Make Your Own Shoes Right at Home!
Have you ever thought about making your own pair of shoes right at home? Well I have. Quite often actually. So when I saw that I could order an espadrille kit from a company called A Happy Stitch I jumped right on that and ordered away.
This was a super easy project that could be completed on a weekend. The following is my take on the process along with a few tips.
You could probably find all these items yourself, but for my first pair I wanted to purchase the kit. The Espadrille Starter Kit from A Happy Stitch includes the following:
- your choice of fabric
- organic cotton lining fabric
- shoe soles (check the size chart compared to your foot measurements to get a good fit)
- medium weight interfacing
- specific espadrille needles and pins
- espadrille thread (specify in your order if you want to substitute black thread)
- espadrille wax
- needle pullers
- an instruction booklet
- shoe pattern
The lining fabric that came with the kit was a nice, neutral color which is fine. However, I love the color blue so I pulled some fabric from my own stash to use instead. It was a pale blue and it suited me much better. I had seen other people switch out the lining fabric too and I loved how it made their shoes even more unique.
This project can easily be done in one afternoon . You only need a sewing machine to sew the lining and outer fabric together, but you could do that by hand too if you choose. You have to iron on interfacing to both the outer and the lining fabric. Then you sew them right sides together. Even though the instructions explain it all very well, there were still a few things I forgot during that process so I'll mention them here.
- 1st- for the toe and heel portions it says to leave "a 3-4 inch opening along the outward facing edge, at least 2 inches from the corner." I forgot to do that on two of my pieces and I was super bugged with myself. It's a lot of layers, so a smaller opening makes it hard to turn the pieces right side out.
- 2nd- It says to "trim the seam allowance down about halfway, except the openings." This helps reduce bulk around the shoe but the extra fabric you leave at the opening helps you tuck the edges in to top stitch. I also forgot to do that. It turned out fine but it would have been easier to tuck that part in to top stitch had I paid more attention to that.
Once I had the pieces turned right side out and ironed, I went ahead and top stitched around each piece just to give it a cleaner look.
*Tip: I pinned the toe part to the heel part of the shoe at the measurements suggested in the directions and fit them to each of my feet. I had to adjust due to my foot sizes being different from each other. I did a little basting stitch and checked on my feet again just to make sure it was good before I connected the pieces completely.
Because you have to pin the shoe part to the soles, I wasn't quite sure the best way to hold it in order to do the "blanket stitch." It's a lot of pins an I didn't want to get poked a bazillion times. I'm super visual so I often have to see a person do something a few times before I feel confident enough to attempt it myself. I found this video on YouTube that really helped me with attaching the upper fabric to the soles. It also shows you how to hide the beginning and ending knots and thread tails. Once I watched that a couple times I felt ready to start my blanket stitch. The hardest part was starting it out, because you have to go through so many layers of fabric. The needle pullers that come in the kit really come in handy here. They help you to grip the needle really well and ease it through the layers of fabric.
It's surprisingly easy to get the needle through the roped sole of the Espadrille. It's much easier to get it through than the fabric at times, but it wasn't frustrating.
Honestly, I loved this project. These were really a fun make. I've already started searching for different sole options and patterns I can get to make another pair. My boys have even said they want to make some.
I don't know why I didn't try this sooner. I think I just imagined it to be much harder than it was. I will definitely do this again. Hopefully with my kids too.
- Espedrille Starter Kit (A Happy Stitch)
- Sewing Machine (Mulqueen's)
- Optional fabric for lining (fabric store)
- Iron (Walmart)
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