Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on November 30th, 2009 at 2:06 pm
I recently paid a visit to Sara Stout in the treehouse where she lives, paints, and tends to her bike fleet and aging dog Betty (a longtime fixture at bike moves). This week, the treehouse has been transformed into a BikeCraft factory, where Stout has been busily turning old materials into new, useful things.
When I dropped by, the final coat on a colorful tray of light-switch plate covers, was drying by the woodstove. Stout had moved on to making bicycle-shaped seat covers, with waterproof material above and a drawstring underneath.
A few days later, she had moved on to a more ambitious sewing project — paneled rain capes, complete with collar and waist strap, in various sizes. She isn’t sure how much she’ll charge for them but is thinking it will be in the range of $60 or $70.
I ran into her in the coffeeshop this morning and asked where she got the idea — and the pattern — for the professional looking capes.
“When Burley quit making them 12 or 15 years ago they gave Citybikes [the cooperative bike shop of which Stout is one of the founders] the pattern and we bought a giant roll of fabric that had specks in it and we did a run of them. We were taught how by a friend, and we tried to do it but it never worked out as a production thing for us at that time. But clearly now it might work out now. Every time I do a shift there, people ask if we have affordable capes.”
She has been making the capes and seat covers out of material found at the Goodwill Bins and the re-use store SCRAP. Four of the capes are cut out of a tent canopy that she found in a dumpster. New fabric would cost something like $30 a yard, she says, and once her supplies run out so will her affordable rain gear. BikeCraft will be the only opportunity to buy these.
She’ll finish the capes today. Next she plans to start in on artwork — small, framed bike-themed paintings. I was going to ask for more details but she stopped me. “Time to go,” she said, “it’s looking like another beautiful day for sewing and making things.”
Don’t miss our 5th annual BikeCraft event coming this Saturday 12/5 from 10:00 am to 5:00pm! More details — including a BikeCraft vendor directory — at BikePortland.org/BikeCraft.