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NEW BOOK

BIKES and BLOOMERS
Victorian Women Inventors and their Extraordinary Cycle Wear
Published by Goldsmiths Press (and MIT Press)

LATEST NEWS

Keynote – MA Design, Aalto University

I was invited by Professor Ramia Mazé to visit Aalto University in Helsinki to give a keynote as part of the welcome to new MA Design students and to meet with researchers. It was a really inspiring visit. Helsinki is a fantastic…

Pocket making experiment – Open University

On 6th June I was invited to participate in a workshop called The Unfinished in Architecture, Design and Planning, run by Kim Kullman from the Open Space Research Centre at the Open University. This is the outline: In Building the Unfinished (1977), Lars Lerup develops…

2019 York Festival of Ideas

I was invited to the 2019 York Festival of Ideas, which is the largest free festival in the UK with a huge range of events taking place across the city -  "world-class speakers, exhibitions, theatre, music, films, guided walks, family-friendly…

BBC1 Countryfile

A few weeks ago I was invited by BBC1 Countryfile to Blists Hill Victorian Town, a period village in Telford, near Birmingham. I was interviewed talking about, cycling in and demonstrating some of the inventive early women cyclists’ responses to…

Book Review – Symbolic Interaction journal

Jennifer Millard Boyle of the University of Saskatchewan has written a review of Bikes & Bloomers in Vol 42, Issue 2 of the Symbolic Interaction journal. It's a wonderful comprehensive account of the nature and structure of the book and…

Casquette LIVE at the London Bike Show

Casquette is a unique and beautifully designed cycle magazine that promotes and supports a diverse array of cycling cultures. This year they teamed up with the London Bike Show to create a curated “show-within-show” called ‘Casquette LIVE in partnership with…

B&B in a WheelSuckers podcast

I was interviewed about B&B by Jenni from the DIY bike workshop the London Bike Kitchen and Alex from cafe/bar/workshop Look mum no hands! for their terrific Wheelsuckers podcast. We covered lots of sewing cycling and sociology stuff around publishing, pockets and penny…

BBC4 TV documentary

I was interviewed talking and performing B&B with Dr Hannah Fry for a new BBC4 TV documentary on Victorian technology, society and bodies called Victorian Sensations. The four part series starts Wednesday 15th May. My contribution is in the 2nd…

Media coverage

The project has received widespread national and regional media (tv, newspapers, magazine and radio coverage).   The Telegraph (16/04/18) and The Times (16/04/18) ran major print and online pieces and The Sun (16/04/2018) included the story in brief. I wrote a piece for The…

B&B by others

Wonderfully people are sending in pics of their interpretations of the B&B research and hash tagging them #bikesandbloomers on social media. Some are using the patterns to make their own versions of the costumes  – such as UK Bicycle Ballet’s Blazing…

Cambridge Festival of Cycling

I was invited to give a talk at the Cambridge Festival of Cycling on Saturday 29th September. It was an event to remember, not only because it was in an amazing church and was well attended by enthusiastic people, but…

B&B animation

There is going to be an animation of the B&B project. It is an interdisciplinary collaboration between myself and Ceiren Bell, who convenes the Integrated Degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths. Ceiren is a freelance award-winning animator specialising in hand…

100 Women in Cycling

I was honoured and delighted to be nominated as one of Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling for 2018. Cycling UK is the national cycling lobby group (previously known as CTC – Cycling Tourists’ Club). The annual list celebrates inspirational…

Book review – The Times Literary Supplement

Excited to see a wonderful review of B&B in the Times Literary Supplement. The reviewer, Jacqueline Banerjee, really captured what I was trying to convey : “Jungnickel’s achievement is to recognize the extent to which women themselves took advantage of…

B&B at LCC Cycling Festival

I’m really looking forward to being part of London Cycling Festival’s Bike to the Future event on next week. More info here.  

B&B in the wild II

More lovely pics of B&B in the wild. I’m really enjoying receiving these pics!

B&B at Field Day Festival 2018

Goldsmiths had the opportunity to take some space at the annual Field Day festival. Usually it is at Victorian Park but this year it was at Brockwell Park. This is a great event with music, food and lots of activities…

B&B in the wild

I love seeing my book arriving and being read by people all over the world. Please keep sending the pics 📚🚲

Book review – Casquette

Casquette is a terrifically interesting and beautifully designed quarterly print magazine that focuses on many flavours of cycling, and with an emphasis on what women are doing or have done. I was therefore delighted to see my book reviewed by…

B&B in the BBC History Mag

The project was covered in the June edition of the BBC History Magazine, a hugely popular and interesting publication. This month it’s all about the Black Death, mummy heads, Georgian parenting advice, historic dentistry and rad women warriors amongst other…

Book review – The Spectator

Vonny Leclerc has written a wonderful review of the book in The Spectator – ‘Knickerbocker Glories: Feminism, Fashion and the Bicycle: The daring and ingenuity of Victorian female cyclists and their clothes did much to advance women’s lib‘ (5/5/18). I definitely recommend…

Book review – Brixton Blog

A short review of the book appeared in the Brixton Blog on May 6. The article was called – ‘Brixton dressmaker who designed for freedom’. What I particularly like about this, is the focus on the Brixton story in the larger…

Tweed Run 2018

The 2018 Tweed Run was on this weekend – Saturday 5th May – and marked it’s 10th year anniversary. I’ve been lucky enough to attend about 6 of them, I think. The Tweed Run for those who don’t know is…

Book review – Emma R Chesworth

One of the first reviews of the book came out in Emma R Chesworth’s blog. She is a journalist and feminist activist and was involved in The Eighth Plinth campaign to help secure Middlesbrough’s first female statue. So, I was very…

Book review – The Atlantic

The book and undermining research project is featured in a longer piece about cycle wear, public space and women’s emancipation in The Atlantic. ‘How Cycling Clothing Opened Doors for Women – Advances in biking gear had an impact on advances…

Article in the Guardian Bike Blog

I am excited to have a piece about the project in the Guardian’s Bike Blog today.

Book launch and printed sewing patterns on sale – Wed 18th April

The Bikes & Bloomers book launch is on Wednesday 18th April, from 6.30pm at Look Mum No Hands. The bicycle in Victorian Britain is often celebrated as a vehicle of women’s liberation. But much less is known about another critical…

London Transport Museum – ‘Design’ Open Weekend

I’m really looking forward to being part of London Transport Museum’s Open Museum weekend on ‘Capital Design’ on the weekend 21/22 April. The Museum Depot in Acton is our working museum store housing over 320,000 objects. Sights include rare road &…

B&B research video

This short video made by Goldsmiths explains a little about the research that underpins my new book – Bikes And Bloomers: Victorian women inventors and their extraordinary cycle wear  

FREE convertible cycle wear PDF sewing pattern packs – available NOW

Victorian women’s CONVERTIBLE CYCLE WEAR sewing patterns are here! Six PDF pattern packs (for a total of 9 garments) are FREE to download. Each is inspired by the research patents lodged by inventive women in the 1890s. The patterns include:…

See the converting costumes in action

#1 Alice Bygrave’s Pulley Cycling Skirt ———— #2 Julia’s Gill’s cycling semi-skirt ———— #3 Henrietta Muller’s three piece cycling suit ———— #4 Pease sisters’ combined cycling skirt and cape ———– #5 Mary Ward’s side-button skirt or what was known as…

RISE UP, WOMEN! Celebrating 100 Years of the Vote

I was very pleased to be part of an all female panel of speakers at Waterstones (Gower Street, London) talking about the suffrage movement and the many inventive women who led and supported it. Ahead of the 100th Anniversary of The…

LTM Late Debate: Women of the Future

I was part of London Transport Museum’s Late Debate: Women of The Future, on Thursday Feb 8. I did a Pechakucha talk (20 slides, 20 seconds each) and hosted an installation in the main gallery.  More info here and  here. Many thanks to…

Socio-Technical Devices of Resistance

I have a chapter called –  Socio-Technical Mobile Devices of Resistance: Victorian inventors, women cyclists and convertible cycle wear patents, in Caygill, H., Leeker, M and Schulze, T. (eds) Inventions in Digital Cultures: Action, Resistance, Critique, Digital Cultures Research Lab, Leüphana University,…

Sociological Sewing: Sensory Encounters with Women’s Invention in the Archive

I was an invited speaker at the one-day conference Gender, Sexuality and The Sensory, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK. My paper was called – Sociological Sewing: Sensory Encounters with Women’s Invention in the Archive. About the event: With the turn to…

Tweed Run 2017

Tweed Run time again. I dug through the cupboard for tweedy options and in the end went with a more subtle black pinstripe wool this year. As usual I adapted the #6 Tailored Bloomer pattern. I made a matching waistcoat…

Secret Cycling Selves – Keynote at Mobilities, Literature, Culture Conference

I gave a keynote at Secret Cycling Selves: How Victorian Women Negotiated Multiple Mobile Identities Through Patented Cycle Wear, Mobilities, Literature, Culture Conference, Lancaster University, UK. This two-day conference provides a forum for scholars working at the intersection of literary and…

Links & Shifts – Show, Tell & Try on

I recently participated in a panel organised by Nikki Pugh an artist and research who explores interactions between people and place. Links & Shifts is part of a larger project in which Nikki asks: “What happens when you change from thinking about…

Article: Making Things to Make Sense of Things: DIY as Research and Practice

I have a new chapter about the project coming out soon. Making Things to Make Sense of Things: DIY as Research and Practice In Sayers, J. (ed) The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities  Abstract: This chapter is about…

Victorian women’s convertible cycle wear sewing patterns

We are in the process of developing 9 open source downloadable PDF sewing patterns inspired by our research and patents lodged by inventive women 1895-1899. More soon!

SPIN London: the cycling festival

I presented at SPIN London: the cycling festival, for London Bike Kitchen, at Old Truman Brewery, London on May 20-22. I shared the lecture with Sheila Hanlon, a cycling historian. Afterwards I invited people into some of the costumes.

Tweed Run 2016

For this year’s London Tweed Run, I was hoping to channel Elsa Von Blumen’s dressmaker. Sadly, I did not have the time to accomplish the full splendour of this American high wheel racer before the event, but I will do…

Cycling in Julia Gill’s Semi-Skirt

Some of the wonderful photos taken by Charlotte Barnes of Julia Gill’s Semi-Skirt in action.

Public Engagement at Goldsmiths – Launch event

I helped to launch the new Public Engagement initiative at Goldsmiths on Monday which aims to help researchers connect with the public with their work. Programme 3pm: Welcome from Jane Powell, Deputy Warden 3.10: Public engagement at Goldsmiths – Prof Chris…

DCRL – ‘Technological Conditions of Interventions’ conference

I was invited to speak at the Digital Cultures Research Lab’s (DCRL) conference in Luneberg. 19-21st May. It was called ‘Technological Conditions of Interventions: History, epistemology and dramaturgy. I turned my cycle wear research into a paper on ‘Socio-technical mobile…

“Doing sociology with… costume” – Goldsmiths Sociology 5min talk

At Goldsmiths, we practise Sociology with a variety of things, from buildings to music and social media. But how do we do this? Rebecca Coleman and Noortje Marres organised an event whereby lots of Sociology staff talked about their research…

Cycling in Henrietta Muller’s 3-piece cycling suit

Some of the wonderful photos taken by Charlotte Barnes of Henrietta Muller’s  3-piece cycling suit in action.  

“One needs to be very brave to stand all that” – article in Geoforum special issue

Finally, this article is out and it is available open access. Jungnickel, K. “One needs to be very brave to stand all that”: Cycling, rational dress and the struggle for citizenship in late nineteenth century Britain, Geoforum, Special Issue: Geographies of…

Show and Tell (and try on) at the Science Museum

I had a great night at the ‘Wearable Technologies’ late at the Science Museum. Substantial audiences turned out – twice – to see the talk and try on the clothes. Many thanks to the Science Museum for the invite and for…

Bikes & Bloomers at the Science Museum ‘Late’ on Wearable Technology

I’m excited to be part of the Science Museum ‘Late’ on Wednesday 29th April on the theme of ‘Wearable Technology’ doing my Bikes & Bloomers thing. The program is here: It’s a great opportunity to reach a science/tech audience. Should…

Tweed Run 2015

The London Tweed Run is always something special. This year was no exception. And I made the entire costume. The 1890s bloomers had to be tailored to fit the penny and I pieced together all my left over Dashing Tweeds,…

Converting the Bygrave ‘Convertible’ skirt

Alice Louisa Bygrave’s patent illustrations for her convertible cycling skirt: This is our version inspired by her design:

Converting Mary Ward’s side-button cycling skirt

Mary Ward’s patent unusually did not come with illustrations – these are our illustrative interpretations for her side-button cycling skirt. And, this is our version of the convertible skirt inspired by her design:

Converting Henrietta Muller’s 3-piece cycling suit

Henrietta Muller’s patent illustrations for her convertible 3-piece cycling suit. This is our version inspired by her design:

Converting Julia Gill’s Semi-Skirt

Julia Gill’s patent illustrations for her convertible cycling semi-skirt This is our version inspired by her design:  

Converting the Pease sisters’ Skirt/ Cape

Mary and Sarah Pease’s patent illustrations for their convertible cycling skirt and cape:   This is our version inspired by their design:

ESRC Doctoral Training Centre Annual Conference

I was invited to present to closing plenary of the London ESRC Doctoral Training Centre Annual Conference, London School of Economics, Mar 23-24. The theme was ‘Creating and Communicating My talk was on ‘Transmissions and Entanglements: making, curating and representing research’. The…

The Ladies Bridge Documentary Screening with Panel Discussion and Q&A – Mon 9th Mar

I am very pleased to be invited to be part of an event at Somerset House on Monday night –  The Ladies Bridge Documentary Screening with Panel Discussion and Q&A. We will be viewing a documentary on a fascinating subject –…

Great British Sewing Bee!

Rachel and I were filmed last summer for BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee and it aired last week. Every week contestants are set a task and the programme interweaves larger socio-cultural or historical narratives about that garment with the drama of…

Invisible Design – On the move: How mobility challenges the design field? Warsaw, Państwomiasto

I was invited on 6/7 December to travel to Warsaw to speak at the Invisible Design – On the move:  How mobility challenges the design field? It was a super cold weekend but the welcome was warm. I always enjoy spending…

Another show, tell and dress up session – London Bike Kitchen

Huge thanks to the London Bike Kitchen for the invitation to talk at their Women and Gender Varient (WAG) night. I took a range of costumes, talked about the inventive women who designed and made these garments and then everyone…

Feminism in London 2014 – Suffrage, cycling and sewing: a story telling (& making) workshop

I really enjoyed my workshop at this years Feminism in London (FIL) Conference. Over 25 people attended and made a great audience for my introductory talk and the (all too brief) sewing session that followed The overall schedule is here. Suffrage,…

Reflections on the V&A Design Culture Salon

The V&A Design Culture Salon on Friday was a terrific experience. It was sold out weeks in advance which was exciting and we had a full house on the night. I launched the event with a brief introduction to the topic,…

V&A Design Culture Salon – How is the urban cyclist designed

I am very pleased to be invited to chair and curate an upcoming Design Culture Salon at the V&A on the theme of design and cycling. It is on Friday 10th October at 6.30pm. Tickets are free but booking is…

Photo shoot

A teaser shot from our recent photo shoot by Charlotte Barnes:

Cycling in the Pease sisters skirt/cape

Some of the wonderful photos taken by Charlotte Barnes of the Pease sisters skirt/cape in action. I think you could say from this pic that this garment is easy to cycle in. The lumatwill in the Dashing Tweeds material really comes out here The…

Cycling in the Bygrave skirt

Some of the wonderful photos taken by Charlotte Barnes of the Bygrave skirt in action. It works very well on and off the bike. The front and rear pulley systems effectively keep the material of the skirt out of the…

Cycling in Mary Ward’s side-button skirt

Some of the wonderful photos taken by Charlotte Barnes of the Mary Ward side-button skirt in action. It works very well on and off the bike.

Practice-based research – ethnographic video

A short time-lapse video from 2nd May 2014 made from photos taken every 10sec from a camera stuck to the ceiling of the studio. I was crawling around on the floor cutting out a mock-up of the Frances Muller convertible…

Video – Bloomer making and riding

B&B Banner

We made an exhibition banner in the style of suffrage visual culture for use at the Project Launch event and conference.

Bikes & Bloomers project launch

The exhibition launch of the ‘Freedom of Movement: the bike, bloomer and female cyclist in late C19th Britain’ (or Bikes & Bloomers for short) was held at Look Mum No Hands, a popular bike cafe, bar and workshop in a fantastically central…

And curtain rings…..

Last minute finishes have also involved doing things like hand sewing curtain rings into flounces (for the Madame Julia Gill skirt). I have done lots of things on this project that I can honestly say I have never done before.

Button holes. SO many button holes

I have just finished 60 button holes. 60! I have just learnt why one should NOT leave button holes till the last job. Each shirt had 13. A pair of bloomers had 4. A waistcoat had 5. A skirt had…

LIVE Transmissions program 11-14th June

Starts today!

Art & Sociology – Alice writes about her part on the project

Alice has written about her experiences of being part of the project on the Proboscis website: Some of Alice’s amazing illustrations that will be digitally printed on silk and sewn into the costumes Over the last few weeks I have…

Full studio today

Lots of activity in the studio today. Rachel was finishing the Mary Ward skirt which will be worn by the automaton. Annette was working on the jacket for the Madam Julia Gill ensemble. James was prepping the copy for the…

Mary Ward – sewing the final

With the successful mock-up under our belt, we started the final version of the Mary Ward ‘Hyde Park Safety Skirt’. The material chosen is Dashing Tweed’s Raver Tweed. It features reflective yarn which makes it highly-visible in low light. The…

Pease – sewing the final skirt/cape

The final version of the Pease sisters skirt  and cape is made from a Dashing Tweeds Navy Raver Wave – 93% wool and 7% reflective 3M yarn. It’s a gorgeous piece of material to work with. The pattern by Nadia –…

Digitally printed silk research linings are here!

Some of the digitally printed silks with illustrations by Alice are back from the printers. The green one is for the Madam Julia Gill cycle skirt and will be used to line the garment we have made from her patent.…

Automaton update 2

Lots happening on the automaton over the past week and especially on the weekend. She moves! More soon about how we got here and what’s next… including the extra bits and bobs that will be part of the display.

Blouses and more blouses

I had a blouse making marathon on the long weekend. We have been focusing on the main pieces of each garment until now but the blouse is a pretty important component of the overall assembly. Four are needed and I…

Automaton update 1

John and Gray have been working on the bicycle component of the automaton over the past week with great results. With their permission I use their images and description of the process below: They started with an old Pashley classic…

Mary ward – sewing the mockup

The main skirt is a very simple floor length A-line skirt made up of what Mary calls two aprons – effectively a separate front and back of the skirt, attached at the waistband. Buttons and button holes secure the sides…

Pallete

This is the general look of the five pieces in the collection to date. It also doubles as a to-list……

Mary Ward – mock-up in action

We trialled the mock-up of the Mary Ward convertible skirt on the developing automaton. Mary explains the aim of the ‘Hyde Park Safety’ skirt: ‘The danger of ladies wearing an ordinary walking dress when riding a cycle being so great…

Tweed Run 2014

I joined the annual Tweed Run on the weekend. It is one of the best dressed cycle rides in London. The irony of having to make a completely separate tweedy outfit for the event, despite being surrounded by many tweedy lovely…

Automaton sketches

These are some of James’s plans*…….. (*may not be anything like this in the end)

Traces, material memory and scars

Threads on clothes. Pin scratches from trying things on. Needles in finger tips from hand sewing. Cuttings like confetti. Facing glue on the iron. Sewing machine slump. Odd buttons. Many many pattern pieces. Pins everywhere.

Studio working

Annette was in the office today helping with the mammoth task of sewing the final garments for show in June. We worked on all surfaces and there is a lot of trying things on. A bit of trying things on.…

This is just one sleeve. A sleeve.

Annette started on one of the 1890s blouse patterns today. This is just a sleeve.

#5 Mary Ward’s ‘Hyde Park Safety Skirt’ – Patent #9605

This patent does not include an illustration, which is unusual. Illustrations provide valuable data for researchers. We devised this, based on our toiles and mock-ups.  

Another visit to Dashing Tweeds

Rachel and I visited Dashing Tweeds today to pick up new materials for final garments. It’s always a pleasure to talk with Guy Hill and see the gorgeous range of designs in the shop.    

#3 Muller’s 3 Piece Cycling Suit – Patent #8766

Working with Alice Bygrave patent – Live illustrating

Illustrating is by its nature live of course, but in the studio context we are delighted to be working with Alice as she visualises the project.

New perspectives on collaborative work

I stuck a Go-Pro camera to the ceiling above our shared desk and the results are pretty exciting. I’m taking pics every 10 sec. It’s going to make a killer time-lapse film of our messy collective practice.

Mocking-up Gill’s semi-skirt

Just before our cross atlantic trip, we followed Alice Bygrave’s skirt Louisa Bygrave convertible skirt, and Mary & Sarah Pease’s cape, to make our mock-up toile for the next garment by Madame Julia Gill, a Court Dressmaker, whose patent was filed…

#2 Gill’s Cycling Semi-Skirt – Patent #6794

Madame Julia Gill, a Court Dressmaker, filed a patent a 5th Jan 1895 for ‘A Cycling Costume for Ladies’. It was accepted on 16th Feb 1895.  

The Bygrave convertible cycle costume in NY

I was very pleased to be asked to be on a panel of ‘Women in Maker/Hacker Culture’ in an event hosted by Women in Tech: An Intel Center for Social Computing and FemTechNet Collaboration. It was in The New School,…

Upcoming event – Live Transmissions: critical conversations about crafting, performing and making

I’m excited to announce details of the upcoming third event for the larger ‘Transmissions and Entanglements‘ project. The first ‘Uses of Inventive Methods’ was hosted by UCI in April 2013. The second ‘Inventive Enactments of the Social’ was held in June 2013 at Goldsmiths. This…

Making the Bygrave convertible skirt final

The final version of the Bygrave convertible skirt  – or Skirtain – is made from a Dashing Tweeds Vertical Stripe material. It is the only garment in the collection not woven with Lumatwill. But it is a fantastic stripe and…

An Archive Experience: patents, handwriting and red tape

The last few weeks I have been working as a research assistant focusing on patents specifically – literature on patents, patent studies, the history of patenting. Most of my time was spent in the British Library Patent Archive searching for…

Bloomer ride route

Up until Wednesday last week, our route-planning for the Bloomer Ride looked like this: Yes, there are maps underneath all those tie-on pockets and print-outs of archive finds! However, as with all guided tours, there comes a time when you…

Many pockets

I asked fb and twitter for the collective noun of many pockets. Suggestions so far: a confusion of pockets a mess of pockets a trouser of pockets a misplaced of pockets a fold of pockets a hop of pockets a…

A visit to the patent agent

The documentation we have for the patents filed by Alice Bygrave for her convertible skirt and her father Charles William Rudolph Duerre (for improvements in bicycle saddle suspension) all show that the family worked with the same agents as part…

Women in Tech – an ISTC and Intel panel, NYU

I am very pleased to be invited to be part of this upcoming event. There is an exciting line up for both panels. I am in the second one on Women in Maker/Hacker culture. Women in Tech: An Intel Center…

Bloomer ride prep (and Victorian pockets!)

We are preparing for the Bloomer Ride on Saturday, to follow on from the Bloomer Making Workshop last week. We’re inviting people to join us for a ride into London’s rich cycling history. We’ll traverse the city by bicycle, weaving…

Research linings – first test run

We are very excited to see the first digital print runs of the illustrations that Alice has been working on. This is a test piece which will give us a sense of how the colour print, how much the fabric…

‘master copies’ or ‘mistress copies’

    The irony of the traced, re-drawn, copied and re-copied ‘master’ copy. And yet again Kat point out another ridiculous gendering which goes unnoticed.  

She moves! – automaton experiments

She moves! Here’s one of our initial experiments on the full sized wooden articulated womannequin to transform her into a bicycle riding automaton (which will be one of the main displays in our final show in June). James has also…

Bloomer Making Day II – review

It seemed only right that I should transport all of the sewing equipment for the Bloomer Making Workshop to LMNH by bicycle, so I hired one of Alix Stredwick’s fantastic Carry Me Cargobikes. It was a serious three-wheeler and I…

Bloomer pattern packs

Rachel’s magnificent pattern packs in progress! And a mail out to Nikki who is making her pair at home.

Preparing for the bloomer making workshop

We are busy preparing for the Bloomer Making workshop at Look Mum No Hands on Saturday. It’ll be held in the back part of the cafe. We have been tinkering on our bloomer patterns and have two versions for people…

Dressmaking dummy

I spotted a much needed (second hand) dressmaking dummy for the project on gumtree recently. We already have one but it is not enough with the growing number of garments that we in process. I was pleased (and relieved) that…

Bicycle Bloomer Making Workshop II

We are running our next Bicycle Bloomer Making Workshop at Look Mum No Hands on Saturday 5th April. UPDATE: The workshop is now FULL but we have added a waiting list! (We will make a Bloomer Pattern Pack available for download…

Working with Alice on the research linings

The first few meetings with Alice involved a discussion of the short listed patents we are investigating. The next meetings expanded to include samples of materials and colour palettes Alice also came into the office at Goldsmiths where we talked through…

A walk along King’s Road

We are fortunate to have recent communications with distant relatives of one of the patentees we’re researching, and they were kind enough to share this photo of a watchmaker’s shop: Not just any watchmaker’s shop, of course: this is 190 King’s…

Bygrave ‘Convertible Skirt’ and Jaeger – Commercial distribution

A common difficulty when studying patents is losing the research trail. You may have been piecing archival materials and genealogical studies together to create a fragmented picture of the inventor for months, and then nothing…..  An inventors name is often lost…

Networks work

I’ve been working on Bikes and Bloomers for a grand total of 3 days now, but it’s probably safe to say I’ve been thoroughly swept up by the momentum of the project and the enthusiasm of the people working on…

Gill – The life of court dressmakers

Just before our cross atlantic trip, we followed Alice Bygrave’s skirt Louisa Bygrave convertible skirt, and Mary & Sarah Pease’s cape, to make our mock-up toile for the next garment by Madame Julia Gill, a Court Dressmaker, whose patent was filed…

Tiger riding lady dresses, skirtaloons and other frock stories in Scotland

I was very pleased to be invited up to Edinburgh to be part of a Research Seminar Series organised by Ed Hollis, Deputy Director of Research, Edinburgh College of Art. Scotland was sunny. In March. Huh? This was unexpected for…

Digital label embroidery designs

I have been excited to get making labels for the cycling collection. Having collated a few ideas from existing examples of dressmaking labels (from original 1890s garments), a range of mastheads from publications (e.g. The Lady Cyclist) and advertising (corset…

Film in progress

Britt, our resident filmmaker, has been spending time documenting our mess and messy practice. Some tasters:

Our new fully articulated wooden womannequin arrives

A 1.75cm wooden (wo)mannequin arrived today and she’s more than a bit fabulous. She’s a life sized (well, actually taller than most of the research team) artist model. (Though we were a bit surprised by those thighs – they’re not…

Archive excitement!

We had a very exciting day in the office today. Nikki has been developing our Bicycle Bloomer Bike Ride for April, (that follows our next public Bicycle Boomer Making Workshop – more details soon!). She was digging through our project…

3 patterns for Muller’s cycling suit

This is going to take some sewing. Nadia, our tailor has done a magnificent job translating Muller’s complex patent into this new material form. The tailored jacket alone has 27 pieces which doubles to 54 with lining. The bloomer suit has…

Full House!

Today we’ve tested our new office to with 4 of us working simultaneously. It made for a really exciting time to have some collaboration on the information we all had and find links. We caught up with Nikki’s projects and…

Back to the Manchester Museum of Costume

Yesterday Kat took me to Manchester Costume Museum – on bikes, of course – to revisit some of the missing archival materials which have since proven very useful. This gave us a second opportunity to look through a few of…

4S Panel – Buenos Aires 2014

This years 4S (Society for the Social Study of Science) Conference is being held in Buenos Aires 20-23 August. Along with colleagues – Amanda Windle and Bonnie Mac – have proposed an Open Panel. Deadline for submitting abstracts is Monday 3rd March. We are hoping to attract a…

Understanding patents without drawings

Convertible garments with hidden elements are already hard to understand with drawings present. Patents without drawings pose further challenges. So, we started to make our own visuals. Mary Ward’s patent features a side-buttoned skirt with two waist straps that gather…

Coming close to ‘The Real Thing’

The last few weeks have involved contacting a whole range of costume, sporting and women’s archives to ensure we aren’t making something that already exists, or that if we are, it is within the context of having learnt from looking,…

Bygrave – Triple patentee

Alice Bygrave (whose ‘Quick Change’ cycling skirt is one of the first garments that we have made) lodged her patent for the ‘quick change’ cycling skirt four times! The first patent was lodged in Britain on 1st November 1895 (and…

#4 Mary and Sarah Pease’s skirt/cape – Patent #13,832

The second cycle outfit we have chosen to make is from a patent by Mary Elizabeth Pease and Sarah Ann Pease, of Sunnyside, Grove Road, Harrogate in Yorkshire. It was submitted on 5th March November 1896 and  accepted on 11th April…

A visit to Dashing Tweeds new shop

This afternoon I visited Dashing Tweeds new shop on 26 Sackville Street, W1 (round the corner from Saville Row), where I received a warm welcome on a wet wintery afternoon. It was even more exciting than anticipated with colourful delights…

Working with inter-century technologies

I threaded this 1897 machine with blue thread and the new electric machine with black so I could work between the two devices. Though my foot kept tapping about for the pedal on the old one. Winding thread on the bobbin…

Making Mary and Sarah Pease’s skirt & cape – mock-up

The second garment is a combination skirt and cape. It is a full circle skirt that gathers at the waist band with a drawstring cord. This ‘waist band’ then operates as a high collar, when draped around the shoulders. It is…

The womannequin arrives

Different stories, different storytellers

The National Maritime Museum is showcasing an exhibition of illustrations by a WWII Wren artist Gladys E Reed. She worked in Liverpool as a wireless telegraph operator and her beautiful drawings show women at work, repairing, amongst other things, equipment such as…

Seminar: Genevieve Bell – Learning from the light: the stories we tell about infrastructure and why they matter

I’m very pleased to be hosting a talk by Genevieve Bell as part of the 2014 ‘Transmissions & Entanglements’ Seminar series: Learning from the light: the stories we tell about infrastructure and why they matter In this talk, Dr Genevieve Bell will…

Talk: Dresses & Data – methods for making archival materials matter

I’m very pleased to be asked to speak at the Goldsmiths Design & Social Science seminar series 2013-14. The theme this year is Data Practices. My talk on Wednesday 5th Feb is titled – ‘Dresses & Data: Methods for making…

Asking things of things – Part II

I’m an ethnographer. I’m used to talking with people, interviewing them, hanging out, doing participant observation of contemporary society. I’m less used to talking with and to things. I’m written before about learning to chat with historic artefacts in the…

1890s Strava: The (cycling) diary of Emily Sophia Coddington 1893-1896

I’ve just been rereading The Diary of Emily Sophia Coddington – a fascinating original cycling document from 1893-1996. First hand accounts like this are rare and special. (Often we have to make sense of historic events through secondary source material). I stumbled across…

Show & Tell #1: Dresses, Drinks and Data!

The first Show & Tell event for the ESRC funded Transmissions and Entanglements research project featuring our work-in-progress on ‘Freedom of Movement; the bike, the bloomer and female cyclist in late C19th Britain’ was on Friday 29th. It was a small event designed to…

Bloomer making session I

I was asked to do a guest lecture by Ruby Hoette for Goldsmiths’ new MA fashion course. I suggested a DiY Bloomer Making Workshop and Ruby offered a whole day with the students. This was a great opportunity to experiment with this…

Talk: RMIT’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre – Locating the Mobile workshop

I made this pair of 1896 cycling bloomers pretty much the night before I flew to Sydney for the RMIT event. Given the change in weather, I tried to use slightly lighter material than the pair I made in the first…

Garment #1: First mockup of the Alice Bygrave cycling skirt in action

I didn’t get many detailed pictures of the ‘Alice’ in action at the Kolding Fashion/Design symposium so I went out for a walk. The multi-layered woollen garment was the perfect weight for a chilly morning and no-one batted an eyelid…

The Subversive Stitch

This has been an influential book for me in thinking about the intersections of feminism, sewing, technology and forms of resistance. I am disappointed I could not make it to the recent conference – The Subversive Stitch Revisited: The Politics…

1890s Cycling Parade

This piece of footage is fascinating on many levels. I have just completed a 16mm Bolex filmmaking course at No.W.Here so I look at materials like this with a fresh interest and more nuanced knowledge of how such films were…

Garment #1: Making the Bygrave convertible skirt mock-up

The first garment we are making is by Alice Louisa Bygrave. It consists of a convertible cycling skirt. We are also making a jacket and bloomers. We are working with an experienced pattern cutter to translate the patents into patterns. It…

The Mauve Decade

As mentioned in my post about materials on offer at Woolcrest, I have been thinking more about the colours available to women in the 1890s. The film footage shows pale colours, and the images of Paris fashions, which would have…

Talk: Fashion studies/Design culture: Convergences and Divergences

Rachel and I finished the first cycling garment just in time (nothing like a deadline) for a talk I was invited to give in Kolding, Southern Denmark on Thursday November 21st. I wasn’t quite sewing on the way there but it was…

#1 Bygrave Convertible Skirt – Patent #17,145

The first cycle outfit we have chosen to make is from a patent by Alice Louisa Bygrave, of No. 113 Cantebury Road, Brixton in the County of Surrey. It was submitted on 1st November 1885 and  accepted on 6th December…

16mm film making workshop

I am pleased to be able to use the larger Transmissions and Entanglements project to help to expose and train Goldsmiths MA Visual Sociology students in 16mm filmmaking at No.W.Here. Ten students, Nina and I have just completed an intensive…

Preparing for a Bloomer making workshop

We are preparing for an experimental DiY Bloomer Making workshop with the new MA Fashion students at Goldsmiths. It is a great opportunity to work with the fascinating materials emerging in the archival research together with with materiality of the…

Bloomers – so many variations

These are the results from the first bloomer making workshop. The students were given two bloomer patterns; full and narrow (this is not the tailored version). We were delighted to see such a creative range of garments.

A visit to the stitch lab and digital fabric printing labs

As Rachel and I get stuck into sewing we have been talking about exploring the resources potentially available to us in the spirit of ‘interdisciplinary collaboration’ at Goldsmiths. So, recenlty we have been visiting some of the amazing facilities in the art…

Choosing materials for mock-ups

Today’s trip to the vast Woolcrest textile warehouse on Hackney’s Well Street leaves us relieved and excited. We are planing to make real wool toiles to get a sense of how the designs work. At £5-£10/m the fabric is only…

NPG – The Elizabethans Undressed

On Friday night I attended the National Portrait Gallery: Late Shift Extra – The Elizabethans Undressed – a free public event that co-incided with their latest exhibition. It featured various events and happenings throughout the gallery. Here’s the blurb: For…

Digitally printed silk research linings – an experiment in material collaboration

There are many aspects of this project that I am excited about – I thought about it for 2 years before I was able to get started. But one part that captures my imagination is collaboration with Alice Angus on…

A visit with Dashing Tweeds

Rachel and I recently met with Guy Hill of Dashing Tweeds. I have been talking with Guy about this research project for a few years now and he has been very supportive, so it is exciting to finally be in…

How do we think about things in museums? How do we think about things not in museums?

I’ve been going to various museums and galleries to fondle Victorian women’s sporting wear. Spending time in these institutions is fascinating for getting up close and personal with things that are there. It is also interesting for considering what is…

Michael Landy’s “Saints Alive”

I recently saw Michael Landy’s Saints Alive exhibition at the National Gallery. I haven’t been that excited about a National Gallery exhibition for quite some time. At one point I was politely asked to move away from one of the…

Labels

Not all artefacts that I have been viewing in the museums/galleries have labels as they are either home-made or tailored by individuals/ small companies. I am keeping a record of clothing with labels as I will shortly be designing and…

19th Century clothes – a serious and expensive business

There are several reasons why there are not more material examples of Victorian women’s cycle wear still in existence today, including the fact that they simply wore out and were discarded or were not considered of significant enough importance to…

Asking things of things I

My recent archival research into period garments and texts has been insightful on a number of levels. I have spent time at the Manchester Gallery of Costume and also at the Bath Museum of Fashion. I contacted the curators with…

Can a reproduction ever be historically accurate? Should it?

As we start entering into physical production of the cycling garments for this project, a series of questions around our aims in relation to authenticity are arising, and it is proving to be really interesting terrain for deciding exactly what…

Archival visit – Manchester Gallery of Costume

I recently made an appointment and visited the Manchester Gallery of Costume at Platt Hall. I contacted the curator with my request to specifically see women’s cycle wear from 1886 to 1900. I was particularly interested in Manchester’s collection as…

Rachel Pimm – New Research Assistant

I am excited to be joining Kat as a Research Assistant on the Freedom of  Movement and Transmissions & Entanglements projects from today until the end of this coming June. I’m an artist- recently graduated from Goldsmiths Fine Art MFA…

Tinkering/automata culture

Good references for thinking about automata: – BBC’s Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams – The Automata blog – Cabaret of Mechanical Theatre – A History of Automata – Atlas Obscura

Automata

Automatons are self operating machines or robots. One of the most famous automatons is The Canard Digérateur, or Digesting Duck, an automaton created by Jacques de Vaucanson in 1739. It was a betwitching simulcra of real life – a duck…

New/ old technology

Part of the novelty of the project lies in using a combination of new digital technologies (laptop, camera, video), social networking sites (twitter, blogs) and classic block pattern making techniques, tweed fabric (with a high-vis twist) and period hand/ pedal…

Seams and stitches

I have an appointment next week with curators at the Manchester Art Gallery (Gallery of Costume) to get close to what is so far the only material example I have found of turn of the century British women’s cycle wear.

Victorian sports wear – tennis, sailing, bathing, golf and riding

I also have an appointment next Friday to view garments at the Bath Museum of Costume.  They do not have any period cycle wear but they do have a range of female sports apparel which will be of interest –…

Calling all sociological sewing cyclists – RA needed

I am looking for a Research Assistant into sociology, cycling and sewing! Reference Number: SOC000046 Department: Sociology Type of Contract: Fixed-Term Part Time: 0.4 Interview Date: Week commencing Monday 26 August 2013 Closing date for applications: 15 August 2013 The…

BIKES AND BLOOMERS

CYCLING, SEWING AND SUFFRAGE STORYTELLING
THROUGH INVENTIVE WOMEN’S CYCLEWEAR

VICTORIANS ENTHUSIASTICALLY TOOK TO THE BICYCLE. YET WOMEN HAD TO DEAL WITH MANY SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND MATERIAL CHALLENGES TO THEIR FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

Cycling in ordinary dress could be dangerous. It blew near the wheels and caught in the chain

I allude to the death of Miss Carr, near Colwith Force. The evidence of her friend who rode just behind her, says that “Miss Carr began the descent with her feet in the rests, but finding the hill become much steeper, she strove to regain her pedals and failed”. I think she failed because she could not see the pedals, as the flapping skirt hid them from her view, and she had to fumble for them. Could she have taken but a momentary glance at their position, she would have had a good chance to save her life. The poor girl lingered a week’
– Daily Press, Sept 20, 1896.

But it wasn’t always safer to ‘rationally’ dress for cycling, by replacing skirts with bloomers, as some onlookers felt threatened by the sight of progressive ‘New Women’ and sometimes hurled abuse and stones

 ‘It’s awful – one wants nerves of iron… The shouts and yells of the children deafen one, the women shriek with laughter or groan and hiss and all sorts of remarks are shouted at one, occasionally some not fit for publication. One needs to be very brave to stand all that. It makes one feel mad and ones ideas of humanity at large sink to a very low standard’
– Kitty J Buckman to Uriah, August 23, 1897.

THIS PROJECT TELLS THE STORY OF HOW SOME WOMEN CREATIVELY CHALLENGED CONVENTIONAL IDEAS OF HOW A WOMAN SHOULD LOOK AND MOVE IN PUBLIC SPACE THROUGH THEIR CLOTHING

They didn’t just imagine, make and wear
radical new forms of cycle wear…

…THEY ALSO PATENTED THEIR DESIGNS.

The most remarkable of these were convertible cycling costumes that enabled women to transform their garments when needed

VICTORIAN WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY

THIS PROJECT BRINGS TO LIGHT THE CONCEALED TECHNOLOGICAL SYSTEMS DELIBERATELY BUILT INTO WOMEN’S CLOTHING THAT ENABLED THEM TO ADAPT WHEN REQUIRED. IT CONSIDERS CLOTHING A DEVICE TO CRITICALLY EXPLORE GENDER POLITICS AND CHANGING NATURE OF PUBLIC SPACE AND CITIZENSHIP IN LATE C19TH BRITAIN.

Inspired by these ingenious patents, and struck by the absence of women’s inventions in our cycling history, we reconstructed a collection of Victorian women’s convertible cycling costumes and use them to tell stories, run sewing workshops, write papers and host events and exhibitions. 

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