Sometimes, you need to mess up big to come up with a great idea.
After the boats, err... TOMS, I spent all day making turned out un-wearable (which is a shame because they look sooo cute) I went to bed defeated and anxious. That is not a good combination for a restful night. After looking at a zillion Etsy shoe pdf patterns I came up with nothing that I thought I could make in a speedy manner. I was itching to do the photoshoot and couldn't wait a day longer. So, when the next morning came a light bulb went off:
"Screw the lining and straps. I'll bet I can whip up ballet flats in no time if I eliminate those!!!!"
I was still a bit hesitant since shoe making and myself are not besties. I have been scorned many times by ill fitted or weirdly stitched shoes.
But I'm a barrel forth kind of girl and I was not going to be thwarted by shoes!!!
I grabbed my Winter Peach ballet flats patterns in the sizing for Azriella and I cut up some gray vinyl. The only thing the shoes needed was something to finish the inner edge, so I cut some Fold Over Elastic and stitched it on. Added the soles. Bam. Shoes.
I looked the clock and I swear, maybe 20 minutes went by. A slice of fried gold, my friends!!! How come it took me all this time to come up with such a simple solution?!
I needed matching shoes for Sephira too, but I felt she needed a strap so that tacked on an extra three minutes.
These are a little less than perfect but A.) They look great for a test run and B.) They looked great with the outfits! oh and C.) From start to finish, two pairs of shoes in under and hour! WOW!
That works for me! Alright! Ready to make some shoes???
What you will need:
Vinyl, pleather, or suede (basically anything you might use for the soles of shoes that would look cute for the rest of the shoe too)
F.O.E. ~24" (or more for teen and adults sizes) (Fold Over Elastic. This is elastic that has a seam down the middle of it so it can be folded over fabric to be stitched. Most commonly used on knits as an alternative binding.)
Shoe pattern (I will be using a Winter Peach patterns in the tutorial, but any ballet flats or mary jane pattern can be used)
Sewing needle size 90 or above. (Anything that is recommended for heavy duty fabrics. I used 110 needle size. There are also vinyl and leather sewing needles out there too if you want to use that instead!)
Regular sewing stuffs like machine, needles, thread, etc.
optional but useful tools:
Sewer's Aid and/or Scotch Magic Tape (This is a sort of oil that can be applied to thread, needles, scissors, or other sewing tools. I use it very sparingly on vinyls that stick to the foot and feeds of my sewing machine. I only use it on problematic vinyls and only when absolutely needed. Also useful is Scotch Magic Tape. The kind that is translucent not transparent. Apply it to the bottom of the presser foot and to the area around the feed dogs, but not the feed dogs. You'd be surprised at how much it can help)
Okay! First things first, cut out your pattern pieces. You will only need to use outer pieces, no linings. See the top right pic for all the pieces you need, cut out. Also you need to mark the pieces at the toe and heel for lining up the shoes properly at the end. I do a teeny tiny dot on the right side of the vinyl in ink.
See the tiny dot in the first pic? That's as big as you want to mark. Any bigger and you risk it showing through your seam allowance.
1.) Take one of the top pieces and match up the heels RST (right sides together).
2.) Stitch with whatever recommended seam allowance your pattern uses. Mine uses 1/4". Make sure to backstitch at each end to secure your stitching. Repeat for opposite shoe.
3.) Flatten open with your fingers the seam allowance. If needed (and on my first pair I didn't need any but on this pair I totally did) add some Sewer's Aid to the sides of the seam allowance. A little goes a looooong way. Also add a little to the bottom of your presser foot.
4.) Turn right side out. Starting from the sole and an 1/8" from the seam, stitch down towards the top then across the seam and then back down on the other side of the seam allowance. Make sure you backstitch at the start and finish. Repeat for opposite shoe.
5.) Trim down any of those little bitty points you may have to be flush with the top.
6.) Take your FOE and line it up about a half inch passed the center back seam. Make sure the seam on the FOE is just a tad bit above or flushed with the top edge of the shoe. Stitch down with a1/4" seam allowance, making sure to stretch the elastic a little as you sew and also as keeping the shoe flat while you go around the curves. Take your time sewing this. Stitch up until you reach the back center seam, overlapping and surpassing where you had started. Trim excess elastic, making sure the edge is aligned with the center seam. Repeat for opposite shoe.
7.) Switch to a standard zig-zag stitch. Fold the elastic over the top edge and zig-zag stitch the elastic down to the shoe top making sure to back stitch at the beginning and the end. Repeat for opposite shoe.
This is the progress you should have by now.
8.) Match up the proper shoe with the proper sole by matching marks, wrong sides together.
9.) RST, pin the soles to the shoe tops, matching marks. If hole punctures really concern you, you can use Wonder Clips or if you are a little bit ghetto you could use clothespins (looks silly, right?) Whatever works, am I right?!
10.) Last step! Stitch the shoes to the soles with a regular straight stitch. I like to start in an inconspicuous spot near the heel. Back-stitch at the start and end and make sure to trim the seam allowance as close to the stitching that you can without cutting it. Repeat for opposite shoe!
That's it! Crazy fast shoes!!!! I almost can't believe they're real!
My darling Azriella is thrilled to have a couple of ballerina shoes! We did a bunch of ballet pics.
Up on our toes, twirling...
Practicing ballet positions (I forgot to take a second position picture! Rats!)
Pretty snazzy stuff right?! And Jo-ann's has all sorts of awesome vinyl, you only need about 16" x 16" square for size 9T so you can get a quarter yard with 60" selvage and get several kiddo pairs out of them! Eek!!
Okay then! Go Make Shoes!