The humble shoe, accessory and canvas tote will not know what hit it! Liz Payne shows us how to stitch our way to reinvention.
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The finished product:
You will need:
You might have some old ones lying around or some options include Vans, Converse, or any canvas sneaker (can be cheaply picked up from Target or Kmart!) Just make sure you’ll be able to stick a needle through them!
A variety of threads and wools in your chosen colours.
A sharp embroidery needle and scissors.
You’ll need a little time!
This project is up to you how long it takes, either add just a few stitches to your sneakers, or go all out and binge on some Netflix while you stitch
Do you have a design in mind? You can draw your design with a pen or pencil directly onto the sneaker. If not don’t worry, just by gradually adding stitches, a pretty pattern will emerge!
One. Begin by pulling out the laces of your sneakers and sticking the tongue down into the shoe. This will prevent you accidentally sewing it!
Two. Thread your cotton onto the needle and then tie a knot at the bottom of it, this will anchor your thread. Starting from inside the shoe, insert your needle into the canvas – this will be our first stitch!
Three. Now start stitching! Reinsert the needle into the shoe about 1 cm away (the distance is up to you) Then reinsert the needle again but this time, a space ahead – then bring your needle back down into the same hole of that last stitch. This is called backstitch.
Don’t forget – when finished with each piece of thread or colour, tie it off in a knot at the back so your stitches will stay firmly in place.
Four. Why not try some French knots? To begin, insert the needle through the inside of the shoe again. Keep the thread tight and wind the thread 3 times around the needle. Keep the tension tight on the thread in your left hand while you then re-insert the needle just next to you where you initially started the stitch. Still holding onto the thread with your left hand pull the needle all the way through from the inside of the shoe! You’ve made a French knot!
If you’re having trouble with the French knot you’re not alone, they can be hard to master! Try on some scrap fabric for practice.
Five. Continue to fill up your shoe with more stitches. I added a white star around my French knots, then filled in the whole circular area with black, just by pulling the needle and thread in and out of the shoe until I had covered that area
Six. Let’s try satin stitch to fill an area, like these rainbow wing petals I have done here. Firstly outline the area you want to stitch then simply insert the needle from one side to the other side, reinserting the needle just next to where you come from.
Be careful to not go down the same hole, but just next to it.
Seven. Continue adding stitches on your shoe until you are happy with that side. You can do as much, or as little, as you like!
Eight. When you get to the end, turn the shoe over and start again – keep the design the same or change it up entirely!
Don’t worry about perfection. Don’t be too worried if the different sides don’t match perfectly.
Nine. Got one shoe finished? Woohoo! Now to move on to the next one. Change up the design entirely or try and repeat the pattern from the first shoe for a matching pair.
Ten. When both shoes are finished, thread the laces back through and you’re now ready to wear your own one of a kind hand embroidered shoes!
Here’s a couple of other examples I completed earlier… there really are no limits!
ps. If you love this style you’ll LOVE our Shop column!