Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Arms, knees and feets - sewing cycling gear

It was Flipper's birthday recently and as I have done twice before (but only documented once here) I made him some lycra cycle shoe covers.

Why cover your cycle shoes with lycra booties? Well, they keep your toes slightly warmer, make you go ever so slightly faster, but mostly they make you look way more pro!



But this year I went a bit further and made him some arm and knee warmers too.

For the blog readers who don't cycle, or rather who don't cycle in lycra, I'll explain. Good quality lycra cycle gear is expensive, and to have long sleeve, short sleeve, long legs, short legs etc , and multiples of each 'cause you ride every day and can't keep up with the laundry, well it would get crazy pricey.*

*At this point I must mention out good friends and clothing sponsors who run THE best cycle holidays IN THE WORLD. Topbike Tours - check 'em out

Also, when you set off in the cold early morning and then it heats up later on, it's nice to be able to peel off your arm or knee warmers and not suffer in the boiler suit of a full length cycle kit.


Add in that the fella had taken a slide recently and put holes in his kit as well as his legs, he was sorely (ha!) in need of new cycle gear.

When I put in my order for the amazing eco-friendly VITA swimsuit lycra, I also ordered a few metres of Carvico Vuelta. It's a brushed back, fleece lycra with amazingly soft feel. Nice and thick but plenty stretchy enough. These arm and knee warmers feel every bit as good as that super expensive Swiss brand but I bought 3 metres of fabric for the cost of one pair of their arm warmers.


Of course it's hard to photograph black fabric and you'll just have to imagine the soft, snuggliness of the brushed face of the lycra.

As far as patterns go, I just traced around some existing kit - minus the road rash holes of course. I have all the pieces on pattern trace interfacing and could easily upload them if anyone has a desire for one size fits most cycling gear. These fit me just fine as well. Ping me an email if you're interested (sounds of crickets...)


The critical part of getting the "totally pro" feel is in the elastic. I've used silicone grip elastic to finish both upper and lower hems of the knee warmers, and the upper hem of the arm warmers. The wrist hem of the arm warmers was turned under and twin needle hemmed. The elastic needs to be firm but not overly tight. Here's where custom made really rocks, as it's easy for the less than super lean amongst us to get that awful sausage casing effect if the elastic is too tight. Yet nobody likes kneewarmers that keep falling down while you pedal. Happily, just going off his existing kit I got it exactly right.


Determined to make these to an acceptable standard I decided to fake flatlocked seams throughout. I've sewn the seams on the overlocker with wrong sides together, then folded the seam allowance to one side and stitched it down with the twin needle.

Most fortuitously I had just been gifted some silver, reflective bias tape from a sewing friend I went mountain biking with (thanks Nicki). I tucked little lengths under the seam allowances before stitching them down, so all three items; knees, arms and booties, have reflective tape on the back edges.


I'm very pleased with these and more than a bit jealous. I think I need to make some for me now.

Details:
Pattern: Self drafted from existing TopBike booties, Adidas kneewarmers and Assos Armwarmers
Fabric: Carvico Vuelta fleece lycra - heavenly!
Notions: Silicone elastic from Jimmy's Buttons. Reflective bias tape gifted.

18 comments:

  1. Great work with the cycling gear! I had a look on the Jimmy Buttons page but couldn't find the silicone grip elastic, does it have another name? I'm looking for some for a specific craft project/ idea.

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  2. Thanks Dianne. I never use Jimmy's website but linked to it purely for the business name/address. It's local enough that I drop in and always manage to find what I want. There's no way he could ever put all his stock on the website. That shop is such a shambles. A treasure trove, but a shambles all the same. If you don't want to go in, try ringing, he'll post to you.

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    1. Thanks for that- I will have to make time for a little adventure to the Jimmy Buttons store!

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  3. Wow, those all look awesome. And you know I want the pattern! :)

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    1. :) Yes, sorry Nicole I promised you that bootie pattern two years ago.

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  4. Hi, I only recently found your blog. I have a cyclist husband, so this post really interested me, especially the fabric you sourced. Can I ask where did you place your order for your fabric- is it on the website you linked to, or is there an Australian supplier!

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    1. Hi Paola. The Australian importer for Carvico fabric is Eclipse Textiles. http://www.eclipsetextiles.com.au/ They are wholesale only, but were very helpful on the phone. Via their website you can find local retailers. I ended up coercing a friendly retailer into putting in a side order for me. I won't name the shop as I know they don't want to be a regular supplier, but if you know anyone with a fabric retail ABN maybe hit them up. Good luck

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    2. Thanks! I'll do my best.

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  5. I love these!!....they all look very professional. I would be very interested in the pattern too please. my email is carmen.bullen@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks. When I get around to scanning and uploading the pattern pieces I'll make sure to put up a blog post linking to the Google documents. I'm no pattern designer or retailer so they will be bare bones pattern pieces but I doubt instructions are necessary - I can give suggestions for elastic length etc. Cheers!

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  6. These look great and so professional looking. Me too - pattern please and yes where can I source fabric like this? It would be great for a zip front jacket I'm planning

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    1. Thanks Fiona. Depending on where you are in the world it's hard to say how to find the fabric. the Carvico website should have a list of international distributors. Hopefully from there you can find a local retailer. Good luck

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  7. I'm very interested in the pattern too when you put it up on Google docs. I just (re-)commenced road biking last year, and the expense of appropriate clothing is a real issue. Not to mention fit! I made two pair of biking shorts and am planning to make a cycling jersey or two this year. I've been wanting to make arm warmers, but since I don't own any to trace I've been putting it off as too big a hassle. I'd love to take advantage of what you've already done!

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    1. Ok, I promise the pattern pieces will come. Maybe I'll even make some more to do a photo tutorial... Hope you're enjoying your riding!

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  8. I too clammer for patterns for the booties and arm warmers. However, what I came back to this post to comment specifically on was if you had ever made a cycling jersey for yourself, and if so, what pattern did you use? I have only come across Green Pepper and the Fehr Trade surf to summit top.

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    1. I haven't ever made jerseys or Knicks. It's been a long time since my bra matched my knickers in a lingerie sense (stopped caring years ago), but when it comes to cycle wear - well, I just don't do cross dressing! :) Thankfully friends keep us in good quality cycle gear and since I talk so much to anyone and everyone when I'm out riding I'm sure sponsoring me is worth it!

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  9. The fleece backed lycra sounds perfect for those cold mornings and another who would be interested in the patterns.

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