black thongs, white thongs


I’ve made a couple of pairs of thongs!  They’re pretty basic; I was just kind of mucking about.  Each pair took me just a few hours each.  Anyway, I actually made them back in December, immediately thought oh god how ridiculous and tossed them in my cupboard, where they’ve been knocking about unworn ever since.  I had a second look at them a few days ago and decided they were not irredeemably terrible.  Anyway, I’ve just decided to wear them, imperfections and all…


See, I’m working on a plan… Long-term readers might recall, inspired by Natalie Purschwitz’s the makeshift project; 2013 was my year of going all, 100%handmade.

I wore only my own self-made clothing, including all underwear, tights and socks for the year.  And did it successfully; although in reality it was actually only nearly 100% since I didn’t count shoes.  I hadn’t made any shoes at that stage.  I was pleased that I’d succeeded for the clothes side of things, but always had in the back of my mind that it would be good to have a truly 100% me-made year, including shoes.

Anyway, I’m wondering if I should just start right now since the last five days I’ve been wearing 100% self-made including my own self-made shoes and feel pretty good about it so far.  Maybe I should just go for it now.  Try for a year; right here.  Stop procrastinating.  I have five pairs of me-made shoes now; my three pairs of slides/clogs and now these two pairs of thongs; enough to get started with at the very least!


Writing a little laundry list of shoe needs for myself…  my bare minimum essentials would be :

  • a couple of pairs of thongs…. DONE
  • medium heeled casual summer sandals… DONE
  • smart dressy heels, for both winter and summer… could do
  • winter slippers.. could do
  • medium heeled winter shoes… not impossible
  • low-heeled winter boots… um, pretty difficult
  • walking shoes for inclement and/or cold weather…  woah.  Brain frizzling….

Hmmm.  Need to do more thought….


Anyway, details…

for the black pair; I traced the bases on an old yoga mat that had seen better days, and used scraps from an old, black cotton corduroy shirt to cover the bases and for the straps.


The black straps simply have the long edges folded in and I zig-zagged down the centre to finish them… each strap is 25cm long, although I found it a little easier to manage when I cut them a bit longer when making the white pair.  I made a little “tube” to go between my big toe and the other toes, through which the straps go before piercing the base.  Underneath the base, the straps are stitched to pieces of fabric to secure them firmly, then these are glued to the underneath of the base.  The base is covered in fabric, which is glued in place both top and bottom.

closeupUnderneath the base, I glued a layer of tough rubber floor matting, which is a very tough sturdy base, very hardwearing, which will hopefully keep the thongs going and last me for this summer, even *crosses fingers* next summer too!

For the white pair; I had some thin, worn-down bases from an old pair of thongs that the straps had broken through, and I’d kept the bases just in case #hoardingfinallypaysoff  I glued on a piece of thick, cream cotton corduroy underneath the thongs to strengthen the worn through bits.  The straps are strips of the same corduroy,  sewed together to other scraps of fabric underneath the bottom to secure them, same method as for the black pair above; then I glued a piece of thin cork matting underneath the whole shebang for a new sole.  I chose cork for the white pair even though the rubber makes a better sole, because I thought the black rubber would be visually unattractive with these ones.

rubber sole, cork sole


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25 Thoughts on “black thongs, white thongs

  1. They look good! I did not know you had previously made shoes – are there photos or a blog post somewhere? I’d love to see (I am impressed!).

  2. That is too cool! Love it.

  3. Nice! I bet the corduroy is a lot more comfortable than those plastic ones. I never could wear that type of sandal from the blisters those give me. You’ll have to update us on how they hold up!

  4. Christine on 26/02/2016 at 11:47 pm said:

    Those thongs look great. There’s a lot of interest in making shoes and the other day I randomly came across this blog in Portland, Oregon, where a bookmaker provided lessons. The final boots turned out amazing. Probably not the style you are thinking of but shows the possibilities. I expect you will find a way to make the rest of your shoes. Can’t wait to see them!

    • Carolyn on 28/02/2016 at 5:25 pm said:

      thanks Christine, and for the link, those boots do indeed look amazing!! What a fantastic course to do. I would absolutely adore to do it, unfortunately there’s nothing like that anywhere near where I am 🙁

  5. This is very good: I’d like to have a go as I’m doing #1year1outfit.
    I went on a course and made shoes at Green Shoes – that was a few years ago and I still wear them. I wore out the soles and they put new ones on for me, so not quite as me made as they were. Green Shoes do a weekend making boots – wondering if someone near you does something similar?
    Thanks for the post – I appreciate you sharing.

    • Carolyn on 28/02/2016 at 5:27 pm said:

      thanks Norma! Unfortunately no, there’s nothing so cool as a shoe or boot-making course anywhere near where I live.. the closest thing would be in Melbourne which is about 3000km away 🙁

  6. Sharon on 27/02/2016 at 1:56 am said:

    You are amazing they look so much more comfortable than our regular thongs but water might not be their friend.

    Maybe a few of you can contact Yvonne Twining she lives in South Australia and very happy to travel. She makes fantastic shoes.

  7. If there is anyone who can do a year of 100% self-made including shoes it is you! I’ve always been intrigued by shoe patterns and love studying them to see how they are made. They look quite straightforward if you can obtain suitable materials. Your thongs look great, and corduroy sounds nice and comfortable. Mmm… suede would be nice too!

  8. I made a new years resolution inspired by you, really, go and see my blog today as you are mentioned and linked. In fact someone said why haven’t I made shoes yet and then this post crops up today. You are one hard act to follow Carolyn!! Go for it on the shoes I say, there is an artisan by me who make beautiful leather sandals, I wonder if they do kits… mmmm got me thinking now… Jo x

  9. liochka on 27/02/2016 at 4:20 am said:

    You are the Best! You made your own shoes! And they are so nice!

  10. Gaby on 27/02/2016 at 5:12 am said:

    Well firstly, and as ever, you are an inspiration. That is so cool.
    I have long wanted to make my own shoes, but have been put off by the need to do “proper” ones. (I’m not even quite sure what I mean by “proper” but I suppose it’s durable and not immediately home-made looking?) So I’ve looked and pondered and envied people with access to courses.

    However I recently discovered that Birdsall Leather and Craft in Sydney is running fairly regular shoe workshops through the year. They do blocks of 5 days straight or 6 Saturdays. I’ve yet to work out when I’m going to pull this stunt off, but in the meantime I thought you might like to know about it (clearly not an easy commute, but you never know!)

    Meanwhile I shall clear up my sewing room and prepare to take on the difficult engineering project which is the bra. Onwards and upwards (in some cases, literally)!

    • Carolyn on 28/02/2016 at 5:55 pm said:

      thank you so much Gaby!! I have given some thought to going over east to do a shoemaking course, it does seem a bit self-indulgent though!! It would be lovely though, maybe one day… in the meantime I’ll just plug away on my own! 🙂

  11. Wow, you are so creative! This is amazing.

  12. Super creative!

  13. There you are with shoe-making again. You’re a genius.

  14. I shall be following your shoe-making exploits with great interest. Go you!

  15. Tha4 are great plans! A good beginning so far!

  16. You have got this! You really do. Look forward to all your 100% me made outfits.

  17. Major points for practical creating here! The corduroy was a good idea – imagine it’s very comfy for walking on. No idea what to do about making boots, but can’t wait to see what you come up with. 😉

  18. Fabulous thongs! So clever…

  19. You never cease to amaze me with your creativity and attention to detail! These look lovely and I like the way you covered them. Not just leaving the rubber sole exposed. Look forward to your new endeavors in shoe-making. 🙂

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