Espadrille Sew Along 2018: FLATS TUTORIAL PART 1

Making Flats?  Start here!

Ready to make the most comfy shoes you’ve ever worn, custom made by YOU with whatever fabrics you want?!   This tutorial contains instructions for making your very own espadrilles using Dritz brand espadrille soles.  Each package contains left and right foot soles as well as the pattern and instructions. Our tutorials below follow quite closely to the Dritz instructions, with just a few modifications and some extra tips that we think you’ll find helpful – plus we’ve got lots of photos of the process to guide you along!  This tutorial is for making flats; if you're tackling wedges, check out our Wedge Tutorial Part 1 here.

 

Today’s blog post will cover everything from cutting your fabrics to completing the fabric sections of the shoe and getting them pinned onto the soles. Our next post will show you how to finish them up with a blanket stitch.

 If you still need materials, check out the list of everything you need here.  If you’ve got your soles and other materials and you’re ready to go, then let’s get started!

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CUT PATTERN:

Cut all 4 pattern pieces on the line that corresponds your sole size.  Note:  If you have wide feet, you may want to consider making one size larger (for example, if you're using size 8 soles, but have wide feet, cut on the size 9 pattern lines).  Likewise, if your feet are very narrow, you may want to size down.

 

 

CUT FUSIBLE INTERFACING:

Depending on the type of fabric you’re using for your shoes, you may want to adjust how much of the shoe you interface.  If you’re using canvas, denim or other heavier weight fabrics, use the toe stabilizer pattern and heel stabilizer pattern to cut 2 each from fusible interfacing.  We used quilting cotton for the outer and lining fabrics, so in order to provide more stiffness and structure, we used the heel and toe patterns (instead of the toe and heel stabilizer patterns) and cut 2 each from fusible interfacing.    

 

CUT FABRICS AND APPLY INTERFACING:

  • First, give your fabrics a good press.  
  • Place your outer fabric and lining fabrics right sides together.   Place the toe and heel patterns on fabric, pin and cut. (photo at left, below)
  • Take 2 small pieces of masking tape and write “out” or “outside” on each of them.   Place each toe fabric on the pattern to determine which side is the outside (as labeled on pattern) and place the label on the right side of the fabric.  (center photo, below)
  • Adhere the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of your outer heel and toe fabrics.  If you’ve never worked with fusible interfacing before, simply place the raised or bumpy side of the interfacing on the wrong side of outer fabric and press with hot iron.  (photo at right, below)

MAKE TOE SECTIONS:

  • Start with the toe sections:  Pin outer and lining fabrics for the toe right sides together. 
  • Machine stitch toe sections using a 3/8” seam allowance, leaving a 2” opening along one side of shoe.
  • Trim fabric diagonally at corners, and trim seam allowance all the way around EXCEPT at the 2” opening.  Tip: if you have pinking shears, you can use them to trim the seam allowance at the curves.  
  • Turn the toe sections right side out.  Insert a point turner into the opening and use it to gently push the corners out and shape the curves.   (If you don’t have a point turner you can use a chopstick or knitting needle).
  • Fold the seam allowances at the opening to the inside, and press.  
  • Topstitch at the opening, very close to the edge, using matching thread.
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MAKE HEEL SECTIONS

  • Now move on to the heel section: Pin outer and lining fabrics right sides together.  Stitch, again using a 3/8” seam allowance.  Leave a 2” opening at the top edge.  Note:  Dritz’s instructions say to leave the opening at the bottom curve; however, we always like to leave an opening along a straight edge if possible. It’s much easier to fold in the seam allowance on a straight edge than on a curved edge.
  • Trim corners and seam allowance, turn right side out, and use your point turner to shape it. At the opening, turn the seam allowance to inside and press.  
  • Topstitch along the entire top edge of heel.  This will close the opening and give the heel a nice, finished look. (photo at right)

Note:  if desired, you can add elastic to the heel section in order to get a great fit and prevent your shoes from slipping off in the back. We added elastic to this pair (as you may notice in upcoming photos).  See bonus instructions at the end of this post for adding elastic.

 

ATTACH HEEL AND TOE SECTIONS:

  • Place your toe pieces lining side up on your work surface.   Measure 5/8” up from the bottom curve and make 2” long marks at both the inner and outer corners.   (photo at left, below)
  • Place heel piece on the toe piece, again wrong side up, aligning the short ends with marked lines.  Pin in place. (center photo below)
  • Flip fabrics over to the right side and topstitch along the edge of toe section to connect heel and toe.  If desired, topstitch a second time about 1/4” away from the first seam to reinforce it. (photo at right, below)

ATTACH FABRIC TO SOLE:

  • Hopefully you still have your “out” labels still attached to your fabric!  Match up your fabrics with the appropriate sole (so the “out” label is on the outside edge of the sole). 
  • Find the back center of the heel section of the shoe (by folding it in half) and mark it with a pin.  (top left photo, below)
  • Find the back center of the sole and mark with a pin.  (top right photo, below)
  • Place the fabric on your sole, aligning the pins.  Push a pin down through the fabric and sole to hold the fabric in place. (bottom left photo, below)
  • Continue pinning heel to sole, placing pins every ½” or so. (bottom right photo, below)
  • Now pin the toe section to the sole, again placing pins every ½” or so.  You may need to ease the fabric at the toe – this just means that the fabric may not sit flat on the sole as you pin, rather it will “bunch up” a bit between the pins.  This is ok – it happens because there is extra fabric in the toe section in order to get the shoe shaped properly.  Just try to spread the extra fabric evenly around the toe.  

CONGRATS!  YOUR ESPADRILLES ARE NEARLY DONE!  

Sit back, admire your handiwork, and do some finger exercises to prep yourself for the final step – the hand stitching.   Our blanket stitch tutorial is coming on May 22nd and will show you how to expertly complete your new favorite shoes!

BONUS INSTRUCTIONS:  ADDING ELASTIC TO HEEL SECTIONS

  • Take the heel outer fabric and fold it in half, right sides together, to find the center point.  Mark this point on wrong side with a fabric marker. 
  • Measure 2-1/2" to the left of center and mark it, then repeat to the right of center.  
  • Cut a 3-1/2" long piece of 3/8" wide elastic.  Pin the elastic to the heel fabric as shown in photo, with the ends of elastic on each outer mark.  The elastic should be aligned with the top edge of fabric.  
  • Stitch elastic to heel using a zig zag stitch as follows:  Put presser foot and needle down at one end of elastic.  Make 5-6 stitches with a short, narrow zigzag stitch to secure the end in place (we used a stitch width of 1.5 and stitch length of 1.5).  Then, increase both stitch width and length to 5.0 (or to the largest size your machine will allow).  Hold fabric at the opposite end of elastic and stretch it out until the fabric and elastic are both flat, then sew.   When you reach the end, decrease the stitch width and length to 1.5, and sew 5-6 stitches to secure. 
  • Pin outer and lining fabrics right sides together, stretching elastic as best you can as you pin.  Stitch using a 3/8” seam allowance but be careful not to sew on the elastic.  You will need to stretch the elastic as you sew.  Leave a 2” opening at the bottom edge.   
  • Trim fabric diagonally at corners and then trim seam allowance everywhere except at elastic and at the opening.
  • Turn heel section right side out and use your point turner to shape it.  At the opening, turn the seam allowance to inside and press.  
  • Topstitch at the opening only, very close to the edge.
  • Continue with tutorial at "Attach Heel and Toe Sections"