Friday, July 5, 2013

Project: Fix the Flip Flops

My daughter received an adorable pair of size 3/4 baby flip flops for her birthday!

Super cute, right?  I thought so, too, but then I tried to put them on her.  She has incredibly high arches (thanks to her dad), and because of the way the plastic bends in at the toe divider, I couldn't get them on her feet!

The offending plastic toe divider

So, using my stash of yarn and a hook, I decided to fashion her a new top-part of the flip flop so I could adjust it for her high arches!  (You know the phrase "If all you have is a hammer,everything looks like a nail"?  this is what I think every time I fix something with crochet... "When all you have is a hook, all your problems can be solved with yarn".)

Materials Needed:
Cotton Yarn (I used Lily Sugar'n Cream Rose Pink)
G Hook for stitching, and a larger hook for drawing straps through sandal bottom
Tapestry Needle
Sewing Machine
1/4" Elastic
Coordinating thread (to match the elastic if desired)
Hot Glue Gun (and gluesticks!)
Waxed Paper

The first thing I did was cut off the existing straps by snipping off the round stoppers from the bottom of the sandal.

Snipping off the round stoppers from the bottom of the flip flops makes the plastic top come off easily.

There, easy peasy.  I saved the plastic strap parts for measuring in the upcoming step.

I had to stop and take a picture of my daughter trying to figure out what I was doing to her sandals that don't fit on her feet, because she is absolutely adorable.

Next, I measured how long I needed to make the top strap for the sandal.  I measured from end to end like so:

As you can see, my strap needs to be about 5" across. (Don't worry, I'll compensate for her high arches later in the process)

Now for the crocheting part.

These are the abbreviations I will use to describe my process:
Ch = Chain
SC = Single Crochet
Sl St = Slip Stitch
St = Stitch
Sk = Skip

Begin:  I Chained an odd number of stitches the length measured.  For me, my chain was 27 which measured the 5".  I marked the center two stitches with a stitch marker.

I will provide directions using a stitch count based on my original chain of 27.  You can adjust based on the number of original chains you have to make to get your length (don't worry, I am positive you can adapt this for your needs!)

Form the Foot Strap:
Row 1: SC in 2nd Ch from hook. SC in each of next 11 sts.  Sk 2 chs with marker in them.  SC in remaining 12 sts.

Row 1
Row 2: Ch 1, turn. 2 SC in first SC. SC in each of next 10 SC. Sk 2 SC. SC in next 10 SC. 2 SC in  last SC.

Form the Heel Strap:
Row 3: Ch 1, turn. Sl St in next 3 SC. SC in next 2 SC.

Row 3

Row 4 - 8: Ch 1, turn. SC in next 2 SC.  I determined this should be 8 rows based on the measurement of the existing strap.

Row 4

Measuring for Length
Measuring for Length
Row 9: Ch 3. Skip next st. Sl St in last SC. Fasten off, weave in ends.

Form the Second Heel Strap:
With right side facing, insert hook in fourth stitch from other side of foot strap.

Right side facing, insert hook into fourth stitch.
Ch 1 and SC in next 2 SC.  Repeat Rows 4 - 9 for the first heel strap, fasten off and weave in ends, and you now have a foot strap, and two heel straps!

Repeat Foot Strap, Heel Strap, and Second Heel Strap directions to make a top for your second flip flop.

Two Foot Straps with Attached Heel Straps Completed!

Before adding the ties to attach to the sandal, I attached elastic to the back of the heel straps to connect them.  Time to move from the couch to the sewing machine!

Crafting the Elastic Heel Straps

I cut two 1/4" elastics measuring 4".

With right side facing, I inserted 1" of the elastic into the Ch 3 space at the back of one heel strap.

Insert 1" of elastic end into Ch 3 space at end of heel strap.

Repeat for the other side being careful not to twist.

Being careful not to twist, repeat on other heel strap.
I folded the two 1" ends of elastic over the remaining 2" section, and put it all under the pressure foot of my sewing machine.  I set the stitch for a simple zig zag stitch to allow for easy stretching during wear.

Folding elastic ends in to meet each other, I sewed them using a zig zag stitch to retain elasticity. 

I removed it from my sewing machine and locked my stitches.

Remove from sewing machine and lock your stitches.
This is what the wrong side will look like when complete:

Completed "Wrong Side"

I did the same thing for the second strap, and it was now time to move from my sewing machine back to the couch to make the straps for attaching to the sandal.

Elastic attached, these are two completed heel and foot straps!

To begin the straps, I cut eight 8" lengths of the yarn.  I suggest you make yours at least 12" to make the attaching steps a LOT easier.

Cutting eight pieces of yarn for attaching straps.

With wrong side facing, insert larger hook into the 2 Chs skipped for Row 1.  Take two strands of the eight cut ones, fold in half, and draw up loops through the 2 Chs skipped for Row 1.

Insert hook into skipped chains for Row 1.

Take two strands of the eight cut ones, fold in half, and draw up loops through the 2 Chs skipped for Row 1.

Draw up loops.

Yarn over, pull through loops on hook.

Yarn over, pull through loops on hook.  

For the two side straps, with wrong side facing, insert hook between Row 1 and Row 2, take one strand of the cut yarn and draw up a loop. Yarn over, and draw through loop on hook.  

Completed foot & heel straps

I used the larger crochet hook to pull the strands through the holes in the sandal sole.   Be sure the right side is facing upwards!

I used the larger crochet hook to pull the strands through the holes in the sandal sole.

Repeat for other foot.  At this point, I picked up the soles of the sandals and the pieces I just finished and went to my kitchen table with my glue gun, glue sticks, waxed paper and my daughter.

Placing the foot/heel straps on my daughter, I measured where I should knot each strand underneath the sandal.  I was able to adjust the slack on the top of the sandal by where I placed the knot.  (See, I told you I would compensate for her arches!)

I put the straps on my daughter and marked where I wanted each strap to fall.

When I had all the strands nice and knotted to where I wanted them, I lifted the knots, and put a blob of hot glue in each hole, and tugged the knot into place.  

Each strap knotted on bottom.

Once set, I cut the excess yarn strands and filled the rest of the holes on the sole with hot glue.  I pressed it onto waxed paper to be sure the sole of the sandal remained flat and let this cool.

I used the wax paper to press the glue filed holes flat.

Then I removed the wax paper...

New bottom of sandal.

...and placed the sandals on my daughter!  The elastic heel strap is awesome - she actually couldn't tug the shoe off.

She's not scarred really, it was the only picture that came out in focus.  The ones of her smiling and wiggling were blurry.

Completed Sandals

All in all I am very pleased.  The sandals didn't go to waste, and now she can wear them without tugging them off!

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