Published in the Spring 2010 issue • DIY
Stay safe (and stylish) while cycling
Spring is upon us and what better way to welcome a new season of bike riding in the sunshine than making your own essential cycling accessory, the pant strap? Straps are a must-have for anyone who cycles in pants; they prevent your pant leg from getting caught in the bike gears, which can have disastrous consequences. (It’s especially dangerous if you are riding a fixed-gear bicycle!) A more stylish alternative to the old pant-tucked-in-sock, these straps are quick and easy to make and allow you to get creative with upcycled fabrics, vintage buttons and any old thing that piques your aesthetic sense.
What you’ll need
- 2 pieces of contrasting fabric (a woven fabric with no stretch is best)
- Velcro (in strip format, not dots)
- Sewing machine or a hand-sewing needle and thread
- Decorative button (or any other decorative items that you can sew on)
- Measure the circumference of your leg over a pair of pants, as if the measuring tape were a snug pant strap. Add another 10 cm (4 inches) to this length and this will be your length for step 2.
- Cut two rectangular pieces out of contrasting fabric. One fabric will be the lining; the other will be the outside fabric on your strap. Each rectangle should have a width of 7 cm (2&frace34; inches) and the length determined in step 1.
- Cut two rectangular pieces of Velcro: a “hook” (rough) piece and a “loop” (soft) piece. They should have a width of 2.5 cm (1 inch) and a length of 10 cm (4 inches) for the “loop” and 11.5 cm (4½ inches) for the “hook.”
- Sew the strip of “loop” Velcro onto the “outside” fabric. You should centre the Velcro piece on top of the fabric and place it about 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the end of the fabric strip so that both the right side of the fabric and the soft side of the Velcro are facing up. Sew on the Velcro with a straight-stitch going around the edge of the Velcro (a straight stitch is a basic stitch that looks like a series of dashes in a row). Use a thread colour that is similar to the Velcro colour or choose a contrasting colour that will stand out, making the stitching itself a decorative element. (Note: hand sewing through Velcro can be a pain, as Velcro is quite thick. Use a sharp, thin needle.)
- Follow step 4 but using the “hook” Velcro and the “lining” fabric piece. This time, however, position the Velcro slightly farther from the end of the fabric (3 cm or 1 1/8 inches).
- Now you have two strips of fabric, each with Velcro sewn on top. Place the fabric pieces one of top of the other so that their right sides are facing each other and so that the Velcro pieces are on opposite ends (in other words, they wont be sticking to each other). Pin the two pieces of fabric together so they stay in place. Sew them together, going around the edge (about 0.5 cm or ¼ inch from the edge) and using a straight stitch. Only sew three sides; leave the fourth end side (it doesn’t matter which end) open because you will need to flip the fabric inside out through this opening.
- Flip the tube of fabric inside out now by pushing it out of the end that you left open. Use a pencil to help you push the fabric out if it’s resisting.
- You should have a tubular shape with the rights sides of the fabric showing on each side and the Velcro pieces on opposite sides and on opposite ends. Carefully iron the strap now; this will neaten the seams and flatten the strap.
- Now you need to close up the remaining open end. Tuck its fabric-ends inside (about 0.5 cm) and fold it flat so that there is a neat edge just like on the other end. You can use a pin to keep it closed as you sew it. Sew using a straight stitch and a thread colour that matches the “outside” fabric so that this seam will not be too visible.
- I like to sew on a decorative button at the edge of the “outside” fabric strip (the end that does not have the “loop” Velcro) but any decorative item will do: sequins, appliqués, beads, etc. If you wish to use your pant strap at night, you can stitch on a strip of reflective fabric as well.