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Interchangeable Flip-Flop Back Straps

 

We have a love/hate relationship with flip-flops this year.
Flip flops are easy, comfy, super cheap, washable, and easy for the little ones to put on themselves.
Therefore, we love them.
However, my 4 year old girl just outgrew the toddler flip-flops with the added stretchy strap around the back.  (At least at Old Navy she has.)  So we had to buy her regular flip-flops, figuring if the stores say she’s old enough to keep them on her feet……..then she must be old enough to keep them on her feet.
Who am I kidding??  She’s only 4.  Well maybe age has nothing to do with it and she’s just not as skilled as the Old Navy designers think she should be.  That girl flips those things off constantly, trips on them as they shift, and is constantly hopping on one foot as we’re trying to walk somewhere because one of her flip-flops is several feet behind us.  My favorite thing, is when this happens at the store……..and people are waiting for my hoppy little chicky to get out of the way as she struggles to retrieve her other flip-flop that is now underneath someone’s cart.
The strapless-back-flip-flops for kids…………hate them.
So instead of throwing those frustrating $2 flip-flops in the garbage, I’ve decided to make them work for us.
And made these. Because options are always fun, right?
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The straps are stretchy, so they fit snugly around the back of the foot…….also making them easy for your little one to take on/off all by themself.
And you know, I’m kinda crazy about that pop of color around the back.
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So, the frustration turned into a happy surprise of a solution.
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You can leave the straps plain (especially for the boys)…..or attach a simple little bow right to the back, for a girl.
It may cause excessive smiling while looking at it.  But I’m okay with that.
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No more hop, hop, hopping around looking for the stray flip-flop.

They stay on perfectly while she runs, skips and twirls around.

Relief.

(My son will be getting these too when his feet are too big for the pre-made ones.  Just more boy-ish!)

Would you like to make your own back straps for your flips-flops?

Since you may be making a different size, I’ll show you how I made mine for my little girl…..and then you can make the adjustments you need.
I purchased these flip-flops at Old Navy…..there’s always a lot of colors and sizes to choose from.  These yellow ones are a size 10/11 (toddler size) but found in the little girl section…..not the baby section.
First, you’ll need to decide how long to make your strip of fabric.  So you’ll need to measure around the back of the flip-flop.  You’ll need enough fabric to wrap each end of the strap around each flip-flop strap and then be snapped shut…….plus a little extra to all the fabric to shrink a bit with the elastic and look a little bunched (I added about 2 inches for this.)  You’ll also need a little extra at each end to fold under and sewn shut…….finishing off each end.  Then decide how wide you want your strap then double that and add your seam allowance.
I wanted my straps to be 3/4 inch wide so I cut my strips 2 inches wide (that includes the 1/4 inch seam allowance) and then calculated out that 13 inches would work great for the length.
So, I folded each strip in half lengthwise, with right sides together, and sewed them together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Then I turned each strip right side out (need help with that? click here) and ironed each strip flat.  (The seam is along one edge, not down the back or front.)  Then I sewed a seam down each edge of both strips……nice and close to the edge.
Neck, I cut a piece of 1/2 inch wide elastic that was about 10 inches long.  (I cut more than I knew I needed, because I wasn’t sure exactly how much I would need.  More is always better at this point.)  Then I started threading it through one of my strips.
I threaded it all the way through, slowing down as I was pulling the elastic all the way through.
Then, I pulled the elastic through a little bit more, really slowly, and only let the end of the elastic slide inside about an inch and a half from the end.  You can see one end of the elastic on the left……the other end is right where that arrow is.  Then I let the elastic sit there in place as I folded over that end about an 1/8 of an inch, then another 1/8 of an inch…..then sewed it in place.
Then I wrapped this end around the flip-flop strap and decided where the snaps would go.
I knew I didn’t want the elastic in the part of the strap where the snaps were being attached (because it makes it too thick for the snaps and more bulky around the plastic flip-flop strap), so I made a mark where the snaps would go (the red arrows) and then decided that the elastic couldn’t go beyond where the black arrow is.  So I pulled the elastic from the left end really slowly, until the right end of the elastic was about even with that black arrow.  Then I made 2 seams right to the left of where the black arrow is, to be sure and catch the elastic and sew it in place.
Then, I pulled the elastic from the left side a bit more, bunching up the strap a bit………and giving it a nice stretch as it’s being pulled.  You can measure on your child’s foot to make sure that the elastic isn’t too tight or too loose and looks just right.  OR, if you’re making this for someone you can’t measure on, you can hold it up to the flip flop and be sure that it looks right.  You’ll want the strap to not go all the way to the heel as it’s resting there in place, because you want it to stretch and fit snugly when it’s on the child’s foot.
Then you want to leave just as much fabric on this end of the strap as you did the other end, and make 2 more seams to secure the elastic in place.
It may help to fold it in half and let the unfinished end go a little longer because it still needs to be folded and sewn (between the brackets below) and mark where you would need to make your two seams by comparing it to the finished end.
Now, you have this extra elastic to deal with.  Pull it and slide the fabric down as far as it will go.
Then cut the elastic as far down as you can, so there isn’t a ton of elastic left inside……because you don’t want the elastic in the way when you’re attaching the snaps.  Then flatten that fabric back out, turn under the ends and sew it just like the other end.
Now, attach your snaps to each end, making sure that your snaps are facing the right way of how you’d like to attach your strap (and that the folded under seams will be facing inwards while the straps are snapped in place. (Need help attaching snaps?  Click here.)
Now, you can either stop here and be done (hallelujah!!) or you can create a little bow.
All I did for the bow was cut a strip of fabric that was 2 inches wide by 4.5 inches long.  I sewed it into a tube with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, turned it right side out and ironed it flat.
Then I folded the ends over, overlapping them by a 1/2 inch, then sewed them in place right down the center.
Then I cut another little strip of fabric that was 3/4 inch wide by about 2 inches.  I folded each side edge in towards the center and pressed it flat.
Then I hand-stitched one end of this little strip to the back of the bow……  (need help with hand stitching? click here.)
Then I pinched the center of the bow (to create a smaller bow center) and then wrapped the narrow strip around the front and back to the back of the bow.  I pulled the strip tightly as I wrapped and then tucked under the second end (trimming off extra fabric if necessary) and then hand sewed it into place in the back.
Then I hand-stitched the bow right to the center of the strap.
Then I attached the straps to the flip-flops.
And then made more (without the bows).  You know, for that added color option.
No more tripping, hopping, or scrambling to retrieve a stray flip-flop.
We are back to a love/love relationship with these little sandals.  Whew.
. . . . . . . . . . .
This post is sponsored by:
Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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Comments

  1. Bill says:

    I’m not sure why it is assumed that everyone can keep flip flops from falling off. I have a slight dropped foot and cannot control my toes enough to keep flip flops on my feet. No one makes a flip flop with a back strap for adults, they are only for children. Your strap (with some modification for an adult) is inspiring and I will give it a try. I’m sure it will work. Thank you for making my day.

  2. Susan says:

    I saw your inventive strap for flip flos and this is what I was looking for. But not for a child, but for me. I have a drop foot on my right foot and love flip flops but have trouble keeping them on. Your straps will allow me to enjoy the summer footwear and keep them on without any trouble. Thank you so much for your clever idea.

  3. Amy says:

    I can not tell you how much I appreciate these DIY instructions!!! I have a pair of Keen slip on shoes that I love, but without fail, I walk right out of them. Plus, after breaking my ankle a few years ago, I need a back strap in all of my shoes for added stability. I’ve been trying to come up with a way of attaching some kind of back strap to the shoes and this is PERFECT! Plus, I can go to the fabric store and get an exact match for the leather color. Absolutely genius and not just for kids’ shoes! YAY!

  4. trisha says:

    let me know when you atart selling these!

  5. lucie says:

    C’est tout simplement formidable ! J’avais le même problème avec mon fils ! Merci !

  6. Heather says:

    I’m looking at buying dies to be able to put metal snaps in for my snap press. What size of snaps are those? 14s or 16s?

  7. Sue says:

    Have you marketed these
    I have no sewing machine but have kids flip flops- some older than 4- need them email me if you want to sell any

  8. SkaxxCagera says:

    wow, lots of comments, too busy to read right now so not sure if anyone else has mentioned but you should really make a business out of these! I would pay $5 for a pair of these and I have 4 kids! We just bought our 1 year old a pair of awesome slippers but we cant get them to stay on his feet. Very frustrating, he really loves his cookie monster slippers but any time he takes a step or two they are off =(. I searched the internet and found your site, that is EXACTLY what I was looking for, havent found anyone yet that makes them. I dont have time and dont have a sewing machine or iron =/. Since they are slippers and dont have a strap to attach the strap i would use these snaps https://www.kamsnaps.com/101-Uses-for-KAM-Snaps-60.html which is how I found your site. Please get in touch with me if you are interested in making / selling a pair. Thanks!

  9. Karissa says:

    You are amazingly brilliant!!!! This is a GENIUS idea! Thank you for sharing!!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Forget the instructions and start making these , and ___adult__ sized ones and sell them to all of us who would like to buy them ! Remember the lady that started making the decorations for Crocs……..made millions selling them and then the idea !

  11. Jo Sieber says:

    loved the flipflop straps but i am making them for my lol

  12. manu says:

    I love these and want for my 2 year old she has a few flip flops that don’t have straps- I don’t HV a sewing machine and I m not creative’. Is these a place I can buy these? Anyone making these to sell? I’ll buy from you

  13. Jennifer Kenngott says:

    Thank you do much for this post! My 5 year old no longer can wear the small size to have the strap and she is so sad that her flip flops no longer stay on! This is such a blessing! Thank you!!

  14. Joyce Ellis says:

    So cute! Thank you for sharing!!
    Joyce

  15. Carol says:

    Just made these for my daughter today. BIG HIT!!!!!! Thank you for your idea. Going crazy in stores waiting for her to put her flip-flop back on are gone!

  16. johnna says:

    thanks i have been pondering this idea for production myself. Is it cheaper to use snaps or velcro?

  17. LORI says:

    are these for sale? i would love to purchase a few.

  18. Sandy says:

    Perfect solution for my daughter with a prosthesis! Wish I had found this 2 yrs ago when I was trying 50 different ways to keep her flippy floppies on. Great! Thank you! Now to attempt to sew.

  19. Traci Parker says:

    You have just made my day!!! I have a 9-year old daughter with Cerebral Palsy who gets so upset because she can’t wear flip-flops like her sister. She can’t walk and they just will not stay on her feet. I’m not sure if you understand the difference you just made in her life!!! I can’t thank you enough for this brilliant and very stylish idea. “It is the little things that count the most!!!!”

  20. Mike Henderson says:

    I have these https://www.strapal.com for sale and ready to deliver now. I have been using the same pair for over a year..very comfy and sturdy. Not nearly as pretty but ver waterproof and washable!
    thanks!

    1. Sue says:

      Mike
      Thanks for the link but I can’t believe that a womans pair would fit a 3 year old flip flops and sorry but yours are not cute or pretty
      If you have any colors or different patterns please post

  21. Miho says:

    Absolutely adorable -I actually want to make cute flip flops for myself too!

  22. Kristin says:

    Simply amazing! I love them and will try my own clumsy attempt, but it will be fun

    bty don’t have a blog yet working on it lol

  23. Joy says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I agree with the others, your ideas are BRILLIANT!

  24. Donna Nutter says:

    My daughter is just turning 9 and loves to wear flip flops. Unfortunately the school district will not allow them because there is no strap on the back. Problem solved.

  25. Jill says:

    Fabulous idea! Thanks for sharing.

  26. Linda says:

    OMG! just saw these and am so excited to do this! you are amazing

  27. Rosalyn says:

    YOU ARE FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!! I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!

  28. Preschool Teacher says:

    OMG!!! I love it. As a teacher I am allowed to wear flip flops as long as they have straps and wouldn’t you know it they are really hard to come by for an adult. I am going to make some for me and for the kids at work, beacause inevitably the parents wont read our sign on the door about back straps. Thank you love the idea.

  29. Misty says:

    I <3 this! The back strap broke off of my flip flops several months ago, but I have been holding onto them, unable to wear them! So glad I found your site!

  30. Dinny says:

    Adorei teu blog. parabens!!

  31. Isabe Menendez says:

    I do not sew .Where can i purchase these or have tem made for me.?

  32. jp says:

    Super cute idea! VERY easy instructions. Kudos to you and thanks so much!

  33. Dana Ellis says:

    Oh my goodness, this is brilliant! This would make it possible for my daughter to wear flip flops to school! They can only wear them if they have a back strap!

  34. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for the inspiration! I did something similar to make some too-big Crocs fit my toddler. Hope you don’t mind I linked here!

  35. Jennifer says:

    Will you start making these and selling them to those of us who have 4 year olds, but no sewing machine or sewing skills?!?

    1. Ashley says:

      I’m so sorry…..I wish I could! I just don’t have the time to create custom orders. Maybe you could forward the tutorial onto a sewing friend who could help you out?? Best of luck……and glad you like it!

      Ashley

  36. Julie says:

    So funny! I have been making these for my kids for YEARS! I used to make them for my nieces when they were little, and they are basically exactly the same. Great minds think alike!!

  37. Chanel says:

    I love this my cousin brought my 2 year old a pair of personaized flip flop but Chaniah couldn’t keep them on her feet… I felt bad cause she paid so much for them… Thank you so much <3 you saved the day

  38. Kate says:

    This is brilliant! My kids are going to a camp that does not allow flip flops without a back strap. These are impossible to find! They make them in toddler sizes but those are much too small! Could I (please please )buy three sets of these from you??? Did I say please???????

  39. Stephanie says:

    Sheer genius! I love it.

  40. Laura says:

    This is just brilliant! Thanks for sharing.

  41. Nathalie says:

    Great idea! TFS the tutorial ;o)

  42. kids flip flops says:

    wow! These are absolutely amazing. This is the finest suggestion I have read through a lot time on how to renew flip flop market.

    Excellent!

  43. Debbie says:

    LOVE this! I'm linking this tutorial on my Sunday Blog Browsing feature.

  44. Netta says:

    My girls are too big to need these, but my boys REALLY need these. Hmm, I think I can make a boy version of your idea w/out makin' it too ruffly… Love this idea!
    Thanks you!

  45. Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says:

    This is brilliant! I wish I had seen this when my kids were younger. . . although my 10 yr old might be into it just for the flair & style she could add to her outfits.

  46. Roselee says:

    I have been thinking of this same idea – especially b/c flip flops are a dollar May 14th at Old Navy! Of course, your tutorial and finished products are WAY cuter than mine would have been! Now I can just refer to yours. :)

  47. Jeni says:

    I dont have kids young enough for these anymore, but who am I kidding? I hate the way my flip flops make noise when I walk~ I am considering making these for myself and seeing if it helps me not sound like a horse walking down the street.

  48. Arevilo says:

    wonderfully

  49. Ashley says:

    Barbara…….haha, I could just squeeze you! I can tell you are the hippest 68 year old ever!! You will be the envy of the pool! :)

  50. Barbara says:

    Just for kids? Nah, I don't think so. I'm 68 years old and I'm going to make some for my pool flip-flops. I'll probably make a matching hat band, too, and maybe a new beach bag to coordinate! And maybe I won't limit myself to pool flip-flops. I mean, I do have my Adidas sport flips, and my pretty black leather dressy flips, and……..

  51. Handmade in Israel says:

    What a brilliant idea!

  52. Leah says:

    oh my goodness! thank you so much for this tutorial! my little girl is going to love you! (and me!) i kept telling her she couldn't wear flip flops this year because ic ouldn't find any with straps in her size..now she can!! making these THIS WEEK!

  53. Tracy says:

    Those are absolutely adorable! I hope you don't mind I posted about these on my site. I gave you credit and link back as well. Splendid idea and just in time for hot weather.

  54. pendlestitches says:

    These are too cute and such a fabulous idea. I want these for me too!

  55. Mommy4 says:

    These are awesome! Will definitely be making these! Thanks for sharing!

  56. Nichol says:

    What an awesome idea. My daughter loves flip flops, but they always fall off. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  57. Chiara says:

    SO smart and stylish! I love everything about this. I wonder what a boy's version could look like? I have two sons and no girls. : )
    I shared this great project on my Friday Favorites post today and linked back to your blog. Thanks for sharing the creativity!

  58. WOM-MOMS says:

    How smart – we're always looking for ways to keep our kids together – my blog co-author applied a similar idea to making an elastic waist-adjuster on her little guy's pants.

    https://www.wom-mom.com/2011/04/adjustable-waist-tutorial.html

  59. Nancy says:

    What a great idea! You're always sharing ah ha(s)!

  60. Ginny of Sunflowers At Home says:

    I LOVE this idea! Went to make a set only to discover I didn't have a single complete snap set. So instead I pulled out my crochet hook and some thread and whipped up a set inspired by you. I shared it on my blog at https://sunflowersathome.blogspot.com/2011/05/making-some-changes.html with a link to your lovely inspiration piece. thanks so much for sharing all of your great ideas!

  61. CoconutKate says:

    I may just have to make a few of these! Thanks for the idea!

  62. Shannon says:

    I made these exact straps last summer!!! I'm still loving them!!!

    You can check out mine here… https://shannonmakesstuff.blogspot.com/2010/04/flip-flops-stay-on-strap.html

  63. Tina says:

    These are such a great idea! I want some for myself!!

  64. Valéria says:

    The Best!

  65. Who is G? says:

    You, my friend, are a genius (just in case no one ever told you that) Love your blog

  66. Grace One Hundred says:

    I linked this project on my first "Tutorial Tuesdays" post – I'm going to update with the link to the snap tutorial too! Your tutorials are absolutely fantastic! I can't believe the detail you put into them. It makes it so much easier and I can't tell you how much I appreciate the depth and time you spend on them!! :)
    Thanks again!
    Amber
    p.s. I have a "I was featured on" button if you're interested. :)

  67. Ang & Ron says:

    I love so many of your tutorials. You have inspired such a confidence in myself, but you have outdone yourself with this tutorial. I had a true ah ha moment the second I saw the first picture. Such a wonderful idea!

  68. iller3257 says:

    SELL THESE, SERIOUSLY!

  69. Janni says:

    BRILLIANT!!!!

  70. Dielle says:

    I think I need some for me, too! LOVE this so much, I posted a link on FB!

  71. Laura Bray says:

    Great idea. We have a hard time keeping flip flops on around here too. Thanks so much for this solution!

  72. Amanda A. says:

    I love this (and all your other ideas)! So after you measure the flip flop, how much did you add to that number? I'm trying to figure out total inches of fabric for my little one and i've measured around the back of the shoe but I'm not sure how much to add to that–3 inches? 4? Thank you!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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