You may remember me mentioning a while ago in my Sewing & Crocheting Plans post that I wanted to crochet a pair of sandals. Or you may have even seen them in progress in my latest Vintage Crochet Projects Podcast. Either way, I’m happy to report that they’re now all finished and thoroughly wearable. Yay!
The pattern I used was a Weldon’s pattern from the late 1930s or early 1940s. I purchased it as a PDF from Vintage Ali Patterns on Etsy and thankfully it was just a scan of the original leaflet and not a re-typed version as you sometimes get. The reason I say ‘thankfully’ is because the pattern doesn’t say which size thread to use, but rather has images of the thread that you lie your thread on top of for comparison. Therefore the pattern must be printed out exactly the same size as the original leaflet, otherwise you’d end up using completely the wrong size thread. I chose to do the striped version of the pattern and used a DMC Petra size 5 crochet thread in navy and white, which was pretty much spot on for size.
And here they are! I’m almost happy with them, but if I was going to make them again I would leave off the first white stripe over the toes to leave it more open. I also wouldn’t make the main part quite as wide. It flaps a little bit at the front and doesn’t look at delicate as the ones in the original pattern. What I’m going to do to combat this on these ones is sew down the very end of the main section to the sole. Currently it’s left open as per the instructions, but it doesn’t really do anything helpful. Therefore, by closing it up it will stretch the fabric a little bit and be less flappy over the toes.
The fabric itself was created by crocheting three strands of thread at the same time. This made the finished pieces nice and stiff, which stops it from stretching when walking. I know this is a problem other people have encountered when crocheting shoes or sandals. However, working with three threads at the same time, and quite a small hook, meant that it was really hard on your hands and wrists and I did have to take a rest from them every now and again. Even so, these 1930s crochet sandals were super quick to make up, which was a great relief after how long my 1930s peach cardigan took me!
I chose to attach the pieces to a pair of low heel espadrille soles, which I purchased from Espadrille Craft on Etsy. They were quite costly, £14.50 plus £7 postage (they came from Spain) but they’re incredibly good quality. The bottoms have proper moulded rubber soles attached and they’re extremely weighty. I was worried that they’d be too heavy for the crochet but they’re absolutely fine. I did order some leather insoles to add to them but they really weren’t necessary as the jute isn’t itchy at all.
Espadrille Craft provided a very helpful needle to sew the different sections with. It’s very much like a yarn needle, nice and thick, but it has an extremely sharp point. It was perfect to sewing everything together, although I did end up with quite a few scratches and pin marks afterwards. I really should go more careful!
They actually fit really well, despite me being worried that the soles were too short. The ties did end up rather longer than the ones in the original pattern but they can easily be tied at the front. This in a way is better because I know immediately if they do ever come undone. The sandals do stay on really well, though, so I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out eventually.
Would I make another pair? You betcha! I’d defintiely make the adjustments I mention above but they would be fantastic in so many colours. I could even do plain ones or mess about with the design a little bit to have a motif in the centre. Ooo, I could even embroider on to them. Now there’s a thought! Anyway, the choices are endless. I’m not sure I’d spend quite so much on the soles next time, although wedge ones are extremely hard to get in the UK. 🙁
Pattern: 1930s Crochet Sandals from Vintage Ali Patterns on Etsy
Yarn: DMC Petra in White (B5200) and Navy Blue (5823) – about a third of a ball of each – from The Yarn Yard Online
Hook: 2mm steel hook
Soles: 5 cms heel espadrille soles from Espadrille Craft
Total cost: £25.90