Monday, 27 January 2014

It's not about the bike

I don't own a bike.  I don't really like bikes*.  I can't remember the last time I rode a bike… Even when I visit San Francisco I take a car over the Golden Gate Bridge rather than ride a bike.

I used to ride a bike - more than 20 years ago when I was at university - and I have vivid memories of head winds, torrential rain, water from the back tyre saturating my undies and making my backside look like I needed to wipe, and crazy Christchurch drivers trying to collect their 100 points for collecting a cyclist.  My purple-blue mountain bike (yes, even I have tried mountain biking!) sat in the garage collecting dust for about 10 years before I gave it to a friend for his teenage daughter.  When it was cleaned, the bike looked like new.  I'd rather be sewing or, let's be honest,  have a root canal than ride a bike.

However, most of my workmates ride bikes.  Some even do it for fun!?!

But just because I don't ride, doesn't mean that I don't enjoy watching a good bike race or reading about one.  I followed Lance Armstrong's achievements and read his fairytales books, watched his battle with Alberto Contador, saw Cadel Evans, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome all win the Tour de France, and squealed with delight when Sarah Ulmer won gold for NZ in the individual pursuit at the Athens Olympics.  I snapped up a copy of The Flying Scotsman DVD and watched it while sewing.  And then I became obsessed with reading everything David Walsh had written about Armstrong and the Tour de France; Tyler Hamilton's confessions about doping, and David Millar's fall….

I wanted to try out the fabric transfer paper I have had sitting in my sewing room for a few years (Lesley Riley's Transfer Artist Paper).  I didn't know what to do with it until I saw the funky t-shirts Lightning McStitch made for Christmas.  I searched the internet for an appropriate picture for one of my mad biker/biking friends and found a vintage bike graphic at

And then I made a t-shirt for one of his kids

size 6-12 months 

Obviously I added the caption.  It is the title of Lance Armstrong's first book.  Ironic really given the circumstances of the last year….Yep, Lance, it wasn't (about) the bike after all….

The pattern is the Oliver + S field trip raglan t-shirt (again).  The fabric is an organic cotton remnant I found at Tessuti fabrics in Melbourne.  It is horribly off grain and a nightmare to work with.  No wonder it was on sale!  I added ribbing to the neckline because the self-fabric binding I made looked amateurish in this fabric.  The ribbing is from the Ottobre etsy store.

The transfer looks great and there is no shiny film left on the fabric.  I'll be interested to see how it washes up.  I think the t-shirt looks quite professional, even if it is a little conceited to say so.  I'm afraid that I might become a transfer junkie….

However, I managed to suppress my preoccupation with fabric transfers for a short period and whipped up a couple more field trip t-shirts over the weekend for another little boy:

size 18-24 months 

And a hopscotch t-shirt for his older sister

 size 4 years

*I suspect a couple of my blog readers will considerate this a blasphemous statement


  1. I'm completely torn here. I would totally disown you forever as a friend but for the fact that you have an obvious Lillestoff fetish and sew some really cute stuff. Oh and you liked my T-shirts. And you obviously like people who like bikes, and you sound like you don't aim to run over cyclists.... Maybe you're all right after all.... you just need more bikes in your life!
    The T-shirt transfer is a great start. I'll lend you a bike to ride around Melbourne next time you're here. I have about 8 spare ones!

  2. Ohh, I want one of those, and yes, I'll have it with the bike motif because I do like bikes.