Thursday, August 23, 2012

D.I.Y. Ombre Espadrilles

I came back from the Keys and dove right into a little project I have been thinking of for awhile.  While out yesterday, picking up fall books, I scooted by JCrew and saw that the Soludos (espadrilles) for JCrew were on sale.  $14.95, down from $24, down from $39 dollars.  I have been wanting to try dying a pair all summer and at this price, how could I resist?  

I wasn't fully prepared to take the leap until I tried a few sample ideas on some similar scrap fabric I had.  I originally thought that I would do some kind of ikat print but when I tried that, and chevrons, stripes and ombre - it was the stripes and ombre that I thought came out the best.

It was very easy to do ... and fast.  I used a Tulip one-step dye kit that required minimal fuss.  The powder is already in the bottle - you add water and shake.  Ready to go.  When it came to my samples, I used a simple little brush and I liked that effect the most.  I threw on the ombre sample for the front and the stripe sample for the sides and thought it might work.  Worst case scenario - I would paint the hole thing with the dye.  I also slipped plastic wrap into the shoe to fill out folds to make it easier to paint and also to prevent the dye from running through the fabric.  (Note - I used such little dye on the brush that it never made it through the fabric.  Not even on the toes.)

1 - I stared with the toe and worked out.  The dye worked a little different on the shoes than in my sample but I got the hang of it before I ruined the first shoe.

2 - Once I liked the depth of the colour on the toe, I continued working layers of the dye so that I was almost just dry brushing the area around the top of the foot.

3 - I just went freehand with my stripes and even though they weren't perfect it all seems to work itself out when it dries.   In other words, the dye on canvas appears very forgiving.  My first stripe, the width of my brush (about a third of an inch) started at the middle of the foot where ombre layer finished.  I worked the stripes on one side to the heel, than began the stripes on the other side at the ombre layer and met the stripes up at the heel again, eyeballing so that the stripes were as even as possible.

4 - Once I had the general idea with one shoe I went on to the other with the exact same steps.

5 - I worked just a little dye with the brush and filled out any obvious imperfections and areas that didn't seem dark enough. 

I am not sure if I might use my steam iron tomorrow to set the dye.  The directions say to wash the garment after letting it set (wet and covered in plastic wrap) for 6 - 8 hours.  I applied this dry so that won't work.  I am going to let it dry for a few days then steam.  Hopefully the whole thing doesn't run in the rain ... I'll let you know if it does.  I tried wetting the samples and they ran just a little but they hadn't set for long, so we will see.

I kind of wished I started this project at the beginning of the summer.  I could have made a whole rainbow of colours but they wouldn't have been on sale ... and therefore I wouldn't have wanted to take a chance so maybe this is for the best.  It's August and I think there is still a little room for summertime crafting ... don't you?

I hope September is warm ... 


  1. I love the way your shoes turned out! What a great project.

  2. Thanks Kathi - I wore them last night for dinner out :)

  3. Oh me oh my...these are amazing!!! You always have the BEST ideas! Thank you so much for you have me wanting to find a pair of espadrilles! Thanks really have such specatular ideas. xoxox

  4. What a great idea! Simple and unique!

  5. Tracey,
    I think this is such a great idea and I love how they look! You took them from boring to a whole new place. So original : )


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