Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

DIY Summer Sandals

The shoe making has continued at Self Assembly Required HQ!

My two favourite summer sandals have taken quite a beating over the years so I thought it was high time to replace them. The clog making kit I made recently would replace the heeled ones I wear but I wanted some utilitarian flats to replace my bedraggled flat pair.

I figured with my previous shoe making experience I’d be able to whip up a pair without too much difficulty! (Also, I already had all the stuff to make them…)

Now unfortunately, though I had the best intentions, I completely forgot to take progress photos! (One day I’ll video the whole process in a time lapse or something!). It took me three evenings to complete these and mostly because I wanted to wait for the glue layers to dry in between. Regardless, I’ve written up what I did in case it’s of any use!

I started by tracing off the sole shape from my previous pair which have always fitted my short wide feet well. I cut two of these from a thickish veg tan leather for the insole boards.

I then covered them with foam and a leather lining (I used a pigskin suede lining from my stash) for an extra soft and squishy insole.

The uppers I made with strips of cork fabric edged with a PU leatherette piping (also both from the stash) which were then lined with more of the pigskin suede.

To get them into position I placed each foot on the insole and wiggled the straps around until I was happy with them. I used some masking tape to hold them in place whilst I tested them before glueing them into position.

After glueing them, I set about adding a randing to the insole. (This is a strip of leather adding to the edge of the shoe to making it look as though it’s been welted). I dyed mine black for a contrasting look to match the piping on the straps.

Under the randing and around the straps joins, I added some cork bottom filler to smooth things out before attaching the shoe to a layer of 12mm cork. The cork was rather tricky to cut so I ended up having to cut it with a decent sized border and trimming it back with a craft blade and sanding it smooth. It worked surprisingly well, though there was a small incident with the blade and my thumb!

I knew the cork wouldn’t be a good soling material however – it’s far too soft and porous to withstand that kind of wear – so I added a layer of black EVA (which is a kind of rubbery plastic used for soles) to the bottom.

They’ve got the chunky style I was going for and they fit pretty well. I can already feel the straps stretching a bit so even though I made them tighter than need to start off with, I am worried they may end up too loose. In hindsight, I should’ve perhaps added ankle straps which might have added a bit more security if they got a bit too loose.

They feel pretty sturdy for now though and definitely look like how I imagined they would!

Now to experiment with layering that thick cork and see if I can make some flatforms!


Cork fabric and piping – eBay

Glues, corkboard, EVA, foam, leather dye – Algeos

Leather – JT Batchelors

Randing – I Can Make Shoes

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