Shoes. Yep! We’re gonna make some shoes! When we first starting talking with Dritz® about their new Espadrilles program, we admit to being a little skeptical. Sure, we’re all about making over buying, but shoes?! Well, color us believers, because not only were the Dritz® Espadrilles totally fun to make, they were much easier than we thought. Dritz® provides all the elements you need, from the jute soles to the fabric and stabilizer to the needles and pins. We added our own unique touches with monograms, decorative stitching, ankle ties, and heel bows. Our clever Sew4Home fans are likely to come up with even more embellishment surprises, using trims, sequins, buttons, or embroidery designs. We can’t wait to see what you create!
With the worldwide popularity of the TOMS® slip on cloth shoes, espadrille-style footwear is no longer just for summer. Unless you’re trekking through rain and snow, these comfy shoes are fashionable year-round.
For our first two pairs, we selected one Adult size and one Kid size, and we used all the supplies directly from the Dritz® Espadrilles inventory options, adding in only our own thread, floss, and ribbon.
We loved the fact that the tread on the Dritz® Espadrilles is a bobbin! What better way to show that your love of sewing goes from the top of your head all they down to the soles of your feet.
We had so much fun with these first shoes, we’ll be back with additional cool designs in a few months, showing you how to blend the Dritz® products with your own unique fabric combinations!
Our friends at Dritz® have put together an amazing set of support elements to help you on your shoe-making adventure. We’ve gone through our steps in detail below, but you should also take a look at the full line of fabric and accessories, watch the video tutorial, as well as review their blog articles on construction steps, special tips, and fitting.
The Dritz® tutorials are all very detailed, include lots of clear photos, and many of the most frequently asked questions, such as a size chart and detailed information on how to make a perfect blanket stitch to attach the top to the sole. We highly recommend them all.
The Dritz® team has really worked through all the best tips and techniques to make the process as easy and flexible as it can be. The recent article on fitting includes great options for adding elastic, mixing sizes, and even shrinking a finished shoe for a better fit.
Here’s the complete list of helpful information from Dritz®:
- Available Fabric and Accessories
- Video Tutorial
- DIY Espadrilles in Just 2 Hours
- Espadrilles Construction Tips
- Espadrilles Fitting Tips
Full steps are shown below for our sample pair of kids shoes with their decorative stitching highlights. We then detail how to create the custom additions featured on our adult pair: the monogram and heel loop.
Sewing Tools You Need
The full line of Dritz® Espadrilles products debuted this summer and are currently available at all Hobby Lobby locations across the country. They’ll be rolling out into other retail outlets soon. We’ll keep you posted as new options to buy are opened up.
- Jute Soles: available in sizes for Adults (6-10), Kids (2-5), and Toddlers (3-11); we used a Size 6 Adult sole and a Size 2 Kids sole
- Outer Fashion Fabrics: 24 solids and prints; we used Metallic Silver and Grey for our Adult pair and Purple for our Kids pair
- Inner Lining Fabrics: 12 solids and prints; we used Black with White Polka Dots for our Adult pair and Bone for our Kids pair
- Yarn: 7 colors of sturdy, 100% cotton yarn; we used Bone for both our Adult and Kids pairs
- Iron-on Stabilizer: supports the heel and toe of the shoes
- Yarn wax: prevents tangling while stitching the top to the sole – will not stain or discolor the yarn
- Needles: choose from straight and curved needles, both are especially strong to allow frustration-free stitching, and they have a larger eye for the thick yarn
- Needle Pullers: modified thimbles for your thumb and finger – makes it easy to grip and pull the needle; the open end accommodates a fingernail
- Point Turner: made of durable bamboo, it helps create crisp points and smooth curves after turning the toe and side/heel pieces right side out
- Glass Head Pins: extra long and extra strong nickel plated steel; these are a must-have for attaching the top to the sole without bending or breaking
In addition to the Dritz® products above, we also used:
- All purpose thread to match the fabrics
- Aurifil floss in cinnamon and ivory for the decorative stitching and the heel bows on the Kids shoes
- Deep charcoal all-purpose thread for the monogram on the Adult shoes
- 2 yards of ¾” satin ribbon in silver for the ankle ties on the Adult shoes
- Standard tear-away stabilizer for both the decorative stitching and monogramming
- See-through ruler
- Measuring tape
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Tissue or pattern grid paper
- Remove all the elements from their packaging. The pattern pieces are bundled with the jute soles. Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line.
- Press all the fabric (do not press the stabilizer).
- Using the HEEL pattern, cut the following:
TWO from the outer fabric, with the fabric wrong sides together
TWO from the lining fabric, with the fabric wrong sides together
- Using the HEEL STABILIZER pattern and the TOE STABILIZER pattern cut TWO of EACH from the iron-on stabilizer.
NOTE: Just as with the other fabric, fold the iron-on fabric first with the fusible side (the wrong side) facing in. This way, when you cut your two pieces, you’ll end up with one for the left shoe and one for the right shoe with the fusible side in the correct position for each.
- Using the TOE pattern, cut TWO from the lining fabric. As above, fold the fabric first, wrong sides together, to insure you cut one right toe and one left toe.
NOTE: If you are not adding decorative stitching to the toe as we did, you can skip the next steps and simply cut two toes from the outer fabric.
- Using the TOE pattern, as a guide, cut a rectangle equivalent in height and width to fit two pieces side by side.
- Cut a same-size rectangle from the tear away stabilizer.
- On all the pieces, transfer the center line markings (toes and heels) from the pattern to the fabric (at the top and the base of each).
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the toe pieces with decorative stitching
- Using a fabric pen or pencil, draw in guide lines for the starting point of the decorative stitching. The recommended seam allowance for the Dritz® Espadrilles is ⅜”. Draw one guide line ⅜” from the top raw edge of the rectangle. Draw a second line ½” from and parallel to the first line.
- This second line will be the guide line for the edge of the presser foot as your create the first line of stitching.
NOTE: We used a 9mm stitch width and five lines of stitching. You may choose to use a different width or a different number of lines. It’s totally your choice! Simply take the time to measure out the stitching, using the TOE pattern as a guide. Then, practice your stitches first to make sure they center on the pattern just as you want them to.
- Layer the tear-away stabilizer under the fabric and create the five lines of decorative stitching. We used the Aurifil AuriFloss in the top and bobbin and set up our machine for the appropriate decorative stitches (we used three different stitches on our Janome Memory Craft 9900.). Slow and steady is the rule here to keep everything precise.
- You are stitching across the entire width of your rectangle in continuous lines, allowing the two toe patterns to be cut side by side for perfectly matched stitching from toe to toe.
- The additional four lines of stitching each use the previous line as a guide for the edge of the presser foot, which means they will each be ¼” apart.
- Find the TOE pattern. Place the pattern right side up on one side of the stitching, centering the stitching as originally planned. Cut out the toe. Mark it with a piece of tape indicating this toe as the RIGHT.
- Flip the TOE pattern wrong side up and cut out the second toe, centering it to create an exact match to the right toe for the decorative stitching lines. Cut out the toe.
- Mark it with a piece of tape indicating this toe as the LEFT.
- Place a TOE STABILIZER piece in position on the wrong side of each toe. The Dritz® stabilizer fabric is similar to what is used for their iron-on patches, which means they take a bit more heat to adhere than a simple non-woven fusible stabilizer. Hold the iron down for about 20-25 seconds to fully fuse.
- Find the toe lining pieces. Place an outer toe right sides together with a lining toe and pin in place all around. Along one side, approximately ½” up from a bottom corner, leave a 1½” – 2″ opening for turning.
- Re-thread with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin and re-set for a standard straight stitch.
- Using a ⅜” seam allowance, stitch around the perimeter of the toe. Go slowly around the top to maintain a smooth curve, pivot at the bottom corners, and lock your seam at either side of the 1½” – 2″ opening for turning.
- Press the seam open and grade the seam allowance, trimming the outer fabric back to ¼”. Clip the curves, and trim the corners.
- Turn the toe right side out through the opening in the side. Using the Dritz® Point Turner, gently push out the bottom corners so they are square and round the top into a smooth curve. Press the top flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
NOTE: It’s important the seam is at the very edge all around; you do not want any of the lining showing when you pin the toe to the sole. Take the extra time and use the point turn to insure your piece is flat.
- Hand stitch the opening closed.
NOTE: The Dritz® tutorials show using a short machine stitch to close the opening, but we preferred the cleaner look of an invisible hand stitch.
- Set aside the two completed toes.
Create the heel and side with decorative stitching and bow
- We added a line of decorative stitching around the side and heel of our Dritz® Espadrilles. To do this, cut a thin strip of the tear-away stabilizer to fit along the top of each HEEL piece. It needs to be just a bit wider than your chosen decorative stitch. Lightly pin the stabilizer in place against the wrong side of the fabric.
- Remember, the recommended seam allowance on the Dritz® Espadrilles is ⅜”. We wanted our stitching to be just below the seam, and so set the upper edge of our stitch at ⅝” from the top raw edge of the heel.
- Place the heel under the presser foot (fabric on top, tear-away stabilizer underneath). Re-thread the machine with one of the colors from the toe stitching in the top and bobbin. We used the cinnamon AuriFloss. Re-set the machine for one of the same stitches used on the toe.
- Stitch along the entire top edge of the heel/side piece.
- Trim back or tear away the stabilizer close to the sewn stitches.
- Repeat to add a matching line of decorative stitching along the top of the remaining heel/side piece.
- Find the two HEEL STABILIZER pieces. Using the center point marks you made above, line up a stabilizer piece against the wrong side of each heal piece.
- Fuse the stabilizer in place. Remember it will take a bit longer and a bit more pressure than standard fusible interfacing.
- If adding the cute little bouncy heel bow. Find three strands of floss. Knot together the three strands and tape them to your work surface.
- Braid the strands and knot the ends together.
- Repeat to create a second braid.
- Fold each finished braid in half and pin it against the right side of the heel at the exact center top (use your marked center point as a guide) of each heel. Coil up the loose ends into the center of the heel piece so they don’t get caught in the seam.
- Find the heel lining pieces. Place each heel exterior right sides together with a heel lining, sandwiching the heel bow strands between the layers. Pin together. Along the bottom edge, approximately ½” away from the bottom corner, leave a 1½” – 2″ opening for turning.
- Re-thread with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin and re-set for a standard straight stitch.
- Using a ⅜” seam allowance, stitch around the perimeter of the heel/side. As above, go slowly to maintain a smooth seam allowance, pivot at the bottom corners, and lock your seam at either side of the 1½” – 2″ opening for turning.
- Press the seam open and grade the seam allowance, trimming the outer fabric back to ¼”. Clip the corners.
- Turn the heel/side right side out through the opening at the bottom. Using the Dritz® Point Turner, gently push out the corners so they are square, then round and smooth the gentle curve.
- Press the heel/side flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. As above, hand sew the opening closed with tiny stitches.
Assemble heel to toe and pin to sole
- Place one toe piece wrong side up on your work surface.
- Lay the ends of the heel/side piece, also wrong side up, slightly over the bottom edge of the toe. The ends of the heel/side piece should overlap approximately ½” – ⅝”. Pin in place.
- Gently pick up the pinned heel/toe unit and set it onto the sole to test the fit of the outer edge of the fabric against the sole. If need be, adjust the overlap of the heel to the toe.
- If all is well, topstitch the toe to the heel/side. Make sure your machine is threaded with thread to match the outer fabric in the top and thread to match the lining in the bobbin.
- You can choose to just topstitch across the ends (what we did on the Kids shoes) or topstitch all the way across the straight bottom edge of the toe piece (what we did on the Adult shoes).
- Find the center back of the heel and the center back of the sole. Mark each center point with a pin. Line up these pins as the starting point to pin the top to the sole. This is where it is really great to have the long, strong Glass Head Pins from the Dritz® Espadrilles product selection. Push a pin through the fabric down into the jute sole.
- Continue to pin around the side towards the toe, slightly stretching and easing the fabric around the heel.
- As you move around the toe, more easing may be necessary. Don’t be afraid to use lots of pins. You want the top to sit straight down onto the sole.
Hand sew the top in place with the yarn to finish
- Find the yarn and pull off an approximate 60″ – 70″ length. Run the yarn through the yarn wax several times.
- Thread the yarn through the needle. The Dritz® Needle Assortment includes both straight and curved needles; choose whichever works best for you. We worked with a straight needle.
- On one end, tie a knot approximately 2″ from the end.
- Put the Dritz® Needle Pullers on your thumb and first finger.
- Start the stitching along one side at the toe/heel seam. Insert the needle into the jute approximately ¼” down from the top edge of the jute just to one side of the seam. Push the needle through the jute and up through the fabric, coming straight out about ¼” in from the finished fabric edge. Pull the yarn through until the knot snugs up against the sole.
- Stitch the top to the sole with a ¼” blanket stitch. To make a Blanket Stitch, hold the loose yarn to the right of the stitch. Move over ¼″ and take a second stitch, coming up within the loose loop of the yarn. Pull the yarn to tighten the stitch. Hold the stitch tight with your free hand and make another stitch.
- Continue to work around entire circumference of shoe, keeping your stitches as uniform as possible. If you are brand new to making a blanket stitch, take a look at one or more of the Dritz® tutorials listed above. They’ve done a great job explaining the stitch in detail. There are also detailed steps printed on the instruction sheet contained in the sole packaging.
- When you’ve made it all the way around and are back at your beginning stitch, wrap the thread around a vertical stitch and make a small knot, then insert the needle through to the inside of the shoe.
- Remove the needle and thread with that 2″ tail from the original knotted end of the yarn. Insert the needle back through to the inside of the shoe at the exact same point.
- Tie the two ends together with a double knot. Trim the tails close to the knot to finish.
- Repeat to stitch the second shoe.
- Tie the heel braids into a small bow, then re-knot the ends and trim to your desired bouncy length.
Adult Shoe Customization
- Our Adult shoes feature a pretty monogram on each toe and a loop at the back of each heel through which a ribbon can be threaded to create a pretty ankle/calf tie.
- The construction steps are the same as the Kids shoes for the majority of the steps.
- Rather than cutting a long rectangle, cut two squares from the outer fabric large enough to fit your machine’s embroidery hoop. Place the pattern inside the hoop to insure the square is large enough.
- Set up the machine to create a monogram, according to your manual. We used the classic two letter monogram with a leaf frame from our Janome Memory Craft 9900. Make sure your fabric is properly stabilized according to your manual’s recommendations. The monogram should be stitched in the exact center of your fabric square.
- Tear away the stabilizer from the back of the fabric square.
- Measure the finished monogram top to bottom and side to side to find its exact center point. Mark this point with a pin.
- Using the original paper TOE pattern, trace it onto tissue or pattern paper.
- Transfer all the pattern markings, then measure top to bottom and side to side to find the exact center of the toe and mark this with a star.
- Place the tissue pattern over the monogrammed square, folding the pattern in half in order to align the center star with the center pin of the monogram.
- With the centers perfectly aligned, unfold the pattern so it is once again flat, and pin the rest of the pattern in place. Cut out the toe. Reinforce the top with the TOE STABILIZER. Mark this toe with a RIGHT label.
- Repeat with the remaining monogrammed square but flip over the tissue pattern. When done, mark this toe with a LEFT label.
- Follow the steps from the Kids shoe above to layer, stitch, and trim each toe.
- From the outer fabric cut TWO 2″ wide x 2½” high rectangles.
- Fold the rectangle in half, wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease. Unfold wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Fold in each 2½” raw edge to meet at the middle crease. Press.
- Fold along the original crease and press again. Your finished strip is now just ½” wide. Topstitch along the folded edge to secure. Re-thread the machine if necessary with thread to best match the outer fabric in the top and bobin.
- Fold each loop in half and pin in place at the top center back of the heel. This is the same place you pinned the floss braids above for the Kids shoes.
- Follow the steps for the Kids shoes to complete the heel/side piece, sandwiching the heel loop between the layers.
Finish as above
- The steps to finish the Adult shoes are identical to the steps for the Kids shoes above. The only difference was our choice to stitch the toe piece to the heel piece with a continuous line of topstitching across the bottom straight edge of the toe.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Construction Notes: Debbie Guild