Tuesday 24 November 2009

Make your own mini gaiters

While we make the best AR Gaiters - we've had lots of practice - you can give it a try to make your own pair. We make three styles - Mini, Desert and Adventure - for different purposes in a range of colours and fun prints (visit our website and Facebook page)

Today I finished making sand gaiters for Team www.AR.co.za for our race in Abu Dhabi next week. My new 'Rolls Royce' design results from the many variations that I've made over the years. They're easy to make, especially this basic 'AR Mini Gaiter' design. You can sew these gaiters by hand (or even use fabric glue?) but they are obviously longer lasting if sewn by machine.

What you need
  • 0.25 metres of 4-way stretch fabric (I use regular lycra)
  • 1.5 metres 'panty' elastic (it is about 0.8mm in width)
  • 1 metre thicker elastic approx 15mm wide and thicker and stronger than the 'panty; elastic (this goes around your ankle)
  • 25cm length of velcro (2cm width)
  • Box of pins, thread, sewing machine/needle, sharp scissors and possibly a friend with sewing skills...
Measure and draw this pattern on a piece of paper (you'll need to join two sheets together).

NOTE: This is an average pattern size. Because lycra stretches it generally works for most shoes. BUT... there are differences in fabric, even lycra (thickness and stretchiness) and this makes the biggest difference. Sometimes these things are a bit of trail and error...

  • Fold your fabric in half, with right sides facing (in lycra, the right side is a little more shiny). Make sure the fabric is flat - no bumps and kinks.
  • Place your pattern on the fabric and pin around the edges.
  • Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut out the fabric (double layer)

Start with one piece of fabric (it's like maths... what you do to the one side, you do to the other).
  • Pin a 45cm length of the thin panty elastic to the bottom of the fabric (against the wrong side). Tip: I pin one end first, then the other. Then, stretch the elastic (yes, lycra is a bit longer than the elastic) and pin in the centre. Then repeat inbetween the ends and the centre.
  • Sew the elastic to the fabric
Tip: ALWAYS pin and/or tack before you machine sew. If you have an overlocking machine, use it. If you just have a straight sewing machine, then stitch in the middle.

You can leave the bottom as it is... but I prefer to hem it.
  • Roll the stitched elastic base up, pin and straight sew. This makes a neat hem. ('Panty' elastic will now be 'hidden')

  • Repeat the same pinning and sewing process with the thicker elastic. I check the length required by measuring around my own ankle according to how tight I'd like the top of the gaiter. You do want it snug, but not cutting off your circulation. Probably about 22-26cm.


  • Fold the shape in half, right sides together. Join the sides. This is where an overlocking machine is really great. If you sew with a straight machine, or by hand, sew two rows. Remember to pin and/or tack first, before sewing.

You've essentially got your gaiter. Now to add the velcro - this fastens the gaiter to your laces.

Prepare the velcro by doing the following:

  • Cut a 9cm length of velcro - both the fluffy and hooked sides.

  • Cut another 3cm length of velcro - also both sides

  • Tack (rough stitching) the short fluffy length on top of the long hooked side - both facing up (not stuck together). Do the same to the other two pieces.

Now grab the gaiter you've made. With it turned inside out, flatten it so that the main seam lies centre. Tack the velcro (double layer part) to this bottom end; then sew by machine. I make an X pattern.


Now try them out!

  • Turn them right side out

  • Slip your foot into them (velcro towards your toes)

  • Now put your foot into your trail shoe. Tie your laces.

  • Pull the back down over the heel. It won't slip because the elastic keeps the tension. Then hook the velcro over-and-under your bottom-most lace and stick the fluffy side on to the hooked side. Et voila!

Repeat with the other piece of fabric to make the pair. You'll notice that the long parts of the velcro are opposites... so you can stick your gaiters together when not wearing them.

Happy sewing.


swazidarron said...

STEP 9: marry someone who can sow.

George said...

Cool Lisa,
Proves you are actually a girl!

swazidarron said...

that is worth an extra two cows in lobola negotiations.

adventurelisa said...

Hey D, maybe that's my problem - just too many talents and skills ;) On the negotiation side I'm probably nearing 50 cows! Ain't many around with this scale of resources...
I'm busy re-reading Gone with the Wind at the moment - my fav novel; I read it every few years. At 20 women were considered old spinsters! Good thing I'm not living in the 1860's in the Southern US. Hahaha ;)

adventurelisa said...

George, if you had any idea of all the other girly stuff I can do you'd have a coronary ;)

librarianite said...

Where did you find Lycra around the UAE? My wife has been out and she's only ever seen cotton or upholstery material.

librarianite said...

Where did you find Lycra in the UAE? My wife has been around and she's only seen cotton and upholstery type materials.

adventurelisa said...

Hi Librarianite - I have no idea (I'm not in the UAE). Lycra is most often used for swim suits and gym / exercise apparel like shorts and tights. You could always chop up an old pair ;)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the dimensions. I happened to have some lycra laying around, flowery and purple, but who cares, it'll work! Going on a scout backpack weekend Friday after a long rain today and tomorrow. The trails will be wet and muddy and I didn't have time to order a pair of DG's. These'll save my laces from getting gross.

adventurelisa said...


Flowery and purple is just the way to go. My favourite ones are covered in flowers - I like my mini-gaiters to be loud and colourful ;)
They've lasted a good 2.5 years and have gotten so faded - definitely due for replacing with something brighter. Please send me a photo when you're done with them. I'd love to see how they turn out. My email address is lisa@ar.co.za.

Kelly said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. I just linked to this post on my blog post http://somuchtomake.blogspot.com/2014/05/three-athletic-gear-money-savers.html
Excellently done.

adventurelisa said...

Hi Kelly,

My pleasure! Thank you for sharing your blog and the gaiters that you made.


adventurelisa said...

Hi Kelly,

My pleasure! Thank you for sharing your blog and the gaiters that you made.


Riesje Hansen said...

Hi Lisa, being a dressmaker it was a piece of cake to make the gaiters. Have made them from lycra with a snake print, let's hope it is not going to attract any on my ultra marathon this Sunday in 28C! Thank you so much for sharing this pattern online!

adventurelisa said...

Hi Reisje,

I'd love to see a photo of your gaiters ;)

Good luck for your race.


adventurelisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Second variation I've made of this pattern Lisa - thank you very much for it. Adapted for the fine silt found on Stewart Island, New Zealand. I am using gaiter hooks and an under shoe chord to keep gaiter in place with the extra forces from the mud. You can see what I am planning here: https://www.facebook.com/belowfive0

Unknown said...

Just what I was looking for!

This year, I want to make a pair of gaiters ~before~ the hiking season starts in earnest.

Thanks for taking the time to publish a deailed set of instructions on your blog. This has been most helpful.

(Now, off to the fabric store I go…)

Unknown said...

You rock in so many ways woman!! Thank you Lisa...!!!

adventurelisa said...

Hahahaha - thank you Johann.

You do know that the ones we make at AR Gaiters are even better?

Loads of colour and print options, excellent craftsmanship and we post them anywhere in the World. We can overnight them to you too ;) We've just put up our new AR Gaiters website at www.argaiters.co.za. Also check us out on Facebook.

Julie K said...

HI, I just made a pair of Gaiters following your very good instructions. After figuring out how to sew lycra they actually worked! I am going to try them out today in the mud and rain!! Thank you. From Julie in Courtenay BC