Get Crafty : Bandana Sandals

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Ignore the title - there's not a bandana in sight but the original bandana sandals from Arizona Love were what my fabric wrapped sandals were based on and "Fabric wrapped trekking sandals" doesn't have quite the same ring to it does it? Anyway, it's been a while since I've done a crafty post but I had a couple of queries asking how I made my little fabric wrapped trekking sandals on Instagram when I posted them on there so I thought for those of you up for the challenge, I'd give you some tips on how to make your own. This is not an out and out tutorial - it's just the basics and some of it you will have to fiddle with and work out - like how you like to tie the bows at the joining points.

What you will need.
  • Pair of black Teva like walking sandals / Teva Sandals
  • 0.25 to 0.5m of cotton fabric of your choice.
  • Needle and matching thread.

First of all, credit where it's due - I actually stumbled across this blog post at the beginning of the year when I decided I wanted a pair of Arizona Love sandals and then realised it was someone doing a tutorial on how to make their own version of them. I took the tips that I wanted from it and changed them to suit how I wanted my sandals to look and work.

The most fun bit is creating the fabric strips which you will be using to wrap around the straps of your sandals. These look best with the edges a little roughed up and to do this you need to tear the strips which is roughly the width of the sandal bands. I find the finished edge of the fabric and make a small cut.

The cardboard strip is the width of the sandal straps.

Then I hold the fabric either side of the cut and rip. You know like when you go to the fabric counter and you tell the lady how much you want and she measures out and then does a snip with the scissors and then she tears the fabric along the rip and your heart stops for a moment and you hold your breath? That's basically what you do. It is so so satisfying. If the strips are a little rumpled, just give them a little iron to make them a little easier to work with.

Don't be scared. Let rip(!)

Next adjust your bottom sandal strap near your toes to make sure they fit comfortably and velcro in to place. I've chosen to make this a fixed strap on my sandals rather than an adjustable one - you can keep it an adjustable strap - just see the instructions for how I sew the upper sandal strap.

I start wrapping from the big toe side working towards the triangle fastening. At the start, I like to secure the material with a few stitches.

Wrap the ribbon strips around the band but to avoid the strips moving with friction as you wear them, I add a few extra stitches under neath to secure the ribbon to the sandal strap. This is the simple way.

Or alternatively, you can sew the ribbon to the strap carefully disguising your stitching as you go along if you have time and patience. I've made a few pairs and have tried both methods and both work.

Leave a good amount of fabric when you get to the triangles as you will be using this to create the knotted ties. You basically need to repeat similar for the other strap bands on the sandals apart from the top velcro fastening one. Where the long pieces meet at the triangles, these are where you will be tying to create the "bows". Trim to required length after tying securely and make sure you wrap around the triangle fastenings for extra security.

Now the top band - you need to be able to use the velcro fastening but you want to keep the "wrapped fabric" appearance. To do this, create yourself a length of cardboard the length and width of the top strap. Wrap the fabric round on a slant as such.

Iron the wrapped fabric on the cardboard strip and then unravel from the cardboard.

And then reassemble it again (I used a running stitch along the length just to hold it in place) and you will lay this across the top strap. Pin to the strap to help you as stitch.

Now if you're a dab hand with the sewing machine, you can sew it to the strap but I didn't fancy my chances so I just handstitched it in to place, again hiding my stitches in amongst the pattern. I used black thread and my stitches hit where there was a black bit of pattern so they were camouflaged. Finish off neatly and make sure that everything is secured in to place.

If you look close up, you can see where the tiny stitches are.
I've finetuned this since I first did this.

That's essentially it. I also stared at a lot of Arizona Love images of their sandals to work out where they tied everything to recreate as close to their design as possible. In this case, I took the old saying of "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" to it's limit.

Additional Notes.

  • I used a Rose and Hubble print cotton for the leopard ones - this is the most easy to find online if you google Rose Hubble Leopard Fabric. I found mine on Ebay.
  • The floral fabrics I used for my sandals was a Liberty London remnant and I also used some recycled pink silk sari ribbon from eBay but changed my mind about using that (too girly for me) - hence why the sandals in the very first few pics are slightly different to the ones pictured going through the post.
  • The Teva style sandals were bought from Amazon. The ones I used were Riemot. There is another brand called Fitory who do very similar ones but the sizing on theirs was a bit hit and miss - I could have just been unlucky but I think they come up small.
  • Just work it out as you go - that's all I did. It took a few times and stitching and resewing till I was really happy with the finished result but then again ... I'm a perfectionist. 
  • Apologies for the quality of the photos, they were done on the fly on a dull February afternoon where I was racing against the light going.
  • Have fun!


  1. Such nimble fingers Sue! Well done you!

  2. Absolutely love it!!!! thank you so much for sharing and to answer all my questions . now just need to order some sandals and find the beautiful fabrics !!!!xxx

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Susie So So