How to Customize Your Flip-Flopscomments (7) June 28th, 2013
by Anna Mazur
I spend every spare moment I can in my beloved state of Hawaii, and my footwear of choice is, of course, the flip-flop. Here, I'll show you how to make a custom pair. I know it sounds like a job for a cobbler, but you'll see that the construction process is so easy anyone can do it. All you need to do is purchase an inexpensive jelly flip-flop (found at any discount or beach store), dismantle it, and then build it from the base up, as shown in the instructions below.
What you'll need:
Jelly flip-flops, thong style
2mm-thick foam sheets (Michaels.com)
Decor-Bond Craft Iron-On Backing (Joann.com)
Binder clips and awl
Thread, scissors, rotary cutter and mat
Sewing machine and thread
Dismantle the flip flop
Select a jelly flip-flop in a color that coordinates with your chosen fabric. You can just add straps to a jelly base, as shown in the pink flip flop at left, or you can cover the bottom with a custom insole, as described here.
1) Remove the top. Cut off the straps and remove the plugs, being careful not to damage the holes in the soles.
2) Trace off the sole. Place the soles on a foam sheet and trace around them. Cut them out, making sure to cut inside the traced line so the foam does not extend past the sole.
Install a comfy insole
For comfort, add an inner sole made of spongy foam, and cover it with the fabric of your choice.
With lightweight or drapey fabrics, you may want to interface with Decor-Bond first.
1) Cut a fabric cover. Place the foam insoles on the wrong side of your fabric and trace around with your pen. Add 3/4-inch allowance all around, then cut out the fabric.
2) Prepare the curves. Staystitch in the inner and outer arches 1⁄8 inch away from the traced line. Clip to the staystitching. Gather the toe and heel: Baste 1⁄4 inch away from the traced line and again 1⁄8 inch away from the first. Pull up the gathering stitches.
3) Wrap and glue the fabric. Place the foam on the wrong side of the fabric. Wrap all cut edges to the backside and hold in place with binder clips. With the fabric side facing up, topstitch through all layers 1⁄4 inch from the edge. Glue the sole with contact cement.
Make the fabric straps
Anything is possible when it comes to fabric selection for the straps: silk charmeuse, leather, twill, dupioni.
You can also use ribbons of various widths, twill tape, even cotton webbing. And feel free to embellish the straps.
1) Sew a fabric tube. Cut a 5- by 17-inch strip along the straight grain. Fold wrong sides together, and sew the long edge with a 1/2- inch seam allowance. Turn right side out. Cut a 1 1/2- by 10-inch bias strip for the loop between-the-toes. Sew into a tube and turn.
2) Make holes for the straps. From the underside sole, poke holes through the insole using an awl. Cut tiny slits through the insole, and brush with Fray Check. Fold the strap in half, and add the bias loop over the center, as shown. Pull tight until the loop pinches out the tie.
3) Knot and secure with glue. Thread the straps' raw ends into the toe hole. Try on the flip-flop and adjust for comfort; knot on the bottom. Thread the other two ends into the other holes and knot them. Trim the ends. Fill the cavities around the knots with craft cement. Let dry.
excerpted from "Flippity Flops" in Quick Stuff to Sew, Spring 2008, p. 72-73