24 October 2011

DIY Skirt Guard - Raleigh DL-1 Gets a Corset!

As promised here is my newest DIY project-- a bicycle skirt guard! Starting off with photos of the finished project...

RidingPretty DIY corset bicycle skirt guard © by RidingPretty

RidingPretty DIY corset bicycle skirt guard © by RidingPrettyy

The Design Process

It started within day one of owning my Raleigh DL-1. Wearing as many long skirts as I do, I realized how much better it would be to have a skirt guard on my bicycle. I began searching for a second (same circa) Raleigh fender that I could “sacrifice” and drill holes in (objective to preserve my original fender). The only skirt guards I’d come across that held any aesthetically pleasing appeal for me were the traditional European style skirt guards – the ones that require holes drilled into the bicycle fender.

Eventually I did find a couple fenders perfect for the job. However I was continuously either outbid or they sold lightening fast. I simply gave up on ever finding a second fender to “sacrifice”. Instead I challenged myself to come up with some other solution! Besides, I absolutely knew I was never going to be reduced to drilling holes in my original fender. For what? -- just to accommodate the traditional European style skirt guard I fancied? No, no, no!

I experimented. I tried my hand at crochet and macramé skirt guards quite some time ago. I wasn't happy with the results. In my original crochet skirt guard I used the little clips. I realized I was not a fan of clips. Since my early attempts, others have since taken up the challenge to design crochet guards or macramé guards. While I liked these traditional designs they still mainly involved drilling holes in the fender, which I remain completely adverse to.

Onward. I knew I wanted my skirt guard to be made out of something light, something sheer. Something in subtle colorations. I did not want it to be solid skirt guard. I wanted it out of something gossamer light so that the air could blow through it – reasoning something solid might act as a sail does in the wind.

Yes, and perhaps some lacing would be nice…

RidingPretty DIY corset bicycle skirt guard © by RidingPretty

I sketch new design ideas all the time. In one of my sketches I began seeing exactly what I wanted! Yes, the lacing I wanted, the sheerness I wanted.

Stuck, then I got very stuck. I didn't know how I was going to make it -- I just knew that I would make it eventually. I kept returning to my sketch pondering design execution. Over time, different ideas as to what materials I could use would pop into my head. I’d mull these ideas around. I rejected quite a few.

On trips to the hardware store, trips to the fabric store – I was always on the outlook for possible materials and components to make my skirt guard out of.

One weekend feeling particularly creative I decided I was just going to go for it. I’d already come up with the netting I planned to use for it -- via a magical, discovery - brainstorm - eureka moment! Then with one, last fruitful trip to the hardware store and a trip to the fabric store I discovered the last bits I wanted to incorporate. Satisfied I sat down and made the thing in an afternoon, at one go.

I photo documented the entire “start to finish” process of the making of it. As you may recall from a previous post I encountered corrupted photo memory card issues. So there are no DIY pictures to share with you, only the finished project.

Here are some helpful hints as to how to make your own:

You will need to make your own pattern based on your wheel / fender size.

I used a synthetic “all weather proof “ netting in black. It is sew-able.

I used black anodized metal fittings I found at a hardware store. Originally I was going to use grommets, but I liked these better. The anodized black was in the same tonal shades as my vintage bicycle.

I used suede leather lacing. I was going to use all weather nylon but it looked too new and shiny to my eye.

That's it. Good Luck. Have Fun!