Photos by Vincent Pfieglier.
While growing up in Paris, France, Janis Munz (@janisembroidery) would spend hours practicing embroidery with her nanny. But it wasn’t until later in her life, between jobs and with some extra time on her hands, that she began stitching tattoo-inspired designs onto her favorite wardrobe pieces.
“I wanted to give them more character and start to tell stories, as if I had real tattoos,” she says. “Soon, my friends started asking for their clothes to be embroidered, and the rest is history.”
Now, the 23-year-old artist is at the helm of her own stitching business, and her Instagram hashtag #PrettyWithJanis has become the rallying call for other embroidery enthusiasts and “all those who tattoo their clothes, and those who believe in recycling their clothes rather than throwing them out or buying new, cheap ones. It’s almost an anti-fast-fashion statement.”
Shop the Women’s Flatform Universal.
Munz joined Teva at last year’s Bonnaroo festival to help music fans customize their Original Universal sandals—fitting, as festival fashion icons like Mick Jagger, Serge Gainsbourg and Zoey Kravitz have influenced her own rock-and-roll-inspired designs.
“Festival season is a synonym of youth and fun,” she says. “It caters to everyone, everywhere. There is a festival for every single one of us, no matter what you like.” Here, Munz shows you how to create a custom embroidered look on your favorite Teva Flatform Universal sandals, for festival season, Fourth of July, or any summer occasion when you want to let your feet do all the talking.
• Indelible pen with a fine tip (A Sharpie brand pen is the best).
• Embroidery floss from DMC (they have many colors and variations, and their thread never loses its vibrant color — packs are cheap online!).
• Scissors (mine are from PURL SOHO, a yarn store in New York City).
• 3/9 DMC embroidery needles
Draw Your Design
Because I’m so used to working with Teva sandals, I chose to draw my design directly onto the shoe with an indelible pen in the same color of the the floss I chose. I chose to use letters that allow for easy stitching.
Choose and Cut Thread
Since the shoe is red, white and blue, I chose red thread. It’s important to get the size right — you don’t want too much length (it will cause too much slack) or too little. I usually measure the thread to be the length of my forearm, so pull that length out from the coil and cut.
Thread the Needle
Tie a small knot on one end of your thread. This will secure your thread at the back of your first stitch. Threading the needle is the trickiest part of embroidery! My best tip is to flatten the thread with your teeth — when the thread is damp and flat, it will be easier to manipulate. Once the thread is through the eye of the needle, leave 2/3 of the thread (the knotted side) on one side of the needle.
Time to Stitch
For this project, I used a back single stitch. Make a single, straight stitch by pulling the needle through the webbing of the sandal. Continue along the pattern line you created earlier, bringing your needle back down into the same hole you created at the end of the last stitch you made.
Knot the End
Once your last stitch is completed, tie a tiny yet solid knot at the back and cut the remaining thread very close to the knot. You can slightly burn the end of the thread with a lighter to really seal it off. Voila, you’re done with your embroidery project!