Will someone please make this for me?

by Jessie Kwak

And once someone has made this for me, will someone please lend me their children and man friend* so that I can sew while they pedal?

*Mine doesn’t like tandems**.

**Are we calling this a tandem?


Bike Keeps Family in Stitches

CARRYING four persons and a sewing machine, the world’s weirdest bicycle recently had a tryout in Chicago, Ill. The two-story vehicle, known as the “Goofybike,” is the creation of Charles Steinlauf. It carries the whole Steinlauf family. The inventor rides at the top and guides the contraption by means of a huge automobile steering wheel. Mrs. Steinlauf sits below, operating a sewing machine, while her son pedals behind and her daughter rides on the handlebars in front. When the odd vehicle is at rest, the projecting legs of the sewing machine prevent the lofty cycle from tipping over.

Via Modern Mechanix.

I wasn’t able to find much more info on this contraption, though admittedly I left it at a Google search. I saw it originally here, a Distractify photo roundup where pretty much every photo is an awesome short story prompt.

And speaking of old timey contraptions I want, the Distractify post also featured this Whisky vending machine:


I’ll take two.


Crafting with Inner Tubes is now available

by Jessie Kwak

Okay, all the teasing is over — I’m now officially ready to launch the first-ever Bicitoro ebook: Crafting with Inner Tubes.

Click to read more about it. You can even snag a copy of your own if you want – I won't stop you.

Click to read more about it. You can even snag a copy of your own if you want – I won’t stop you.

I already gushed about it a ton last week and on its sales page, so I’ll spare you much more here.

I’m selling it for $6, but I’ve got a special deal for anyone who’s subscribed to my email list — it’s only $0.99 until April 15. Sign up for the list and I’ll send you the code.

Happy crafting!


Merino wool inspiration – active yet chic

by Jessie Kwak

If you’re not already familiar with Fabric Mart, then I’m sorry to do this to you. Sewists without self control probably shouldn’t click on that link, because you’ll just find crazy cheap fabrics from name brand designers. All the luscious silks, wools, and bamboos you’ve been trying to avoid buying, all at prices that are so insanely reasonable it just would be crazy to not buy a few yards.

What you really shouldn’t do is sign up for their email newsletter, because they’ll just send you tempting emails full of killer deals, like 50% off merino wool jersey in a whole rainbow of awesome colors.

(They’re not paying me for any of this – I’m totally just warning you out of the goodness of my own heart.)

I’ve been on a fabric buying freeze since we moved, because shit, moving is expensive! Plus, having to pack all those boxes of fabric reminded me that I’ve started to verge on hoarders territory. But when Fabric Mart sent me their nefarious newsletter a month ago, I just couldn’t resist snatching up some of this gorgeous merino wool jersey.

Merino wool jersey

Aren’t those colors stunning?

I haven’t cut into any of it yet, because I’m still coming up with inspirations. I’ve pinned a few here:

Screenshot 2014-04-06 14.57.43

I’m wanting to make something that’s sporty enough to work well on a bike – even a more “workout” sort of ride – while still looking cute. I have 2 yards of the green and orange, and 3 yards of the purple, so while I might be able to make a dress out of that, the green and orange will likely turn into tops of some sort.

I’m really loving something like this Equinox Dress from Morphic on Etsy, maybe in the purple (which is a bit heavier weight).

Equinox dress

I also dig this asymmetrical button dress, which seems like it would work in a lighter weight jersey. I could maybe pull that off with 2 yards of fabric. But should I do it in orange or green?

Gathered merino dress

I’ve been wanting a blouse like this Siren Shell from Ureshii, also on Etsy. That would be pretty simple to make.

Siren Shell

What do you guys think?


Tutorial: Sporty knit slip

by Jessie Kwak

I’m so in love with this slip, you guys!

Sporty knit slip tutorial - finished | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

I have an army of camisoles that I wear under everything from tees to dresses in order to smooth out bra lines and add a bit of smoothing, etc. (You know.) The problem with wearing a camisole under a dress is that it tends to bunch up around the hips, giving you that weird bulging line right where you least want it.

This sporty knit slip is basically a long tank top, and eliminates that tank-top line problem.

Why is it sporty? It’s made out of wicking, anti-microbial activewear fabric. It’s stretchy, so there’s no problem pedaling, yet it fits a bit snugly, so if your skirt flares up on your bike you’re not giving the world a show. I think it’s quite nice to wear under a dress if I’m pedaling around town.

It’s meant to hug the body snugly, which is why I’m not going to model it for the internet. I’ll let Little Red take on that responsibility, because she doesn’t mind spending a February afternoon standing around in the backyard in her underpinnings. She’s a bit of an exhibitionist that way.

Sporty knit slip tutorial - front view | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

You’ll just have to believe me when I say it looks fabulous on me, too. 🙂

Make your own sporty knit slip

Grab a favorite close-fitting knit camisole – this is your main pattern. The only other pattern piece you need is this one, for the bodice. That piece is for a size small – I’ll talk about modifying it in a moment.

Lay the camisole out on a double layer of knit fabric, and trace around the whole thing with chalk. Use the back of the camisole as your guide, and don’t bother tracing the front at this point. You’ll be making the bodice cups separately.

Figure out where the hem of the camisole hits on your body, and figure out how long you want the slip to be. Draw a line straight down from the camisole’s hem to lengthen the skirt.

(You can make the skirt flare if you like, but I kept it as a pencil silhouette.)

Add seam allowance (I used 1/2″), then cut out the whole thing through both layers.

You now have two Back pieces.

To make one of them into the Front, figure out where the underbust line is. Draw straight across that, add seam allowance, and then cut across.

The bodice cups

Using this pattern piece modified for your own size, cut out two cups.

This piece is designed for a 14″ underbust measurement (flat measured on the Front pattern piece, including seam allowance). It fits well from cup sizes A-C, since the knit material is so stretchy, and it’s designed to fit quite snugly for extra support. I’m a C cup, and it fits great. Little Red’s an A cup, and it looks nice on her, too.

Sporty knit slip tutorial - little red1 | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

That said, if you’re a D or larger (or if you just want more coverage) you should probably do a FBA. (This post on Pattern Scissors Cloth about doing a FBA for the Ruby Slip is a good place to start.)

For a totally effective, totally hack way to modify it to a bigger (or smaller) ribcage size:

Measure flat across the underbust seam of your Front pattern piece (for me, that’s 14″). The lower edge of the cup piece should be two thirds that length when measured at the seam line, subtracting the fullness of the dart (the sample pattern piece is 9.5″ across, subtracting the dart).

Simply blow up that pattern piece on your computer to get the desired dimensions.

Like I said, that’s the totally not tailor’s-union approved way of going up a size. Knit fabric is super forgiving and the cups don’t take up much fabric, so give yourself permission to play around.


Stitch the darts in the cups.

Apply picot lingerie elastic or fold over elastic (I got mine from Porcelynne on Etsy) to the neckline of both cup pieces, leaving a tail long enough to be a strap. (Measure the straps of your pattern camisole to get an idea of length.)

To learn how to use picot elastic, check out this post at Indigorchid. (That’s a great place to start if you want to make your own undies, too.) Angry Chicken has a nice video tutorial on fold over elastic.

Sporty knit slip tutorial - closeup | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

Lay both cups over the pattern to figure out how much they should overlap in front, then baste together.

Stitch the cups to the front of the slip with right sides facing.

Sporty knit slip tutorial - bodice | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

Stitch the front and back together at the side seams.

For all the seams, I used a narrow zigzag stitch, and then finished the edges with my serger.


Now you’ll use the fold over elastic to finish not only the back and underarm, but also the picot elastic straps. This creates a really strong, stretchy strap.

Starting at one end of the picot lingerie lace that edges the neckline, head down under the arm, around the back, and back up the other strap.

Sporty knit slip tutorial - strap detail | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

I use a zigzag stitch down the middle of one edge while the fold over elastic is laying flat. Then I fold it over and zigzag closer to the edge to make it lie neatly. Don’t stretch too much, since your pattern should already be quite snug.

Try on the slip. Pin the straps at the correct length, and mark the hemline. Mine falls about 3″ above my knees.

Stitch the straps in place with a zigzag stitch, and trim off any extra.

Hem the bottom, being sure to use a stretchy stitch, since it’ll stretch quite a bit when you walk or pedal.

Sporty knit slip tutorial - bodice detail | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

That’s it! This project took me about 2 hours, including the time I took to re-do the picot trim because it was wonky at first.

Questions? Ask away in the comments. My goal is to help people be more comfortable sewing quick projects like this without patterns, so I’m happy to help if you get stuck on any of the steps.


Sewing patterns for activewear

by Jessie Kwak

Has your winter been weird, too? In Portland it’s been sunny-rainy-gorgeous-Snowpocalypse-sunny-rainy-repeat. I’ve gotten out on my bike a little, but mostly I’ve been staying close to home.

Bad weather days are great for tackling sewing projects, and I’ve been feeling inspired lately to make some more activewear. Maybe another pair of leggings and a different vest.

Y’know, change up my look.

(How many years in a row can I rock the exact same leggings and vest?)

Photo by Robert Kittilson

Photo by Robert Kittilson

Sewing leggings is a pretty simple matter (check out this tutorial), but I’d like to make some more complicated items.

It’s hard to find good sewing patterns for activewear, though!

Here’s a roundup of what I have found. Have you got anything to add? Sound off in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

Lola Sweater Dress


This sweater dress, Lola from Victory Patterns, would make an adorable winter cycling dress! I’ve got a few yards of bamboo sweatshirt fleece, and some yummy merino jersey that might be great for it.

I first saw Lola on Lladybird, where Lauren has some good tips about her own adjustments, as well as sewing lightweight knits.

Minoru Jacket

Materials for a Sewaholic Minoru

Of course, the Minoru Jacket from Sewaholic is a great cycling jacket. It’s got a loose and comfortable fit, and you can make it out of waterproof fabrics.

I made a version last year, and reviewed it here. I wear it all the time in the spring and fall!

Green Pepper Patterns

Oregon biking shorts

Santiam vest

Green Pepper Patterns has some awesome-looking activewear patterns that I’ve been meaning to try. That Santiam Vest would be perfect with the silver quilted nylon ripstop I picked up a few years back, and I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a pair of padded cycling shorts.

They also have a mens and womens racing jersey pattern, as well as a lot more outdoorsy patterns for runners and hikers.

There’s a great post on The Train To Crazy reviewing the jersey pattern.

Jalie Patterns

Jalie sports bra

Jalie also has some good sports patterns, like this zip-front jacket and hoodie, a softshell jacket, and a racerback sports bra top.

The sports bra is on my list – I’d love to make something that’s truly comfortable, yet does it’s job well.

Fehr Trade

Fehr Trade running top

I was super excited to see that Melissa of Fehr Trade has released a pair of awesome activewear patterns. I love this great workout top (with a built-in compression bra!), and equally great blog post from Kathy Sews about making it up.

I may have to try making these running leggings, as well!

How about you? Are you working on anything sporty this winter?