I’ve always been interested in trying out cobblery (why are all the cute shoes heels?) but got stymied by the specialty tools. So I guess it shouldn’t have been a big surprise that I’d try making baby shoes, but it shocked me!
Babies and toddlers need very flexible soles and wide toe boxes to allow their feet to articulate and spread while they are learning to walk. So really, they don’t need stiff leather, shoe lasts, etc. And they don’t need $65 shoes they will outgrow in 3 months, thank you very much.
I thought I’d try a few free patterns available online to start and see where it went.
Schwin & Schwin Little Red Riding Boots turned out to be the winner. The high tops helped keep them on chubby feet, and they were quick to sew up. I either used suede for the soles or added interfacing to my main fabric and painted puffy fabric paint on the soles for grip. I made the soles wider, we have wide feet here, and I think I trimmed the toe piece to make it less high. The pattern was pretty easy to change length and width as it was easy to see how it all fit together, so this one grew with them. The boots in the picture I used the reverse side of Kasha lining as the main fabric, and black fleece for the lining for warm shoes.
HomemadeToast TOMS Inspired Baby Shoes are absolutely adorable. I highly recommend buying the sized pattern – I used the free version and scaled the print out, which obviously doesn’t work well as feet don’t grow proportionally. So there were a few trial runs to get something to fit. In the end they were more work than the riding boots, and with 1 year old feet didn’t like to stay on so well without the high tops, so they got abandoned. I want to try again now that their feet have a lower profile and they are walking easily, shoes tend to stay on better.
Homespun Aesthetic Toddler Boots have been great for fleece booties to wear outside in the cold. They weren’t walking yet so haven’t tested how they’d do in snow, but they kept warm! These were made with remnants of spruce green Hi-Loft Power Shield from Discovery Trekking Outfitters which I will be talking a lot about in the Coats post.
Etsy has about 1000 baby shoe patterns, but I found it harder to get toddler sizes. If anyone has any great links, I’d love to know about them!