|I apologize for the missing photo. The photo-storing service I use is currently moving locations. I will replace the photo as soon as I can.|
Pattern Description: Fitted gaiter for outdoor use, lined lower section and single layer upper section, closing with 2" Velcro flaps and a webbing strap at the very top.
Pattern Sizing: Four sizes, height of gaiter customizable
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except for my modification of the upper pattern piece.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes
Notes These gaiters have a lower portion that fits over the shoe (lined), and upper portion that covers the calf (unlined), two wide velcro-covered flaps that close the front from toe to knee, and a top tunnel piece that contains a webbing strap to snug the gaiters up. The lower portion and the two flaps are made of one fabric, and the uppers and top tunnel of a second fabric. A third fabric is used for the lining of the lower portion.
Read Treefrog's review of this pattern for the 'follow the pattern for the most part' version.
I have a 7/8 finished version of pattern (version 1) that is languishing in my UFO pile. I decided to do it again, with some pattern and construction modifications (version 2).
My original attempt used coated Cordura for the lower portion of the gaiter and a three layer Goretex for the upper. This combination of fabric, and the construction techniques, proved overkill for my intended use, and very challenging for my machine to sew. At one point, I was sewing through 1 layer of Velcro, 4 layers of coated Cordura, and multiple layers of Goretex. You have GOT to be kidding!
For version 2 I decided to fix this by changing the kind of material and by making some adjustments to the patterning and construction of the gaiters.
Fabric: Version 2 (the subject of this review) uses coated packcloth for the lowers, and a 2.5 layer waterproof breathable material for the uppers. This WPB material is a very thin and light fabric that does not require lining to protect the breathable membrane from abrasion as is often the case with this kind of fabric (I got it from Questoutfitters). The lower portion is lined with Supplex, a woven nylon fabric.
I also decided to use the packcloth for the top tunnel piece since the fabric I chose for the uppers is extremely thin and I was afraid it would not hold up to having 3/4" webbing pulled back and forth.
Pattern: The uppers of these gaiters are a large rectangle with a dart in the back to provide shaping. The size of the pattern to use is determined by the distance around the cuff of one's boot.
If you have bulky boots and skinny legs, I suppose this would work. But for me, with low-profile light-weight shoes, and well-padded curvy bicyclist's calves, this turned out less than optimal and not nearly as close fitting as I would like.
I decided to re-draft the uppers, using a center back piece and side front pieces, since the single dart shaping technique leaves a seam at the center back, where cold wet snow is most likely to land.
I borrowed the draft (for making steampunk-ish buttoned gaiters) from this site.
This draft turned out better than the original pattern, but I should have had the side seams further toward the back of my calf for a better fit.
I seamsealed the seams on the waterproof/breathable uppers and where the uppers meet the lowers. I used liquid sealer, not seam seal tape.
Construction The top tunnel piece is constructed by folding a wide piece of the upper fabric wrong sides together, sewing all around the 3 raw edges, and then putting a buttonhole (for the webbing strap to come out of) near one edge, making a double layer assembly, with raw edges on 3 sides.
This assembly is then treated like a single layer cuff, folding the ends in and so on. This means the ends of the top tunnel piece are 8 layers thick where you sew through them.
I decided to use a single layer top tunnel piece for version 2, with a reinforcing scrap under the buttonhole.
I also decided to fix the way the Velcro flaps were adjusted to be the right length.
The pattern piece for the Velcro flaps is the same length for every size, just cut off to fit once the flaps are attached to the uppers. This is a great technique and timesaver in terms of the directions for this garment, but leaves Velcro all the way through the seam allowance where the top tunnel piece is attached. Unnecessary and bulky.
So I measured the assembled gaiter and cut the flaps to fit, and the Velcro 1/2" shorter than that measurement.
I also decided, since I will only wear these gaiters with trail running shoes or very light boots (both by Inov8), that I could dispense with the adjustable instep strap and just sew both ends down since one length strap would work w/ both pairs of shoes I use.
The pattern calls for a D-ring and Velcro closure at the calf (Velcro on the top tunnel piece and on one side of the 3/4" webbing). I had borrowed some Outdoor Research gaiters from REI in the past and liked their low profile cam-buckle closure better. So I did that on version 2.
I had a great deal of difficulty sourcing gaiter hooks (used to hold the front of the gaiter down by hooking to the laces of the shoe) so I faked it. I hand stitched the hook end of some very sturdy "coat hooks" to a small piece (single layer) of the 3/4" webbing used elsewhere in the gaiters.
Seattle Fabrics has, in the past, offered riveted boot hooks already applied to 3/4" webbing, but they are no longer available. The gaiter hooks from Questoutfitters were wider than I wanted.
I used polyester thread and microtex needles. I used a new needle for each pair of gaiters. This coated stuff is hard on needles.
Conclusion: This is a great pattern, useable as is, but much improved with some thoughtful modifications.
I really like the lined lower section, and despite all my whining about the top tunnel construction, I do like the way this pattern is designed.
My super lightweight gaiters (135 grams, less than 5 ounces for the pair) kept me dry and comfortable on a truly miserable rainy camping trip.