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Friday, May 26, 2017

Fabric Shoelaces

Move over hair bows - there's a new matching accessory in town!  

That's right!  For our FREE tutorial today, you get to learn how to make fabric shoelaces!  They're quick and easy to make, plus you can use the leftover scraps from whatever you've been sewing lately. I know my daughter is going to flip when she finds out I can make matching shoelaces for her favorite outfits.  But who am I kidding?  They're not just for her. These are *my* shoes that got the makeover today and I'm totally excited to do it over and over again!  

Let's get started!

Supplies Needed:

1 pair of shoes 

4 shoelace tips or "heat shrink aglets"
(from fabric/craft store) 

1/8 yard of fabric 

Iron, Scissors, Sewing Machine, Needle, Thread

Note: If you aren't able to get shoelace tips (sometimes called heat-shrink aglets), you can still make the shoelaces -- you will just need to bind the ends with tape, or use a needle to thread them through your shoe holes.  The tips just make them easier to thread. 

First, remove one of the shoelaces from the shoe to determine how long to cut your fabric strips.  

Cut two strips that are each 1" wide and two inches longer than the existing shoelace.  (In my photo, the fabric strips are folded in half, just like the shoelace is.)  

Just to give you an idea, for an adult slip-on shoe, I cut my strips 34" long.  

Take one of your strips and fold it in half with wrong sides together, as shown above, and use an iron to set the fold all along the length of it. 

Open it up so you have a crease going down the center.  Fold each of the long edges in toward the center fold, as shown above, and use an iron to set the new folds.  This is easiest if you iron one edge to the center and then the other edge to the center. When you're done, the long edges should meet in the middle.  

Re-fold the strip down the center as you did at the beginning, this time keeping the new folds in place.  All the raw edges should be enclosed now, as shown above.  Use an iron to set the fold, and pin as you go if it helps. 

Use your sewing machine to sew the folds together all along the edge of the lace, close to the folds.

Repeat all of these steps with the second shoelace piece, if you have not already done so.  

You are now ready to add the shoelace tips to the ends! 

 If you have magical powers, you can simply roll up the fabric end and push it into the tube. 

 However, if you're a regular muggle like I am, that could take you all day and not get you anywhere. (The photo above was the farthest I could get it.)  The good news is, I have an easier way to save a lot of frustration! 

The smart way:  Take a hand needle and thread it with regular sewing thread. Double the fabric and tie a knot in the end.  Sew a few stitches at the end of the shoelace and make sure it's nice and secure if you pull hard on it.

Then simply slide the needle through the shoelace tip, pull it through, and gently pull the shoelace through. 

You will want to slightly fold/roll the end of the lace as you pull on it.  It should slide through fairly easily now. 


Now pull the lace through so there's about 1" sticking out the end of the tip tube, as shown above.

Repeat on the other ends of your shoelaces. 

Now you're ready to heat-shrink the tips!  On the package instructions it recommends using a hair dryer or heat gun.  I like to use a tool I already have on hand though, and that is my iron!  *Do NOT* touch the hot iron straight to the tubing though.  There's another trick here.  First put the shoelace on your ironing board, as shown above. 

Then cover it with a small scrap of fabric. 

 (You should have a few handy. Mine looks familiar, right?)  

Gently use your hot iron to heat the fabric scrap and the shoelace tip underneath.  You want to make sure you apply a little pressure to get enough heat, but do not press it flat (unless you want a flat shoelace tip).   Rotate the tip a little and heat again. As the tip shrinks, it may stick to the scrap fabric a little; this is okay!  That's why you're using a scrap. 

When the tip has shrunk, it will be noticeably tighter around the end of the shoelace.  See photo above. 

Repeat with the remaining shoelace tips. 

When the tips have cooled, simply cut off the excess fabric.  You can even cut some of the tubing shorter if you'd like.  I made mine slightly longer than the original shoelace tips. 

And there you have it!  Pretty neat huh!

(Note: If you were not able to get your hands on any shoelace tips, you can roll and wrap the ends tightly in tape.  Or, you can use no tips at all -- if the ends of the laces are difficult to push through the shoe holes on their own, you can use the needle and thread method above to thread them through each hole. It's more work for the future, but definitely doable!)

Now all that's left to do is lace up those new beauties and try them on! 

I already wore these out to my kids' school program today, and it was super rewarding to look down at them and admire my handiwork.  Just imagine how fun it will be to make some for your favorite pair of shoes!   They would even make a fun face-lift for some old beat-up sneakers.  Oh, the possibilities!

I can't wait to see the shoelaces you make.  Please come share your before and after photos in our patterns group on Facebook when you're done. 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen


  1. Wow, love these laces, will be trying them out by myself. Hope I will do good with that. Thank you for sharing it and keep posting such posts

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  3. Great post. Your DIY fabric shoelaces are amazing. Thanks for sharing this useful tutorial with us.
    custom shoelaces