I have been looking to add some accessories to my handmade wardrobe for some time now. I had looked at kits for DIY espadrilles on Etsy, but unfortunately, they were just too expensive (including the exchange, shipping, and duties, getting a kit from Spain to Canada was going to be around $250.00). Then I found espradille soles for $9.99 on Amazon (made in China) but since they come from the quilting supply company Dritz, I decided to try to find local vendor instead. Well…I tried calling the chain fabric stores in my area and none of the employees had any idea what I was talking about. Then I tried calling bigger centres, with the hope that they might carry them or at least know what I meant, but to no avail. Not even Toronto! So, Amazon it was.
As for the fabric, I bought this Cotton and Steel/Rifle Paper Co canvas at Patch Halifax about a year ago with this project in mind. I used the – always lovely – selvedge edge design of the canvas for some pull tabs at the heel. You could probably get away with using a fat quarter of fabric for this project, but since I wanted to play around with the pattern placement, I bought half a metre to be sure. The lining is Robert Kaufman Essex Linen.
The shoes are a lot of fun to make! I’ve never done any kind of blanket stitch before, and I laughed at my own smug sense of achievement. It feels like a skill I should have picked up at Brownies or at summer camp somewhere. There are many sew-alongs and tutorials available online, but the best one is from Ada Spragg. I used her photos for reference each step of the way (Thank you, Sophie!).
A few issues: First, all of the tutorials wanted me to add a seam allowance to the pattern pieces, but my copy included them (maybe Dritz has updated their pattern?). Also, the instructions DO NOT recommend enough thread to finish a shoe!
The other, terribly sad issue was that after all that work the shoes are too big. The soles only come in full sizes and I generally wear a 6.5 (37 EU), so I went with the 7. I’ve now ordered the size 6 soles to compare, and I am going to see if there is some kind of insole combo that will fill this pair out for me.
Despite these setbacks, I loved this project.
Project: DIY Rifle Paper Co Espadrilles #1
Total cost: $45
Total Hours: 10
Fit: Size 7
What to work on: the final toe-cap stitching. Mine isn’t nearly as neat or as full as I would like (I think I had too much wax on my thread by that point.) I won’t use blue chalk next time either.