Tag Archives: DIY

DIY Shoelaces

If you have leftover 2 1/2″ strips, sometimes it can be tough to figure out to fit them in with another big project. Maybe you only have 4 or 5 strips leftover, maybe none of them match, maybe they’re a color you don’t typically like in your quilts. Whatever the reason, we have a fabulous project to help use up those leftover 2 1/2″ strips: DIY shoelaces!

Aren’t these just adorable? Shoelaces are shockingly simple to make, easy to customize and extremely fun to make for loved ones! Let’s jump right in:

First, we need to gather up supplies. In this tutorial, we’ll be making shoelaces that are 3/8″ wide. Madison, our Connecting Threads Marketing Coordinator and sewing superstar, made multiple sizes and we’ll have more information about that at the end of this post. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll be talking specifically about the 3/8″ inch wide shoelace.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 full length 2 1/2″ strips
    • It’s ok if they don’t match! Who says shoelaces have to match?!
  • Transparent Heat Shrink Tubing or Shoelace Aglets of your choice
    • In this tutorial, we’re using this set of pre-cut heat shrink plastic tubing, because they’re perfect for DIY shoelaces!
    • If you’re using heat shrink tubing, you’ll need a heat source to shrink the plastic. We suggest an iron with the ability to steam, a hair dryer or a heat gun.
    • Looking for a more polished finish? Try these DIY Metal Aglets, which don’t require a special tool to install!
  • Bias Tape Maker ¾” (optional)
    • You don’t need to use a bias tape maker, but it’s highly suggested for such small strips. Trust us, it’ll save your fingertips from getting burnt by your iron!
  • Basic sewing supplies
    • Thread
    • Rotary Cutter
    • Ruler
    • Cutting mat
    • Wonder clips or pins
    • Sewing Machine


These were made using a fabric from the Frost and Flourish collection, which is still available as 2 1/2″ strips!

Basic Instructions:

1. Grab your first leftover 2 1/2″ strip and put it on your cutting mat. We’ll be sizing this strip down to 1.5”. Keep it folded in half, to make cutting easier.

2. Line up a ruler, preferably one that’s at least 24” long, with the longest edge of your strip. You want to cut away the pinked edge along one side of your strip (shown in left image). Before you make your cut, line up the fold of your strip to the short edge of your ruler. This will ensure that your strip is straight and your cut line is perpendicular to your fold (shown in right image).

3. Flip over your strip and line up your newly cut straight edge with the 1.5” mark on your ruler. You should now have a 1.5” wide strip!

4. To prep your strip for the bias tape maker, I highly recommend you cut one edge of your strip at a 45 degree angle. This makes it easier to push the strip through the bias tape maker. It also helps to have a ruler with a 45 degree marked line, like you can see in the photos below. You line up the long edge of your strip with the 45 degree marker and slice off a corner.

5. Now we feed your strip into the bias tape maker. Take the pointed end that you just created, wrong side up, and start pushing it into the widest end of the bias tape maker. It can take a little finagling, so don’t worry if you have a tough time at first! One way to help coax the fabric into moving is to take a thin, sharp object (like this Clover Curved Awl) You’ll know you’re successful when you see that pointed tip peek out the end – once you do, give it light tug to start the process.

6. As you start to pull your strip through, you’ll see the bias tape maker doing its job. It will create two folds which you’ll want to iron down. I like to press my iron down onto the folded strip, pull the bias tape maker back to create more tape, then iron the next section. It’s best to go slow and steady here.

7. Once you’ve pulled your entire strip through the bias tape maker, you have one last ironing step: you’ll need to fold the entire strip it in half. You’re basically hiding those raw edges inside your new fold!

8. Now your shoelace is ready to be sewn. I suggest either pinning or using wonder clips to keep your bias tape folded as you sew. Once it’s secured, you’ll sew as close to the open edge as you can – for me, it was about 1/8”. Sew along the entire long edge of your shoelace.

I’m using Superior Threads’ Metallic Red Thread, just for a shiny and fun addition!

9. Trim one end of your shoelace. Grab your plastic tubing and trim it into two short pieces – mine were about 1”. Fold one end of your shoelace in half to help shimmy it into a piece of tubing. Leave just a tiny overhang of plastic tubing, seen below.

10. Grab your heat source and start it up – I’m using a heat gun. Point it directly at the plastic tubing and begin heating it up. You should see it start to shrink within just a few seconds! Rotate your tubing and make sure to heat all sides until it cinches around the fabric.

11. Optional: I found that, directly after you turn your heat source off, pinching the overhang of plastic helps create a tighter end to your shoelace. Then you can trim off the excess.

12. Before you repeat the plastic tubing process with your other shoelace end, this is a great time to check the length. If you know exactly how long you need it to be, you can measure it now. If you aren’t sure, I suggest lacing it up into your favorite shoes to see how long it’ll need to be. Once you’ve trimmed off the second end, repeat the plastic tubing process.

13. Voilà, you have a finished shoelace! Start back up at Step 1 and repeat this whole process for your second shoelace. Now that you’ve got a pair, lace up your favorite shoes and you’ll be delighted with how lovely they look!

These shoelaces are made from the Elemental Illusions collection, specifically the Modern Basket Weave fabric.

Embroidery Hoop

Featured Tool: Embroidery Hoop by Clover, Item #82034, 82035 

What is this tool typically used for?

Keeping your fabric taut while you embroider. There is both a small (4-3/4″) and large (7″) size.

Upon first glance, what were your initial thoughts?

It has a very sturdy appearance; it’s made of thick plastic with a bulky, metal screw.

How did you use it?

I loosened the metal screw to separate the two hoops, which left me with an inner and an outer hoop. Then, I placed my fabric evenly over the inner hoop. The outer hoop was placed around the inner hoop and I pulled my fabric to tighten it. I adjusted the screw to keep the hoops and fabric tight and in place. Once it was set up, I was able to embroider a design onto the fabric.

How long did it take you to learn how to use it?

It took no time at all to learn to use. It is used exactly like any other embroidery hoop except it is sturdier and more solid.

What did you like best?

I liked how easy it was to tighten the screw, it is a very large metal screw. And I liked how it kept my fabric very secure and in place.

What did you like the least?

I was hesitant to use a plastic hoop, because I thought the fabric would slip – but it did not! I liked everything about this embroidery hoop.

Why do you NEED a Clover Embroidery Hoop?

You need it because it takes out all the problematic tension issues I’ve experienced with inferior hoops. It also made transporting my embroidery work easy because I could throw it in my bag and not worry about the hoop falling apart. It kept my work in place and very secure.

Who would appreciate a Clover Embroidery Hoop most?

These are perfect for:

  • Embroiderers
  • Someone acquiring the basics

Vintage Quilt Mending, Part 1

I swear I'm only 5'2"

I swear I’m only 5’2″

The sewists and quilters in my family have always been practical women: The mentality of “Make things you can use or wear, or don’t make them at all!” is pretty close to the mantra they all held and hold…one I also carry with me.

This quilt my great grandma made was and still is no exception to that mentality! It’s actually unclear when exactly she made it, but I do know my dad received it from her when he was quite young and I inherited it this year. I also know it’s much older than me by at least 10 years and I’m 29. I can remember countless moments growing up when I would lug it out of the closet to wrap up in or pulling it off my parents’ bed in the wintertime.


Our schnauzer Riley likes to be involved!

 As you can see, it’s a scrappy log cabin quilt tied to finish made with all sorts of different fabrics in true scrappy fashion, with a fair amount of hand stitching.


Herringbone embroidery and a sailboat!

The backing is the most luxurious blue velvet, I can’t believe how soft it still is after at least 40 years. Due to the fabrics used, it has an amazing weight to it that you can’t help but want to cozy up with.

I just adore so many of the fabric choices found in the panels:








But all the cozying and wallowing is bound to take its toll on any sewn item, let alone a supple queen sized quilt.





Since most of the disrepair is panels themselves getting threadbare, I have more options than if entire panels just came off (which actually is the case with another even older quilt from when my dad was a child.)

I could replace the panels with new fabrics, probably with some nice hand-stitching… deciding the fabrics would be quite daunting in and of itself!

But, I could also mock up some era-appropriate embroidery to simultaneously mend and embellish this quilt.

I could also do a combination of both concepts with or without appliqué.

So many choices!

Stay tuned for my next installment where I discuss the designs and decisions I will have made by then.