No School Like the Old School – DIY Leg Warmers

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Leg warmers are the secret ingredient to my biking wardrobe that laughs at freezing temperatures, and yet allows me to pedal freely under my rain/mud pants. I rarely venture out without them. Grown up since their 80’s Flashdance roots, fluorescent pink giving way to mellow earth-toned leg warmers and interesting textures and fibers. Coupled with wool socks my feet and ankles want for nothing, even while pedaling me through freezing rain.

As a family, our rule of thumb is “nothing new” which usually means buying used, but in this case it meant repurposing a thrifted wool sweater vest. I love the nubby texture of the fabric, the brown has little blue highlights in it. I prefer 100% wool, natural fiber over synthetic, but I HATE factory farming… so buying used removes the animal-product guilt from my conscious. The vest cost me less than a dollar. Homey covered buttons on the sweater worked great for trimming the leg warmers.

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Supplies: Old sweater or sweatshirt. Fleece and wool work well.

                 1 yard 1/2″ wide elastic (optional)

                  Buttons for trim (optional)

                 Measuring tape

Measure: Hold the sweater up to your leg, with the waist ribbing at your ankle. I like mine to cover the top of my shoe and stretch over my heel in length and either thigh high or calf high depending on how much fabric I have. Wherever it reaches, measure your leg’s girth.

Make the Tube: Turn the sweater inside out, keeping the right sides together. Match the ribbings at the bottom and stitch up from the bottom closing off the arm holes.

Use 1/2 your leg measurement plus two inches for seam allowance and ease to measure the top width. Pin or chalk a line down to the ankle. You can either taper slightly if you want them fitted at the ankle or flare for a more generous fit. Match the ribbed edge again and stitch.

Cut: Cut off the sleeves and excess material, leaving about an inch seam allowance. (Keep the sleeves if you want to make some gauntlet style texting gloves later!) Cut the top of the tube open (along the shoulders)

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Stay stitch along the cut edges to prevent unravelling. I zig zag, but if you have an overlock machine that would be awesome. If hand stitching, whip stitch around the edges.  (If you are using fleece skip this step as you will not have any unravelling issues).

Finishing: Turn the leg warmers right side out and try on. Depending on the weave and fit you may need to turn the top edge over 1″ to the inside and topstitch 3/4″ from the fold to make a casing for an elastic band. Leave a 2″ opening to insert the elastic (thread thru with a safety pin). Try the leg warmer on again and adjust the fit and elastic length as needed. Stitch the elastic ends together and stitch the casing closed. I skipped the elastic step and just hemmed the edge as mine were snug and stretchy enough to stay up on their own but have another pair that are loose enough that renders the elastic vital.

Trim: I stitched the little buttons on at the ankle but there is really no end to the ways you can embellish; embroidered whimsy and crochet trim are both on my to-do list. If you wanted extra warm you could line with flannel or fleece – just allow for extra bulk when you measure and cut.

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So there you have it! If you make these please let me know, comment and share!

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If you have any other great ideas for keeping warm on the bike or cutting up old stuff and making it new, please comment below and let me know!

The Revolution Begins

iBikeuBike: if I can bike…so can you.

February 14th, 2012
As the rest of America celebrates their love, we were ending a long term, (if seriously dysfunctional relationship.) We knew the day to part was coming…there was outside…interest..

The nights leading up to our goodbyes were sleepless. There were times in the wee hours before dawn when the memories, the smells, the touch and the thought of warm leather on the backside was almost too much to bear. (Oh, the warm leather!) Doubt, insecurity and uncertainty plagued the daylight hours, yet the day came, we said our goodbyes, signed the papers and the sun set on that chapter of our lives together.

Surprisingly it rose the next morning.

The pain and heartache never did surface, in fact it has been so quickly replaced with a new love, a passion that we might yell it from the rooftops!

Give up friends! Surrender your cars and find new love and freedom as you bike with us!!

Join us as we forsake our heated leather seats (Oh, the warm leather!) and climate control, for an in your face exposure to the elements, to sore bums, freezing rain and scorching sun. Come, as we abandon our built in DVD child entertainment players and navigation system for the grit of the road and the grease in the gears and ultimately memories shared and made from the bike lane. Pedal with us, to a future in which we control our speed, our time, our ultimately our destination!

Not ready to say farewell to your car yet?

Follow our family of five and explore the possibilities with us, one pedal at a time as we rediscover our lives from a car-free perspective. We will share tips from the road, gear reviews, advice on commuting, grocery shopping, biking with children of all ages and ultimately our experience of what life is like from the slow lane.

The revolution begins
iBikeuBike

We love our bikes and the freedom of our car free lifestyle! What are your experiences? Leave a comment, post your blog and keep pedaling!