Beat the Heat and the Dreaded Chub Rub

Bike Short-Knickers as worn under Easy Dress

When the Heat Rises, the Inner Thigh will Chafe

We love a loose dress when the weather gets balmy but for many of us, inner thigh chafing or burn – the dreaded “chub rub” is too painful a reality.

Bike Shorts to the Rescue

Enter an undergarment often called a bike short. Bike shorts started out as just that, a close-fitting short made of stretchy fabric that breathed away perspiration and had a slippery hand, allowing legs, (specifically inner thighs) to slide without chafing.

Full-figured women in the know have for years bought bike shorts, not to ride a bike but to wear beneath a dress, allowing them inner thigh slide and cool comfort. (Those not in the know adopted an uncomfortable and odd-looking, wide legged walk. Not funny.)

To Buy or to Make?

If you suffer from the dreaded chub-rub, you could go into a sporting shop and buy a pair of bike shorts. They vary in price, quality and size availability.

But since this is a sewers’ blog, let’s assume you’d much rather make your own bike shorts, in a color that goes with your dress and in a size that’s just right for your curves.

Just so you know, there’s a dress in our line that includes a bike short pattern.


Download and Make your Bike Short-Knicker Tonight

The Easy Dress is one of those loose and airy garments that you could work, walk, eat and sleep in. Soooo comfortable, especially in the heat. And it has a bonus pattern included – the bike short knicker.

Model in teal dress and stretch knicker made from Petite Plus Patterns 301 Easy Dress

The Bike Short Knicker pattern is one piece – yes, one piece, that you cut twice. Sew it up in three passes at the machine, 6 if you count the waistband and leg hems. Done. No more chub-rub!

Bike Short-Knickers line drawing

The Easy Dress pattern is available as a pdf download. You can download the pattern and make your bike short-knicker tonight.

Easy Dress pattern

Instructions in the pattern guide sheet explain how to build stretch into your seams, apply elastic and add stretch lace to the legs for a feminine touch.

Fabric to Look For

You need lots of STRETCH for a bike short. Fortunately, there’s plenty of good, stretchy fabric available, (maybe even in your own stash).

If you’re shopping, ask the fabric seller for fabric with spandex (the generic name of Lycra) which will give your fabric resilience and good recovery.

You want some compression for a snug fit and a slippery hand for easy slide when you’re walking.

The Stretch Test

To test the fabric, take 10 inches of fabric width wise to a ruler. Fold a bit back so that you’re not right on the cut edge. Now stretch the fabric to see how far it will go. For a bike short, you’ll need as close to 100% stretch as possible, meaning that your 10 inches of fabric should stretch to 20 inches or close to it.

Perform this stretch test in both directions of the fabric – length and width must have close to 100% stretch for success in your bike short knicker.

Online Fabric Shopping

Two of my favorite online sellers have these recommendations for your bike short-knicker project.

In the USA, Rogie and Bea at Vogue Fabrics, recommend their Swim & Sport Collection. It has a good weight with stretch in both directions. 80% Nylon, 20% Spandex and lots of colors.

In Canada, Bra-Makers Supply recommends Satin Power Net, Enzo FT35352, and Euro Jersey.

Beverly says the Satin Power Net FP5.80 (also known as tech-sheen) is opaque and has good stretch & compression. It’s available in beige only.

Enzo FT35352 Nylon Microfibre Tricot is available in plenty of colors. It has good stretch, compression, a nice slide and feels cool.

Euro Jersey is being used for high-end swim and shape wear. It looks like a good bet for the bike short as well. Read more about it on Bra-Makers‘ web site.

Both of the above companies offer swatch and sample lengths for a nominal fee. Very helpful for we sewers who want to touch.