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.

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!

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Social Sewing Update

Well … Hello.

<insert profuse apologies for long absences; miscellaneous excuses boiling down to ‘life’; and a bit of misdirection of blame towards Instagram, on which I am more prolific but also absent for various periods of times for myriad Reasons and Things. Really, you don’t read me for my regularity of posting, do you? If so, how very aggravating for you. You should stop.>

If you’re in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, I have just added 2016 dates for Social Sewing on this Page here.  Please come!

If you’re not in Melbourne but you happen to be dropping into Melbourne on one of the weekends when Social Sewing is on … I would be so excited to meet you (probably in a bit of weird way, it’s true, but you know, harmless weird, honest.)

I have blog posts for you.  They are all inside my head. We need better technology.  Who is getting onto this? I need to speak with them. Now.