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Embroidered Sugar Skull Shoes

You can also view this tutorial on my blog, The Dare Project

Embroidered Skull Shoes

Okay, so this is a teeny bit late for Dia de los Muertos, but you know how it goes with toddlers. Sugar skulls are all over the place at the moment and they have a special place in my heart as a South Texas gal. So there’s no reason not to rock these cute flats year round. And best of all, these cost me a grand total of €8!

They are so easy to make and transform plain shoes (or old shoes that could use a new life) into something unique. I picked up these wine coloured flats at Dunnes for €8. All the other supplies where already in my craft stash. Here’s what you need:

  • a pair of shoes ready to make awesome
  • pattern (I used this Sublime Stitching pattern as a template, but pared it back considerably for size and to maintain a limited colour palette)
  • pencil or transfer pen
  • Muslin or canvas fabric (I cut up a freebie canvas bag from an event I attended)
  • Small embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery floss (I raided my floss box to get colours to complemented the shoes)
  • Needle
  • Scissors (small and sharp if you can get them)
  • Multi purpose craft glue (I used Dovecraft, make sure the glue you use can work with fabric and the material of your shoes)

Start by determining the size of your embroidered design by cutting out a piece of paper and positioning it on your shoe. Then print or designing your pattern to your desired size. Depending on your preference, you can either use a transfer pencil draw directly onto the fabric mark your design. Because my fabric was light, I could trace over my pattern.

Begin by embroidering the outline with four strands of floss in a split stitch. Use two strands of floss for all the work inside the skull. Do all your detail inside next, using a running stitch or chain stitch as you prefer for the dark outline and satin stitch for the nose and flowery eyes. Finally use short and long stitches to fill the rest of your design, but keep the stitches small to prevent snagging when you wear your shoes. All this stitching will help make your design stiff, similar to those sweet iron on patches you used to have as a kid.

Now you’re done with your stitching carefully cut it out, using the smallest and sharpest scissors. Be careful not to cut into your stitches in the front or back of your design. Slow and steady now. Check out your positioning once again and get ready to glue. Squeeze a blob of glue in the centre and carefully spread it out towards the edges. Position your embroidered piece on your shoe and lightly press from the centre out. If some glue squeezes out, clean it up right away so that it doesn’t stain your shoes. Leave to dry for 24 hours (or as recommended by your glue). If your shoes are thin enough, use a running stitch to secure the edges.

That’s it. I promise it’s really easy. Even a baby could do it! Actually, I don’t recommend letting little hands assist in this project. But you tell Alex he can’t do something! What do you think? Any alternative motifs you’d like try or other uses for the fabulous sugar skull pattern? I’m thinking cushions might be in my future.

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