FehrTrade Surf to Summit: Menssss

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Over Thanksgiving I pattern tested Melissa Fehr Trade’s Surf to Summit Top for men. Note, I didn’t make one for myself because I neither surf, nor summit. Jordan on the other hand snowboards, runs and bikes. One time we went running together and I *begged* him not to run with me. I get really self conscious about what a slow runner I am. And, I kind of hate being encouraged when I run. Just let me run in peace and self loathing. He wouldn’t do it and jogged along with me at my 12 minute mile pace. The next day, he had shin splints. Because, it was like he was jogging in place. ::sad trombone:: We haven’t gone running together since….

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Anywho, I tested this pattern because it was free and something I would have bought anyway. I’m probably a terrible tester, because I sewed this sucker up in less than two hours on a Friday night. And, I glanced through the directions, but it’s really simple construction. I will say her diagrams are really good and I think Big 4 patterns could take a lesson from her on how to illustrate instructions. Her pattern description below:

Both the men’s and ladies’ versions feature princess seams, side panels (so no side seams!), your choice of long or short raglan sleeves, optional sleeve mitts for keeping your hands warm without fiddling for gloves, a tall integral collar to keep your neck covered, and your choice of two hem lengths. An optional half zip and back cycling-style pocket are also included.

I made the pullover in long sleeves with sleeve mitts. I would have done the half zip, but didn’t have a zipper on hand and wasn’t trying to go out over Thanksgiving to look for one.

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Guys, I get the love of a PDF pattern — instant gratification and no shipping. But, I’ll only sew them if they are copy shop. Period. I know there are faster ways of taping, but I won’t do it. Some people won’t upgrade to smartphones and get on Facebook. I won’t tape PDFs. So, I was really happy I could get this one copy shop printed.

For Jordan, I first sewed a straight Large. His chest measured 42.5. Jordan’s clothing issues are short torso, broad chest, large biceps and somewhat narrow waist — but with a little extra weight around his middle.

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After taking photos so she could see how the straight Large fit (above and unhemed), I took three inches of width from the waist. Jordan wants it even tighter next time so it’s a more a true compression shirt. When I sew it again, I’ll also add one or two inches in length. At first he said it was fine. Then, he went for a run and admitted his stomach got cold.

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I really like these run mitts. When sewing them, I had zero idea what they were supposed to look like. And, feared I’d sewn them wrong. But, they are correct and Jordan said they worked brilliantly. But, he felt some stares when we was running, but said they worked so well his hands were sweating by the time he got home. Below on the left is the run mitt and on the right what it looks like when not engaged.

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Finally, I made this up in some of my hoarded Under Armour Cold Gear. I have two more pieces of it left in red and sage green. I’m saving the red for myself and donating the sage green to his exercising cause.
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This went together really quickly. All serger construction with my coverstitch for the hems.

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I think I need to make some fit tweaks. I’d like to try an XL on top and through the arms and taper to a medium in the waist. I’ll also add some length at the bottom. And, this summer I can sew him some bike versions from the Nike fabric I bought in Minnesota this summer. Plus, with the seaming details, there’s plenty of opportunity for me to use some reflective tape to make him a bit more visible in the wild.

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I’ve sewn some more holiday gifts for Jordan that I hope to blog after Hanukkah this week. In the meantime, Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate. And for those of us waiting for Christmas, it’s less than two weeks away!!

Allow me to leave you with my new Christmas tree. Because, I can.

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Boring Muslin: Issey Miyake Muslin, Vogue 1320

Muslins are so boring to blog! Ugh. But, I wanted to document what I do on this one so I could go back later. And, now after my second muslin, I’m not sure this is the coat for me. Plus, nothing wrong with a little blog filler every now and then.

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I decided to muslin Vogue 1320, an Issey Miyake coat.  The first time, I cut a 12 and graded to a 14 at my thighs. It was too small overall and the CF weren’t nearly close to meeting after my 1 inch FBA (I’m a 34DDDD/G  cup, so 2.5 inches is really the ideal on a Big 4).

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Muslin #2. I went up one size to a 14 for the coat, grading to an 18 at the thighs (my widest part). I also made a 2 inch FBA on the princess seams. So, let’s break down all the issues and why I think this might be a wash for me.

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The shoulders are tight. They were just as tight in the smaller muslin I made. Ugh, the neck is also way too high. But, that’s because I have the neck of a Nutcracker.

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The FBA is actually not giving me more fullness at my apex. It’s all added to the side since the princess seam line don’t run over the bust.

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Still need a swayback adjustment and there is too much fabric at the back armsyce.

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With Jordan’s help, I cut a horizontal slash at the shoulder that makes it way more comfortable. How meta. You can see my first muslin in my sewing room below on the dress form.

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But, this horizontal slash seems to add extra fabric at the back of my arm.
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I also did some slashing at the bus apex since I could see the pull lines there ( I think that look on my face is shame. And, I had pins in my mouth).

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Here’s what the altered shoulder looks like. I think it’s doable.
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Here’s what my current FBA looks like. That two inches in length is definitely right. But, not enough width where it needs to be, at the apex on the right (click to enlarge)

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I *think* I need to actually FBA the center front part like a regular FBA so the fullness goes there rather than adding to the curve of the fairly straight side (and remove the extra inch at the curve I added).

But, that leaves me not knowing what to do with the back underarm area.

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It does give me range of motion. But, looks like there is just too much fabric there.

Erg. I might muslin again. I might not. I like the coat fine. But, I’m not married to it.

What do you think?

Blue Boxers, German Translation and Most AMAZING Burda Archive

I was planning on throwing in some boxers with Jordan’s Hanukkah gifts in December. But, then I thought, are underwear really gifts? Is that like getting a pack of socks from your parents? So, I decided to just make them over Thanksgiving and give them out when I was done. I tried, but he wasn’t trying to model these for my blog either. SO incredibly selfish.

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These are Jalie 2327. I’ve made them before in two or three batches for Jordan. This time, I made up five in size U. I think I found with these sizing down a size was the fit he wanted. For the waistband, I measured his waist and subtracted six inches. The Singer Sewing Reference library book on lingerie (I don’t know that Jordan would appreciate knowing my measurements for his boxers comes from a lingerie book, heh.) says subtract between 2 and 6 inches for waistband elastic.

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The fabric is Under Armour wicking material at like $5 to $7 a yard that they use for underwear. Local Guss Woolens was my UA fabric resource, and they closed up shop. So, I’ve sort of hoarded this material. I have it in three more color ranges so he should be getting boxers for a few more years now. The waistband elastic is from Sew Sassy (and conveniently University of Michigan colors). I also have it with black and grey from easy.

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Nothing too fancy here. Everything constructed with the serger. It’s as close as I get to production sewing.

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The elastic and hems are sewn with the overstitch and wooly nylon in the lower looper.


 

For myself, I have a few new bra patterns from the German company Sewy.

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They are Isabell and Leonie.  They are blessedly in my size range. But, entirely in German. If there are any German speaking readers who would be willing to translate for pay or exchange of fabric, patterns, etc, please let me know. I’ve made enough bras that I get the gist. But, English would be easier. Just leave a message at the bottom and I’ll contact you.


 

Melissa over at FehrTrade tipped me off to this on her blog. There is an incredible Burda archive here that allows you to search based on tags, size, fabric or garment. Incredible. Check it out. It’s already caused me to track down some Burdas that have patterns I *need*. You can also run the link http://burdavisor.ru through Google Translate to sort out how to download the archive. Seems like it has to be re-downloaded every month. But, with the Plus, Easy Fashion and Regular editions included going back to 2004, it’s well worth it.

Three, Four Times A Lady: BWOF 10-2008-117

While I’m waiting for a slew of wigan samples to make their way to me (thank you!!) I realized I needed a dress to wear to a dinner party last weekend. I figured knit would be fast and easy and with the weather, I knew I needed long sleeve. Enter Burda 10-2008-117.

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I’ve made this pattern twice before and neither version are with me any longer. I’m happy to say I still love it! I love it so much, I cut and sewed a second grey scale version during the week. Sadly for you, two dresses means twice as many photos! Luckily, my friend Liz offered to take both sets of photos :-)

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So, what did I do differently than the first two times? I decided I liked the collar standing up, so, I interfaced that and just used a shortened invisible zipper at the back (vs down to the hip).

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I also decided I wanted to give the darts from the original design another go and made a one inch FBA. This time. I sewed a 40 this time grading to a 46 in the lower thigh. I ended up taking both dresses in a lot at the waist and hips. I usually hate darts in knits. But, they really worked out well this time for shaping!

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Both cuts of fabric are from my Fabric Mart trip two years ago. I thought the colors would be great for early winter. And, I bought like five cuts of poly knits two weekends ago at Jomar in Philadelphia. So, I really needed to sew some down. I like how in 2012 I said no more poly knits and bought a bunch. And, in 2014 I said no more poly knits, and seriously bought 30 yards of them. I am truly a creature of habit photo IMGP1588_zps0e42eec0.jpgOther than the FBA and sewing darts in a knit, my other big difference was finally getting a chance to use Vilene tape around the neckline, shoulder and armsyce.

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This is the tape that you always see in Burda with a little chain thread on it. As you can see below, when you sew a 1/4 inch seam, your stitch falls perfectly on the chain. Perfect for stabilization!

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Melissa of Fehr Trade was kind enough to bring me some when she visited last year. And, when I went to the Netherlands, I bought several packets of it.

In the second version, I made a bigger swayback adjustment and shortened the shoulder width a bit.

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I love the swishyness of the bubble skirt too. It creates movement in a really interesting way.

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I love these dresses. I guess with four makes, this is officially a TNT for me.

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What’s next? Gift making for the holidays. I want to make some tops for Jordan and I promised to alter his wool three piece suit. That is enough of a gift for anyone. And, will probably keep me busy through December.

Can You Help Me Find Wigan?

Thank you for all the comments on my rain jacket! I wore it out a few weekends ago and my friend Liz thought it was the most non-homesewn project she’s seen from me. That’s high praise to me!

I’m mid muslin on my winter coat project, Issey Mikyake’s Vogue 1320. Well, by mid muslin I mean I made a size 12/14 two weeks ago and need to make a size 14/16 this weekend. Anywho, I’m gathering all my supplies and the one thing I can’t seem to find is the wigan I used in my last winter coat four years ago.

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This was purchased from G Street fabric seven years ago. And, when I called them — they said they no longer carried it.  I don’t want thin, I don’t want fusible. I want something super stiff — almost like horsehair that is 1.25 inches wide. Fusible is what I got when I blindly ordered wigan a few years ago from Sew True.

Have you seen it? I’ve gotten samples from B. Black and Sons and called Steinlauf and Stoller (that was a waste of long distance) and neither are right.

Finding ‘real’ wigan is something Kathleen Fasanella has discussed.  

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I use wigan to sew hems on my coat. And, I LOVED this stuff, If I can’t find it, I guess I’ll be trying to make some. Which apparently just means cutting strips if goat or horse hair interfacing.

Thanks!

Spring Raincoat in the Middle of Fall: Burda 9-2003-120

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I managed to finish my spring raincoat in the last week of October. Heh. I have the best timing ever. I cannot believe this took me about a month to make. Which, if you read my blog before last year, would know is a ridiculously long time for me. I once made a winter coat in two weeks! It was even harder getting photos now that I leave the house at 7:30 am for work and don’t get back in until 7 pm. It’s dark when I leave and dark when I get home.

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Also, I SWEAR to you, each time it rained I felt like I was being taunted. Now that the jacket is done, it’s just cold :-/ As I said last post, I left my rain coat in Amsterdam back in September. Nothing tells you how much you need a rain coat until you don’t have one!

Unfortunately, my DSLR camera is in the shop. So, we’re using my (still very good) point and shoot. But, I was hoping to try out some of the shooting ‘red’ suggestions. The photos below aren’t too bad. But, the red is photographing hot making it hard to see some of the details. On to the jacket!

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This jacket is a basic parka with interesting details — something I think Burda excels in– when they aren’t making sack dresses. You could easily take about any parka pattern, add some D-rings and zippers and have the same look. But, this is also a good reason to hold on to your older Burdas. There’s a gem in there somewhere. This magazine is well over ten years old.

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I’m a little late on completing this jacket because after I posted my last update I installed the zipper and tried the jacket on for the first time. Well, when I tried on the jacket, the casing wasn’t balanced (one side higher than the other) AND it wasn’t hitting my waist (too low). So, it looked pretty terrible. I sulked for a day and then decided to spend a few hours taking out six rows of teeny tiny stitching for the casing and redoing the whole shebang. When I re-sewed it, I moved the waist band up about an inch and added the missing fourth row from my first go.  I was worried about the waistline casing then looking totally and completely overworked. But, this fabric actually heals pretty remarkably! And, totally waterproof.

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Redoing the waistband casing was absolutely worth it. The jacket is not  super fitted to begin with and I really needed the waist definition. The fabric was from a local warehouse sale and about $2 a yard. I seriously think this jacket was $20 to make or less! I did NOT tape the seams on this jacket. Because of all the topstitching, the seams were fairly water tight.

On this pattern, I made a 1.5 inch FBA, took 1/2 inch off the shoulders and made a swayback adjustment. I sewed a 40, grading out to a 46 with a touch more room in the thigh. My friend Liz thinks the jacket is a hair too big for me. But, I think it fits and allows for some boxier clothing underneath (i.e. the wool sweater I ‘m wearing).

What else… I wasn’t sure how to do the zipper so that the fabric lips covered up most of the teeth. I didn’t quite trust the Burda instructions and just did it my way. It’s not as closed as I would have liked. But, the blue zipper down the center isn’t as distracting as I thought it would be. And, I do love that the brass peaks through. I also found that NO NEEDLE (microtex, leather, sharp, universal)  I had wanted to top stitch through the zipper tape and two layers of my fabric. One of these days, I need take a minute and flesh out my needle stash.

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Speaking of zips… this two-way zip is 36 inches instead of the 40 asked for in the pattern. And, it was only $2.50 locally from Stadham Sewing in Baltimore (compared to $5 to $11 I saw online). The blue 9 inch zippers on the side were only 75 cents too.

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And they had this tiny 4 inch zipper for the totally useless sleeve pocket (I hope that yellow wax washes out!). I love  that place. I really may go in one day and buy four zippers in every color and length and just stash them.

The jacket is unlined and I am fine with that. The fabric is sturdy and doesn’t ravel.

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Overall, I’m pleased with this jacket. And, I’m really glad I had my heavy Bernina to sew it with. I was looking at the top stitching on Jordan’s jacket and it’s kind of wonky compared to this. You really need a heavier machine when you’re dealing with unruly material.

For this jacket, I went with contrast ribbon rather than the recommended leather. While I love the color variation, these ribbons act a fool on the regular. Please see below. If I take the jacket off and let it sort of crumple on the floor, the ribbons comes loose entirely. I’m contemplating stitching them down to keep them in order.

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The best thing about this project? It might our best photo shoot together.  I might not have to fire Jordan as my photograper.

Ahhh. Onward. I’m starting a winter coat next. At my current sewing pace, I figure that will be ready just in time for spring :-)

Still in Progress: BWOF 9-2003-120

I fear last time I left you with little sense of how my raincoat would look. From the BWOF editorial, I was worried it might look a little too dated. So, here’s another in-progress shot.

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As you can see, I’ve done the elasticized waistband and added all the top stitching to the jacket in addition to the pockets. There are supposed to be four rows of elastic at the waist, but, despite making a muslin, I messed that up. Here’s hoping it’ll be fine! I’ve also got the under collar attached. The upper collar will be red like the rest of the jacket.

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The pattern calls for leather strips. But, I had this contrast ribbon and wanted to use blue zippers. I think the ribbon helps coordinate the zips and break up all the red.IMGP1435

This jacket is SO SLOW GOING because of all the topstitching. I’ve been using my #10 edgestitch foot for the first pass. Then, I do a second row of topstitching with my #37 patchwork (1/4 inch) foot. Because the fabric moves a little yet doesn’t ease, I used my Bernina even feed walking foot for the casing.

IMGP1433Next: I’ll work on the zipper and easing in the sleeves. I’ll also need (well, want to) nicely finish the facing  edges since the jacket is unlined. I also have this kooky idea of making up a matching rain hat since this doesn’t have a hood. Maybe I’ll just make an old school rain bonnet. I definitely have a pattern that could work (below). I figure I’ll be done in about two or three more weeks at the pace I’m going!

In Progress: Replacement Raincoat. BWOF 9-2003-120

I (accidentally) left my LL Bean rain jacket back in Amsterdam. And, I never really took to the Burberry trench coat I made a few years ago. So, after all the rain on our trip, I was totally motivated to come home and start a new rain jacket.

I’m working on this 2003 Burda World of Fashion parka. It has an elasticized waist and all kinds of early ’00s decorative zipper action. As it’s unlined and thin, it’s perfect for summer and early and fall. I figure I’ve got like two more weeks left when it’s weather appropriate. So, you know, great timing on my part.IMGP1426

I’m making mine up in a red waterproof fabric and using blue ribbon and zippers for contrast. Red is SO HARD to photograph. I’ve read online to shoot in RAW with daylight settings and fiddle around with the color in post production. Still not a fan.

Here it is before: Over saturated with no detail

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Sigh. Any other red shooting tips?

Anywho, I have a lot of work to do still. It’s got loads of top stitching — which you’ll only be able to see if I take black and white photos! The good thing is, this fabric was like $2 a yard at a production warehouse sale almost two years ago. I’d really like to finish this so I *can* wear it in the spring. Then, I can start on some winter outerwear.

Belgium – Holland 2014

Now that I’ve got some of the sewing related stuff out. Here’s a final post on how the rest of the trip went.

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Before we started the bike and barge portion, we spent a day on a bike tour in Brussels. I’ve done bicycle tours in Minneapolis, Montreal and Shanghai. They really are a great way to cover a ton of ground and get an overview of the city.

Royal Palace in Brussels

Royal Palace in Brussels

The Royal Palace was open for about three weeks for tours for the year. But, we could not seem to get organized around things shutting down around 4 p.m. Thus, I missed my chance to tour the palace. A theme which continued on in the Netherlands.

The Liege waffle might be the best thing I’ve ever eaten.

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I’ll also just tell you now. We had a lot of frites. I’m not that in to chocolate. I don’t think we even bought any on this trip. But, I ate waffles and fries like they were being discontinued. They say the Liege waffle has sugar in the middle. I decided it’s not sugar. It’s crack inside of them. They were that additive.

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After a day in Brussels, we headed to Bruges. It’s SO BEAUTIFUL. All I really knew about Bruges was from the movie, In Bruges. Guess what? There’s a Bernina store there! If you think the prices are high for Berninas here, the feet there would cost me 30 percent more because of the exchange rate. Ouch.

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Right-o. The bike trip began in Bruges. Our barge would sail during the day while we biked and we’d get back on board in the evening. The crew was great and the food was awesome.

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The biking was fun! I wasn’t at all prepared for it training wise, but you didn’t really need to be. That said, it was a lot harder for me now than three years ago. Jordan on the other hand thought it was easy peasy.

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We  saw castles and windmills and ate lots of cheese.

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We also visited a working dairy farm and bought more cheese than a cardiologist would approve of.

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I gasped in this room. We brought back three Gouda cheeses. We have 1.5 left…

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When we got on board our guide immediately knew our names. I asked how he knew it was us. And he said, ‘Easy. You’re the youngest people on the tour.’ Isn’t that awesome? The next person in age to me was 20 years older and they rode hard. Do you see why I can’t moan about being out of shape?? This guy below is from Australia. He’s 75. Jordan is the same age as his oldest grandson. And, he kicked our butts going up hills. He’s got the legs of a 35 year old. He’s in a bike club in Australia and has two hip replacements.. He was awesome. I tried to hook him up with Jordan’s grandmother but I suspect the distance between Melbourne and Maryland is too far.

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Along the tour we stopped in Utrecht and Antwerp before getting in to Amsterdam. Once the bike and barge portion ended in Amsterdam, we rented a flat for a few days in the Jordaan neighborhood. I got a total kick out of the name. Jordan didn’t think it was as funny as I did. I never did find him a tee shirt that said Jordaan…

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Our first day in Amsterdam we took a really fun food tour of Jordaan, the neighborhood we were staying in. We sampled all kinds of Dutch specialties including herring, Surinamese food, Dutch food (bitterballen), licorice, and Dutch apple pie.

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Sunday we hit the Van Gogh Museum and the Jewish Quarter. In the Jewish Quarter we stopped by the Portuguese Synagogue and the Jewish History Museum. We didn’t have enough time for my favorite museum, the Dutch Resistance Museum.

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Sunday night we saw an English language improv show with all American actors at Boom Chicago. Isn’t that amazing? American comedy in Amsterdam. And, the place was full!

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When you walk around Amsterdam, you can see in almost everyone’s window.

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Imagine how tickled I was when I saw a dress form on a canal house boat and a woman working away on her sewing machine!

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And of course, I still can’t get over ALL THE BICYCLES.IMGP1223

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It was a tremendous vacation. We chose our honeymoon in the middle of what I can only describe as the most surreal time of my life. Traveling, especially in Europe, reminds me of my mom in all the best ways. She always took us on trips and suggested places to go. Traveling was really her passion. This trip felt like closing the chapter on an emotionally complicated period and opening a door to the next phase.  The last year I’ve literally felt like the walking wounded. I didn’t realize  just how much was weighing on me.  I knew I was sad. I didn’t know I was crippled. I am honestly starting to feel like me again.

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International Internet Friends: Brussels & Holland Edition

So much of our trip’s success relied on the kindness of Internet friends!

First, sweet Katherine in Brussels offered to let us stay at her home outside of Brussels for a few nights before we headed in to Bruges to start our trip.  Imagine our car-centric surprise when she arrived with a bicycle and two adorable children to carry our luggage to her house!

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** Jordan’s not in the Army. But, he’s using my mom’s old US Army duffle which I used to use to travel all over the world. After this trip, we are so not going to travel with it overseas. Oy.

Can I tell you that these kids are the greatest?!? Like Linus, they liked Jordan better than me. He managed to do two different arts and crafts projects with them at the same time. Katherine and I were busy talking sewing machines.

IMGP0254Also, when you speak to these cuties in English, they respond in French. IT WAS SO STINKING CUTE. We’d say, ‘I don’t speak French. Anglais? Anglais?’ and they’d look at us like we were simpletons, sigh politely and and say like three words in English. Their mom speaks to them in English, but she understands their French when they respond.   You know how they say ‘Hello, Kitty’? ‘Hallo Keeety!” I wanted to die of cute overload.

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Katherine also took some time to show me how to make vegetarian dolsot bibimbap from Korea. Mmmmm. We’ve been talking about this for years!

From Katherine’s, we headed to Bruges to start our week of biking and barging from Belgium into Holland. At some point I may get myself together to actually talk about the non sewing related parts of the trip!

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After our week of biking, our clothes were so so terribly smelly. And, being American, we expected the laundromat in Amsterdam to be open all night long. Not only did the laundromat by our rented flat in close at 3:00 pm on Saturday, it wasn’t even open on Sunday. Jordan was literally out of clothes (I was washing mine as we went along. He… wasn’t). I emailed Valerie who lived in the neighborhood for suggestions of other places to try. Since we were staying in her neighborhood,  she cheerfully suggested we do it at her house. First, she saved us like 25 Euros. But, second, we got to drink wine while the laundry was running and talk to she and her husband all about Amsterdam, the neighborhood, the politics of the city and country. We’re policy geeks so loved getting to hear the un PC version of what was going on in Holland.

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The next day, she also escorted us to meet up with Hilde (on the left and Valerie on the right) and tour the Monday fabric market in Amsterdam. Did you hear that? OUT DOOR FABRIC MARKET.

Hilde came bearing gifts: A men’s issue of Knip Mode and some beautiful lace in her stash for lingerie sewing! (I thought I took a photo…)  Do you see Jordan stretching a little to improve his height? He spent a lot of trip noting women he could look in the eye and men he had to look up to. The Dutch are tall!

After touching all the fabric at the market (and buying something I didn’t take a photo of), Hilde came along with us to Rotterdam where Marta was there to give us an insiders tour. Rotterdam is a Baltimore’s Sister City. But, the city is also known for it’s modern architecture and I thought Jordan would get a kick out of it. Can you believe Marta took time off work to show us around??

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Marta was an excellent guide. She showed us all her favorite spots and sites that Rotterdam is known for.

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I think Jordan’s finally gotten used to meeting my ‘internet friends’ when we travel. I’m just really glad we had enough time and people were so generous with theirs! To be honest, I totally added an extra day to our trip just to make sure I could get my fix.

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