Friday, July 29, 2011

Skirt guards

Some time ago I decided I wanted to make a crocheted skirt guard for my vintage bicycle. I couldn't get hold of the yarn the pattern called for, and so I had to do a little bit of experimenting to get the size right. I also discovered that the slippery quality that made the yarn I had chose so pretty also made the ends escape even if I anchored them really well. I solved that with discreet use of fabric glue. The skirt guard had to have some sort of opening in the back half as well as the front to make it fit the bike. I rummaged around my button collection and found the coloured ones you see in the first picture. I stitched them on, and buttoned the skirt guard in place.

Here are some pictures of the new skirt guard:

Here's the skirt guard on the bike. Isn't she a beauty? She has no gears, but rides really well. And for the dark autumn evenings she has a dynamo operated front light. She also has a drum brake in the front, which apparently is fool proof, only lately the front wheel has started making odd, suffering squeaking sounds when I ride her. According to my cousin, who builds bikes for fun (I'm so impressed by that man, give him any practical sort if problem, be it electrical, bikes or what have you, and he manages to solve it), I need to remove the front wheel, open the drum brake, and check that everything is evenly positioned in there. I'm working up courage as we speak. It might take a while...

In Norway in the 1960's it was common to have skirt guards made of fabric. Usually oil cloth. I made one of these as well, and use it on my modern bike. I prefer to ride the modern bike on longer trips, as it's less likely to break down on me. I also made the matching padded seat cover. The shopping box at the back I got through ebay.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More Vintage Laundry

In the time passed since I did my first experiments last year on vintage laundry, I have continued testing on vintage dresses, and so far I have found that with regards to odours there are two major categories. Smells caused by bacteria (such as sweat), and smell caused by mildew and moulds. Of these two the former is by far the easiest to get rid of. In most cases all that is needed is to spray the garment with rubbing alcohol, let it dry, and repeat. Once dry again, wash the garment, and the smell is gone.

Mildew and mould, on the other hand, is more tricky. I first tried to spray the garments in vinegar water (half and half of white vinegar and water), and then launder, but that didn't help. I finally resorted to leaving the garment overnight in vinegar water. I rinsed the garment, and washed it with woolite. I then hung it out in the sun to dry, and now it's fine. But next time I see a smelly dress I really like I'll only get it if the price is right. At the moment I still have 2 more dresses in this category, one of them the dress you see in the below picture. It's made of silk taffeta and covered in hand painted net. This one will have to go to the dry cleaners, I think.