I Made Shoes!

Last week I shared my fears around hand sewing and how my belief that I wasn’t “good” at stitching kept me from trying embroidery. I’m not sure if it was that belief, or if was other fears that kept me from using the espadrille kit I bought at the end of August.

At first I couldn’t make up my mind about which fabric I wanted to use. Butterflies (to match my top)? Goldfish? Blue Roses?

Once I got the right fabric there was always something else more important to do than sew a pair of shoes.

Then I started second-guessing my fabric choice. I sewed a pillow with my fabric in velvet and started to wonder if maybe velvet would be more fun than linen.

Although I could convince myself that each of theses delays was perfectly reasonable, if I’m honest it was fear that stopped me from tackling the project.

I guess it does make sense to think of making shoes as kind of scary. Very few people make their own shoes, right? Making shoes is hard, isn’t it? You need special tools and skills, don’t you?

But let me assure you that despite my fears (and beliefs), it wasn’t difficult!

The kit I bought is from A Happy Stitch, Melissa Q'.’s Etsy shop. Melissa has lots of different options including children’s sizes. Some of the kits come with fabric, but she also has kits that don’t.

The Espadrille Kit that I Used to Sew a Pair of Shoes is From the Etsy Shop A Happy Stitch

I purchased the “I Got it Kit” which has everything you need to make a pair of espadrilles except for the fabric. It really is a thorough kit. (If you want to learn more about all of the “bits” and about their environmental impact, Melissa wrote about it here).

I used linen for the outside of my shoes and Kona cotton for the inside, both in my small scale goldfish design from Spoonflower. A fat quarter of each was more than enough fabric for my pair of shoes.

Getting Ready to Cut out the Pattern Pieces for the Espadrilles with My Goldfish Fabric

I have to admit that I get nervous reading sewing patterns. Often I feel like I don’t know what they’re talking about (thank goodness for Google!). The instructions with this kit were very clear. There’s even a link to a video (which I never ended up needing to consult).

In Progress Goldfish Espadrilles

Even though it wasn’t difficult, it was slow for me. My sewing machine gave me trouble (as it often does). Pinning the fabric to the soles so that everything fit just right was slow. Sewing top to bottom took some strength (and patience). But it was such a satisfying project.


I can’t wait to be able to wear them!

If you’d like to try your hand at making some espadrilles, I highly recommend this kit. What’s even better is the fact that Melissa is so kind and helpful. I emailed her a couple times with questions and she responded right away with cheerful, encouraging suggestions.

The Shoes I Sewed with My Goldfish Fabric from Spoonflower and the Kit from A Happy Stitch

Sewing these shoes, working on learning embroidery, getting back to painting… all of it is teaching me, again and again, the art of patience. The art of slowness.

Patience. Slowness. They’re important lessons. They go way beyond a pair of shoes, a colorful sampler or a finished painting.