So, it’s kind of a long story why, but I’ve started making shoes. No, not for dolls, for me. But I’m learning a lot in the process, and it’s certainly applicable to doll shoes, so I thought it would be nice to share and help you either start or improve your doll shoemaking skills.
Sandals: For doll size, you just cut two pieces of craft foam to fit her foot, then find some ribbon to use for straps. Tape the first sole onto the doll’s foot, arrange ribbons as desired and glue to bottom of first sole, the glue on the second sole, sandwiching the raw edges of ribbon in between.
Moccasins can be found here: https://jenwrenne.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/tlingit.pdf
For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting “Shoe School” which will likely include:
• Turnshoes (medieval and modern)
• Out-stitched shoes
• Lasted shoes
These will be posted in order of complexity, so you can follow along and learn something new every week!
Putting sandals and moccasins aside for the moment to focus on closed-style only, there are three basic ways a shoe gets made, and they fall into the categories of “innies” and “outies.” The first kind of “innies” are some of the oldest European footwear we know about, recovered from Scandinavian bogs and Medieval excavations. They’re called “turnshoes” and refer to the way they are constructed, by sewing all the seams and turning them right side out. I would say the majority of doll shoe patterns available commercially these days involve this kind of construction. It works great with materials like felt, fabric, and thin, flexible leather or leather substitutes.
This is a modern reproduction of a 10th C shoe from http://leatherhelms.com
It shows the unique triangular back found on many shoes from that period, and interesting (but not necessarily authentic) closure. Many shoes of this type were constructed with really ingenious leather “buttons” like this:
From the Barefoot Cordwainer on etsy.
And what does the doll version look like? Well, I used wool felt, and then couldn’t just let the shoes stand on their own, noooo, I had to make a whole Viking costume to go with them!