|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!
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)
clear nail polish
Clover bias tape maker #18 – 3/4″ (optional but makes life so much easier)
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.
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).
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.
Repeat to get a total of four strips. You’ll use two strips per shoelace.
Pair two strips so that the ends are slanting in opposite directions when placed right side up.
Align the short edges with right sides together. Offset by 1/4″. Pin.
Turn your stitch length down to 2.0 and stitch along edge with 1/4″ seam allowance. Don’t worry about backstitching.
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.
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.
Now we’re going to use the bias tape maker to fold the fabric for us as we press.
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.
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.
(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.
Trip strip to 45″ for low tops, 47″ for high tops. Fold each end in half and press for about 2″.
On each end, put two marks 1/2″ apart and about 1/4″ in from the end.
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.
Stitch slowly from mark to mark. When you take the lace out of the machine, be careful to not unravel the stitching.
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.
When dry, trim off thread tails. For extra durability add another coat of nail polish.
Repeat with the other fabric strips to make a second lace.
Voila! Custom shoe laces!
DEVON IOTT Miss Make
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.
Share this Post