One of my long time dreams is to make an outfit head to toe - from hats to dresses, jackets, all the way down to my shoes. And now I can do that! I recently picked up an espadrille kit and made these guys!
The base kit includes the rubber and jute sole, along with pattern pieces and instructions for completing your espadrilles. I bought my normal shoe size and they fit perfectly. Additionally you’ll need: outer fabric (¼ yard should do it!), lining, stabilizer fabric, cotton floss, bees wax , straight pins and heavy duty hand sewing needles. I used my sewing machine as well. Don’t feel like you have to buy the branded supplies - you may already have some of these things in your sewing box or be able to find substitutions on sale elsewhere!
Instead of using a piece of flat outer fabric, I created my own by steaming upholstery webbing into shape (that is, molding the cotton trim into rainbow shaped pieces to align with the pattern edges). Then I layered and sewed it together to create a stripe pattern. The provided instructions have you sew your lining and outer materials right sides together and then turn them to conceal raw edges. I did this for the toe portion of my shoe, but used the natural border of the trim for all other edges.
For the lining I used chambray I had in my fabric stash and topstitched the remaining seams to minimize bulk. I skipped the stabilizing steps because my fabrications are sturdy enough, but if you use a lighter weight fabric, you’ll probably need to add that in (just follow the manufacturer’s recommendations)
When you have the toe and heel lined, those pieces are sewn together and then it’s on to the fun part - hand sewing the sole to the upper portion of the shoe. I use cotton embroidery floss coated with beeswax and a large straight needle using a blanket stitch (instructions show step by step). A thimble and hard surface might be handy for helping the needle through thick sections of fabric. There’s also these rubber needle pullers, but I didn’t purchase that myself.
I opted to sew my upper to the sole very close to the edge so there’s no quarter inch indentation like the instructions. I think both are cute in their own way, so adjust your project to fit whichever style you like better!
I’m thrilled with the end result and from here I’m going to try a wedge style that I found on etsy. I think I’ll use the same style of upholstery tape but free style a different pattern (maybe a criss cross over the toe, open middle and small heel piece?
This is a great project for someone who has enough experience to use a sewing machine and follow a simple pattern. You could probably hand sew these too, but they wouldn’t be nearly as strong as the sewing machine stitches (I broke three needles sewing through this thickness!) I took my time on the first shoe and probably spent 2.5 hours to complete it. The second took less than an hour (the pattern instructions say it’s about a 2 hour project, but if you’re a perfectionist, it’ll probably be 4-5 hours).
Would you try it? I’d love to see photos if any of you do!