain taxing melted away. Later, Partner did instal the bike seat on my bike and I rode away happily (Baby was asleep so she did not get to test ride it). All was well with the seat; it was not noticeable without a baby in it. We had a test ride with baby a few days later and it simply felt like riding with fully loaded panniers. Minor adjustment to riding style had to occur, like go more slowly and slow down quite a bit more when taking corners, but that was no different to riding a fully loaded touring bike and something I wanted to do while I was toting around my Adorable, but still fragile, Reason.
*I’ve yet to give the cardboard box to Baby, but I think She will like it.

Yay! We are cycling now!