DIY reflective tape ideas

Road cycling can be hazardous if drivers don’t see you. I’ve had a few cycling bingles in the past and none were car-related #touchwood. Now that I’ve made a few activewear pieces I wanted to add reflective tape for cycling/running gear.
Last year I managed to buy a couple of rolls of reflective tape from the fabric district in Hong Kong with Allison Churchman. Here’s what I learnt so far…
Reflective zipper:
Before the Christmas break I had a look at what reflective zippers were available and Rose City Textiles has a few reflective zipper options. I couldn’t find any reflective zippers locally and I felt silly pre-buying reflective zippers when I didn’t have a project in mind.

When I do have a specific project in mind, I’ll order some zippers from Rose CityTextiles.

Here’s the RTW cycling jersey I wear which has a faux reflective zipper.

After closer inspection it is a sports zipper with reflective tape sewn on it. So I created my own reflective zipper. 

The reflective tape is woven and firm so I used the Clover wonder clips to hold the reflective tape onto the zipper for sewing.
I used Clover wonder clips to hold the tape to the zipper tape.
You can see how much reflective tape I have to play with.
Here’s the finished DIY reflective zipper.

It took a few goes to sew the zipper onto this knit fabric but I got the hang of it by sewing slowly and resewing some parts just to get it to sit properly.

Lesson learnt:
Use glue if you need to hold the knit fabric in place when pins won’t pierce through the layers of tape, zipper and knit fabric. 
Reflective piping:
Preparing piping is easy enough. The piping filling I’ve used is acrylic wool from a failed learning to knit attempt #idon’tknit.

On my Surf to Summit cycling jersey using Funki Fabrics, the plan was to use reflective piping
  •         at the sleeve seams
  •         on the panel lines
  •         at the base of the back pocket.

My guestimate was I would need 4m of reflective piping. Once I finished the new cycling jersey (using blue Stormset fabric) I had reflective piping left over so I was glad I only had to sew the piping once.

Here’s the original Surf to Summit jersey with reflective tape.

Initially I sewed the piping on with a straight stitch. Not bad. Then I decided to use the overlocker. I wasn’t very accurate and the piping stitching was visible so in the end I sewed the seams with a straight stitch and then used the overlocker to finish the seams.

Here’s a WIP view of the cycling jersey.

Lesson learnt:
Run the piping into the seam so you don’t have a layer of piping at a seam join. This simply makes seam allowance joins easier to work with.

Last year Susan from Measure twice cut once also gave me some reflective tape samples to use which I still have to test. The samples she’s given me is high quality so I need a good project to use them on #preciousstuff.


  1. Happy New Year Maria! It's great to be able to pop over to see what you have been up to. Great job on your cycle jersey and use of reflective tape. I pray you stay safe with all your cycle adventures this year!


  2. Thanks so much for this post; it was perfect timing. I ordered the Surf to Summit pattern after seeing your cycling shirts on IG and today I bought fabric from The Fabric Shop at Robina on the Gold Coast, ready to make this top and the Dualathon shorts. I hadn't thought about reflective tape but I realise I should and your sewing tips are going to be so helpful.


  3. I certainly understand the importance of reflective tape or anything reflective on active wear. Safety first! Great job!


  4. It was a freaky shopping experience when I found this roll of reflective tape. We were walking through the fabric district and the store was tiny and cramped but that's the type of notions store I love looking through. Thankfully there's a supplier on ebay.


  5. Reflective tape is a must when on the road and interesting how you have added it to the zips. I like Ms McCall's idea of the safety vest, now to find one.


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