Excited to sew!

Sometimes all the good things I love about sewing come together, and the magic of it excites and incites me with boundless energy! It feels good to be making something for myself, even if I am only in the beginning stages.

Last year I promised myself a birthday dress but some latent postpartum depression had me fully in its grasp for most of the year. (Is it still postpartum with your kid is a toddler?) This year I was going to ignore my desire to try again, and made plans to sew a million other things this late April. But alas, my niece decided to set her wedding date for my birthday day, and I had a double whammy on my hands.

Some diving into my patterns and some slight research and comparison in my fabric stash and I realized I can either make a tiramisu dress by cake patterns in a black knit or a skirt and blouse in a few fabric choices. One shouldn’t probably wear black to a May wedding, right?

Tonight it’s almost 2am and I am half finished with a wearable muslin. Using up some old olive green suiting, I am making a Simplicity pattern skirt with simple lines and subtle flare. It’s a versatile pattern, and if it comes out as well as I hope, I am going to make an army of these skirts for my wardrobe in everything from summer challis to sexy charmeuse to winter wool suiting.


It’s such a refreshing and pleasant experience to have a project feel so right from the start. Especially as I had to had about 4″ to the hips, do a sway back adjustment, and take about 2″ off the waist. With 6 panels in the skirt, these adjustments made my head a bit crazy!

I hope you are all working on equally fulfilling projects! I hope to be able to show you a wearable muslin or formal skirt in a couple days!

Bicycle Bags

It happens to be the lovely month of April and the #30daysofbiking is almost half over! My nephew’s birthdays collided with this month just in time for me to do a little handmade gift giving. At 11 and 13, and just a few blocks from their schools and candy store, I am hoping they will ride daily once the weather is consistently nice. What better way to encourage riding than with new accessories? My husband/bike mechanic added tire levers and patch kits to these gifts for some added independence. It’s never to early to learn bike maintenance.

bicycle handlebar bags by bird and bicycle

The bags are made from a simple grey corduroy, with a 2ply gortex lining for waterproofing. With reflective stripes on front and back, piping on the sides and webbing on top, I am adding some small amount of improved safety with these bags on their handlebars.

gortex and reflective fabric on bicycle handlebar bags by bird and bicycle

The bags are a great size and a quick make, even with the interlining, fusible stabilizers, and challenging circular seams. I am a bit curious about weight capacity, and hope to get positive feedback from my nephews as they fill them with soda and snacks on trips to the local store.

balance bike handle bar bag

The bags are a great size. Roughly 10″ long with a 5″ circumference, they can hold quite a bit. They fit on my toddler’s balance bike as well as on my husband’s road bike, and don’t look too bad on either.

handlebar bicycle bag handmade by bird and bicycle

I am already planning my next version with some thin vinyl, more gortex, even more reflective fabric and piping, and additional reinforcements to the straps. I am not thinking about a serious travel bag that needs a brace, just a daily bag for necessities such as wallet, phone, repair kit, and keys. What do you carry with you on bike rides? Hope you are all enjoying the 30 days of biking! Seattle’s weather has been fabulous so I can’t wait to ride tomorrow!

Carmine Shrug – pattern fitting

I am currently waiting on my Ziggi Jacket zipper to arrive in the mail, so I thought I would test out the Carmine Shrug. This Cake Pattern jacket looks so adorable in the drawings, and I eagerly snatched up the paper pattern and waited for it to arrive!

Carmine Shrug by Cake Patterns

Unfortunately, I struggled and am still struggling a great deal with the fit and pattern. I finally ignored the written instructions and just pieced it together. Once I made one, then two muslins, it still fit so unpleasantly I was surprised. So I sent the photograph below to my pal to see if I needed the gusset at all in the Shrug version. She said I was putting it together correctly. I got a nice tweet back from Steph (The Consulting Dressmaker and pattern designer) who said she is writing up some posts about the pattern soon. I am hoping they will shed some light on possible fittings complications.

I dare say the shrug doesn’t fit the way I expected. It has a unique construction to the garment, creating the shrug in three pieces (body, collar, gusset) and it is rather complicated to adjust the curve of the arm, bust and shoulder when it is just one piece of fabric. I have it in my head to take a sweater pattern I already own and copy the idea of the shrug, using a T-shirt front and back and sleeve, then redrawing the front with the collar. I will post the before and after pics if I can get this done to my liking.

carmine shrug traced pattern by cake patterns

Poor self taken photos to try to show the strange fit. This is a straight up size 40″ (my high bust is a 39″ and full bust 44″.)

carmine shrug by cake patterns, muslin test fitting

This picture above kinda of shows you how small the shrug is. I don’t think it covers my bra strap completely in back, and has some weird extra fabric around the shoulders, center back.

carmine shrug by cake patterns, muslin test fitting

This is the shrug with the sleeve pulled flat. You can see the curves of the pattern with the gusset wrinkled beneath the arm.

carmine shrug by cake patterns, muslin test fitting

Again, this is the second one I made. I feel like I need to change the shoulder arm area but am at a loss as to what to tuck in, since it is just one piece of fabric. Have you made a Carmine Shrug or Jacket? Share with me so we can do this together!