Polka Dot Shoe Redo.

Mar 23, 2011

So another week has passed, and Autumn has apparently arrived. Unfortunately - where I live - it has decided to be a tad late.
I am patiently awaiting it's arrival by sipping lots of tea out of pretty cups, because sometimes that's all you can do...

Earl Grey this time - and lemon scented.

Today's post is about something that I have been wanting to try for a very long time, and have finally attempted:

Fabric covered shoes!

Months ago I stumbled upon an excellent tutorial by Grosgrain, as part of her Total Shoe Redo week. More recently I saw a similarly inspiring tutorial on BurdaStyle, and went on a hunt for thrift store shoes.

I have always loved the idea of making shoes unique, but never realised it could be so simple!
So with another friend turning 18 soon, I decided some awesome shoes would be the perfect gift! The only trouble was her shoe size...

Having quite nimble feet myself, it had never occurred to me how difficult it is to find women's shoes in larger sizes that are actually nice. Particularly in thrift stores.
After weeks of searching for some decent size 10 shoes, hunting through countless shelves and deciphering various foreign shoe sizes, I was almost at the point of giving up...

And then I found them!

Sorry for the dreadul image.
Although I was not originally looking for pointed shoes, they seem to be the only option for size 10 feet, and this pair were quite nice (not like something out of Roald Dahl's "The Witches") and would definitely suit Caitlin.
Another perfect thing about these shoes is how much they needed to be recovered; you can only just see it in the above picture, but the black plasticky covering was wrinkled and hideous.

So I found some bright pink fabric that I knew my friend would love, and finally got to work!

A photo of the process.

And here is the final result:

I think they look a little bit 1950's housewife, which is perfect for Caitlin's style. And the pointed toes worked even better than I had hoped with the polka dot fabric.

 Instead of using bias binding around the edge of the shoe, I glued it to the inside, covering the raw edges of the fabric but invisible from the outside.

 I'm also very happy with the pink and black combination. I was worried that not covering the heel would be an issue, but I think it really works!

I decided to cover the brand name on the insole - seeing as the shoe's original destiny has drastically changed now. Love hearts were necessary (as they often are).

Caitlin wont be getting these shoes for a while, but hopefully when she does I can take some photos of them in action!

On the weekend I will have something else exciting and possibly dress-related to share. Here's a sneak peek:


  1. Love these! I really want to make a pair of self-covered shoes for myself, but still waiting for inspiration! RESPECT

  2. I've got a few pairs that are quite worn and could definitely use a new look. I think I'm going to have to try this too... Other than the bias tape, did you follow the instructions to a t?

  3. Brilliant! Just clicked over from Grograin. I have a favorite pair of flats that I keep saying I'm going to throw put because they're all cracked and old, but then I end up wearing them almost everyday! I could totally mod podge them up with fabric. Thanks for the inspiration!

    I think you're right--the black heel looks really good with the polka dots.

  4. Oh my goodness I would have never thought to cover my old shoes in new fabric! You are a genius and the shoes look fantastic.

  5. They're amazing!

    I wish I'd known/thought about this years ago - I threw away my most comfortable, favourite, gorgeous AND comfortable high heels (I find it hard to find heels which don't cripple me in one way or another!) purely because the suede covering was completely ruined.

    Sigh - now I must find a time machine so I can go back and reclaim them!

  6. Dropped Stitch Knitter: At first I thought I'd use Mod Podge for the binding instead of hot glue (just because hot glue can be so messy), but now I see the point of the hot glue.
    Binding and Mod Podge just don't mix! When I gave up and used the hot glue it was so much faster and neater.

    I also discovered that 1 fat quarter is the perfect amount of fabric for covering shoes. Even for size 10s!

  7. These are so cool, I love them! Your friend is very lucky!

  8. Those look fantastic! Your friend is very lucky.

  9. you're amazing at everything its so not fair!

  10. These are such lubly shoes :))) i wish for you to make me a pair also !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!