floral sneakers

floralsneakersHello!  I’ve made some more shoes!  floral sneakers.

Now, I have to admit; they may look kinda superficially cute at a distance, however close up they’re a bit of a fail.  I’m considering them a wearable fail though, since they’re all stuck together firm and good, glued up to the hilt and are not going to fall apart in a hurry!   So all is not lost and I will wear them for casual knockabout events when it doesn’t matter if your footwear gets dirty or ruined.  We all have those events in our lives, right?  I’m sure plenty are going to crop up in my Year of Handmade.

I have learnt a lot making these… primarily the optimum order in which one should put together a pair of sneakers…. but first things first…

Fabric; a small leftover scrap of floral upholstery fabric, maybe barkcloth, from my grandmother’s stash, given to me after she passed away.  It’s pretty cute fabric though, and I have just enough left to cut out the pieces for another pair of sneakers should I desire to revisit this exact same look. Which I probably shall.  Bias binding for the edges and for the strip around the base of the sneakers is unbleached calico.


Design; drafted by me, copying a pair of sneakers I have already.  I thought I’d got the design not too far off, but will make some adjustments for the next pair.  I’m not even bothering to put laces in these ones.  They stay on my feet fine without laces so I can still wear them.  I’ll save my bias cut spaghetti strap laces for when I make a good pair  🙂

Details; the bases are cut from an old yoga mat, and my first step was to glue those strips of calico along the side edges…  this was my big BIG mistake.  I would NOT fabric coat the bases so early next time, it made it hellishly difficult when it came time to glue to uppers to the base.  Also, the bases turned out to be a little too big for the uppers and the fact I’d “finished” them meant they could not be trimmed down.

Sewed together the uppers, all fine… sewed them to the lining pieces right sides together, turned them right sides out and glued it to the bases.  Next time I would sew them together, wrong side of upper to right side of lining and turn the edges under before glueing to the base…  I think that could be a better thing.  Then, and only then! add the finishing strip to the outside edge of the sneakers.   The last step is to add the soles.  I used thin cork, cut from an old set of placemats.

Well, we certainly live and learn!  All in all, it was a bit of a mess, but I pushed on and finished them because I wanted to see how the fit and design would turn out.  I’m actually very happy with the fit, and the design is in my opinion 90% there, I will just make a few minor adjustments for the next pair.

At least I have a pair of don’t-care sneakers that are wearable and not too precious to get out and about in.


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39 Thoughts on “floral sneakers

  1. Mary on 28/02/2016 at 3:39 pm said:

    I love learning from your experiments. Thanks for posting.
    Mary in Thailand

  2. Philippa on 28/02/2016 at 3:47 pm said:

    Well they look pretty cool Carolyn. I think it’s awesome that you are even attempting to make your own shoes!

  3. These are fantastic! I never would have thought of making sneakers. I did wonder what you would wear out walking. I can’t wait to see what else you’ve got up your sleeve!

  4. I think you are pretty amazing to even attempt making your own shoes…and these turned out very cute. I love the floral fabric.

  5. I love your ingenuity and use of household materials. You’re a superstar to be attempting to make shoes just by copying old shoes! It’s great that they’re wearable even for around the house. Not all of my attempts were that successful even!

  6. These look pretty good – I am impressed that you managed to make sneaker you can use. I guess the first time is kind of like a wearable toile. The next time will be a knock-out I’m certain.

  7. You are so clever. Shoes from an old yoga mat and cork placement! Ingenious. Well done and enjoy experimenting with version two.

  8. You are so creative and get pretty and wearable results. These sneakers are very cute and I am sure that your next pair will be even better. But these alone are pretty formidable, too 🙂

  9. Lisa on 28/02/2016 at 7:57 pm said:

    You are so cool. Your shoes are awesome! Can’t wait to see the next ones.

  10. Wow, I could never think of making shoes. The fabric is so beautiful and they look cute.

  11. rianna brown on 28/02/2016 at 9:23 pm said:

    Very impressive….my first quick glance I though very cute….it was only after my eyes had settled that I realised you had indeed crafted them and well that is not a bad attempt at all!! Fantastic first try!

  12. I wouldn’t even DREAM of making shoes. But your thoughts on process reminded me: there’s an 18th or 19th Century book called something like “Every Woman Her Own Shoemaker”. I think. But looking at historical ideas where people DID sew their own shoes might give you some ideas for how to make your shoes easier to make and more solid.

    I remember a woman who was using that book talking about her little half-boots, and you sew it all inside out, and then have to flip the shoe right side out with the hard leather sole. The blogger said it was tricky but made a good looking shoe. But little things like what order to do things, might be helped by such a book.

    Edit: Google tells me it was published anonymously in 1856 under that title. There are reprints available.

  13. Is there anything you can’t make? Those are just amazing and so cute, AND you can wear them!

  14. Suzie on 28/02/2016 at 11:54 pm said:

    Wow! This is really inspiring, they look really cute 🙂

  15. Beckyjopdx on 29/02/2016 at 12:03 am said:

    Dang, when you throw the gauntlet, you really go for it. These are darling, and I echo above- you’re always so inspirational. Love it.

  16. OK, so now you are officially able to make EVERYTHING for your wardrobe! 🙂
    The shoes are great!

  17. Okay, mindboggling!! Hahaha! These are too amazing. I love reading about your process. What’s next, what’s next, hunh, hunh? No pressure.

  18. liochka on 29/02/2016 at 5:52 am said:

    Ô la la la! ! Omg! You are so genius!

  19. Oh my goodness, I am so impressed! Love them!

  20. Off to a good start on making sneakers! The fabric is really pretty and the bias binding make them look very profesh. Impressed that these are your first attempt – I would have assumed a steeper learning curve, but really these are very close. Nice!

  21. These are adorable. I look forward to your next pair!

  22. Now you’re just showing off….WINK, WINK, LOL. I AM kidding. Everything you do is brilliant, these playful floral tennies included. You inspire me greatly! xo

  23. Belinda Stafford on 29/02/2016 at 11:58 am said:

    You are having fun! Do you know of Yvonne Twining? She teaches making last-less shoes, I.e., you use your own feet for the last. TAFTA includes her classes in their forums/workshops. But I wouldn’t want to suggest you should learn from anyone other than your own ingenuity….

  24. They are a great prototype. The next pair will be spot on. Jo x

  25. These looks so cool! Very inspiring and I love how you used recycled materials. I’m looking forward to seeing what else you can come up with!

  26. Wow! Impressive! I’m pretty sure my nan had a couch upholstered in that fabric too!

  27. You have made sneakers! Cute ones! Brava!

  28. If you do revisit these, I’d love to see a tutorial! And a report on how they hold up walking around. It seems like such a practical solution to my perpetual issues with finding cute shoes that are wide enough for my feet!

  29. You are amazing. These sneakers are just gorgeous.

  30. Who cares if the shoes turned out perfect or not! I mean you made shoes, real sneakers, how awesome is that! I totally wanna try that myself and I’m so excited to see you progress in your shoe making. And then I’ll totally copy you, hahahaha!

  31. I think these are the cutest pair of sneakers! Again your attention to detail, down to the little rivets, is apparent. So, so cute!!!

  32. Your shoes look great Carolyn, very cute!! It sounds like you’ve worked out the changes you want to make for the construction of your next pair, but in case you’re looking for other ideas, I thought I’d offer an alternative. You could cover the insole you have made from yoga mat with fabric (as you did with your black thongs). Then when you cut out your upper pieces, make them longer (so they’re the height you need for the actual upper, plus enough to cover the depth of your insole and another cm or two to fold under the insole when you glue them together). After sewing your uppers together you could also stitch your white strip into position (placing it above the fold under allowance – or attach it at the end if you prefer) and then attach the uppers to the insole by folding the allowance under your insoles and glueing them to the underside. Then attach the soling as you have done with this pair. Anyway, this is just an idea, but I hope it helps.

  33. Wow! You blow my mind every time. I thought the thongs and slides were impressive. You go girl! You make me think I can do this too! Although boots… I can’t wait to see what you come up with for boots!

  34. I cannot get over the fact that you are making shoes now! I mean, I thought all of your clothes were so fabulous, but now shoes?? WOW!!!

  35. I am speechless. These may not be perfect but I would be pretty proud of myself if I made them!

  36. OMG your floral sneakers are amazing and can’t wait to see the improved versions.

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