Since my posts on Spats and Stocking Shoes, friends and followers have encouraged me to take that last step and make "real" doll shoes. What has stopped me has been the difficulty in making suitable and symmetrical high heeled soles. I have even been all over the internet trying to find a source that sells those delicious FR soles to no avail. Recently, however, I received a tip suggesting I might try building shoes on top of existing soles....those cut from bottom of Barbie shoes! What a great idea! Full disclosure! My shoes are not bad, but I still have a ways to go before they're as good as those created by the author of Fashion Doll Shoes! Nonetheless, I have approached this project in two stages: customization of the original structure and my own designed shoe with Barbie soles.
Forget about making ordinary pumps. If you're going to make your own doll shoes, they should be something special. But you'll need ideas and for that, Pinterest is a great source!
Getting to First Base
I love what looks like chiffon covered shoes that tie around the ankles. For this shoe, I cut off the ankle straps to create mules. I took a long strip of sheer fabric about 1/2" (1cm) and folded it in half. With this, strip I simply threaded it through the shoe straps, wrapped it around the doll's ankles twice and tied it into a soft bow.
I also love the shoe covered in flowers.
Ok, it's time to make a real pair of footwear! To be perfectly honest, if you have made a pair of Spats (one of my most popular pins on Pinterest) you're practically there! The construction of shoe or boot uppers is the same, except that we will need to add more allowance under the top of the foot and we will need to make innersoles.
Trace on a small piece of thin cardboard or thick paper. Fold this form where the foot bends at the toe bed and then at the top of the heel.
Normally, you would need to make a second set of insoles, however....I had problems with the plastic material used in the doll shoe soles which seems to resist rubber cement. Instead, I covered the soles with paper tape which resolved the problem.
The pattern for the footwear--a boot in this case--starts exactly in the same manner as that for the spats. If you are using a material that stretches--like knits, jersey or even leather--you can make your upper in one piece by stretching over the leg and forming a single seam down the back. Drape the fabric over the leg and pin. Mark the back seam and around the foot. Transfer to paper. Adjust so that both sides are symmetrical, then add seam allowance.
But if you are using a non-stretch material and you want a narrow boot that conforms to the curve of the leg, your boot will need seams in both the front and back.
1. Originally I machine stitched the boot upper. However I couldn't turn it inside out. So, I stitched the boot just around the ankles for stability. I turn the boots right side out.
2. Then glued the rest of the back seam together using rubber cement.
3. Put a small piece of tape on the bottom of the foot to hold the inseam in place. Put the boot upper on the doll. Cut notches in the seams around the foot.
Apply rubber cement on the insole and then around the inside seam of the boot around the foot. Keep the two glued pieces separate until each one has dried and it slightly tacky.
4. Then fold the notched edge over the insole. Remove this from the doll. Apply rubber cement on the top of the sole. Apply rubber cement on the bottom of the upper.
5. When both are nearly dry, very carefully match the upper with the sole and press in place firmly. I painted the soles and heels brown.
The boot is made exactly as outlined above. I wrapped the top of the boot with a piece of crushed taffeta and stitched it in place. Working in fabric is quite easy! Sewing is a breeze and the boot easily turns right side out.
2. Again, I used a tiny bit of tape to keep the insole in place while I drape the style.
3. With a single piece of material, I wrap it around the foot and ankle. Mark the back seam and around the foot to make the pattern. Transfer to paper and add seam allowance.
6. Machine stitch in place. Place this on the doll. Use a piece of tape or string to hold the upper on the doll while working.
7. Apply rubber cement to the insole and around the notched seam of the upper. Allow to dry. Surfaces will feel tacky to touch.
8, Then fold the notched bottom over and press firmly. Apply rubber cement to the this as well as to the sole. Again, allow to dry. Surfaces will feel tacky to touch. Carefully press the upper to the sole.
I constructed the boot with the single back seam even though the fabric doesn't stretch. I ended up with a boot that is a little wide in the ankles. Still, I like the leg that peeks through the sheer. I painted the soles silver and added lots of glitter to the heel and the top of the toe. Under a cloud of twilight sparkled tulle.....Stunning!
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