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Covering Flats in Fabric - Cross Stitch Edition

Covering a pair of flats with cross stitch and cotton has been one of my favorite projects of the year. I had attempted this project in the past, but the final result was a fail because the shoes ended up not wearable. Previously, I had covered the shoes entirely with linen, and the linen was way too thick and rubbed too much on my feet whenever I tried to wear the shoes from my first attempt. That is why in this version, I covered the toe part of a pair of flats with cross stitch linen and the rest of the shoe with cotton.

I've am giving step by step instructions below. If you get confused by any step, feel free to ask for clarification in the comment section at the bottom of the page.

DIY flats covered with cross stitchThe step by step instructions to make these flats are given below.

linen cross stitch flats This is the example of what not to do. DO NOT cover the whole shoe with linen because they will not be comfortable enough to wear.


Supplies needed to cover flats with cross stitch and cotton

  • Pair of flats - use an old pair, or maybe buy a cheap pair from Walmart
  • Outdoor Mod Podge - the outdoor Mod Podge can handle occasionally getting wet if you end up accidentally wearing your cross stitch covered flats in the rain a few times
  • Cross stitch on linen, aida, or evenweave - enough to cover the toe portion of the flats
  • Cotton fabric
  • Fabric scissors that you don't mind if they get glue on them
  • Detail Knife
  • Brush or sponge to apply the Mod Podge

  supplies to make cross stitch flats

To start off, you need to cross stitch two pieces of linen, aida, or evenweave. You do not want to cross stitch a piece any larger than the toe area on your pair of flats because it won't fit properly if it is too big, and you will have to cut off the excess anyway. To help myself determine when to stop stitching, I took a piece of scrap fabric and traced the size of the toe part of my shoe on it. I then cut out the area I traced, and occasionally laid this piece of cotton across my stitching to make sure I didn't stitch anything bigger than the piece of scrap cotton. Once I was happy with what I cross stitched, which was a portion of the pattern R-Kade by Long Dog Samplers. I sewed the linen I cross stitched on to a piece of cotton. Make sure the final piece of linen and cotton will be able to cover your whole shoe.

cotton and linen sewn to get for cross stitch flats

Iron the fabric once it is sewn together.  

ironed fabric for flats covered with cross stitch

Now we are going to start applying the fabric to the pair of flats. Start by laying one of your pieces of fabric across a shoe with the fabric roughly where you want the fabric on the shoe. Take you scissors and cut down the middle starting at the back. Stop a little before the very front of the foot hole of the shoe. In other words, do not cut the fabric that will cover the toe part of the shoe.

starting to cover flats with cross stitch

Apply a generous amount of Mod Podge to the toe of your shoe.

  applying mod podge to top of flats

Lay the part of your fabric that you want to be on the toe part of the shoe on the Mod Podge, and then move it around and position it exactly were you want it. The fabric will be easy to move around while the Mod Podge is wet.

put linen on mod podge on toe of shoe

Apply Mod Podge down one side of the shoe.

continue to apply mod podge to side of shoe

Lay down the cotton onto the Mod Podge and reposition as needed, and then apply Mod Podge on the other side of the shoe, and lay down the cotton onto the Mod Podge on that side too.

cotton and cross stitch linen of shoe with mod podge

Trim the cotton that is near the center of the shoe where the foot goes. You will want to leave about a half of an inch of fabric from where the edge of the shoe is to the edge of the fabric.

trimming fabric on cross stitch shoe

For the back of the shoe, apply Mod Podge on one edge of the fabric just past the middle point of the back of the shoe, and then fold the other edge over and position the fold to be right in the middle of the back of the shoe. Use the Mod Podge to glue the two pieced down, and cut off excess fabric during this process to make sure the back fold isn't bulky.

folding fabric on back of cross stitch shoe

Cut the fabric in the center of the shoe into strips. You do not want to cut right up to the fabric of the shoe because we don't want the cut marks in the shoe to be visible when the shoe is worn. The tabs we are cutting will be glued to the inside of the shoe.  

trimming fabric on cross stitch shoe

Use the Mod Podge to glue the tabs of fabric to the inside of the shoe.  

fabric glued on the inside of the cross stitch shoe

Using your scissors and detail knife, trim all excess fabric from the bottom of the shoe. You want your cross stitched fabric and cotton to end right where the rubber of the bottom of the shoe starts. Detail knives do not cut through linen very well, so you may need to use your scissors to cut the linen (or aida or evenweave). Also, to get the rounded front of the shoe to look good, you may need to keep pushing down creases that form in the fabric until it lays flat. If any of the fabric isn't sticking to the fabric of the shoe, use more Mod Podge to glue it down.  

trim fabric at bottom of cross stitch shoe

Cover all the fabric we applied to the shoe (including the tabs on the inside of the shoe) with a nice coat of Mod Podge.  

apply coat of mod podge all around cross stitch shoe

Repeat all the steps on the second shoe of the pair. Make sure to let the shoes dry for a couple days, and then wear them around and enjoy!  

completed cross stitch flats cross stitch flats side angle view Top view of cross stitch flats cross stitch flats on pavement 

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope to see pairs of cross stitch flats floating around Facebook in the future.   If you have any questions or comments, be sure to leave them down below in the comment section. 


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