Basically they are Robeez styled shoes, but made of material instead of leather.
I started out making these because, well, dada was in law school when little man was born, and spending $20 on little shoes seemed rather ridiculous. After some searching online I found this pattern which I tinkered with and came up with the below steps for making shoes. I like them better than Robeez actually (when they turn out right!)
(As a note in how mine compare to the above. The above uses another piece to hold the elastic in and then you sew that piece to the inside lining of the shoe. Yes, it is as tedious as it sounds. Especially when working on a tiny baby shoe. The way I do it below just cuts out that step. Also, if you are making your whole shoe from leather you can use an extra piece to secure the elastic on the inside or outside of the shoe, like Robeez shoes, and then have one single piece with no lining for your shoe....OK. If that doesnt make sense just look through all the steps below...better? if not, ask me and I will try to clarify)
So, onto the shoes. They are great for big kids as well as babies. The pair below is for little man. I also have made them for cousins and my 20 year old brother as house slippers! (and yes, they wore them!)
What to use:
So you need several kinds of fabric for these shoes.
For older kids I prefer the following 1) a sturdy canvas, denim or corduroy for the outside of the shoe 2) a suede or leather for the sole and 3) soft flannel or fleece for the lining.
For babies, where the non-slip sole isn’t an issue, you can use any kind of fabric. A regular woven print works well, with a coordinating lining and then you can use just regular fabric or even corduroy for the sole (the corduroy gives a little traction for crawlers)
You also need a length of ¼ inch width elastic, maybe 6-10 inches per shoe (you will need less once the elastic is tightened and sewn but having more helps as you thread it through. See below if you are confused.
And then of course you can decorate the tops of the shoes, ribbon, applique on some kind of cutesy animal etc. I have never done this, aside from the shoes below. Not because it isn’t cute but because I don’t care enough to take the time to do it. HA!
So. Are you ready? Here goes what will undoubtedly be the longest post ever. Not that these are too complicated but that it takes a lot of steps. And also I ALWAYS end up ripping out several seams till I get it just right. Roughly one feature length cartoon video for each shoe. (HA HA HA)
All of my pieces ready to go. Notice I cut lining AND an insert layer of fleece (green/grey) to go between the lining (dark grey) and the suede sole. I wanted these to be extra warm on our wood floors. I have never tried this before (that is a lot of layers to sew! But it turned out really well.)
Step 4 - Sew little button holes for your elastic to go through. These holes should be reinforced somehow (even if crudely, I have no patience for buttonhold attachments).
Step 5 - Decorate, if you so choose. I put lightning bolts on, hoping to entice little man to keep them on. (It didnt work)
The finished top piece.
Step 5 - Cut out buttonhole. Position piece over sole. We are getting ready to sew! Don't forget RIGHT SIDE AGAINST RIGHT SIDE. It gets confusing with all these layers but just think like this, you will be turning the whole thing inside out, or right side out as it were. Make sense?
Step 7 - Now turn it the right way to check for holes. If you missed the outer layer go back and sew that spot again. I always have to do this. Also, check to see if it fits your shoe-ee at this stage. I made these too small but was too impatient to cut out new pieces. So I had to go back and sew a 1/8th inch seam instead of the 1/4 inch seam I had just done. UGH.
Step 9 - Turn the piece right side out and slide the elastic through. Then sew a little channel, if that makes sense, to secure the elastic in place (DONT sew through the elastic though) This is easier to me than shoving the elastic through after sewing the "channel" espeically when you are doing tiny baby shoes.
Step 10 - Sew piece onto sole, overlapping your front piece a little. Does that make sense? Hopefully it does...I made these too small and the didnt overlap the front piece enough. GRRR.
Here is another view to see what I did wrong. See that back piece should overlap the front piece. My baby boy has big feet! Sniff sniff.
Here is brother and sister modeling shoes made by mama.
SO, that pair didnt turn out well but others have. My favorites have been out of colorful flower print (a baby gift to my sister) and little leather shoes (one blue pair with fleece lining and one suede with the same fabric as the soles ont he above shoes.)
Really fun. Really easy, once you get the hang of it...questions? comments?