There Are Nine Million Bicycles in Beijing

(and probably in the Netherlands as well)

Spotty Shirt:

Pattern: Deer & Doe Mélilot, version A, pockets omitted.
Alterations: Added 3 cm above the bust dart, added 3 cm in back width
Fabric: Viscose Twill, Böttger Stoffenwinkel, Alkmaar

In 2020 I bought myself a racing bike and since then maybe I’ve become a Mamil. Although I am not a middle-aged man; having recently turned 40 I guess that middle-aged part might apply to me. Also, the Swedish equivalent is mostly used against people biking racing bikes in the city, when the city sadly is not built for them and thus disrupting traffic. Me, I tend to stick to country roads, where I once blocked a tractor, and did think “Ha-ha! Payback!”. I bought in order to bike to work (I live in the countryside and work in the countryside with no city in between), but so far it hasn’t happened. Maybe 2023 is the chance!

Last summer we went to the Netherlands and we brought our bikes. What a difference to cycle in that country! There were bike paths all over and in the cities, bikes were given way in all intersections. It was weird and it happened more than once that I stopped when I didn’t have to. Old habits die hard, especially when those habits involve not wanting to get hit by a car. Of course, in Amsterdam this has almost become the opposite of intended, where bikes are all over and as a pedestrian you better stay out of the way.

One of the days, I took my bike into the city of Alkmaar and visited Böttger Stoffenwinkel. One of the fabrics that I took home was this spotted viscose twill. Based on its weight and drape, it was quite obvious it was meant to be a Melilot shirt. I have made me a many Melilot, but only one with long sleeves; this was my second iteration. I recall that my previous one was a bit tight over the shoulders so I added 3 cm there, 1.5 cm over each shoulder. I didn’t add a dart, I simply eased the excess into the shoulder sleeve.

Another thing I recall is that my cuffs were mis-matched. This time, with more experience in shirt making, I avoided this trap. I did notice that if you add all the pleats that are indicated on the pattern, the cuff will end up longer than the sleeve. So the last time I did this for one side, and fitted the other to the cuff. This time, I omitted two of the pleats and fitted the sleeve to the cuff. Also, I couldn’t understand the method the pattern wanted me to use for attaching the sleeves and cuffs, I did as I’ve done for countless other cuffed garments.

I did the full hidden button placket, such a clever method (and way better than Burda’s where you just put the buttonholes on the inside of the facing, the Melilot provides a proper way of concealing the button placket) and omitted the pockets. They are too heavy and too awkwardly placed on me.

The fit came out great, the fabric is the perfect weight for the pattern and I really like wearing this shirt. Even though it could be a bit reminiscent of either Cruella De Vil or Kenya’s model off duty design from Project Runway 16. Maybe I should just pair it with my Barney/Rose outfit and call it a day, aye?


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