Are your sneakers in need of some much-needed love? I can tell you that my beloved collection of Converse Chuck Taylors sure do! You can make your own shoelaces based on favorite colors, patterns, and even fabrics thanks in part to one sewing staple – a bias tape maker. If you’ve never made your own vertical tape, it’s easy to learn how.
- Fabric of your choice (I used a fat quarter of Dear Stella’s Stella Dot collection and had fabric to spare)
- Bias tape maker – 1/2″ size (I used Clover’s bias tape makers)
- Rotary cutter, mat and ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Clear heat shrink wrap (you can pick this up at Radio Shack)
- Sewing machine and thread (I used a gray Aurifil thread for my laces)
- Quilting pins
- Heat gun or hair dryer
Start out by measuring your current shoelaces. My Chuck Taylor laces were about 40″ long, give or take. From your fabric, cut three strips that are 20″ long and 1″ wide. Why so much longer than the original measurement? I wanted a floppier bow on my shoes. If you don’t your laces to be long, simply cut two fabric strips instead of three.
Now we need to make all of strips into one continuous strip. Place the right sides of the fabric together and sew on your machine making a 1/4″ seam. Trim the excess fabric and press the seam open. (If you’re making longer laces, repeat this process for your remaining strips.)
When you have your one long strip, feed one end, wrong fabric side up, through the bigger end of the bias tape maker. Push the fabric in as far as you can. To push it all the way through, use a pin or tailor’s awl in the open grid on the top of the tape maker.
As you pull the end of your fabric through the small end of the bias tape maker, it should like the photo above. Take a quilter’s pin and pin the end down onto your ironing board.
With iron on a hot cotton setting, iron the small starter end you pulled out. Once you’ve done that, pull the tape maker with one hand (using the small metal loop attached to the top), and the iron in your other hand. Pull the maker slowly so that each section of the fabric is pressed well.
If you’ve never made vertical tape before, congratulations! You just did. But we’re not done yet.
Over at your sewing machine, fold the tape in half so that raw edges are folded in. Sewing slowly, sew a straight line down the center of your tape. This is a very small piece of fabric you’re working with, so take your time – it can get wiggly!
You’re almost done. Cut two 1-inch pieces of clear heat shrink wrap to act as aglets – thanks to Rachel for telling me the proper name for those! (If you buy a multi-pack of the shrink wrap, you should have one piece that should fit this size lace perfectly.) Place the lace inside the tube. With your heat tool, hold it directly over the tube and lace and watch as it quickly shrinks. WARNING: Never heat something on your cutting boards. In this photo the gun is off! Heat is deadly when it comes to cutting boards like this.
Grab your shoes and your new laces and get ready to lace – you’re all set! Now I’m off to give my shoes a good scrub…