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.


27 thoughts on “My Lovely Reflective Bicycle Dress

    • 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!

    • 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! : )

  1. 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… : )

  2. 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!

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