Monday, 6 September 2010

(How to Avoid) Riding Around With One's Bum Hanging Out

A recent survey of my wardrobe has revealed that my increased rate of cycling, whilst filling me with joyful good health, has taken a sad sartorial toll on my trousers. Virtually all of them, from baggy to skinny cuts, have rips and worn patches, generally concentrated around the rear and crotch area. They look as if I have had some sort of appallingly embarrassing and traumatic accident, rather than a summer of pedal powered fun. One answer to this problem is to wear a skirt or (gasp) cycling shorts, tights or baggies. However, much of my cycling is everyday and spontaneous, and often I'm not willing to go home to grab a change of clothes when my plans suddenly change. So, the jeans will have to be mended repeatedly. I learned the hard way that quick and dirty mends with whatever fabric is lying about and a bit of running stitch can fail disastrously. Here's my guide to bombproof mends to rips in those "difficult" places.

You will need:
A patch, made of quite heavy fabric (you can use some jeans which are beyond saving, or pick something cheap and cheerful up from a charity shop). The patch should be at least 2.5 centimetres bigger than the hole on all sides.
Sewing scissors, pins, needle and thread (in a contrasting colour to the trousers for the adventurous)
A sewing machine, if you have access to one.

1) Turn your ripped up trousers inside out (take them off first).
2)Pin your patch over the rip.
3) Turn 'em right way out again.
4a) If you don't have a sewing machine, cover the whole area of the rip with a good, solid darning stitch (in this case, these are just fairly tight lines of running stitch, with the stiches in each line staggered against the ones in the last line).
4b) If you do have a sewing machine, you can use a darning stitch setting to cover the whole area of the hole OR
4c) You can also use a zig zag stitch to sew the edges of the tear to the patch. Use multiple lines of stitching to make the mend extra strong and reinforce the area.
5) Turn the trousers back inside out, secure the end of your thread nice and tightly, and trim the edges of the patch down to size.

That's it. The trews will live to fight another day.

Of course, the best way to avoid this kind of nonsense is to dispense with clothes altogether. Economical, but a little chilly.


  1. change your saddle. jeans shouldnt rip from cycling

  2. Can you please find a magical method of getting bike grease out of trousers? It's desperately needed. x

  3. All my trousers are in a similar state of disrepair and I don't think it's got to with the saddle! I'm opting for the cycle shorts
    underneath approach at the minute but some of my trouser legs are now nearly detatched from the crotch.. so I'm going to have to learn some serious sewing skills (your patch instructions are really good Laura!)

  4. I'm using three different saddles, so it might be hard to find the culprit if that is the problem. While looking for rip proof biking kecks on the internet, I was chuffed to find I wasn't the only person having this problem:
    No way am I spending £120 on the trousers though.

    As for grease, I go with either black jeans, or wearing it with pride (see my workshop jeans).