New Shoes!

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Seems like a funny idea to be making my own shoes-MIY being taken to a new extreme-but I’d seen them popping up on various blogs and I thought I’d investigate.

If you have visions of Manolo Blahnik kitten heels or Louboutin red soles then you’re wide of the mark because these are strictly your continental style espadrilles  lovingly (!?) hand-crafted from scraps of fabric in my stash. The soles, and indeed whole kits with fabric and thick thread, are available from Prym, a company that make many haberdashery and crafting tools and accessories. I’d found them online from John Lewis and, as I live so near a store, I thought I’d pop and buy them myself.

No such luck-online or Oxford St only! Home I went to order and they duly arrived  24 hours later. I only ordered the soles and thread because I’d already earmarked the fabric I wanted to use. They come in individual sizes and with hindsight I would order one size down from my usual size 5-I wasn’t to know that at the outset though.

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They don’t take much fabric-about 30cms or biggish scraps or a fat quarter- and you’ll need a similar quantity of suitable lining (or just self-line them) Inside the box you get a pattern template for the various pieces and you’ll need to trace off the appropriate ones for your size PLUS seam allowance of 1cm (very important because the SA isn’t included and your pieces will be too small if you forget to do this)

IMG_1843IMG_1842To trace the pieces off you can either place paper over the top and trace the lines through it (although this may only work if your paper is thin enough) I used dressmakers carbon paper and  a tracing wheel. I don’t suppose you’ll have these in which case you could place the template over a sheet of plain paper and using the point of a pin, prick through the lines every few centimetres to trace off the outline until you have enough to draw around-not forgetting to add your 1cm seam allowance.

Tracing wheel and dressmakers carbon paper. The template is on the top with the carbon sandwiched over the bottom sheet of spot and cross paper.
Tracing wheel and dressmakers carbon paper. The template is on the top with the carbon sandwiched over the bottom sheet of spot and cross paper.

It’s important to keep the various sheets from moving as you may get wonky shapes. When you’ve traced off both pattern pieces and added the SA and grain line cut them out.IMG_1846

Traced off pieces with grain line and SA cut out.
Traced off pieces with grain line and SA cut out.

Now you have your 2 simple pattern pieces you can cut them out of your chosen fabric-2 in the main fabric and 2 in a suitable lining (I used some curtain lining fabric)

cut pieces
Cut pieces matched together
match the pairs with right sides together. Pin
Match the pairs with right sides together. Pin
stitch the pairs together observing the 1cm SA making sure to leave a 5cms gap on one long edge to be able to turn the pieces through to the right side. Clip the curved edges carefully.
Stitch the pairs together observing the 1cm SA making sure to leave a 5cms gap on one long edge to be able to turn the pieces through to the right side. Clip the curved edges carefully.
Turn through so that RS are out. Push out the curves and corners carefully (you can knitting needle or specific tool to do this, I use the points of scissors with the blades closed)
Turn through so that RS are out. Push out the curves and corners carefully (you can use a knitting needle or specific tool to do this, I use the points of scissors with the blades closed) Press. 
Using sturdy pins (I've used quilting pins which are long and quite thick) first stab the back section in place and the pin the front section over it. You can CAREFULLY slip your foot into it at this stage to check and adjust the fit.
Using sturdy pins (I’ve used quilting pins which are long and quite thick) first stab the back section in place and the pin the front section over it. You can CAREFULLY slip your foot into it at this stage to check and adjust the fit.
The front section pinned in place.
The front section pinned in place. You’ll need to cut approximately 1metre of thread to sew each shoe (I didn’t realise this until I was halfway around the first shoe so I hadn’t cut enough!)
Using a needle with a fairly large eye (I discovered that if the eye was too small it didn't make a large enough hole for the thread to go through) begin blanket stitching the back section in position. Make each stitch approximately 5mm in size and distance from the previous one. You can see how the thread winds around the needle to form each stitch.
Using a needle with a fairly large eye (I discovered that if the eye was too small it didn’t make a large enough hole for the thread to go through) begin blanket stitching the back section in position. Make each stitch approximately 5mm in size and distance from the previous one. You can see how the thread winds around the needle to form each stitch.
Close up of how the blanket stitch is formed. I had the needle going upwards but you can do it going down it that suits you better.
Close up of how the blanket stitch is formed. I had the needle going upwards but you can do it going down it that suits you better.
When the back is sewn on re-pin the front in place and stitch.  There should be some overlap at the sides which you will sew together at the end.
When the back is sewn on re-pin the front in place and stitch. There should be some overlap at the sides which you will sew together at the end.
Pin the sides together and check for fit then backstitch the sides closed as shown. Sew off the ends securely.
Pin the sides together and check for fit then backstitch the sides closed as shown. Sew off the ends securely.
The finished article! Apologies for my unattractive feet (it's a bit tricky to get a decent 'selfies' of your own feet I've discovered!)
The finished article! Apologies for my unattractive feet (it’s a bit tricky to get a decent ‘selfie’ of your own feet I’ve discovered!)

So there you have it-in truth I probably won’t wear them out and about all that much as they have a habit of slipping off but I think that’s always the trouble with espadrilles anyway. They can be groovy slippers around the house until I go on a sunshine holiday and can mooch by a pool in them!! I enjoyed making them as something new to try out and they probably take about 2 hours in total although mine were spread out in half an hour here and half an hour there. You could probably add trims like buttons, ribbons, ricrac, petersham etc etc if you wanted to get carried away.

Send me your pictures if any of you decide to have a go!

http://www.johnlewis.com

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