Brighten up your beloved canvas sneakers for the summer months with an easy and quick fabric appliqué. Customize your sneakers with a matching fabric or bold print to disguise stained areas or add a pop of color. The hardest part is choosing your fabric, but this Summer Sneaker DIY is so easy that you can swap out the appliqué to match any outfit!
Paper and Pencil
Ruler or Measuring Tape
For this demonstration, I will appliqué a canvas sneaker that has a tongue; however, any kind of canvas sneaker will do. The appliqué can be placed on any canvas surface of the sneaker.
First, unlace the shoes and set the laces aside; now would be a great opportunity to wash the winter grime off of them. To create a template, place paper over the tongue of the sneaker and use a pencil to carefully trace the shape of the tongue.
Remove the paper template, and around that shape, draw a larger outline that is just one half-inch larger in every direction than the previous template. This extra half-inch will later be folded back. Cut out the new template and fold your fabric in half. Place the template on the folded fabric and cut, creating two appliqués.
Lay your fabric pieces face down. Fold back that extra half-inch and smooth the crease with your finger or an iron. This will hide any raw, fraying edges of the fabric.
Place this fabric appliqué face up on the tongue of the sneaker, aligning the bottom edge of the appliqué with the top edge of the rubber sole. Thread the needle, and knot the end. Bring the needle up through the bottom corner of the appliqué, and pull the thread through so that the knot is hidden underneath the appliqué.
Slide the needle horizontally underneath about a quarter-inch of the canvas, and pull the thread through. Bring the needle back up, and horizontally slide it through the folded edge of the appliqué, picking up about a quarter-inch of fabric.
Repeat this process until the bottom edge of the appliqué has been attached, securing the thread with a knot on the outside of the shoe. To keep your stitches extra secure, bring the needle through the underside of the tongue, and make another knot.
Smooth the rest of the appliqué over the tongue. Begin stitching from halfway up the side of the tongue. When you get to the curve at the top of the tongue, fold down little sections of fabric on the underside of the tongue, and secure them with stitches. Knot the thread when you have sewn the whole appliqué, and voilà!
To add a fun punch of color, you can appliqué the vertical strip of fabric at the back of your sneakers.
Photos courtesy of Gabriela Salvador