Friday, May 30, 2014

Re-Covering Well-Loved Tom's

A few weeks ago my favorite pair of Tom's FINALLY got 2 little holes in each toe.  I've had "how to recover your Tom's" tutorials pinned for quite a while in anticipation of getting to customize my go-to casual shoes and was excited to give it a try.

I love projects where if you f*ck it up, who cares....because no matter what you do it's an improvement! This is entirely no sew, too!

(I searched on Pinterest and read several tutorials and did a little bit of this, a little bit of that from each one of them.)

What you'll need:

  • Iron on patches
  • Fabric-specific glue (I used some no-sew-hem glue I had laying around from my wedding....the almost 4 year old glue did just fine)
  • Well-loved Tom's
  • Scraps of fabric to recover
  • Scissors (pinking shears are really handy if you have them)
  • Straight pins
  • Old socks

First up, stuff the toes of your Tom's with some old socks, so you're working on a surface that somewhat resembles your foot in the shoe.  This is really important.  It took me a few socks to really round out the toe of the shoe.

Iron on the patches on any holes to give this recovering project some mileage.  I used these from Hob Lob:

Tom's stuffed with sock and patch ironed on.

Fold the fabric you want to recover the Tom's with in half.  The folded edge will go on the top of the shoe across your foot.  Folding it doubles up your fabric for a little extra strength and gives you a clean edge that won't fray.  Iron the fold to make your life easier.

It was really helpful for me to pin the the straight edge along that diagonal seam on the top of the shoe; this held it stable so I could fuss with the bottom bits of the fabric towards the sole of the shoe.

Pinned on fabric with folded edge along diagonal

I started gluing from the pinned top and worked my way down, holding up the fabric and squirting glue and spreading it around.  The toughest part is the toe, but don't worry!  The glue doesn't dry quickly so you can move things around if it isn't laying as nicely as you'd like.  

Fold the fabric at the toe.

At this point you're really just shaping the fabric to the shoe, gluing the fabric taunt on the shoe and pushing any excess fabric towards the bottom of the shoe.  It's more of an art than a science to be totally honest.  

Once you have it all situated, trim the excess fabric from the bottom right above the sole.  Flip the shoe around as needed; cutting from the outside worked for the sides of the shoe but when I got to the toe, cutting from underneath was best.  Start cutting on the sides and work your way towards the middle.  Pinking shears come in handy because the edge won't fray as much as a straight edge would.  After you trim the excess fabric, press that cut edge tightly to the shoe, adding more glue if needed to get the edges 100% secured.

  Cutting the excess fabric.

Once everything is all nicely trimmed and thoroughly glued, let it dry for at least 24 hours and/or according to the directions on the glue.  Your socks should still be in there to shape toe part of the shoe-this turned out to be more important than I thought.  I threw mine in the washing machine as soon as they were completely dry to see how they held up, and nothing budged-I was impressed!  I did notice as soon as I put them on that the glue seemed to contract the fabric in addition to the shoes shrinking their normal amount after being washed. I had to stretch them out a bit but an afternoon of wear took care of this no problem.

Total project cost?  $1.79 on the iron on patches, and I used 1 patch out of the pack of 8 or so.  I had the glue and the fabric laying around.  All in all, I am so glad my Tom's finally ripped, I am really happy with how they turned out!

Do you have any Tom's you plan on rescuing?