One Easy Way to Embellish Sneakers

by Anja
0 comment 3 minutes read

For years I’ve kept a pair of black Converse sneakers, but unlike the traditional Chuck’s, these have black soles. They looked dull.

I’ve barely worn them. I always felt something was missing on my Chuck’s. They’ve spent the past years hidden in the depths of my shoe drawer only to come out when my cats do their best to remind me of their existence.

The last time my sneakers were out of the drawer, I decided to do something to them. For a while, they just sat on my desk while I tried to figure out how to decorate them.

I thought about embroidering them but was kind of turned off by the thick canvas, and I scratched the initial floral design. Using fabric paint instead seemed like a good alternative for embroidery until you try to trace thin lines.

I’m not saying you can’t. In my case, I didn’t have the brush nor the patience to continue tracing the thin Sashiko lines I’d planned.

Painted sneakers

Fabric painted sneakers. What a mess!

After trying my luck with the Persimmon Flower design (I followed the pattern in Make + Mend), I was left with a bunch of smudged white lines. Btw, Acrilex, the brand I used won’t come off, so I guess if you’re looking for permanent ink for your fabrics, it gets the job done.

Luckily I didn’t mess up both shoes, and I still had one to experiment with using embroidery. Woot!

Persimonne Flower Grid

Tracing the 1/4 inch grid.

First, I traced the design on the shoe with tailor’s chalk. Because the sneaker isn’t completely flat, it’s a bit tricky to outline the 1/4 inch grid accurately. Then I retraced the flower design where I wanted it placed so there would be at least two complete flowers.

Stitching the sneakers

Stitching Sashiko

For this project, I chose Sashiko thread instead of crochet because the latter isn’t as resistant. The hardest part to stitch is the heel. There’s an extra layer of fabric and rubber, and for this, you’ll need a sharp needle and a thimble. I don’t recommend a large Sashiko needle unless you want to hurt your fingers.

Stitched sneakers

Halfway there

I’m pretty happy with the final result. My sneakers look much better now and, if my feet can handle them, I might wear them again.

Have you added a personal touch to a garment or accessory you didn’t like? What did you do to embellish and personalize it? Let me know in the comments!

Stay weird!


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