Mini gaiters are easy to make, especially this basic design. You can sew these gaiters by hand (or even use fabric glue?) but they are obviously longer lasting if sewn by machine. Gaiters prevent trail debris (stones, sand, grass seeds, sticks) from getting into your shoes. This goes a long way to preventing blisters – friction from grit is a blister gremlin. They also protect your socks, which increases their longevity and your comfort.
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.
- 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.
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!