Introduction: Pogies: Homemade Bike Mitts for Winter Cycling
In this instructable I'll be showing how I made a pair of Mittens for my bicycle handlebars. I was unsure if I should make an instructable until surprisingly I couldn't find any pertaining to the pogies. Since I am entering this in the speed challenge I thought I would highlight the rapid prototype iterations I did to come to a finished product. I've only been sewing for about a year and am learning from my mistakes constantly because of it. Gotta fail to learn so quick and these iterations get you to fail fast. Sewing has been a great addition to my design and model making process and I can't believe I started this late in life. If your'e interested in learning to sew come join the party!
Most of the commercially available bar mittens are made out of some sort of neoprene. Making the mitts out of an old wetsuit or something might be relatively easier compared to dealing with all the layers of fabric and batting I ended up with. My wetsuit is in good shape yet but I know what I will do with it one day.
You can follow along on this instructable and the youtube video I made to document the process.
- Large Paper
- Fabric for the inner fuzzy liner
- Fabric for the outer wind/water resistant layer
- Sewing Machine
Step 1: Building a Pattern
The pattern is going to be what we base all of our cuts off of so we are better off spending some extra time here to get it right.
- Using paper held next to the handle bars I roughly sketched out the shape I wanted.
- The extra lines on the paper are where I thought I would need them but I wasn't thinking 3 dimensionally. The sleeve has to open up so I compared it to other jackets sleeves to get the width I needed.
- Cut the shape out and inspect it again before making some more adjustments if needed.
- Once I was happy with the shape I laid it over some corrugated plastic (cardboard is fine) and traced it with a half inch seam allowance. I made the spots where the cuff openings are extra long for now.
- Lay the pattern over some extra scrap fabric and cut out two pieces.
- Sew the sides together, careful not to sew the opening for the hands and handle bars (See Pic).
- Flip the mitten prototype inside out and fit it too the bike.
- The extra long cuff openings can now be folded inside to get the right fit. Pin or clip the excess to hold to position when you take it off.
- Take the clipped mitten and lay it over the template, mark your opening length and trim to it. Now you should have a pattern that fits you and your bike!
Step 2: Cut Out the Layers
- Take your completed template and lay it out on top of your fabric. It helps to use some sort of weight to hold everything in place so it doesn't shift when you cut it. Especially when cutting slippery fabrics or multiple layers.
- Cut out the following for each mitten:
- 4 - Inner liner, I used a fuzzy zebra blanket
- 4 - Outer shell, I used Taffeta 15D since it is very water and wind resistant
- 4 - Insulation, I used some from a worn out sleeping bag but there are better options you can buy. I like recycling and it was on hand during the pandemic.
Step 3: V1 Mitten
The construction for this mitten was not ideal. I won't go step by step for this iteration but will try to explain why it did not work very well.
- I sewed the outer shell, insulation, and liner all together in a sandwich. I made two of these sandwiches for each mitten.
- I stacked the sandwiches to make a bigger sandwich with the outer shells facing each other on the inside of the mega sandwich.
- The outer edges of the mega sandwich was sewn together, skipping the spots that would become cuffs. This is how I sewed the first orange prototype.
- Rolled and sewed the cuffs.
- Flipped the mitten inside out to reveal the completed mitten.
While this seems fine keeping all of the layers in a row was very difficult and I had some misalignment. The Taffeta does not stretch much while the liner did a lot. My sewing machine did not like going through that many layers and I broke a few needles. This mitten definitely isn't the best but I learned from it, with some planning in my construction I can avoid or mitigate these problems. I decided to go with a floating liner for my next iteration.
Step 4: Floating Liner Construction
- First lay the insulation in place over the inner liner fabric and make a few stitches to hold it in place.
- I used the longest stitch and widest zigzag my machine could make. This helps to distribute the load to the insulation as it could pull out on a tight stitch.
- I tacked it in 3 places.
Repeat for the other half.
Step 5: Outer Shell and First Cuff
- Clip your outer shell pieces together with the A sides (sides you will see when finished) facing towards each other.
- Sew the outside edges that wont be cuffs for your arms or handlebars. The same edges that were sewed on the liner.
- Insert the Shell into the liner with the A side of your shell facing the A side of your liner.
- Clip it together around one of the cuffs.
- Stitch the shell and liner together along the cuff line.
The advantage here is when I am connecting the taffeta to the liner I am only going through one layer of insulation and zebra fabric. The other method of construction required me to sew two layers of taffeta through two layers of everything else.
Step 6: Flip It!
- Grab the shell from inside the liner and pull it out.
- Pull the shell over the outside of the liner. This is my favorite part about sewing bag and liners like this, feels like a grand reveal after all of the work you put in earlier!
- Fiddle with it till it fits well, it often helps to push seams from the inside out to fill them out fully.
Step 7: Sew the Second Cuff
I've used floating liners on bags before but not on something with two openings like this. I had to sew this cuff differently than the last, they don't match but they will still keep me warm.
- I rolled the liner back then clipped it in place.
- I rolled the shell back and clipped it in with the liner. Doing it separately like this allowed for a more consistent seem allowance.
- Sewed the liner and shell together to complete the second cuff.
Step 8: Add Velcro and Gap Filler
- Clip you velcro in place. I placed mine on opposite ends (Middles?) on the inside of the handlebar cuff.
- Stitch it in place. When you come to a corner and have to turn abruptly:
- Make sure your needle is all the way down
- Lift up your sewing foot
- Turn your material
- Lower your sewing foot
- Continuing sewing and repeat as needed
Step 9: Install on the Bike
- Shimmy the mitten onto the bars and over the controls. Squeezing in the break lever might help with this.
- Tuck in the extra gap filling fabric in-between the bike and the mitten where the velcro won't pull it shut.
- Connect the velcro to close the remaining gap.
- Repeat for the other side.
- Ride warm!
Step 10: Ride Safe and Warm!
I enjoy riding with these mittens but it is important to note there are some cons. While being warm is great your reaction time to catch yourself with your arms is hindered because you have to pull your hand out of the mitten. If its cold it may be icier so we also have to factor that in. Generally when I am cycling in the winter I am not going as fast as I do when it is warmer so the crashes are easier to avoid. I've had to catch myself with my foot with the mittens on and it wasn't a problem, I'm not too worried about getting my hands out but it is good to be aware of this risk. Exercise caution when using these, to me they have a great value and help to extend my riding season! Thanks for following along, I hope this helps you. If it did please like, comment or subscribe!
First Prize in the
Sew Warm Speed Challenge