Friday, November 18, 2011

Ask Diana - Could I make bike tights?

I got this question over at YouTube:

...I'm hoping I can learn to read and adjust a handknitter's pattern for bike tights. I've received a good size donation of smaller than sport weight wool yarn which works well on my machine. With our local sports shop selling them for almost $200.00 I really would like to knit myself a pair to go under the windbreaker. Will I have the skills to do this after I knit the sweater do you think or are there places I should go to learn more?

If you've got a charting device, you can make whatever interesting knitted garment you need, as long as you can find a sewing pattern for the item.  The big pattern companies - Vogue, McCalls, Butterick, and Simplicity, have many patterns that are sized for knits - that is, they are intended for stretchy fabrics.  There are also some wonderful pattern companies that do especially nice sportswear for knits, like Stretch N Sew and Kwik Sew patterns.  (As a matter of fact, I've been an avid seamstress since I was a very young teenager, and I've sewed lots of swimsuits, leotards, tights, and undies using those patterns.)  Isn't a bike tight pretty much a footless leotard bottom?  I believe I've made those, too.

Once you've got your pattern, you trace it onto the mylar sheet (leaving off the seam allowances) of a full-size charting device, follow the gauge instructions, including laundering and drying your samples, and you're off and running.  Your pattern pieces will knit up exactly the same size as the pattern pieces, and you'll seam it one stitch from the edge like anything else.

Imagine what you might make - dancers' legwarmers, hockey socks, bathrobes, skating costumes, bikinis, thermal undies, tank tops...and yes, bike tights! 

Consider also that lycra can be obtained and run along with your yarn.  Try it and see how you like the effect. 

And if you can't get a sewing pattern for them, you can always measure an old pair (or, worst case, sacrifice them by taking them apart) to get a pattern.

Don't forget to email me a photo of your finished tights!


  1. Ileen has cotton spandex yarns and "Ladies (Children) Spandex Stirrup Pants, Leggings or Tights" pattern book. Here is a free/basic pattern that ues sock yarn.

  2. You can also make wool tights/shorts/leggings from recycled wool sweaters! I hope to be doing this this week. You can use a sewing pattern (the sleeves become the lower legs), or one of the online tutorials that turn t-shirts into yoga pants (look for the ones that "keep the picture whole" on the outer hip). I have wanted to draw up a pattern for the knit contour, but cutting up a thrift store sweater is so much quicker, LOL!

  3. Boa tarde Diana, gostaria de comprar videos e livros seus, porém não tenho cartão de credito internacional, seria possivél um deposito ou débito em conta?