Because I do not own that much tweed and don't want to wear the same outfit twice it is always a challenge to find a suitable outfit. Suitable meaning that it looks good but also that it is easy to cycle in. A bikeride would have required sportswear or sporty wear back in the day. So dressing up in your finest is not good enough.
This is a picture of me wearing the dress taken in the spring of 2010. Can hardly believe it is more than 5 years ago.
I love all the small details of this dress all so clean: the lined buttonholes, finely stitched collar and the darts (instead of pleats) on the shoulders to accomodate the shoulderpads.
The shoulderpads are an absolute must with the cardigan I was wearing. The design is clearly made to be worn over either padded or puffed sleeves. Where modern versions always seem to lack space when you have a dress with well formed shoulders this cardigan just looks sloppy without them eventhough my shoulders are not particularly narrow or sloping.
The pattern came from a beautiful Dutch patternbook with lots of colored immages. The book was probably published around 1935 (there's no date but newspaper advertisements mentioning it are from that year). The title 'Te Kust en te Keur' means something in the region of 'plenty of choice'.
And there is plenty of choice in patterns in the book, from childrens clothing, beach pj's , to book covers and towels. Here are just a few examples of the colorized pictures that accompany the patterns:
It I could only be a little girl again for a day, just to wear that coat and cap!
This book followed the popular 'Handwerkvreugd' of a few years earlier.
This is the actual pattern of the cardigan (called a jacket).
Some of the patterns were sent in by crafty women themselves. So is this one. The names are given at the end of the pattern: A. F. Luyendijk-Kloppers, Rijswijk. A little research into old newspapers reveals this might be Anna Frederika Kloppers who married a J. Luijendijk in 1908 aged 29. She would have been an elderly woman when she made up this pattern (for herself or a grown up daughter, we'll never know).
The color intended for the cardigan is actually that of the dress. But I really wanted a warm autumn color, so it became brick red/brown.
I really love all the old knitting patterns, the thing is I cannot knit myself...I always blame it on the fact that I'm lefthanded. Every time my righthanded mother would try to teach me it'd end in a row. Guess if I really wanted to I could learn from YouTube or a lefthanded person, but I'm lazy. One of the reasons for this is that my mother loves to knit, not for herself, but for me. She also likes a bit of a challenge. The vintage patterns do offer that because their logic is a bit different than that of modern ones. Lucky me, as anything originally form the period is hard to find and so expensive!
For the tweedride she made me a little cap as the pattern mentiones, not knitted but in crochet. The thing with the cap was that it made the outfit look like a kind of uniform. So I decided last minute to add a little pompon to make it less stiff. The little string is a finger-crochet, that is about as far as my skills go.
So we went to Rotterdam by train with our bikes, always a challenge (not to pull the emergengy break ;)).
Myrtle is wearing the beautiful dress she found the day before on out shopping/tea trip. The embroidery matched her bike and eyes :)
We reached Rotterdam without trouble and headed towards the starting point ot the Tweedride.
And then: On the steep Erasmusbridge (in Holland we do not have mountains, we have bridges) a scooter passed me on too close a range and hit my basket. So I got out of balance and fell...
The first thing I thought was: oh no my clothes! Trough a miracle the cardigan was not damaged but my elbow was and so were my knees. The dress is quite short so it comes up above my knees when I'm cycling, protecting it from the fall but also leaving my knees and legs bare but for my stockings, which were ruined. My left knee and leg were the worst, an abrasion of about 10x20 cm....
I did get back on my bike and went to the starting point of the Tweedride where the wounds were disinfected ans some bandages were put over it, so I could partake in the Tweedride.
Myrtle called my look: broken doll. Some even thought the bandages were an actual part of my outfit.
With hindsight I don't really know how I did it...probably the adrenaline...I had a nice day and drove over that wretched bridge 3 times more without getting hit/falling!
Only when I came home that evening I noticed in how much pain I was. Even though the wound on my left leg was superficial it was big and painful. It took over a week to close. Until a few days ago I limped because I could not bend my knee. For the larger part of the last two weeks I sat at home in my comfy chair with bare legs.
The whole thing brought some dressing difficulties as well. My legs had to be bare for the wound to heal (bandages made it worse). This resulted in crazy inside the house outfits consisting of 30's camiknickers with a large man's sweater etc....charming...
And even now I'm seriously ond the mend the crust on my leg makes stockings almost impossible to wear. Sheers are out of the question because the wound now looks like an unsightly overbaked meatloaf and thick opaque ones put to much pressure on the skin.
The thing to wear for me now are wide legged trousers, the sloppy kind. These can be dressed up but I want to wear a dress!
Of course I did not always do what is best for the healing process because some things are way to much fun to miss out on, but more about that in a next post.
I'm already so excited about the next Tweedride: it will be in Amsterdam in the spring. Because it is in my hometown I really want to make something, like a parted skirt for that. Maybe I should choose some very sturdy tweed and put leather ovals on my knees, so I can fall all I like.