Okay, this is what you've been waiting for!!!! This is a post that started in Paris and took me to a place far beyond my comfort zone. I am not a cobbler and frankly, I had to look at a lot of men's feet to get some ideas for this project. My recent purchases of FR Homme dolls necessitated this project. Like many of you, I rarely buy dolls brand new because of the cost factor. After acquiring Xavier, a nude, second-hand FR Homme doll, I was thrilled! You can count on me to make clothes for him but then I had a real problem! He had no shoes!!!
The FR Homme dolls have bigger feet than those of Ken which meant there would be no sharing amongst the "men" in the house. I returned to Ebay to shop for shoes. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the prices of those FR Homme shoes. OMG!!! Sticker shock!!! I was quite anxious to put gorgeous Xavier to work, but did not feel like ordering then waiting for shoes from China (less expensive--but still). And, this being winter, I couldn't get away with sandals. After MUCH experimentation, (and a few tears) I've come up with a basic shoe which is fairly simple to make and can be modified to create a number of styles. And yes, you can also use this tutorial to make Ken shoes, as well.
Sock It To Me!
After crudely making the first pair of shoes for the quilted jacket project, I realized there was something missing. My guy needed socks. The FR Homme dolls all wear socks with their shoes! I cut off a small piece of my panty hose measuring 2-3/4 inches long (70mm) (or shorter for ankle length socks) by about 2 inches wide. Drape over the foot and leg, then stretch as you pin around the form.
Near the toe, there will be a wedge which you will trim away. Mark your pins before removing them and create your pattern.
Sew the seam, then turn inside out.
No Biz Like Shoe Biz!
Let's start with the easy part: sandals. All shoes begin with tracing the foot to create the sole. Depending on the type of shoe you want, you should extend the toe. For sandals, I add another 1/8-inch but for an enclosed shoe, I've added a full 1/4 inch because it has to accommodate the doll wearing socks.
Now thread a longer strip through the loop. Again, thread the end of the strip through the needle then poke through the upper sole on the side of the foot, about 7/8-inch (23mm) down from the toe look. push through the bottom of the sole. Repeat on the other side.
1- Cut shape (out of cardboard) for the upper sole. The toe has been extended by 1/4 inch (7mm). I've also cut a lower sole out of thicker leather or rubber. The lower third part of the sole is traced off to create the heel.2-The "vamp" or the top of the shoe is a dome shape measuring about 1-3/4 inch (35mm) long by 1/3/8 inch (37mm) wide.
3-The Side/Back piece I've cut in one piece. It measures 5/8 inch (18mm) long by 2-5/8 inch (68mm) wide. Round off the upper edges.
Putting it together is simple. HOWEVER...clip notches into the seam allowance that folds under the upper sole. AND...don't use craft glue. Instead, use a contact glue (rubber cement or neoprene). This is a glue whereby you glue each of the two edges. Allow to dry somewhat, then put the two edges together. Believe me, using the wrong type of glue or omitting the notches will make this project FAIL!
One Last Thing....
After using fabric, I immediately turned to leather without a lot of success. This is because I was using the wrong type of glue and the fact I was not cutting in enough notches. I then moved to vinyl which I found was easier to manipulate. I was quite happy with the result, but decided to attempt leather once more, this time with much success. This is to say, it doesn't matter what you use.
The foot is essentially a triangular shape. I took a smooth ball of clay, shaped it into a triangle then tried to match it up with the doll's foot to get the same volume. I also use the sole to ensure it will be long enough for the shoe. When your last looks about right, pop it into the oven to harden. You can always sand it down if it's too big somewhere. I then build my shoe around it. The last was so easy to work with (without having to turn poor Xavier upside down and on his side), I've decided to make a second one for the other foot and use the pair instead of relying on the doll's feet. You can also make several lasts, each one with a different shoe or toe style. For example, instead of this rounded shaped shoe, you can create another with a squared toe, then drape your pattern around it.
1) Make your sole by tracing off the foot, then adding allowance beyond the toe to accommodate the foot with the sock.
2) Cut out your pattern pieces and be sure to clip lots of notches around the edges that will fold under the sole. Apply a contact glue to those edges as well as those of the underside of the upper sole. Wait 10 minutes.
3) Starting with the back/side piece, fold the edges to the underside of the upper sole. Press.
4) For the loafer/slip-on shoe, put a spot of glue on the topside edges of the back/side piece (red marks). Attach the top to the upper sole. Place a spot of glue on the underside edges of the top piece. Press the front to the side. For the shoe with laces, omit this step.
5) Apply a layer of glue to the underside of the upper sole.
6) Also apply glue to the top of the under sole. Wait 10 minutes. Attached to the top.
7) Apply glue to the heel area of the underside of the lower sole as well as to the heel. Wait a few minutes. Press together.
8) Use a bit of acrylic paint to "clean up" any mess left by the glue.
Here are all the patterns I used, together. (My graph paper is using a 1/4" grid.)
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