Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Foot Loose!

The country fresh looks of the past few posts have been quite popular. But after the dresses, blouses and straw hats, there was still something missing......ESPADRILLES!!!

Now admittedly, shoes are a challenge for me. My Barbies' itty bitty, teeny weeny feet present quite a challenge for me. Still, what prompted me to push on was the Poppy Parker bodies I used to rebody two of my dolls. The have the swivel feet that wear both flats and heels.....and they are wider than Barbie's narrow feet. Practice makes perfect, so by the fourth pair, I got the hang of things. With a bit of oven bake clay, a little kitchen string and a tiny width of the same crochet lace I used for my Country Fresh post...... I set out to create espadrilles for my beloved dollies. (Applause, cheers in the background.)

Making the standard canvas type shoe was VERY difficult for me. So, instead I began by making a more abbreviated style with the lace which is where I will start here.

 For this project you will need some oven bake clay to make a wedge heel, Bristol or lightweight cardboard for the inner sole, a bit of lace for the upper and some ordinary kitchen string.
1. Start with a small bead of clay. A little goes a long way. Roll it between your hands to create a small ball.
2. Place it under the arch of the doll's foot.
3. Then shape it into a wedge that extends from underneath the toes to under the heel. Make sure the doll is standing straight while you are shaping the heel.
4. Repeat for the other foot. One of the most difficult things is to create a symmetrical pair of shoes. Inasmuch as we are making these by hand, there will be some differences between the two shoes. However, these are espadrilles which are rustic shoes...far from perfection!
5. While you do want to leave an imprint in the clay, you don't want too much of a crater. So smooth this out without changing too much the shape.
6. You can use a single edge razor blade to cut away or smooth out this part of the heel.
7. Work towards getting the shoe the same width as the doll's foot. Remember, we still have to apply the string which will add more width later!
8. Again, you can use a blade to help you shape the wedge heel. Take time to look at both and work towards getting them as equal as possible. When you are happy with the heels, bake your form according to instructions on the package. (230 F degrees (110C) for about 20 minutes is usually the norm.)
9. You need to make an insole. Do this by tracing the doll's foot onto a piece tracing paper. The transfer that tracing onto of Bristol (heavy weight paper or lightweight cardboard). Extend the toe a tiny bit. Flip to create a sole that corresponds to the other foot.
10. Trace the foot print onto a piece of fabric. One for each shoe.
11. Glue the fabric to the cardboard sole and shape as shown. Put that aside for the moment.
12. Remove the wedge heels from the oven and let cool. Then coat one heel with rubber cement.
13. Take the string and place one end on the back of the heel as shown.
14.Run the string along the edge of the heel as shown.
15. Continue to wrap around the heel.
16. As you arrive near the sole, you can simply make loops and continue on to cover the wedge until everything is covered.
17. Now you can come back and clip the loops and flatten them over the bottom of the heel.

 18. Make a sole out of a little bit of a leather or felt. You can trace the bottom of the heel to get this shape. Brush on rubber cement onto the sole. Then brush on the bottom of the wedgie. Allow to dry until tacky.
19. Then press the two together.
20. If there are gaps, you can always work in more string. To finish, I like to brush on a little Modge Podge (matte finish) to keep the string from moving.
 21. Place the doll's foot on the inner sole. Take a bit of the crochet lace and wrap around the top of the foot and under the inner sole.
22. Put a little glue on the backside of the inner sole to hold in place. Then make a few stitches to secure the upper in place.
23-24. Brush a strong glue onto the bottom of the upper as well as the top of the wedgie heel
25. Press together. (I put the doll's foot in the shoe and press down hard and hold until well adhered!)
The problem with wedgies, is that the doll's foot will slip. So we need something to help hold the shoe to the foot. Therefore, I had straps.
1. Place the shoes on the doll's foot. Cut enough string to wrap around the ankles.
2. Tip: in order to thread the string through the lace, I use a dental floss threader.
3. Slip the threader through the lace, then slip the string through the loop of the threader and pull through. For one style, I threaded a single string through the top of the upper. For this style, I slide the string through each side of the upper and pull through. I single or double know the side of the string that stays inside of the shoe, to block it from coming out.
4. Simply wrap around the ankles twice and tie into a knot!
 They're not perfect....but neither are espadrilles!

But what I really wanted to make was a pair of classic "canvas" espadrilles. Imagine, you could make them in any color or fabric!!! For my first pair, I used linen.

Create the wedge heel and the insole as shown in the previous tutorial.
1. Cut (on the bias) a strip of fabric 1-1/4" long (33mm)  (by about 7-8" (18-20 cm) wide--enough for both shoes). Turn one edge under, glue and press down.
2. Wrap around the doll's foot (which has been placed on the insole). Allow about 1/4" (6mm) and cut. The folded edge should be fall over the foot; the raw edged over the toes.
3. Take the remaining strip and overlap so that it falls underneath the top piece. Pin
4. Stitch this down.
5. Place back on the doll's foot and wrap the strip around to the other side of the foot.

7. Pin.
8. Stitch in place, then pinch the fabric around the foot.
9. Cut off the excess, leaving just enough fabric to turn under the foot (about 1/8" (3mm).
10. At this point, your shoe will look like this. At this point, place the insole on the doll's foot. Put a bit of glue on the bottom of the insole (to keep things from shifting). Fold the edges over the bottom of the insole. Hand stitch the edges together.
11. Put rubber cement over the bottom of the shoe upper that you've just created as well as on the top of the wedge heel. Allow both surfaces to dry until tacky to the touch.
12. Put the doll's foot in the shoe and press down.
13. Apply the string as shown in the previous tutorial.
14. Then coat with a little Modge Podge to set.
15. Again, create a sole for the bottom of the shoe. Apply a strong glue on the top of the sole and the bottom of the wedge. Press together. If you have gaps between the upper and the wedge heel, glue in another bit of string.
16. The finished shoe.

And here is the result. I made my first pair in white for versatility of use. But my dolls already have put orders in for espadrilles to match their summer outfits!

Even though these shoes are typically associated with a more youthful look, there's no reason to deprive your more sophisticated dollies. Here, Shakira's shows off her new shoes that match her favorite skirt!!!

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  1. That's great ! thank you very much for that idea and tutorial :-)

    1. Welcome to my blog, Guyloup. So glad you enjoyed this post. Come back any time.

  2. I'm so glad you're tackling shoes now! You should probably protect the feet with plastic wrap but the rest looks great!

    1. Thank you so much for the suggestion, the compliment and your encouragement, BlackKitty. There are 2 things I must overcome: working so small (Barbie feet are really tiny) and making shoes for a foot on her tiptoes. The men's shoes were easier because the feet are flat. Because Poppy Parker doll bodies (which I rebodied the doll with the natural hair) have feet that can swivel to flat, I was encouraged to try this. But since, I've been working on the "high heeled" feet. Hopefully, I'll do something with boots in the near future! By the way...I love the look of the hat you did with the corn husk. When I have time, I'll do an update to the last post! Thank you for your post!

  3. Jestem pełna podziwu dla Twojej pracy! Te buty są bardzo pomysłowe i ładne! Z pewnością Twoje dziewczyny są zachwycone! Wcale się nie dziwię, że chcą jeszcze więcej w różnych kolorach!
    Pozdrawiam Cię serdecznie!

    1. Olla wrote:

      I am full of admiration for your work ! These shoes are very ingenious and nice ! Certainly, your girls are delighted ! I'm not surprised that they want more in different colors !
      Thank you Olla. Yes, the girls are VERY happy. You know, espadrilles are more comfortable than high heels (LOL)! And it looks as though I'll be making several more pair before summer is over! See you again, soon!

  4. OMG, these are awesome! Thanks for sharing this tutorial! Your girls are very lucky to get you to make these for them!

    1. Thank you for the lovely words, Phyllis. When I did the posts with the peasant clothes, the shoes I put on the girls were wrong. So, I took my time and finally arrived at doing some proper summer shoes for them. Oh yes, they are very happy. (Still making shoes!!)

  5. Great tutorial! I love this too! I really need to get off my but and do some of these!

    1. Thank you Ms. Leo. In the words of Vanessa (who just did a pair of sandals for Dasia)...the more you do, the better you get. I just finished my 5th pair! I need to make a few pairs for the guys!

  6. Wow! April, these shoes Lookin like thumbnails of my shoes ! They are insane ! Congratulations idea and patience when made !!

  7. Thank you Pikulina. The most fun part of my blog is making something for my dolls that closely resemble something in my own wardrobe! Or...last year I made a designer handbag that later...I saw on a woman at party. "OMG, my doll has the same handbag!"

  8. Alors la ! C'est vraiment trop génial !
    Bravo ! C'est super beau. Toute cette créativité, c'est tellement inspirant.
    Merci pour ce magnifique partage.
    Au plaisir !

    1. Merci Shasarignis. C'est une plaisir pour moi de partager mes experiences avec mes amis!!!

  9. I love the floral print shoes and the plain espadrilles!

    1. Thank you Oly. I am very happy with the result of both those pairs of shoes. The more I make, the better each pair becomes.

  10. I love all the shoes! You did a great job creating them.

    1. Thank you, Brini. This was a challenge. But now I am very happy with the results. (Now, if I could just make a pair of sneakers!!!)

  11. Great shoes! Thanks for sharing your tutorials. I love esepcially the black shoes with flowers!

    1. Thank you, Aya. I almost didn't make the black floral shoes. But then I wanted everyone to see the endless possibilities this project offers! Beware---all of your dolls will start demanding made to order shoes to match their outfits!!!

  12. Those summer espadrilles with crochet and ties are simply PUUURFECT!! They go so well with the cotton lace outfits. However, though bravo to you, they look so complex for me to make! Hats off, they're great And the little back sun suit is adorable - wish I had one - O

    1. Thank you, Olimpia. Yes, I agree, the espadrilles go much better with the cotton lace outfits!!! It really isn't all that complicated. Like everything else, the more you make, the better you get the hang of it.

  13. Wowzers! Once more you present something in a way that TEMPTS following the tutorial, to end up with something wonderful for our dolls...
    Love this!

    1. LOL!! Thank you, Jano. Yes, I admit...my intent is to convince all my visitors how much fun it is to make stuff for our beloved dolls!


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