Sew Your Own Shoelaces
|by Devon Iott|

Hey guys! Today we have something in the almost-instant-gratification department – making your own shoelaces out of bias tape! My only question to myself while making these is why I hadn’t done it sooner.

You COULD use prepackaged bias tape for this, but let’s be honest, that might be kind of boring, and with all the amazing fabrics out there, why not make your own? After that it’s just a couple of straight seams, then we’ll even use our sewing machines to make the aglet (did you know that’s what the little thing on the end is called?). Then bam! Shoelaces!

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

This is a really addicting project and a fun and unusual way to use your favorite fabrics. No special tools or materials required, although a bias tape maker will make things way easier (more on that below).

There are lots of ways to customize these – mix and match fabrics, use contrasting thread, or even sew a decorative stitch right down the middle.


1/2 yard fabric (this is enough to make lots of shoelaces, but you need the yardage to cut on the bias)
matching thread
clear nail polish
Clover bias tape maker #18 – 3/4″ (optional but makes life so much easier)

Sew Your Own Shoelaces


Square up the edges of your fabric so that they are straight. Lay a ruler diagonally across the selvage. If you’re using a quilting ruler, it should have a 45º line on it – line that up with the edge of the selvage.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

If your ruler doesn’t have this mark, you can find 45º by making sure the edge of the fabric is diagonally bisecting the squares on the ruler (in other words, running through the corners of the squares).

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Cut all the way across the fabric. Alternatively, if you don’t have a rotary cutter, draw a line and cut with scissors.

Now measure 1 3/8″ from the diagonal edge. Make another cut.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Repeat to get a total of four strips. You’ll use two strips per shoelace.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Pair two strips so that the ends are slanting in opposite directions when placed right side up.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Align the short edges with right sides together. Offset by 1/4″. Pin.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Turn your stitch length down to 2.0 and stitch along edge with 1/4″ seam allowance. Don’t worry about backstitching.

shoelaces08Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Trim corners and press seam open.

Insert one of the ends of the strip into the bias tape maker with the wrong side facing up.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Grab the pointy tip and pull about an inch out. If you can’t seem to thread the fabric all the way through, trip the end of the strip to make it even pointier.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Now we’re going to use the bias tape maker to fold the fabric for us as we press.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Hold onto the unfolded part of the fabric to make sure it feeds through evenly. Use the iron to push the bias tape maker down the fabric, wiggling it slightly if necessary. Using the iron to push the bias tape maker ensures that the folded fabric is pressed immediately.

Sew Your Own ShoelacesSew Your Own Shoelaces

After the first pressing, fold and press the whole strip in half with wrong side/folds together. There’s no magic tool for this step, just do it the old fashioned way.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

(If you don’t have a bias tape maker, the easiest way to press is to press the whole thing in half lengthwise first, then open and press each raw edge in to the fold, then repress the whole thing in half.)

Put your stitch length back to default (about 2.5) and edge stitch along entire strip to secure folds.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces
Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Trip strip to 45″ for low tops, 47″ for high tops. Fold each end in half and press for about 2″.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

On each end, put two marks 1/2″ apart and about 1/4″ in from the end.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Select your zigzag stitch. Put the pressed end of the lace under your foot and adjust the width so that the needle comes down just to the outside of each side of the fabric. Set your length so that there is no space between the threads as you sew (called a satin stitch). Numbers will vary depending on your machine. If you aren’t sure, start with a width of 5.0 and a length of 1.0 and go from there. On the machine I was using (a Singer® 9985) it was a 5.5 width and 0.6 length. You don’t want the length so small that the machine is not moving forward or getting caught up on bulky thread.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Stitch slowly from mark to mark. When you take the lace out of the machine, be careful to not unravel the stitching.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Trim off the end of the fabric. Don’t trim off the thread tails yet. Squeeze the stitching to make it round and coat liberally with clear nail polish. Let dry.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

When dry, trim off thread tails. For extra durability add another coat of nail polish.

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Repeat with the other fabric strips to make a second lace.

Voila! Custom shoe laces!

Sew Your Own Shoelaces

Devon is a sewing writer and educator living in Nashville. When not obsessively sewing she can be found knitting, gardening, or drinking wine with her two chickens and cat.

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19 Comments on “”

    1. Devon

      It can be so useful for so many things, but I usually forget about it! I should keep a bottle with my sewing tools…

  1. Tracy

    My daughter in law would LOVE these! So clever and cute ad FUN
    (Easier than pressing in half, then opening and pressing both halves in – if one didn’t have the bias tape maker, I’ve used this pin trick There’s also a clever printable guide here I haven’t personally tried it, but looks like it should work well)

    1. Devon

      Thanks for the links! I’ve totally used the pin trick before when folding and pressing quilt binding, it makes it 100x easier. But I didn’t think of it for this…good idea!

  2. PenelopePitstop

    oh my goodness! LOVE this!!!!
    I prefer the old fashioned cloth shoelaces over the stiff nylon (or whatever they are) ones of today …. and now you say I can have colorful stylish ones? Score! And the zig zag, roll, nail polish finish for the aglet – genius! Thanks for sharing!!!! :-)

  3. Roseanna

    Hi, for aglets, I use 3/16 heat shrink tubing, available at any home DIY store in the electrical dept.
    Slip them on the ends and hit with a hair dryer or craft heat gun. Tah dah, perfect aglets!

    1. Carli

      Si e' attivabile con tutti gli operatori.Telecom italia ha dato comunicazione a tutti gli operatori della disponibilita' del segnale esattamente venerdi' sera 4 gieblo.Probaginmunte i call center non si sono ancora aggiornati e lo credo comprensibile visto che sono trascorsi solo 2 giorni lavorativi. Fossi in te riproverei nei loro siti o piu avanti.

  4. Patricia

    I am going to make a bunch for my grandkids for new school year, my daughter and her buddies and myself and my gym buddies. My hubby…well, we’ll see.

  5. Pingback: What Can You Make with Shoelaces? - The Crafty Blog Stalker

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