Grease Rag Ride & Wrench


We encourage and empower FTW (Femme/Trans/Women, Non-binary, Two-spirit) cyclists in a collaborative and fun learning environment through rides, discussions, shop nights and educational seminars in a safer space.

 

Grease Rag Open Shops are the hub of our activities and happen multiple times a month in Minneapolis and St. Paul (Minnesota). Find an open shop on the map (below) or explore the events calendar for all of our open shops and activities.

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06 Feb
2017

13 Comments

Day 6 Loving Winter 2017

by

on February 6, 2017   comments 13

Day 6 Loving Winter 2017

I #lovemnwinter! Today, I love winter fashion.

 

I love biking in the winter. To enjoy biking on a brisk, ten-degree morning it helps to be well dressed – there is no bad weather, only bad clothing, right? I also love retro fashion and looking great while biking so I am always on the look-out for how to combine comfort and warmth with looking amazing. This year’s great discovery has been the wool circle skirt. Even in below zero temperatures, I am cozy and stylish in heavy wool with a pair or two of fleece leggings underneath. With some basic sewing skills and equipment, you, too, can be warm and stylish! This is a how-to about sewing your own skirt. 

This article assumes you know how to operate a sewing machine and have basic sewing skills. 

Looking good picking up children

Materials:

  • About 2 yards heavy wool (This is expensive. I get mine at SR Harris and wait until they have a coupon. Joann Fabrics offer lots of coupons, but do not have the selection of quality wool that SR Harris does. I have also had good experiences with www.fabric.com.)
  • About 2 yards lining fabric. I recommend polyester/acetate lining available in the lining section of the fabric store
  • A 7-9 inch invisible zipper
  • A 1 to 1.5 inch button
  • To be extra fancy and retro use a horse hair hem. Ten yards of horse hair (don’t worry – this isn’t actually made of horse hair. It is a plastic mesh that used to be horse hair in days of old.)
    • Horse hair hem gives your dress added shape and structure – a little of that poof seen in old skirts. You can also use regular hem tape available in the notions section or forgo the hem tape and just turn up your hem.

Pic2Materials.jpg

Measuring and Cutting

First, measure around your waist. Retro clothing generally fit at the natural waist, not lower on the hips like today’s clothing does. Measure where you want the skirt to sit on your body. Your natural waist is where your belly button is or the narrowest part of your torso. Then decide how long you want your skirt to be. For winter warmth and retro style, mine fall to about three inches below my knee. Get a friend and a measuring tape. Stand up straight and have your friend measure from your belly button to where you want the skirt to fall. Add one inch to this measurement for your ½ inch seam allowances.

I used this handy Circle Skirt Calculator to figure out my waist radius, which is half the diameter of the circle that will become your skirt waist opening. Mine is 4.5 inches.

Using the diagram from the calculator, lay out your wool on a large table. Measure and mark the distance of your waist radius along the fold and down the selvedge edge from the fold. I like to pin my measuring tape to the point and use that to mark a quarter circle between the two markings. This is your waist. From that same point, measure your waist radius plus the length of your skirt plus the inch seam allowance. For me this is 4.5 + 24 + 1 or about 30 inches. Mark another, larger circle of this radius from the same point that you did for the waist. Cut along both circles you drew. 

Pic3Math.jpg

Lay the half circle you cut on top of the remaining fabric, fold along the fold, and use that to cut a second half circle. Do this with your lining fabric, but make the circle about two inches shorter. Finally, cut out a waist band. For a 2-inch-wide waist band, cut a 3-inch-wide by your waist circumference plus 3 inches for a 1-inch seam allowance and 2-inch tab for the button.

Pic4Cut.jpg

Construction.

Now, lay one side of each half circle right sides together and sew that seam. Press. I recommend finishing the seam edges with either a serger or a zig zag stitch on a regular machine. Do the same with your lining. Then, put the right side of the lining on the wrong side of the skirt, lining up the waist. Baste the lining to the skirt in the seam allowance. At this point you will have a two big circles (wool and lining) that are sewed together at the waist and one side. We will close the circle next.

Pic5WaistPin.jpg

Finish the raw edges of both the skirt and the lining by either serging the edge or using a zig zag stitch. Put in your zipper using your favorite method. I will not explain how to do that, as it depends on the kind of zipper you have, but I like this tutorial for an invisible zipper and this one for a regular zipper. Sew the remaining side seams of both the lining and the skirt. I like to keep the lining separate from the skirt, but do what you want. Now you have a circle! Try it on to check for fit. 

Pic6NEW.jpg

 Add the waistband.

Fold the waistband in half, right sides together. To make the corners nice and neat, first sew one short side (width). Then for the button tab, sew down the short side, pivot, and sew about two inches along the raw, open side. 

Pic7WaistBand.jpg

Trim the seam allowances, turn out, and press. Press up a little less than half an inch on one side of the waistband. Take the raw edge of your waistband that you did not press, leaving the other raw side free, and pin it to the raw waist of your skirt on the right side. Make sure to line up any side seams and have the button tab aligned with the zipper. Ease in any extra material and baste. Check to make sure and lies nicely and sew seam. Clip seam allowances. 

Pic8SkirtSandwich.jpg

Fold over the pressed edge to the inside of the skirt and pin in place. Stitch in the ditch (meaning your stitching line from the other side of the waistband) or hand sew waistband in place. Sew on the button under the button hole tab on the waist band.

Pic10StitchDitch.jpg

Hemming.

Hang your skirt overnight. This is annoying, but important. The skirt is cut on the bias of the fabric and the weight of the skirt will cause the fabric to stretch. If you do not hang it overnight and just hem it, the hem will be uneven after gravity takes its toll.

After your skirt has hung overnight, check to make sure the circle is still even. Carefully trim where it might be uneven to insure the hem is even.

Pic11Horse.jpg

If you are not using hem tape or horse hair, press up half an inch along the hem of both the lining and the skirt toward the inside, then press up another half inch and sew the hem.

If you are using hem tape or horse hair, pin the tape so that the skirt edge is at about the middle of the tape. Sew the tape to the skirt along the inside edge of the tape. Fold to the inside so that the other side of the tape (the side you did not sew to the skirt) is about half an inch from the fold. Pin in place. Sew along the tape on the side you did not sew before. There is your hem! Do the same with the lining. Do not use horse hair on the lining, just use regular hem tape.

Pic12Hem.jpg

Fabulous!

Now you have a fabulous and warm skirt to wear out in the cold. Just make sure to sit on your skirt and do not let it cover your rear light.

Pic13Fab.jpg

05 Feb
2017

1 Comments

Day 5 of Loving Winter 2017

by

on February 5, 2017   comments 1

 I #lovemnwinter!  Today, I love slowing down to speed up.

Staying active in an MN winter is a solid trick for keeping a body warm, bikes upright, and mental health in functional order through very dark months. When facing a super cold front or snowstorm, the #LOVEWINTER smarts kick in and you know to store that energy and stay put. Slowing down to rest, to evaluate options, to strategize your route… when you set out, you know you’re gonna be stronger and equipped with valuable energy to fortify your journey.

I recommend using this technique, slow down to speed up, before facing a particularily mean snowstorm, OR any terrible shitstorm, as you see fit.

This winter, I’ve been “hunkering down” as an opportunity to find my way out of a personal shitstorm of burn out and avoidance. I'm starting by catching up on some reading, ready to strategize a new route forward and it starts by sticking to the work of WTFs and POC authors in my #lovemnwinter reading list:

Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America - by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History) - by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement - by Angela Y. Davis

Palante - by Young Lords Party

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness - by Michelle Alexander

I’ve also taken some time to examine my financial influence divesting/invest accordingly:

http://www.ussif.org/sribasics

And most importantly, I’ve been plotting that path forward with leadership from my community.

Native Lives Matter

Anti-War Committe

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis

15 Now Minnesota

In these cold months of winter, how are you slowing down?  What are you plotting to do?

Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and post about it on this blog. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

04 Feb
2017

1 Comments

Day 4 of Loving MN Winter

by

on February 4, 2017   comments 1

I #LoveMNWinter

An it's-ok-to-not-love-MN-winter story

mnwinter.jpg

By Lauren Johnson

I love MN winter. But love does not always look like excitement or appreciation.
 
Sometimes love looks like patience.
 
This January for me, love is skidding out on ice several times and getting up and putting your bike on the bus.
 
Love is taking a lift or a Lyft when you need it.
 
Love is making the hard choice to ride when you know it will feel brutal rather than invigorating.
 
Love is when you do it anyway because you want to reduce carbon emissions or because you want to keep your body strong and healthy or because you set a goal and you're invested in doing a thing.
 
Sometimes love is choosing to forego your immediate comfort to be pushed further or to work for something greater.
 
Other times it means staying home to read, reflect, and take care of yourself.
 
Sometimes I #lovemnwinter means recognizing it (winter) for what it is and doing the best you can with it.
 
Love looks a lot like resilience.
 
Ride on, brave friends! Take care of each other and yourselves no matter how you are feeling about the winter.
 
I'll see you out there!
 
Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and post about it on this blog. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

03 Feb
2017

23 Comments

Day 3 of Loving Winter 2017

by

on February 3, 2017   comments 23

I #lovemnwinter! 

This year, I love the fierceness of winter - the winds from the plains stinging my lungs and pushing back at me with every pedal forward. I love that no one can predict winter. We pretend to know what might follow today but really, who are we kidding. I love the dark on my commute, it is a quiet cloak I wrap myself in to think, plan, or maybe just be. I love the snow snarling and stopping the oil-guzzling traffic. I power through on my bicycle. Or perhaps my bike and I watch the chaos from a train window. The snow briefly gets the better of our cities. (Perhaps this a harbinger of things to come.)

I love the midwest winter because, more than ever, this is how I want to be: fierce, unpredictable in my tactics, disrupting the system so that there is space and fertile ground for new seeds to grow come spring.

IMG_1262.jpg

Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and post about it on this blog. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

02 Feb
2017

19 Comments

Day 2 of Loving Winter 2017

by

on February 2, 2017   comments 19

Day 2 of Loving Winter 2017

I #lovemnwinter!  Today, I love winter wear.

I grew up in a warm place. A very warm place. And I am a cold human. A very cold human. Some have gone so far to wonder if I'm a snake or some other animal unable to regulate their own body temperature disguised as a human. So when I thought about continuing to bike through the winter before I moved to the Twin Cities, the idea seemed foolish and impossible. But then, through posts on Grease Rag, I discovered it was something Actual People Actually Did. In an effort to prove I am the badass I imagine myself to be, I started my quest to bike through a MN winter by gathering clothes that made me feel confident.

First came a few that were legacy items:

  • My mom's snow pants from the 80's! She gave them to me when I was 12, and is shocked I'm still using them.
  • A bright yellow and reflective engineer's jacket from when I lived in Eastern Oregon, and my boss throught it would be funny to get a jacket for the AmeriCorps volunteer that shivered working inside all day. (Jokes on you, Bob! I still use the jacket.)
  • Yellow snow boots with furry tops that keep my toes warm and block the wind. A Christmas present nearly 10 years ago, they still haven't gone out of style. Minnesotans routinely ask me if they are Mukluks, and no, they aren't, because I don't know what those are!
  • Child's ski goggles from my dad, that one time my family ventured out of the South to go skiing when I was 10. I love the red lens!
Then came some less-obvious-to-the-outsider items I found in Minnesota:
  • Fleece-lined leggings! Bless you, oh toasty leggings.
  • Balaclava! Props to the fine folks in Midwest Mountaineering that helped me find one when I came in on a particularly cold and windy day exclaiming "MY FACE HURTS!"
  • Choppers! Thanks to whoever left these on the campus connector... (you'll be glad to know the forces of public transit karma took these choppers from me on the Green Line a year later.)
Hilary_L_WinterWear.jpg
 
Some may say that I look a little overdressed in all my layers, perhaps like the michelin man or that kid from A Christmas Story. "Don't you get hot and sweat?! EW!"

Well yes, I do get toasty, covered in a fine layer of my own breath, and it is GLORIOUSLY WARM. My personal bike-powered sauna! I love wearing all my layers not only because they keep me warm, but because they remind me of all the friends and family that helped me be the badass I am today. Thanks, Grease Rag!
 

Read about last year’s collaborative challenge [http://greaserag.org/user_blogs/lowrah/29-days-of-loving-winter-2016/] to love one thing about winter everyday in February of 2016. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

 

 

 

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