Lace on shoes resized

Seek Vintage's $59 Lace Cutout Oxford (left) and REPORT's $90 Amberr hiking boot

Big initial M

A few months ago, Destiny started drooling over leather shoes and boots that were partially covered with lace. This creates a whole different look than covering a shoe completely — and it's easier! In the two pairs above, you get a wonderful contrast between the natural leather (tough, outdoorsy, unadorned) and the white lace (bridal, delicate).

So when Destiny started to drool, I went into our ever-fruitful shoe stash and found a pair of natural leather booties in Destiny's size that would be perfect for embellishing with lace. 

Lace bootie collage resizedThey were designed with several interesting seam lines, giving us a choice of which areas to cover and which to leave alone.

Next we rooted around in our embellishment stash and found some beautiful cream-colored lace. One of the great things about covering shoes with lace is that you can choose top-quality lace because you only need a tiny bit!

UltimateThe other great things about lace are that it doesn't ravel and it stretches — even if it's not stretch lace. Both of these factors make it easier to work with than woven fabric. 

Here's what you need to try this (other than the boots…): Some patience, a pencil, frosty Scotch tape, small sharp scissors, the right glue, and some trim to cover the raw edges of the lace after it's glued down.

Start by rough-cutting a piece of lace large enough to cover the area you want to work on first. I usually choose an area that includes a straight line. Then hold the lace over that part of the shoe, matching up the straight lines and taping that edge of the lace firmly in place. Now gently test-stretch the rest of the lace to see if it will exend far enough to cover the area you have chosen. If so, let go of the lace and proceed.

Lace booties-001 edited

Press the lace flat against the surface of the shoe and use your pencil to lightly draw a line on the lace where you want to cut it (usually, that's either over one of the seamlines or along the edge of the sole). Cut the lace along that line, then tape the newly cut edge in place.

Lace bootie scotch taping 1

Below is a series of photos of me doing the toe area. It's a sequence of taping (or in some cases, clamping), cutting, stretching and repeating. (I don't bother marking the line with a pencil anymore, I just cut!) In some pictures, I use a rubber band to hold the lace in position, in others just tape (or clamps).

Lace booties-004

Lace booties-006

Lace booties-007

Once I have two sides of the lace cut to the correct size and shape, I usually stop and glue them down. For this project, I used The Ultimate glue, which is white but dries clear. It doesn't get crusty over time, either. The only drawback is that it isn't real sticky, which means you have to figure out how to hold the lace in place while the glue fully dries (or gets tacky enough to hold the lace in place on its own). 

Lace booties-009 glue and clamp

 I use a combination of clamps and rubber band. (The little frosty squares are pieces of a glue mat, to keep the glue from sticking to the clamp or rubber bands. You don't have this problem if you are gluing solid fabric to shoes, but with the lace, the glue just seeps through.)

Roughly glued edges of lace booties

If you have to stretch the lace a lot to cover a curved area, here is what the glued edge might look like. No, it's not perfect — and that's okay. We will address that later. The goal right now is to get all the lace glued in place. 

Lace booties-013

Lace booties-015

Once you have two sides of the lace firmly glued down, it's much easier to stretch the rest over the area you want to cover. 

Destiny's lace bootie -014

Continue stretching, taping, marking, cutting, and gluing until you have the whole area covered. Repeat until all the areas you want to cover are done. (I told you it would take some patience, but it actually goes pretty fast.) And the results are great.

The last two steps for this pair of booties are to glue down the trim and add a ruffle around the topline of the bootie — Destiny's last-minute design addition.  I'll show you how to do that in Part II of this post. In the meantime, here's a peek at the finished product with the trim and ruffle in place.

Destiny's lace bootie -057

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