Should I or Shouldn’t I? Europe Questions.

 photo IMG_20140726_201059_zpskp7ritk7.jpg

I made up this dress for our upcoming honeymoon as a cycling dress. This is my ‘I’m going to wear it anyway’  test run. The fabric isn’t as beefy as I would like it to be. And, my other two versions from a sturdier ‘dry flex’ will fare better I think. Please ignore the Star Trek vibe. I think it’s the colors in addition to the design (which is Burdastyle 7-2014-113).

Anywho, I’ve been trying to decide if I want to cover stitch the seams. Partly for a sportier look. And, also because these serged seams are just not laying flat! I’ve never really done the ‘reverse’ / decorative three needle top stitch to show on  the outside before. The two dresses I’m working on now (which are the same) are done entirely on the sewing machine instead of the serger.

 photo IMG_20140727_190928_zps09hjiu8i.jpg

Here are my questions:

1. Would it be too sporty looking to add the coverstitching? There are a lot of seams here. I mean, people don’t really wear bike gear in the Netherlands. But, I want something wicking, easy to wash and light to pack. Plus, we bike for one week and travel another week. So, I would like to also wear these as ‘regular’ dresses too.

2. Umm, how do I do it? Do I need wooly nylon? I think I do. What I see on my RTW jacket with this look seems thicker than thread. Do I put it in the loopers? Or in the three needles? Should I have had the seams on the outside and then done the coverstitching? Is that the way people claim their sports gear is ‘seamless’ or ‘irritation free’?

3. Should I pack rain gear? I ask because Jordan doesn’t have any and I’m not sure my rain pants from last time still fit me. All I can figure out is that weather is unpredictable in Europe.  I’m running out of weekends to sew…

4. Is saying ‘Europe Questions’ like saying ‘Questions about Africa?” If so… whoops. Please tell me though so I know for the future.




  1. People in Europe wear jeans. And the fall doesn’t usually have too many rainy days. Love the dress Ilse

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Well, it depends where in Europe you are traveling, We certainly have rain in fall, at least in my part of Europe. And concerning the jeans, I guess this is universally, I for myself do not wear jeans.I like your dresses.

  2. I don’t have a cover stitch but its on my wish list and one reason is for that very stitch your talking about! I love that on all my sporty gear that I buy. But I have also seen it on regular clothing, not work out gear related etc. On my serger the wooly thread goes on the loopers not the needles, I read that somewhere way back and its always worked out using it that way. Obviously since I don’t have a cover stitch I don’t know on that. I don’t know what the temps are like there now but could you maybe get a 3/4 length sleeve light weight sweater cardigan, you know the shorter length ones you see people wearing with dresses? That is always a cute look, maybe get a black one as I see black in both those dresses. That way you can just pack one. I think the rain ponchos that fold up to nearly nothing would be a good call. Something inexpensive you could consider a throw away even, then if you needed to create a little space in the luggage coming home for something nifty you found while there :O).

  3. How lovely to have an autumn honeymoon to look forward to after this last year – exciting, relaxing and something g new. But do get a grip! Your usual fab wardrobe will be perfect – and yes, we do wear jeans – anywhere and everywhere paired with all sorts of tops and jackets – not scary at all. Where are you going and when exactly – would love to offer some specific advice if it would be helpful.

  4. I have just topstitched over serged seams to get them to lie flat. I used a ‘lightning stitch’ which is one of the stretch stitches on my machine and looks like a straight stitch but stretches. It’s not that sporty looking but keeps the serged seam flat. I can take a photo later if you like to show you.

  5. I’m a huge fan of the three needle topstitch ony coverlock 3.0 – I actually like using two or three different thread colors. On a two needle topstitch, two colors look a little overdone to my eye, but multiple colors just seem quietly great with three needles. So far, I’ve only used regular serger thread.

  6. Use wooly nylon in the loopers or bobbin only.
    Use regular thread in the needles.
    If you don’t have time to futz around with your coverstitch, just use a zig-zag on your sewing machine to flatten the seams.

    You don’t have to sew your own raingear. Give yourself permission to buy RTW raingear and enjoy your honeymoon.

    • I just bought a couple of L’or tops that do just that – they zig zag instead of top stitch and I really like the look. It does add a fun touch that doesn’t scream “serious exercise”. That’s a really solid option. Coverstitch is also a great option if your machine performs well.

  7. The last time I went to the Netherlands I didn’t believe the weather forecast. But it DID get chilly and very rainy and I was caught a few times getting cold and miserable/icky. I will never again go without a merino underlayer and a decent rain raincoat. Ever. First check the weather forecast….and I second the motion to buy rain gear of some sort and relax.

  8. Renee, wooly nylon goes in the loopers only, per my Babylock manual. I usually use it in the upper looper only (ie, not both loopers at the same time). One has always been enough in workout clothes for me.
    About the topstitching – you mean like a reverse cover stitch or flatlock as a decorative stitch? I like the look, esp on athletic apparel. I’ve used it on a Kwik Sew work out top I made a while back, in the same color as the fabric, so it’s not very noticeable. Here is an example of that in a contrast color – a blogger made a sweatshirt for her husband – scroll down to see. Sorry I can’t make a link from my phone, but here is the address:

    • YES! That’s exactly what I’m thinking about. Melissa messaged me to say what I had in mind is flatlocking. But, that’s the look I’m thinking about. Thanks! Oh, question. So when do you use wolly nylon? On stretch garments? I’ve never really used it before but did buy two spools over the weekend.

      On Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 8:56 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


      • I used wooly nylon in my bobbin case when hemming with twin needles on my Janome sewing machine. Janome has a twin needle button. When I pressed it, it changed the thread tensions so that I got perfect hems with the twin needle and either regular or wooly nylon in the bobbin. No tunneling!

        I don’t know how to adjust my Bernina to do that. I’ve tried and failed and given up.

        • Wooly nylon is really nice to use in the seams (looper threads) of swim wear or athletic clothing. It is stretchy, also soft against your skin.

  9. Silk long underwear has been a life saver for me on several trips to places where the predicted cool weather still surprised me. Takes up no space, fits under things and is handy when it gets miserably cold on the east cost in our winter. I think you have to buy it tho.


  10. Let’s put it this way- I’ve never been sorry that I’ve brought raingear, but I’ve definitely been sorry a few times that I haven’t! It’s light and doesn’t take up much space, so that’s nice. Do you feel like you really need to sew raingear? I made myself a pullover out of wool jersey for my recent trip to Iceland, and it was perfect for layering under my rain jacket, plus, it looked decently dressy, too.

    • For pants, yes. Just because of the difference between my waist and hips. I tried them on before when I was going on a bike trip and it was comical. I also like a really high rise so it covers any crack (which is hard for me in RTW since I have a ginormous rear end). Plus, mine are really just pajama pants with elastic at the leg.So, not THAT hard. I will have to buy a jacket / pullover though. And, why was I surprised when you said it was cold in Iceland? I mean… it’s ICELAND?!?!

      On Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 10:58 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


      • I was surprised by the cold, too! I think it’s that thing they tell elementary school kids: “Iceland is GREEN and Greenland is ICY” (not strictly true, ha!). The temperatures weren’t actually that bad (low 50’s to high 40’s), but it’s crazy windy and it rains off and on all day, so you feel really damp and chilled. I can’t even imagine what winter is like there if July is so cold!

  11. I used variegated color regular thread in my coverstitch looper and got a very nice effect. Mine is just a 2 needle, but I stitched with the right side of the garment down on the feed dogs, so that the looper thread made a decorative accent around the hem. I love it and it is very stretchy, even with regular thread..

    • Ah, ok. Thanks! So, you sewed a regular seam. And, didn’t have the seam to the outside? I tried it like that and it just didn’t look right. But, now I know it’s because I was mistaking flatlocking with coverstitching.

      On Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 11:27 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  12. I’m glad that you mentioned the Star Trek imagery because all you need is a communicator button and knee high boots…. Just sayin’… 🙂

    Seam treatments–can you do flatlock seams (I think that it’s possible with an overlocker. think that it would have sporty effect (more so with contrasting thread). Topstitching with matching thread is more elegant..

    My two cents–Happy sewing

    • You are right. Much more elegant. I think on this version posted, I’ll do the topstitching. The fabric is so floopy. But, on the cranberry and mocha versions, I’ll try the flatlock (now that I know what it’s called!) And, I might pull this dress out for Halloween!

      On Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 11:42 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  13. You will absolutely defintiely needing raingear in autumn in Europe (as long as you are in Netherlands and so – you won’t need it as much in the South). I would recommend buying it in the USA, because clothes are much cheaper threre.
    It can get quite cold on rainy days so bring warm undergarments, too!

    • So, I think the reason I’ve hard a hard time conceptualizing this, is in Baltimore, I consider late August/ Early September late summer rather than early fall. It’s still kind of hot here! Ok. Rain pants in case and I’ll buy a rain jacket too. Thanks!

      On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 1:00 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  14. I can’t answer any of your overstitch questions. I’ve never done topstitching like that myself.

    However, I live in the Netherlands, so I can try and give some inside information.
    First of all, as you already mentioned, everybody cycles here, in many places it’s just the most practical way to get from A to B. As such, we don’t get dressed up for it. So, if you don’t want to stand out as a tourist from far away, a sporty but not obviously sportswear outfit is a good choice.
    About the weather: That’s unpredictable and rain is always possible. Be sure to pack both rain pants and sunscreen.
    At the moment I’m writing this, we’ve had warm weather (on two days even over 30 degrees Celsius, which is heat wave territory here) for most of the last two weeks, but there were one or two significantly colder days and yesterday, we had a huge downpour. Today should be back to sunshine and 23 degrees. And I should mention that, excluding yesterday, that means we are having a dry and warm summer so far. It may last for another two months but, we might as well get nothing but drizzle and temperatures barely above 20 degrees Celsius from next week. That’s just the way the weather is here.

    Oh, and yes, there are different countries here so if you say “Europe questions”, I expect questions about several of them. As I understood your post, your questions are about the Netherlands… It’s not the same thing although I wouldn’t take offense.

    • Thank you very, very much! Rain pants it is then. I’ll try and find a packable jacket and tell Jordan he better go shopping. When I went three years ago it was early spring and it only rained one day! But, it was kind of overcast and chillt a lot. And, thank you too for answering the ‘Europe’ question!

      On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 2:10 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  15. Lauriana is right in everything she says! We have notoriously unpredictable weather and you can guarantee if you don’t bring any waterproofs that you’ll get a soaking. Here in Britain we’ve been having huge thunderstorms as well as glorious sunshine. And yes, ‘Europe’ can be an unfortunate catch all when it encompasses so many countries, cultures and languages – but you won’t be causing offence as such. There might just be a secret eye roll! Enjoy your trip! And buy the waterproof trousers! It sounds as though you don’t need the added stress right now to sew them.

  16. Listen to Lauriana :-). I’d also strongly advise rain gear for Europe in the Fall, especially in the North. And especially after last winter, which was a downpour version of a polar vortex. However, you don’t have to get rigged up and zipper-crazy like you’re doing the Tour de France – a cheapie bought poncho would be enough to largely protect you. It’d also do double duty as protection if you got a bright-colored one, as it’d make you a lot more visible to drivers in bad conditions. You don’t need Everest-grade rain gear because if the weather is really foul you’re likely to contemplate most of it from the inside of a cafe :-).

    I’d avoid an overly-topstitched look too, it’s fine to use technical fabrics but it’s really better if you look as much as possible like you’re wearing regular street clothes. I find that boingy serger seams do flatten with use, on the body, so you should probably not worry so much about the way those look on the hanger. And finally I also strongly second the silk underlayer advice, that’s saved my bacon numerous time when the temperature decided to drop suddenly on trips, without taking hardly any room or extra weight. One set is enough to cover emergencies as it dries very quickly if necessary. Be sure to bring plenty of wool though, which will cut the wind and keep you warm when wet, at least bring wool socks!

    May I just mention that I’m envious :-)?

    • Thanks! I have some silk long underwear and wool socks from when I had to work outdoors on New Year’s Eve on the water. I’ll bring them along and probably use as leggings. I might also make some arm warmers in case the morning are a little chilly.

      On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 3:03 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  17. Lol Your question reminds me of “War of the Worlds”, where Tom Cruise, speaking about the alien bit not wanting to name them as such, tells his son that they are beings coming from far far away, and his son asks “From Europe?”. Any hoo. Lauriana knows best.

  18. I agree with most of the comments already. Ive lived in various countries across Europe & if there is one thing about Fall, I would say its unpredictable. One day can be sunny & so summery you’d never believe its Fall, the next your’e in torrential rain, cold & miserable. Holland is well known for its wet autumn and while I lived there for 2 years, I would say it was colder more often than it was warm. EVERYONE owns a bike in Holland so to avoid feeling like an tourist, wear your regular clothes because unless someone is hard cycling (yes there is a difference between biking & cycling..hahaha), you would not see them in specific cycling gear. I live in Austria now which is both warmer & drier than the UK & Holland but we too have our colder autumn days. Id purchase rain gear in the US, its cheaper three & weighs very little. If you have any other questions regarding Europe, Id be happy to help. Enjoy the buildup to your honeymoon.

  19. 1. Take the rain gear. Take the rain gear. Take the rain gear. 2. I saw “dental hygienist,” not “Star Trek hottie.” Cover-stitched seams, in contrasting thread, are not unheard of on upscale rtw clothing not intended for sportswear. Do whatever you like to those seams, it will not seem out of place to anyone. 3. Clean and tidy are acceptable forms of dress almost everywhere. Don’t worry about appearing too casual; you are not that sort of person by nature. You won’t misstep on the side of slatternly, I am sure. 4. Have fun, and give Dear Husband a hug from your readers.

  20. O dear! Although the weather can be highly unpredictable in the Netherlands I would never call the end of August fall?! It’s usually very nice and warm over here around that time of year. Of course there will be some rain, and early mornings can be a bit chilly. Layering is a wise option and you could buy cheap disposable rainwear at Hema. As for cycling gear: it depends on the distance. On a daily basis I ride my bike in my Moneta dress or Mabel skirt, but when you’re planning 100 km/day rides you might prefer to wear special bike shorts. Which part of Holland will you visit?

    • Oh, good! We’ll be there end of August through early September (late summer to me). We’ll be biking about 60 km a day. And, I’m tragically out of shape at the moment. So, sporty gear is good for sweaty me 🙂 That said, I will be wearing bike shorts underneath my three dresses! We’ll be going from Bruges to Amsterdam so, in Netherlands stops in Willemstad, Gorinchem, Utrecht and Amsterdam. We’re going to day trip to Rotterdam (a Baltimore Sister City) at the end.

      On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 9:03 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


      • That’s a nice trip! You’ll be fine, nice cycling lanes and no mountains 😉 Just opposite the Rotterdam City Hall you’ll find a very nice fabric store called Schroder!

  21. I had a further idea overnight :-).. Yes, everyone will tell you that you wear regular clothes while biking in Europe, it’s true. But consider that European “regular clothes” are a lot more outdoor-worthy than US ones. That’s because we walk, everywhere, in all weather. It’s not that we can’t fall back on driving here and there occasionally :-), but for instance in France buses stop at the first snowflake, so you may end up trudging for miles in slush unexpectedly. Regular European clothes include good, water-resistant walking shoes, and outerwear that really protects you from wind and a jolly good sprinkle if not hours of downpour. And often stuff that’s at least bike-compatible. It’s probably why wool is still a winter staple.
    So what I’m trying to say is that yes, looking city-like is a good goal, but beware that your US city-like stuff may not be as weather-worthy.,

    Also, somehow I misunderstood Fall for October or something. Late August could be gorgeous, or occasionally suffocating, as well as chilly and wet :-). It’s the definition of transition time. Layer, layer, layer! Did I mention scarves?

    • I had a Ukrainian friend who told me that she didn’t wear nearly half her winter clothes in the US. Because she was hardly ever outside anymore! Thanks for the tips. I bought ‘touring’ sandals so I’m not in Tevas the whole time and I think the dresses with bike shorts under will keep me comfy too. And, I’m taking not of layer, layers, layers.

      On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 11:49 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  22. i think you should buy rain hear there. they are biking crazy — they will have awesome selections and it can be your treat/souvenir.

  23. I would bring rain gear as well as comfortable leggings to wear under your cycling dress on chilly days/evenings or even wintersilk-type leggings, which are very thin yet surprisingly warm. Interesting scarves or long necklaces would dress your cycling dresses up for dinner. Your cycling adventure plans sound wonderful!!

  24. I live in Bruges (which is Belgium, not the Netherlands) and I think you should take raingear with you. (I think it is cheaper in the US as all your clothes seem to be cheaper there and you don’t want to spend your time in Bruges looking for that kind of stuff.) The end of August can be nice and sunny (max. 30° C) but it can also be rather chilly in the evening or morning (16° C). There can be a cold wind (it’s near the sea) and there is often rain. You do not need real ‘winterclothes’. People do wear ‘real biking gear’ for long trips (mostly in bright colors), but do not visit shops or a city in that. You will enjoy the Netherlands, they are very ‘bike-friendly’ and no doubt, you will love Bruges (though not that easy to bike here, in the centre the roads are small and often paved in cobbles. As Bruges is rather small, I prefer walking …) Enjoy your trip!

    • Thank you for the tips! We are in Bruges for one afternoon before heading out on our bike tour to the Netherlands. I ‘got ready’ for the trip by watching ‘In Bruges’. I can’t wait! I might ask you for some restaurant recommendations when time gets closer.

      On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 5:13 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  25. Europe or America – the golden rule… less is more. I wouldn’t add embellishment. Haven’t been to Holland recently, but in Italy sports lux was everywhere, without a trace of cover-stitching.

  26. I usually adore what you make. But this looks like you work in a fast food restaurant. Probably okay for biking but if you wear it to go out it needs a nice scarf looped around your neck or something to take the “fast food” look out of it. Sorry but just being honest. The next one in the lineup looks very promising. I always enjoy your column and I know you will have a wonderful honeymoon. All the best.

    • LOL! I can see the fast food look. I do plan on bringing loop/ infinity scarves with me. I appreciate your honesty.

      On Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 8:53 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  27. I went to both Bruges and Amsterdam almost two years ago in September. I found the weather very similar to what we have here (NYC area) during that time, so you should be comfortable in your biking gear for both biking and touring. I did end up wearing jeans almost every day and didn’t feel out of place or underdressed. I agree with going with layers as I always find it easier to cover the various temperature changes that way. I didn’t actually go biking during my trip, but I would agree with the rain gear. Nothing too heavy, but I did watch a few bike tours in the city during the rain and I think a simple poncho and pants would make it more comfortable. Enjoy your trip!

  28. That sounds lovely. I’ve been to Bruges and Amsterdam a few times and the weather can be quite unpredictable in my experience (although I’m from Scotland so everything is lovely and tropical compared to our weather!). I would recommend preparing for both and definitely taking a waterproof of some kind. It sounds like a wonderful honeymoon. Have fun 🙂

  29. I’m from Bruges too. You should definitely take rain gear and maybe a windproof jacket with a hood. weather is always unpredictable over here, but this year the weather seems to be very nice.
    just for the record we have a saying that matches this topic: Belgium is a very beautiful country but it should have been covered. (referring to the rain)

    and ohh, I really would have loved meeting you and showing you some nice places in Bruges, but unfortunately I’m abroad at the time of your visit

    • Oh, that’s too bad! We are going to be in Brussels for a few days before staying with a sewing friend and coming to Bruges the morning that our barge departs.

      On Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 4:27 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  30. You got lots of good advice, nothing to add. It’s definitely not fall yet at the end of August and you could be lucky having not too much of rain. It’s funny, when I tell people that I go to the UK on holiday the usual reply is “oh it always rains there”. As if the weather is so different from ours (not). We were lucky this time and had no rain in the UK, but I remember another holiday (also 2 weeks in July) that we had nothing but rain. It can be the same in Belgium and The Netherlands.
    Looking forward to see you.

  31. Hi Cidell, FWIW cool weather is something you feel less on a bicycle. September is not very cold here yet, last year it was an Indian summer. I use Rain Legs for a bit of leg rain protection when cycling. They are available here locally, and are much cooler than Gore Tex rain pants. They have to be sponge-cleaned and not machine washed, shich is how I ruined my last pair. I wear full Gore Tex pants less than three times a year, they are so hot. DH however will wear his in May, so YMMV. Oh and personally I love the Star Trek vibe on the dress! Flatlocking would be cool if you work that out. But are you going to wear some bike shorts underneath, or stop traffic? Dutch ladies wear fuller skirts for cycling. I am currently wearing my 3/4 bike tights under my skirt as I just dropped the kids off (by bike). I like having a visibly lower bike tight hem to avoid getting unwanted attention from twenty and thirtysomething guys. I don’t even bother with bike shorts under a skirt for that reason anymore.

  32. I hope this is still in time because I am a little behind on my blog reading! I agree with the comments above, I would like to add one thing. I am Dutch and have also cycled here a lot on my vacations. Yes it is possible to get some rain. But if you are going to be cycling 60km per day, you will most likely only have short moments of rain. This is because not only is the rain moving due to the wind, you are moving as well on your bicycle. Hopefully in different directions! On all my cycling vacations I have never had a day full of rain. You simply keep cycling and soon enoug the rain stops. I often don’t wear rain trousers but usually even wear shorts just because my wet legs are going to dry again sooner than long trousers. The route you are taking will take you past lots of small towns where you can stop and have coffee (with appeltaart!) if it really starts pouring.
    So do bring a raincoat but don’t worry about the weather too much.

    And if you are going to be in Utrecht on a saturday there is an awesome fabric market there in the mornings!
    And try if you can go from Utrecht to Amsterdam via Hilversum, that’s a beautiful part of the country.

    For your dresses, don’t worry too much about fitting in. Will you be wearing a helmet? If so, everyone will know you are a tourist anyway 😉 and so what if they know? When I go to Italy everyone there knows I’m a tourist, because that’s what I am.
    And everyone wears what they like here. Yes a lot of people use their bikes as transportation and thus wear their normal clothes but when I am on cycling vacation riding 60k or more I wear more sporty outfits as well. Nobody has ever looked at me funny for that. You’re on vacation, better yet, honeymoon, wear whatever you feel like!

    Sorry for the long reply!

Comments are closed.