Sep
19
2009

  Cobbling Shoes

Yesterday, I embarked upon a project to make William some shoes. I got the idea when I was browsing and came across this etsy site. Aren't those little felt shoes adorable? Too adorable, since now I want a pair to match every one of William's outfits, but at $50 a pop it ain't gonna happen. Unless I make some myself.

I found a few free bootie patterns online, but I wasn't thrilled with them, so I decided to make my own. I also decided to use fleece for the prototypes instead of felt since 1) I have leftover fleece, 2) it's soft and easy to hand-sew, 3) like felt, it won't ravel.

I traced William's foot onto a piece of paper, then from that guessed at how to make the front and back pieces. Here's how that turned out:
TOP

SIDE

So that was pretty rough. His toes were jammed in there, so for the next iteration of the pattern I added some length and made a more generous toe box. I also changed up the shape of the back.

From the top, the shoes are starting to look more like shoes:

But from the side, it's obvious the boy's feet aren't that long!

I felt around to see where his actual toes were, and discovered I estimated the right sole length the first time, I just needed the extra room in the toe box, not the extra length.

By the way, it's MUCH easier to get these on him for a fitting while he's asleep. Which works out, since it's easiest for me to work on the project while he's asleep. . .

I continued to refine the pattern. For the third iteration, I went back to the original sole piece, shortened the sides of the toe box while lengthening the tongue, and stylized the front part of the back piece where the laces go.

TOP

SIDE

It might be a little hard to see the details, but white fleece was what I had on hand.

I'm going to more radically change the shape of the back piece so the part where it laces up goes straight like regular shoes instead of oval like it is currently (because I didn't take into account that I need more fabric to cover the top of the foot as it gets higher). I might have to lengthen the tongue just a bit more, too.

I just baste the three pieces together by hand, it doesn't take much time at all to put together a new iteration. Probably only 30 minutes tops to adjust the pattern, cut the pieces, and sew them together.

I know the back is higher than the shoes I saw on etsy, but I kind of like the high-top or boot look, so I'm leaving the height for now. But the wool has far less flexibility than the fleece, and the back currently goes up over where the ankle flexes, so it might not work when I create the boot in felt.

I don't have time for another iteration tonight, I'll resume tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get a pattern that I like, then I'll mock up a pair in a non-stretch fabric to see if it still fits ok before I attempt with the felt. I got wool felt, so it's a little pricey so I don't want to run through it unnecessarily. Especially when I have so much scrap fabric, I won't mind tossing all the prototypes made with scraps.