DIY Shoelaces : Tutorial

Making your own shoelaces is one of the simplest yet cutest things you can do.  So easy, such a minimal amount of work, and yet such a large statement to your personality.  Besides all that, they look great!  You can pick out any color, any print, or pull out all your scraps and make a pair of mismatched mashup laces.  Whatever the end result, they’ll always look better then the ones from the store.

This is a very simple project to do, as it requires no fixed or ultra complicated pattern to puzzle over, and can be done in only five simple steps.

  1. Cut fabric
  2. Stitch fabric
  3. Iron fabric
  4. Cut fabric again
  5. Stitch fabric once more
  • Bonus step: celebrate with chocolate

    And that’s it folks!  It’s as easy as that.  Perfect for beginners or the seasoned sewer who is itching for some stitching but doesn’t have all the time they need to completely redo all the curtains and cushions in the house. So let’s get started, shall we?

    Materials
    • A shoelace from your shoe ( used to make new and improved shoelaces the right length )
    • Scrap fabric ( enough to cut as many 1 1/2 inch wide strips you need to get the length of your old shoelace )
    • Thread to match your fabric, or contrast it!

      Step 1: Cut Fabric

      Once you have your desired fabric picked out, it’s time to figure out how many strips you need to cut from it in order to get the require length for your shoelaces.  This is the part where your old, store bought laces come in handy ( clearly the only part in their lifespan when they are truly useful ).
      Measure your old laces to see how many inches long they are, then, find the longest side of your fabric, and measure how long it is.  Do some simple math, length of old lace (L) ÷  length of longest side of fabric (F) x 2 = number of strips needed (S).

      Did that look like some not-so-simple-math?  Well good, I was looking to confuse you and thus make myself seem smarter.  Did that not look like some not-so-simple-math?  Well then touché my friend, touché.
      All that really says is that if your shoelace is 10 inches long, and your fabric is 5 inches long, then you are going to need 2 strips of fabric for one shoelace, and 4 strips of fabric altogether because you really do need two shoelaces in order to wear your shoes properly.
      ( Obviously no one would have shoelaces that short unless maybe you’re a brownie or something but it was just for mathematical simplicity. )
      Or you could be a little rebel like me and guess-ta-mate the whole thing by laying the old shoelace next to the fabric and making random calculations ( see below ).

      Find the straightest side of your fabric, or make a straight side if necessary, and start cutting from it.  Your strips need to be 1 1/2 inches wide.  Make your marks on the wrong side of the fabric so you won’t see them.

      Then snip away!  Marvel at how nice and uniform all your strips look when you are done.

      Step 2: Stitch Fabric

      Now those strips aren’t long enough hanging out all by themselves.  They need to be brought together, forcefully, if needed, before they can begin their journey to becoming the shoelaces of your dreams.

      Sew all your short strips together, end to end, matching the small sides up and keeping the right sides of the fabric facing, till you have just one very long strip of fabric.  Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance, a.k.a. right along the presser foot.

      Step 3: Iron Fabric

      Ah, the longest step is now upon us.  Can you believe that you’re about to spend more time ironing then actually sewing?  Should we really be calling this a sewing project, then?  Or should we be questioning the origins of the given name?

      Or, better yet, let’s not be getting philosophical over shoelaces.

      Pull out your music, find somewhere comfy to sit, and suck it up buttercup.  Start by pressing your short seams out flat.  Don’t press them left or press them right.  Open them up so that there is less bulk to stitch through later.

      Then iron the whole thing in half, wrong sides facing.  This seam doesn’t have to be particularly crisp, but it does have to be right down the middle.

      Now unfold your crease!

      I can hear you complaining from here.

      “Well then why did I just spent the time to make the long crease?!”

      Because it’s a guide line, honey.  Don’t get too upset.

      Pick a side, any side, and fold the edge over to meet the crease in the middle of your strip ( remember,  keep the wrong sides facing ).  It does help at this point to make a crisp seam.  For help in achieving this, I recommend a spray bottle filled with plain old water you can spritz your strip with to make it steam when ironed.

      Then fold over the other side of the fabric, matching the edge to the middle crease just as before.

      Now the whole thing get’s ironed in half again!  Remember that first middle crease you made all those years ago ( or at least it feels like years after all that ironing )?  Well now you get to reacquaint yourself with it.  No longer a mere guideline, it is now the finishing crease to your shoelace.  Crispness is of the essence here, so I would really, really encourage you to spritz water and create steam for this crease.

      Step 4: Cut Fabric Again

      Ah, look at it.  Doesn’t it look like a shoelace already?  It certainly is one long shoelace though.  We need to turn it into two, more reasonably sized shoelaces.

      If you measured you old shoelace and you know just how long you need your new shoelaces to be ( say we’re still talking with that brownie ( no, not brownie, I mean a brownie ) who’s laces are 10 inches long ), then measure 10 inches off of your long, very nicely ironed strip and cut.  Make this measurement and cut again, because remember, we need two of these things.

      Or rebel again ( like me ) and guess-ta-mate the whole thing ( see below ).

      Step 5: Stitch Fabric Once More

      Just two more long seams and you’re done!  So close now that you can see the light.

      All you have to do to finish your shoelace is seam it up almost right down the middle to keep it from unfolding.  I say almost, because you do want to slightly favor the open side of the lace.  It’s a very tiny seam allowance.  So tiny, I did not even measure it.  Just go slow ( -ish ) and keep it as straight as you can ( don’t forget to backstitch! ).

      Oh, look at those shoelaces!  Aren’t they just glorious?!  Of course they are!  They came from your hands!  Now rustle up your shoes and lace them up.  Beam with pride at how neat and awesome they look.  And then show them off, everywhere, and to everyone.  Causally stick your feet out from under the table so that people may see them.  Bop right down to Electric Avenue and own the street.  And, most importantly, let everyone know where they can learn to make such wonderful creations themselves.

      BONUS STEP: Celebrate With Chocolate

      Or cookies.  Or chocolate and cookies.  Or a full blown batch of chocolate cookies.  Mmm, yes.  I can smell them baking now.
      However you decide to celebrate, you should be very proud of yourself.  Your shoes now look great with your handmade laces, and reflect your own personal style in way that store bought laces just aren’t able to.  So to you, I say this; Well done my friend, well done.
      ( Just don’t start singing These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.  This might annoy those close to you.  Not that I would know from experience or anything. )
      Em
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