This pair of shoes I bought from Lands End last year. I like them, but I made a crucial mistake when I first got them. I assumed that the leather lace was more than decorative and if I untied the carefully tied and sewn bow, I could actually tighten up the shoe a bit. Ooops. The laces on the side and the top are in no way connected and now the top laces just come untied all the time and never look right.
So Friday I decided it was time to redo them a bit and turn them into some weird mix of practical moccasin with decorative ribbons. And voila!
I pulled the laces out of the top and actually cut the holes just slightly larger so I could slip a 5/8" ribbon through them. I used long tweezers to push the ribbon through the holes. I then tied the ribbon, put fray check on the ends and placed a little tacky glue in the knot hoping to keep it from untying.
Of course, then the laces on the sides looked out of place. I used a hobby knife to cut the lace out of the first grommet on each side. (I used a hobby knife versus scissors as it let me cut it down in the grommet so it wouldn't stick out.) After much fiddling, I discovered two things. First, I should use two ribbons, one for each side of the shoe (to avoid trying to pass the ribbon through the heel). Second, I just needed to tuck the ends of the ribbon back towards where I laced it to avoid conflicting with the piece of leather lace I just cut off. I stuck a little Tacky Glue in the beginning and ending grommet and tucked the ribbon back under and held it with a clip until it dried. I used a 3/8" ribbon on the sides.
However, after I finished, I thought of another idea. Since you can't tell if the side is one continuous piece of ribbon or not, next time I might try treating each pair of grommets separately. For example, I would run a short ribbon through the first and second grommet, stitch it together and then slide the ribbon until the seam was buried within the shoe. Then you could repeat the same trick for each pair of grommets and you wouldn't have to worry about the ribbon ever coming undone. That method would also make it easier to change out the ribbons if you got tired of the old. I may have trouble getting the glue/ribbon mass out of mine.
I'm excited about my new ribbon mocs. Admittedly, I wouldn't have had the nerve to start cutting on them if they were brand new. But I didn't have much to lose since I had owned them a year and not worn them a lot because of the untying laces.