Learn how to make cute & comfy espadrilles with DIY jute crochet soles & vegetable-tanned leather soles from scratch! All you need for these DIY espadrille shoes are natural materials: You don’t need glue or plastic!
These DIY espadrille shoes are quick and easy to make! And they’re so comfy to wear! 😀 And what’s best, the DIY espadrilles don’t take long to make: You can make these cute DIY rope soled espadrilles in a couple of hours.
DIY Shoes Made With Natural Materials – No Glue & No Plastic!
All you need to make your DIY shoes are natural materials: You don’t need glue, plastic, cork filler or other non-natural materials of most modern shoes.
To make these DIY espadrilles you only need:
- jute twine
- vegetable-tanned leather
- cotton or linen fabric scraps
- cotton yarn
- linseed oil
Improved DIY Espadrilles
A couple of years ago, I’ve already made DIY espadrilles: I made the fabric uppers with mint green denim fabric scraps. But I used store-bought espadrilles soles. The uppers were comfortable. The store-bought soles, however, were very uncomfortable! So I decided to throw away the soles, make DIY espadrilles soles and reuse the fabric uppers.
Related: DIY Espadrilles – The Before
Don’t Use Cork For The Soles!
I’d also been experimenting with cork soles for my DIY shoes. But let me save you trouble and time: Don’t use cork for the soles! 😉 Cork isn’t durable and flexible enough for shoe soles. After wearing the shoes for a while one of the cork soles broke in the middle because cork isn’t flexible enough. By the way, the cork filler in modern store-bought shoes is also what wears out first!
Related: DIY Espadrilles With Cork Soles
So for these improved DIY espadrilles I made leather soles with vegetable tanned leather instead. And for the insoles I made DIY crochet soles with jute twine.
Vegetable-Tanned Leather Vs. Chrome-Tanned Leather
Most shoes today are made of chrome-tanned leather because it’s much cheaper and faster to produce. Vegetable-tanned leather, on the other hand, takes longer to produce and is therefore more expensive. But it’s so worth the extra money! 😉 Vegetable-tanned leather is less toxic for the environment than chrome-tanned leather. In addition, vegetable-tanned leather is much more durable and long-lasting than chrome-tanned leather. And you can make vegetable-tanned leather soles even more durable with linseed oil!
Linseed Oil For Leather Soles
Linseed oil is traditionally used to make leather soles durable and waterproof.
Leather ‘soles need to be hard, tough, and impervious to water. The first thing to be done with any pair of new shoes, is to set each one on a platter or a dinner-plate, and pour on boiled linseed-oil sufficient to fill the vessel to the upper edge of the soles. Allow the leather to absorb as much oil as it will for eight hours. […] If the shoes be sewed, the linseed oil will preserve the thread from rotting.’ (A Dictionary Of Every-Day Wants, 1872)
How To Make DIY Espadrilles From Scratch
- vegetable tanned leather (2-3mm thick)
- jute twine (or other plant fibers)
- fabric for the uppers
- cotton or linen sewing thread
- hand sewing needle
- crochet hook
- linseed oil
Make A Pattern For The Uppers
There are 3 ways to make a pattern for the uppers:
- You can either take off a pattern of a well fitting shoe.
- Or you can use a commercial sewing pattern.
- Or you can drape a piece of paper or scrap fabric over your feet and draw lines were you want your uppers to end and then cut along the lines.
Crochet The Insoles With Jute Twine
I used jute twine for my DIY crochet soles. However, you can also use other plant fibers. Raffia, linen twine, nettle fibers, rushes or tree bast fibers (like lime bast) probably also work to make crochet soles for your DIY espadrilles. You can experiment with different fibers you have at home or can gather in nature and see what you like best.
Crochet two soles using my free DIY crochet sole pattern or some other sole pattern. Depending on the thickness of the twine, you can crochet two or three twines together for thicker soles. I doubled the jute twine for these crochet espadrilles soles.
Make the crochet soles as big or small to fit your feet: You can increase or decrease the size of your DIY crochet soles by crocheting more or less rows of crochet stitches.
One DIY jute crochet espadrille sole is enough for each shoe. But you can also make extra comfy and thick soled espadrilles and crochet two jute soles for each DIY shoe. After crocheting, sew two DIY crochet espadrilles soles together along the edges with overhand stitches and jute twine.
Related: How To Make A Straw Hat From Scratch
Make The Leather Soles
Cut out two leather soles the same size as your crochet soles. It’s best to use vegetable-tanned leather for the soles because vegetable-tanned leather is so much sturdier and durable than chrome-tanned leather. After treating vegetable-tanned leather soles with linseed oil, even thin soles are incredibly sturdy, robust and durable! 😀
Sew Crochet Soles And Leather Soles Together
Sew the DIY jute crochet soles and the leather soles together with long running stitches and jute twine. Don’t space the running stitches too close together or the leather could tear.
Make The Uppers
Using your pattern, cut the uppers out of sturdy fabric like cotton denim, sturdy linen fabric etc. Then finish the raw edges of the uppers:
- You can either bind the raw edges with bias binding.
- Or you can sew two uppers with the right sides together, turn it inside out and finish the last seam by hand.
- Or if you prefer a frayed look: sew one or two rows of stitching around the uppers to prevent further fraying. Then fray the edges.
For these DIY espadrilles I used a combination of the second and third option.
Sew The Uppers To The Soles
Pin the uppers to the soles. Then sew the uppers to the soles with buttonhole stitches and cotton yarn.
Add A String
Add a string to tie your espadrilles. You can either use a piece of ribbon or crochet or braid a string. For my DIY summer shoes I made a 6-strand braid with cotton yarn.
Thread the string through the back only, or through the back and front of your DIY espadrilles – like I did – to tie your espadrilles.