SHOE DIY: Polka Dot Ankle Wraps Dritz Espadrilles

Dritz created a new espadrille shoe line, and offered the Fairfield World Master Makers a set of supplies to create our own espadrille shoes. Our challenge was to add to or alter the shoe design, using a Fairfield World supply. I love espadrilles and sandals that wrap around my leg. There is something seductive and secure about having straps that wrap. I used Fairfield World Soften Fusible Interfacing on black with white polka dot cotton to create soft flexible straps. I chose black with white polka dots for my outer and straps, and black for my lining fabric , but the Dritz outer fashion and lining fabrics come in other colors and patterns. You're welcome to chose other fabrics, that suit your style. I know I'll get more wear out of black and white shoes than any colors.

CRAFT LEVEL: Intermediate to expert in both machine sewing and blanket stitch hand sewing

TIPS: I've been hand sewing since I was 4, with an emphasis on embroidery, so the blanket stitch around the edge wasn't technically hard. It does require some patience and hand strength to get the needle and waxed yarn through the jute and canvas layers. The machine sewing is basic. You need to be confident sewing around curves, corners and keeping your edge spacing even. The soles come with instructions on how to make your espadrilles. There is a How to Make Espadrilles by Dritz video tutorial, to help you see exactly how the shoes are put together. I'm a visual learner, so I found the video very helpful.

These are Amazon Affiliate links. Any purchases made using these links, Amazon will pay me a small commision. Both Fairfield World and Dritz provided me with their products, to create this tutorial. Fairfield World paid me to create the tutorial, because I'm part of their Master Makers team.

1) Turn your iron to the cotton setting, which is the highest on my iron. Make sure the steam is on. Iron the polka dot cotton fabric, Dritz fashion fabric outer and lining, flat, so they're easy to work with. Do not iron the stabilizer! That's backed with a glue. Set the Dritz fabric aside.

2) Flip the polka dot cotton over. With your quilting ruler and pencil, draw 4 strips, 2" high by the fabric width. With fabric scissors, cut out the strips panel. Don't cut the strips apart yet.

3) Lay the Soften Fusible Interfacing, on the ironing board, glue side up. Lay the strips rectangle onto the interfacing, right side up. Smooth them together. Iron on the fabric, making sure it's fused well.

4) Using fabric scissors, cut away the excess Soften Fusible Interfacing. Flip the fused fabric over. You should be able to see the drawn lines. Cut the strips apart, following those lines. Iron them flat, to make sure the interfacing is fused well.

5) Fold in one strip end about 1/2". Iron in place.

6) Fold the strip in half, ironing the fold flat. This photo shows the crease, after the strip has been reopened.

7) Fold in the edges to the middle. Iron in place. Fold the strip in half again, with those edges inside. Iron flat.

8) At the sewing machine, set your stitch length a little longer, for top stitching. Using white thread, top stitch the folded edges of the strips together. You'll have 4 ties when you're finished. Set the ties aside.

9) With paper scissors, cut out the pattern pieces, according to the size of the sole. However, Dritz recommends going up a size for wide feet and down a size for skinny feet. I kept it a size 8, because my feet are medium width.

10) Trace the heel and toe onto the outer and lining fabrics, using the Dritz dressmaker's marking pencil in white. Use a few straight pins to hold the pattern pieces in place, if needed. Using fabric scissors, cut out the pieces. Set the pieces aside.

11) Trace the heel and toe stabilizer pieces onto the stabilizer fabric right side, using a pencil. Using fabric scissors, cut out the pieces. Set the pieces aside.

12) At the ironing board, iron the heel and toe stabilizers in place on the lining pieces. The toe pieces are self explanatory on placement. The heel ones are a little tricky, but this is the correct placement. Dritz recommend the wool setting for these. They did fine on the cotton setting too.

13) Lay the heel pieces together right sides together. Insert one strap's raw end about 2" in from each side, along the top. They should angle in a bit. The remainder of the strap will hang out of the bottom, which is the turn opening.

14) Put the sewing machine back to the default stitch length. I used white thread, so it would show better in the photos. Use thread that matches your fabric for the seams. Stitch around the heel, about 3/8" from the edge. Leave a 2" opening where you see the ties hanging out. Backstitch where the ties are attached, for added strength.

15) Trim the corners and edges to about 1/8" from the stitch line. At the opening, leave the fabric width intact,. This makes hiding the opening easier later.

16) With the right sides together, stitch around the toe pieces, leaving a 2" opening along a side.

17) Turn all the pieces right side out. Use the Dritz point turner to help shape the corners and curves. Fold in the opening fabric, to be even with the seamline. At the ironing board, iron all the pieces flat.

18) Topstitch around the heel pieces, about 1/8" from the edge.

19) Line up the heel with the toe. This is where to adjust the fit of the shoe to your foot. I found for me, it fit best with the edges slightly overlapped. Where you see the straight pins, is where the heel ends meet the toe. Topstitch around the toes, attaching the heel sides.

20) Fold the shoe uppers in half. Use straight pins to mark the center front and back.

21) Line up the heel with the back of the sole. Press the glass head straight pins through the canvas upper into the jute sole. Place them every 1/4"-1/2", shaping the upper to the sole.

22) Dritz recommends to cut a piece of yarn 90" long. I cut a piece about half that length, which is a length I'm comfortable working with. The yarn must be waxed before using, for easy sewing. Place the yarn over a yarn wax slit. With your fingers holding the yarn in place against the yarn wax case, pull the yarn. Wax will attach to the yarn. Repeat a 2nd time. I found the wax started wearing off after several stitches, so the shorter length was a good call. You can rewax a section if needed, while it's still in use.

23) Roll the ties up and stuff them inside the shoe, to keep them out of the way.

24) Tie a double knot in one waxed yarn end. Start at the seam where the heel and toe connect. Insert the needle up through the jute and through the canvas at the topstitching seam. Trim the knot tail, close to the knot. It's long in this photo. Sewing through the jute and canvas can be difficult. The Dritz needle pullers fit over your thumb and forefinger. I found them to be helpful for better grip on the needle through thick sections. I didn't need to wear them the entire time though.

25) To sew the upper to the sole, Dritz instructs to use a blanket stitch. To make this stitch, insert the needle up through the jute and canvas, about 1/4" from the previous stitch. Put the yarn behind the needle. Finish pulling the needle up. Pull tight to lock the stitch. Continue like this until your yarn gets about 6" long. I used the longest straight needle for the sewing. In the assorted pack, are two long, two medium, and two curved needles. Use what works best for you.

26) When your yarn gets about 6" long. Insert the needle back down through the canvas and jute, behind your last stitch. Double knot the tail through the stitch bar. Remove the yarn from the straight needle. Insert it though the curved needle eye. Push the curved needle through the jute where you double knotted, to about 5 previous stitches away. Press it through less stitches at a time if that is easier. Pull the yarn tight. Cut off any excess.

REPEAT STEPS 22-26, until the both uppers are sewn to their soles.

I've been wearing espadrilles for over 15 years, every summer. I have a lot of ones with heels that get a lot of wear, but aren't practical for lots of walking. I have a few flat espadrilles that don't fit correctly, because they use flimsy fabric that rubs and causes blisters. They're sitting in a donate basket right now, but after I made these Dritz Espadrilles, I plan on reusing the soles to make more flat espadrilles with better fabrics and construction. You can use denim and other canvas colors for the outer fabric. Any thin cotton will work for the lining. You need about a fat quarter sized piece. You can add embroidery, monograms, quilting, painting, and other decorations onto the outer fabric, before construction. Use a combination of thread, fabric, and yarn colors to create unique espadrille shoes. The jute soles have rubber bottoms, making them durable for many years of use. However you choose to create your custom espadrille shoes, have fun with it. Happy Makery!


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