DIY Cycling Mittens

$85 for new Pearl Izumi Lobster gloves?!?  Okay, I loved my old pair but I’m just not willing to part with that much money to keep my hands warm this winter.  Truth be told, I suppose they are worth the money.  Lobster gloves are the perfect blend between the warmth of a mitten and the dexterity afforded by a pair of gloves.  Riding a fixed gear bike though means no gears to shift and only one brake lever to grasp so I can get away with mittens if I want which gave me a great idea.  I decided to upcycle my old Louis Garneau jacket into a pair of gore-tex cycling mittens.

My LG Gore-Tex jacket lasted for years!  I wore it for my daily commute from October to April for 7 years before bits of the gore-tex began to peel away in some high stress areas, like where my shoulder bag would sit, until I was left with a wet back and shoulders on rainy days.  There were of course a few spots that could still hold back the rain and I decided to put them to use.  Full disclosure: I never took Home-Ec and have never been taught how to sew, but, like Jeremy Clarkson so often asks on BBC’s Top Gear, “How hard could it be?” 🙂

I started with some liners that I made from fleece that I’d picked up at Fabricland.  The minimum purchase by the yard will cost about $8 and will get you enough for at least 6 pairs of mittens (if you’re feeling ambitious).  What I have here certainly won’t constitute a pattern, but if you decide to give it a try for yourself, just fold the material over your hand and trim off the excess and cut a pac-man for the thumb hole.  I’d actually started by making one that turned out a bit tight, so I started over, using it as my pattern.  Seen here:

mitten (2)

I sewed these by hand, using some extra strength thread and a loop stitch   The thumbs were a bit of a pain in the butt to put together.  I put my thumb through the hole, folded some material around it, pinned it in place, trimmed the excess and sewed.  Voila, liners are complete and are a perfect fit!

mitten (4)

I’ve had some deer hide sitting around for a while that was supposed to go into another project.  Instead they became the leather palms for my mitts.  Less than 6$ worth.  Here they are after being cut for size:

mitten (5)

Then it was time to rough cut out the gore-tex covers and complete the thumbs before adding the leather palms.  Leather palms do take a while to add.  First you need to mark all of the holes with a pin wheel, then punch all of the holes with an awl.  Finally saddle stitching them into place with a braided nylon thread will set you back another hour each.

mitten (7)

and many hours later:

mitten (8)

There we have it custom fit, Gore-tex riding mittens with deer hide leather palms.  No, the gloves aren’t seam-sealed and they’re not perfect, but they’ll do just fine.  I used them last week and they were great.  I made the thumbs a bit longer than standard fit so that the tips of my thumbs have a bit of extra space, and gave my fingers a bit of wiggle room as well.  They were wind-proof, gripped my bull-horn bars well and were very warm!  If winter ever arrives then I’ll be ready, or at least my hands will be warm…

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About eatpedalpaddle

I am an avid cyclist, canoeist, personal trainer, holistic lifestyle coach and certified nutritional practitioner in Toronto, Ontario.

5 responses to “DIY Cycling Mittens

  1. Pretty spiffy for somebody who claims to not know how to sew. Good use of materials.

    • I’m glad you liked them and thanks for stopping by. I just can’t claim to be proficient with sewing. The thumbs seemed to take me forever! They turned out well in the end though and might even be warm enough for winter riding in Edmonton 🙂
      I am more comfortable hand sewing leather than cloth. Perhaps I should have done a post on the leather frame bag that I made last year (it’s visible on my bike in my Fixed Gear Century Ride post)…

  2. Hi there, I just discovered your blog via Irene’s Beautiful Day and I’m glad that I did! Haha.. I still remember a long bike ride I did in the English Lake District a few years ago. I had some thermal mittens on from Kathmandu but couldn’t feel my fingers two hours later! I wish I’d read this post then… I might have attempted to make my own super-insulating ones (probably for half the price!). Great job with the recipes also. I’ll be back to visit again!

    • Hey Laura, thanks for checking out my blog. Cold fingers are tough to deal with, although not likely a problem in your part of Australia in Feb 🙂
      Your recipes look delicious. The Honey Chia Muesli Slice looks like a mouthful!

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