Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Happy Feet Quilted Sneakers

 Recently I took a fun day-long workshop at a local-ish quilt shop, Quilter's Corner: quilted sneaker making!

Turns out it's difficult to take photos of shoes on your own feet!

For the workshop, we used the Happy Feet quilted sneaker guide book by Joan Bobchek Radell, which explains the process for making these fun quilted sneakers using Sneakerkit soles and a free, downloadable pattern for a high- or low-top sneaker (they also have Mary Janes, loafers and other styles, all free!).

I was really happy to have taken the workshop- the Quilters Corner folks had all made the sneakers previously and had lots of advice on shortcuts and/or potential pitfalls. Plus it was fun to meet some other local sewists and see their lovely fabric choices. 

The shoes are made from 2 layers of fabric quilted to a foam interfacing. The instructions are designed for 3 fat quarters (one for exterior, one for the lining (which can be flipped to the exterior on the tongue) and one for the bias binding that finishes the edges. 

For my sneakers I went with some Kaffe Fassett fat quarters I'd recently added to my stash- a stripey, geometric print on the exterior, a polka dot floral lining, and some black linen bias strips from my stash, leftover from my quilted jacket.

You cut your quilted pieces into the main shoe and tongue pieces, bind the edges, and hand sew them to the Sneakerkit soles using a thick, waxed thread. I opted for black thread to contrast the white soles.

I was pleasantly surprised that sneaker-making this way involves a relatively minor investment in tools - eyelets and something to set them with, a leather punch, a special dull needle and some strong waxed thread. 

I finished my sneakers with a Kylie and the Machine "Handmade" label as the tongue-holder (so the tongue doesn't slide around). I also added a little bar tack with the waxed thread at the point where the tongue and sneaker meet near the toes, like the samples on the Sneakerkit instructions- the pieces abut but don't overlap there. 

Making these sneakers was such a blast- already ordered more soles to try again! I need to make the high-top version. I've got lots of ideas about what other fabrics might be fun here... patchwork? waxed canvas (I have scraps from the coat I made Tim)? flannel? The options are endless.