Friday, March 27, 2009

Make Your Own Baby Shoes

This is supposed to be a kind of tutorial if you want to learn how to make your own baby shoes. My first attempt was kind of a flop with baby moccasins that didn't turn out the best. I found a different pattern that works better. I practiced on some cheap fleece for the first round and they turned out just great. I found a black leather purse no one wanted and decided to make little leather shoes out of it.
Here are the instructions if you'd like to made some too.
Print your own pattern here.
Or you could email: and I'll email the pattern as a word doc so you can print it out right at home. The pattern is around 12-18 months so you could shrink it or enlarge it as needed. I think it should be comparable to a size 3 to 4 as is, according to my little guy's feet.
Here is another link for directions and a pattern cloth shoes if you prefer. It's similar.
-leather or other durable fabric
-rope elastic

1. Cut out fabric. Remember to make the shoe soles opposite so you don't have two left feet.

2. If you are making them out of leather, zigzag the sole onto scrap fabric matching the upper part of the shoe i.e. black leather, black scrap. Trim about 1/4" around the sole.
The scrap is to make the seam along the edge of the shoe cleaner. You sew the top of the shoe to the scrap so you don't have two layers of leather turning under against one those lumpy moccasins.
I sewed his name on the bottom on a whim, it will probably all fall out...we'll see.
Sew the ribbon on the curve of the toe piece. I iron the ribbon in half and sew along the edge.
You could make your own binding with fabric, but ribbon is cheap and I don't have to worry about raw edges. You could also select a ribbon color that contrasts the rest of the shoe.

Tip for sewing on leather: I find using a longer stitch length, about 3 helps not to distort the shape of the leather.
**I used a very small seam allowance for these, probably 1/8" to reduce wasting leather.

4. Cut about 1" to 1 1/2" of ribbon to make the pull tag to help get the shoes on those little feet.
Fold it in half and sew to the top edge of the heel pieces.

5. Sew a piece of ribbon to the top of the heel piece. If you have a ribbon with different finishes, mine was satin but I chose to use the back side which was more matte. If you have a right and wrong side to your ribbon, make sure you sew the wrong side up.
So I sewed the shiny side up. This makes the right side of the leather touching the right (matte) side of the ribbon.
6. Cut your elastic cording between 2/3 and 3/4 the length of the heel piece.
Attach elastic to both corners of the heel piece, on top of the ribbon. Make sure it is sewn between the stitch and the short edge. I zigzag in place to secure the elastic really well.

8. Make casing around elastic.
With the wrong side of the leather up, you fold the ribbon around, making it swallow the elastic, sewing it in a tube basically. Sew along the length of the heel, concealing the elastic inside.
The elastic is out of focus, sorry, but you can see how it is tucked behind the little lip of leather and the ribbon comes around it.

At this point you are done with the heel piece and now we put the upper of the shoe together.
9. Pin & sew one side of the shoe to the toe piece. The curve of the sides should match up. The corner of the toe piece is where the heel begins out to the edge. I sew two lines, one on each side of the ribbon binding.

10. Sew the other side on.
I flip the shoe inside-out and sew on top, it is easier for me to maneuver this way.

The upper of the shoe is done!

11. Turn the upper inside-out. Pin to the right side of the sole. Make sure all your pins go the same direction, circling around the shoe.
You need to pin the upper part of the shoe about 1/8" beyond the leather bottom. This way, the black leather upper will be sewn to the scrap black, and not the actual tan leather sole.
*If you aren't using leather, and the fabric is all the same, you don't need the scrap fabric and just line up the edges together and pin. Two layers of fabric folding against each other aren't too thick and it will still give you a smooth seam when you're done.
12. Turn the shoe so the scrap fabric is up and all your pins are down. Sew right by the edge of your zigzag on the sole. (the side of the zigzag closest to the edge). Because my pins were to the side of the zigzag, I didn't have to take them out as I went and just sewing carefully between the zigzag on the sole and the pin all the way around. As you sew the heel, you kind of have to shove the fabric under you so it won't bunch.

13. After you take out the pins you can flip it over and see your line. To secure it, I sew another seam just outside the first one, but this time I sew on the leather side, following right beside the first one.
This is also a good idea in case you missed connecting the top to the bottom. This happened to me on one corner. I hadn't pinned close enough in that section so I was able during the second seam to pull the leather and sew it down so there wouldn't be a hole in the shoe.

14. Trim the excess leather and scrap fabric, cutting as close as you can to the seam without snipping stitching. This will help have a smooth final seam.
Turn the shoes right-side-out and YOU ARE DONE!
I hope the instructions are clear and make sense. This may be a total waste of time and effort, quicker and easier to just buy them for some people. But these cost me $1.05 for the ribbon and elastic and I had the chance to recycle the leather purse and not let it go to waste, and I enjoyed it. I guess time I have, money I don't. Plus, cute leather shoes with your name on it. Maybe you could start an etsy store or something too or make a lot at one time and give them away as gifts.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bedside Organizer

My friend Katherine made one of these and I borrowed the idea. I found I always had a pile of books on the floor next to my bed and a pile on my nightstand, my glasses would always fall off and land somewhere to be stepped on as I get out of bed blind in the morning.
It's basically two bags connected by a strip of fabric that goes under the mattress to hold them off the ground and closer to your hands.

So this has been useful to me, I showed Rhett the bag for his side of the bed and he said, pointing to the pen sleeves, "Jess I can't fit string cheese in these!" So he saw the only use as a potential midnight snack holder, but that is OK, I needed his side to help hold mine. Maybe he'll end up using it after all.

1. Cut two bags.
Basically a front and back with 2 side strips and one bottom strip. I used old cargo pants of Rhett's so the fabric was durable and free. I measured the largest book I would use for the dimensions.
2. Cut two liners.
Cut two more bags out to become the lining. I used striped thin denim scraps.
3. Sew the lining
I sewed the bottom strip to the front and back then added the sides to make a square bag.
4. Reinforce the front and back pieces
I found a really thick, stiff liner by the interfacing at the fabric store. It was $6/yd but you don't need much. I cut pieces the dimensions of the front and back and basted it to the outer fabric to help keep it stiff.
5. Add pockets to front panel
I decided what pockets I needed and used denim for my organizer, but on Rhett's I used all the same pants fabric.
  • PENS: I hemmed the top of the pen piece. Sewed one side down, then placed a pen under it and sewed on the other side, so it would be the right size for pens.

  • GLASSES: I used a lens cloth to line this pocket so the glasses wouldn't get scratched. I sewed a rectangle to the face of the bag and then attached the lined denim pocket on top, making sure there was enough height in the pocket so the glasses could fit.
  • NOVELS: For these bigger pockets, I sewed the corners in to make them thick enough to hold the books and attached the pocket by top stitching.
6. Sew outer bags together.
I sewed the exterior bags together the same way I did the lining, bottom strip connecting front and back, then sewing the sides on to make the square bag. It is hard to sew this together with the stiff reinforcing inside.
7. Place liner in finished bag
Fit the lining in the exterior bag, so all the raw seams and stiff reinforcing are concealed between the two.
8. Sew the lining & exterior sides of the front & back together
I made the side strips shorter than the front and back and sewed the lining to the front top sides and back top sides first.
9. Sew the tops of the lining and bag together.
So at this point I had raw fabric along the top of the bag and the top of the shorter sides. I was lazy and just plopped grosgrain ribbon on top to conceal the raw edges, and give a red accent. I didn't worry about dealing with the top of the back because that would connect to the long strip that goes under the mattress.
*At this point your bag is done but I added....

10. Bungee cord stoppers.
I knew I would load the big main pocket with a lot of stuff and thought how this may make a square shape sag forward and so I used my grommet clamp ($7 and it can attach snaps too) to make a hole in the front. I punched a hole in the back and threaded elastic cord through the front and through stoppers ($1 for 2) . I chose to add a bead so you have something to grab onto when you need to tighten the stopper. The elastic cord went through the hole in the back and was sewn down.
11. Connect the two bags with strip of fabric
I measured the box spring of our bed and cut a strip of the lining that length. I sewed each bag to the strip and at this point it is finished!
Inexpensive and useful! You could get some cuter fabric so it looks better on your bed, but I just used durable fabric I already had. I thought about attaching an applique of our initials or something to the front of the novel pocket, but decided to much froo froo for what I was using it for.


Related Posts with Thumbnails