My Lovely Reflective Bicycle Dress

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had a garment that makes me as happy as my new reflective bike dress.

Reflective Bike Dress, without flash

Reflective Bike Dress, with flash

I love the cut, the fabric, and the fact that in the right light, I shimmer! Okay, I sort of look like Tron, but really, I’m okay with that. The skirt moves very nicely, and turned out to be the perfect length; I had been a bit worried. And I’m really proud of myself for doing this.

Tron Legacy (nope, haven’t seen it)

From a professional perspective, there are many things about the dress that did not turn out the way I would like. The biggest challenge was getting the piping to not “creep” while I stitched it. I had to take the skirt entirely apart, then hand baste all of it that nothing would wiggle as much. Even then had to stop every few inches and reset. Basically it meant that I had to take longer with this dress than I normally prefer to do when sewing. On the other hand, it looks better, and I do have the space to leave my sewing machines and stuff out while I slowly work my way through things. This was impossible in my NYC apartment, where I didn’t even have a kitchen table!

Thanks, Tim, for the pictures!

I’m happy to report that it glows beautifully on the bike as well. The Mechanic obligingly took some photos last night, so I could see me in action. This is the drawback to looking cool on one’s bike – it’s hard to see it yourself!

Work Friendly! At one of the bike racks at work.

I glow everywhere! If you look closely at my right foot, you can see the tiny glow from the reflective material on my Merrell Evera Mary Janes.

My helmet looks very bland next to the rest of me. Hm…

Let me do another cost analysis. I spent $72.68 at JoAnn Fabrics, on the fabric (4 yards @ $12.99 a yard), zipper, thread, lining, and so on. The four packages of Dritz Reflective Sew-In Piping cost me about $25, including taxes and shopping, since I had to order it online. The Simplicity pattern was another $12. So materials alone cost me about $110. In terms of hours, well, I stopped keeping track when I realized I had to take it apart and start over. Easily 20 hours, times a rate of $25 an hour, that’s $500 right there! So basically this is a $600 dress! Well, it is a Cynthia Rowley dress pattern, and her stuff is high end, so I guess that’s about right! (I love that this dress is so similar! I like the pattern I chose much better though.)

This entire project has made me realize that I am a bigger fan of Cynthia Rowley than I realized. As I’ve looked through the Simplicity patterns online, every single cute pattern I pick out is a Cynthia Rowley! I do have something in mind for my next reflective sewing project, with fabric I already have in stock, something a bit easier.

But first, I have another project to tackle – clipless pedals! Eek!

I’m scared of falling, even though I know I will.


About these ads

25 responses to this post.

  1. I’ve just bought this pattern and WOW! Amazing realisation of this dress. Fab


  2. Posted by fabricprincess aka Anna Marie on June 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Great job on the dress! Thanks for the review for the dress and the shoes :o)


  3. Really neat! Can’t wait to try this myself. Love and Light.


  4. Posted by Veronica on January 13, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    First, your dress is awesome. Second, i saw you got reflective piping, do you know where to get reflective bias tape?


    • Hi, thanks! I haven’t seen reflective bias tape anywhere. I made my own with some reflective fabric I bought in New York, and I loved the way it worked out. I wish someone (hello, Dritz!) would sell it in bulk, though. I like it better than piping. Although, I suppose I could take the cording out of the piping and try that… Let me know if you every find any!


  5. […] to a dress happened.  It may have been the fault of Tin Lizzie who has made her own awesomely reflective dress.  At least, she started me talking about it.  It may have been one of those […]


  6. […] Use reflective material to make your own awesome protective clothing. From TinLizzie. […]


  7. This is soo cool! I love it! Do you have an etsy shop? Also, thanks so much for stopping by and following my blog! I love yours!


    • No, no Etsy shop. I did make two reflective sashes to give away to anyone who wants to donate to my Team in Training fundraising… It’s always great to connect with like minded people! Thanks for following me, too! : )


  8. […] Admittedly, this dress is not an ideal bike dress because although it’s short and stretchy, it’s too narrow to be really comfortable on the saddle. I wear it with my Spanx or Jockey Skimmies SlipShorts underneath, so there’s no threat of flashing anyone, but it does show a lot of leg. There isn’t much reflectivity on it either, but I’m okay with that. I don’t want to overdo it. Not every dress can be the Tron dress! […]


  9. [...] This reflective dress by Tin Lizzie (credit to Bicitoro for the linkage). While not a tutorial, it does demonstrate the [...]


  10. That is amazing! I’ve wanted to find ways to use the reflective ribbon at my local fabric store for commute visibility and this is exactly perfect. Thank you for the inspiration! As to your clipless pedals, it works better if you get used to clipping in by feel, don’t look down and you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is. Good luck!


    • Thanks Betsy! I’m currently up to my elbows in reflective trim, trying to get two projects done before next weekend. I confess I’ve been avoiding my clipless pedals. I haven’t had an easy time getting clipped in, and I”m afraid to get out on the road not being even 75% comfortable with them. So I’m avoiding them by sewing… : )


  11. I’m so thrilled I stumbled across your site this morning–your reflective fashion is incredibly inspiring. I’ve been considering adding some reflective touches to my own cycling wardrobe, but I’ve been coming up short on cute ways to do it. Obviously I need to scan back through your archives for some inspiration.

    Great writing, thanks!


    • Jessie, you will especially like something I’m working on now, which is adding reflective touches to a blazer (rather than create it from scratch). I bought fabric when I was in NYC earlier this summer, and may need to order more, if this works out the way I think it will! Thanks for your comments!


  12. Thanks everyone for your kind words about my dress! I can’t wait to make something else – and I’ve got a project lined up. Stay tuned!


  13. Posted by Kathe on August 25, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I love this dress! Your design with the piping is awesome! Thinking you should go into business and take some orders.


  14. I love this patterns so much and your choice of fabrics, this is lovely on you, Jeff bridges would be proud!


  15. This dress is genius. Beautifully fitted, stylish and yet fantastically functional. That is a rare combination of attributes!! Amazing! :-)


  16. You are my hero! This dress is hip, stylish, flattering, functional, and supremely innovative. I want one of my own!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

this bicycle life

Bicycling, food and fashion culture in Newcastle

Fernanda's Choice

More Than Fashion and Living

Green apples

my crafty adventures

Sams Signature Seams

A blog for the crafty heart.

Outdoors Alliance for Kids

connecting children, youth and families with the outdoors

Sew Busy Lizzy

she sews by the seashore...


Die Schülerzeitung der Deutschen Sprachschule Washington, DC (GLC)


bike accessories for the urban chick

Vélo Joy Blog

find your cycle fashion

Cycle Write Blog

My words, visions & trivia along the way

Unique Schmuck

I used to be halfway between Ca Mau and Sai Gon, now I'm just espousing unique schmuck.

Keys to Change

You hold the keys to change. Discover how to use them.

Rambling Rider

Ramble on.

Shanker Blog



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 638 other followers

%d bloggers like this: