How to Sew Cycling Ankle Cuffs

Step 1.

Wonder what on earth they’re called, google like an obsessed woman (what? I like research) only to discover that if you google “ankle cuffs”‘ my friends, you do not get cycling related dooberhickies.  No indeed.  Go on.  Google it.  I’ll wait (hint, don’t do it if you’re at work though).

Step 2.

Think, honest, how hard can it be?  All the cycling cuffs / trouser clips I’ve had in the past, and that I invariably lose, have been too narrow to be any use.  Because what I need is to keep my trousers in check, yes, but also to protect them from chain grease.  Also also, to reflect. Hoo boy, do I ever need my trouser clips / cycling cuff / dooberhickies to reflect.

Step 3.

Get distracted by what other things I can make reflect.

Step 4.

Gather your materials.  You will need:

  • Base fabric that is at least 40cm wide x 60cm long because you will cut four rectangular pieces about 40cm wide by 15cm tall;
  • Reflective ribbon, bias tape, grosgrain etc.  I have reflective grosgrain, which I bought from the internet;
  • Velcro: you will need two strips about 15cm long (NB, one strip should contain both hook and loop, if you know what I mean) My Velcro is not that wide (an inch), but I reckon the wider the Velcro, the better.
  • Thread; matching or contrasting.  Your call.
  • Sewing machine.  Or you can sew it by hand if you’re completely bonkers.  Up to you.


Step 5.

Cut your fabric: mine is approximately 15cm tall x 40 cm wide.  I could have gone narrower. You want enough to go around your ankles, trousers and shoes, with a bit of overlap for the Velcro.  Two pieces will be the outer pieces; two will be the lining, so you can cut them out of different fabrics if you are so inclined. I did not because I am lazy.

Step 6.

Mark the mid point of the two outer pieces of your fabric.  Then, divide each half in half again and mark that mid point.  This will be where your reflective ribbon runs.  You can either draw a line, or mark each end.  Whatever is easiest for you to know where to place the ribbon.  And if it’s a little off centre? I think you’ll live.

Step 7.

Line your reflective ribbon along your marks and pin pin pin.  The ribbon does not have to abut the edges because that’s your seam allowance.  I sew mostly with a 3/8″/1cm seam allowance because I’m comfortable with it, but you can do whatever makes you happy.  This is not precision sewing, my friends.


See? It reflects.  Yippee!


Step 8.

Edge stitch along each long edge of the ribbon.  I use my blind hem foot as it has a nifty little guide to keep me on the straight and narrow when edge stitching. (Straight and narrow.  Geddit?).  Sew sew sew.

Do not fear: I removed the pin before I started sewing.

Step 9.

Now sew your Velcro strips.  Line them up about an inch from the edge of your fabric, along the short end.  The hooks, especially, can be difficult to sew.  Just wrangle with it, sometimes pushing through your feed dogs, sometimes pulling, sometimes guiding with the hand wheel.  You can do it.

I sewed three strips: two on one edge and one on the other.  On one cuff, I sewed one loop and two hooks; on the other cuff, two loops and one hook.  This is so I can wear them over shoes, where it will just go around my bare legs, and also over calf height boots.

You could also sew one loop on the lining, and hook on the outer, but I like my way because it means I’m sewing quadrupled up fabric on the bit that will do the most duty.

Step 10.

Now, sew your lining pieces to your outer pieces.  Match them, right sides together.  If you sewed Velcro to a lining piece, make sure that it is opposite the Velcro on your outer piece, otherwise you will be wee bit annoyed when you have to unpick your sewing …

Leave an opening a few inches wide so you can turn your cuffs right side out.

Step 11.

Turn your cuffs right side out and push out each of the corners with a blunt pencil.  Now top stitch all the way around.

If you, like me, sewed Velcro to only the outer piece, then you need to fold it over so that it opposes the other Velcro, and then top stitch that down.

My reflective ribbon strips are a bit wonky.  Meh, whatever. Still shiny.

Step 12.

Press everything real good.

Step 13.

Put your ankle cuffs on, go ride your bike and REFLECT.  Ain’t no car driver gonna successfully claim they did not see ME.


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