Once upon a very long time ago, my sister and I were inspired by some strappy sandals we saw somewhere; who knows where anymore. I’m talking like ten years ago. But, we were inspired and we had to have some, but for some reason we wanted to make our own (probably because the real deals were out of our college student budgets). So we set out for the perfect shoe to refashion. I remember it took us awhile. We both always had our eyes peeled and then one day, while we were strolling the aisles of our local Old Navy, we found the perfect sandals to use and they were on clearance (for $8, if I remember correctly). We snatched them up and got to work…but what I really mean is we snatched them up and Farrah got to work. Anyway, enough with the vague talk.
These were the sandals we bought, only this is after we started our project.
Before we started, they looked similar to these Old Navy sandals (currently on sale for $13!)…
…but had some sort of embellishment on the top that we removed.
So I’ve had these unfinished sandals tucked away for all these years and last week I finally pulled them back out to finish what we started. And now I am scratching my head in wonder that we didn’t finish long ago because they’re amazing done!
As you can see in the picture of the sandals Farrah and I found above, we clipped the straps so that they were about two inches long.
And then Farrah started sewing the unattached end to the attached end by folding it over and making a few stitches at the base of the strap, making sure to stitch through both ends.
[Allow me to show you by continuing where we left off.]
She got half of my straps done (and probably none of her own because she’s selfless like that) so I finished stitching the other three down this week. I’m not sure why we decided to fold down the strap so that the end was visible from the outside of the shoe but we probably should’ve folded them in so that they were less noticeable. Excitement took our brain apparently. Or maybe we just didn’t want that part rubbing against our feet. Either way, in the name of consistency, I sewed the rest of them the same way. Also, I should mention that when we cut the straps, we cut them at a diagonal so that when they were folded over, the end would run along the bottom of the shoe (look two photos up for a visual). Make sense? I hope so…
And that was that. The shoes were ready for the fabric ribbon I made.
I had thee worst time choosing fabric for this project. Too many options, too little time, and too many little hands grabbing whatever they could while I was looking. I walked into JoAnn Fabrics that day hoping to find one fabric but walked out with two. But that’s the great thing about these sandals – the options are endless!
Here are the two I grabbed:
[left & right]
I only bought six inches of each fabric and only ended up paying $3.50 total (I don’t think either were on sale and I didn’t have a coupon). First things first, I needed to straighten out the fabric. The lady that cut the fabric for me was awesome. She made sure to cut straight across the design. Whoever had previously cut the fabric didn’t do that so I had one wonky side and one straight side. So, I just trimmed off the jagged side; getting it nice and straight.
Then I cut each piece in half – two shoes; two ribbons. I didn’t measure because I’m
lazy pretty good at eyeballing.
Now it gets a little picture-happy. I went full on with the details on how to make fabric ribbons, so if you’re not interested or you’d rather go the easy (smart?) route and use pre-made ribbon, you might want to scroll right on past.
I made two different types of ribbons, a pair with pointed ends and a pair with squared ends. We’ll get the point-ended ones out of the way first because they’re a tad more difficult (but not hard!…you could totally do this!).
First, I grabbed a couple of large safety pins and pinned them to the middle of each end, just past the selvage.
Then I folded the entire length of my fabric in half; right sides together.
Next I sewed together my unfinished edges, making a curve at the start of my sewing. This gave me my pointed ends. The picture below illustrates what I mean when I say I made a curve.
The red represents my sewing. Starting at the folded edge of the fabric and right under the selvage, I sewed a straight stitch that curved to the opposite side and down. I made sure to backstitch at the start too to make sure my stitches stayed put.
So then I sewed about a foot down my ribbon, stopped, and backstitched. Then I did the same curved stitch to the other end of the ribbon but this time sewed until I was about three inches from my previous stitch. Then I stopped and backstitched. Now I had a long tube of fabric with a hole in it that was about three inches wide.
This hole is critical in getting the fabric right-side out.
Before I went right-side out though, I trimmed the excess fabric off my curved ends with a pinking shears. A regular scissors would work too; pinking shears just give a cut that will supposedly help prevent fraying.
Next, I went to one end, found my safety pin, and started feeding it back through the fabric tube I had just sewn. It’ll bring the end of the ribbon along with it. This is is how I got my fabric right-side out.
I fed it through and pulled it out the small hole I left in the hem.
I did the same to the other end; fed the safety pin through until my fabric was right-side out.
Then I removed my pins and wiggled the pointed ends outward to get them as pointed as I could get them.
The last thing I needed to do was sew the hole shut. To do this I fold the unfinished hems of the hole in like this:
And then I went over those folds/the hole with a quick straight stitch.
Here it is closed:
I purposely made sure the hole was about a foot in from one end so that it would end up being wound up in the knot of the ribbon once it was on the shoe and on my foot. In other words, not noticeable at all.
Now onto the square-ended ribbons.
First, I cut off the selvage on the ends. I needed to turn my ends in and hem them later and I didn’t want the selvage showing.
Then I placed a safety pin in the middle of just one end.
Next I folded the entire piece of fabric in half length-wise and sewed straight stitch down the unfinished edge; no curve this time. After I did that, I was left with one long tube of fabric, inside-out and open on both ends.
To get my fabric right-side out, I guided the safety pin through the fabric tube just like I did with the navy and white ribbons except that this time, it came out the end. It has to come out the opposite end it’s pinned in so you have to push it all the way through the entire length of the tube. Once it’s out, pulling the fabric right-side out is easy peasy.
So then I had two unfinished, square ends.
To finish them, I folded the end of the fabric inside of the tube just a little; enough to get a stitch across the end to hold everything in place.
[And also my kids woke up from their naps…all three of them.]
[Don’t mind the nail polish…or what’s left of it.]
Last, I sewed a straight stitch across the opening, making sure to backstitch at each end.
Here’s a picture of the first end I sewed shut.
It didn’t look the greatest because I should’ve started sewing on the end without the stitching over to the end with the stitching. Because I didn’t, my fabric got stuck in my machine and made a little thread mess. But, you get the picture of what I mean when I say I sewed the ends shut, right?
So, there you have it! Do-it-yourself fabric ribbons, sashes, whatever you want to call them!
Of course you can always just grab some pre-made ribbon at your local fabric store and that would work just great too! Or, you can cut up an old tee or something made of a no-fray jersey and get ribbons that way! However you get them, I think you’ll agree that the options really are endless! There is a way to pair these with most of your closet just by changing out the ribbon! I actually stole some ribbon from another pair of shoes in my closet and tried those too! They were a little shorter than my fabric ribbons so I tried tying a different way – through the front loop, back to the side loops, up over the top of my foot where they criss-crossed, and back around to tie behind my ankle.
With the shoes themselves at $8 and the ribbons coming in at $3.50, my total investment so far on these kicks is $11.50. Uh-mazing. :)
Here are a few ways I’ll wear them:
Oh! I forgot to mention how COMFORTABLE they are! I love going barefoot but since that’s not the most socially acceptable option these days, just having a soft strap of cloth holding my sole on is the next best thing. My feet are loving it!
So anyway, as you might imagine, I have plans to make the girls some because how cute would they look on little feet?
. . .
Apparently Old Navy makes great shoes and great shoes with lots of potential because I recently refashioned a couple of pairs for the girls too! See them here.
Check ya lata!