Hand embroidered espadrille heels

I have thought about doing a blog for so long and have even attempted it once a twice though it has always been short lived. 

So here goes my next attempt. 

After finishing my embroidered jacket that I made to enter the Mālama Wao Akua show at Hui No'eau I needed a little project. A pallet cleanser. I decided that I would make a pair of shoes to wear to the opening reception.   I have heard a definition of crazy that is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. This is the third pair of embroidered shoes that I have made in the last couple months. The first pair is also in the Mālama Wao Akua show.  Every time I think that it will be an easy little project and every time I am mistaken. Which isn't to say that it is not a highly enjoyable project. I love having something to stitch. I love being able to stitch wherever I am but it does take a very long time. 

I knew that wanted the shoes to be open toed but the pattern that came with the soles is for a closed toe shoe. I played with a couple of different designs for the toe strap. Which was a process of cutting out pieces of paper and pinning them to the sole with my foot resting on the shoe until i found the shape that I liked. I decided on a  V shape in the front. Once I settled on the pattern I added the seam allowance and traced the pattern onto my fabric I then stay stitched inside the traced line 3/8 of an Inch, this helps the fabric from warping when stretched in the embroidery hoop and also shows me the line that I can stitch up to. I then worked on the embroidery pattern drawing shapes on my paper pattern. I settled on this loose leaf design mirroring the two sides of the shoes. I thought that I could stitch the shoes in a weekend, they took me two weeks and about 35 hours. Weeks ago I had purchased some very garish sparkly embroidery thread, it came in the midst of stitching and I couldn't resist it. I ended up using it on the heel of the shoes and while it doesn't exactly go together I kind of love it.  The soles of the espadrilles soles that I ordered were covered in a white fabric which I didn't love the look of and also worried about it looking dirty so I covered it in a piece of leather using rubber cement to glue it down. 

There are a ton of great tutorials for assembling espadrilles I recommend having a pair of pliers handy so that you don't get tempted to use your teeth (which I did and stabbed myself in the face). I also recommend using beeswax on your thread it makes it easier to pull though and stronger. I pull the thread though the wax and then melt it onto the tread with the iron. I used embroidery thread to stitch up the shoes.  

(designing the embroidery)

embroidering by the pool

(embroidering at the pool at the four seasons Maui)

(embroidering the toe)

embroidering the heel while camping at Kipahulu

(stitching the heel while camping in Kipahulu)

embroidery pieces ready to assemble

(all the pieces ready to be assembled)

stitching the shoe together

(stitching the shoe together)

blanket stitch


heel embroidery

(sparkly embroidered heel)

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