Sometimes you spend a lot of time surfing at internet trying to find the perfect pair of shoes for your doll. Then another one… But it’s really hard to find the perfect pair because sometimes you want to change up the shoes you found a little. Or you probably want them in another color. Or in another size. Etc…
Then you get an idea that you can make shoes yourself. And you start searching for doll shoe patterns. And you may face with the same problem as well – it’s hard to find shoes pattern exactly for your doll. At this point you are ready to make your own shoes from scratch!
Ready? Let’s go!
- How to make shoe pads
- How to make shoe pattern
- How to make doll shoes
How to make shoe pads
Before starting to draw shoe designs and make the shoe patterns you have to make shoe pads first. Yourself. Because in this case you will get the best shoe pads, that perfectly fit your own doll.
As a doll collector, you may know that doll sizes may vary from year of production. If you have already decided to make shoes, you can also make them exactly how you like them. Someone likes a tight-fitting shoe, but someone needs a loose one. Everything in your hands at this point!
Silicone shoe ‘boots”
For making the shoe pads you need a cling wrap, scissors, a silicone sealant, an oil and, of course, a doll.
I use the black sealant thus I can easily see where I’ve already covered doll legs with the sealant and where is still not. And it’s also clearly visible do I have holes in the sealant “boots”. I use sunflower oil, but, I think, this is not important.
First of all I check that the doll stands herself. This means that her legs and feet are in right position.
Then I cut off narrow pieces of the cling wrap and wrap them up around the doll’s legs to protect the doll’s legs against stains. But my experience shows that I can miss this step with some BJD dolls. The silicone sealant I use can be easily removed from the resin at the first. At the second, it doesn’t leave any stains.
After wrapping the doll legs I check that the doll stands by herself again.
Next I smear the sealant to the wrapped doll’s legs trying to cover tightly the entire surface.
Unfortunately, my camera’s battery run out after previous step, so since next step I show pictures of the same process I took before when I made shoe pads for another doll.
I dip a finger in the oil and then gently smooth the sealant surface. I continue until there are no holes left in the sealant. Then I let the sealant dry for a day.
After that I take off the sealant “boots”. It’s not hard because the dried sealant (silicone) can be easily turned inside out.
Gypsum shoe pads
For the next step I need water, a gypsum, wet wood sticks and the silicon “boots” I’ve made in previous steps. It do important to have the wood sticks wet because the dry ones will soak the water up from the gypsum mix and thus you will get cracks on shoe pads.
I mix the gypsum and water together until the mix looks like a sour cream.
Then I carefully pour the mixture into the “shoes”, insert the wet sticks and let the mixture dry.
After the mixture has dried, I take off the silicon “boots” from the gypsum shoe pads the same way I did this before with doll legs.
Next I pull out the wood sticks, apply a glue on them and glue them into the remaining holes.
Thent I take a piece of a cardboard and draw the shoe pad sole on it using my pads.
I add 2 mm around the edges of the sole. In this case the shoe pads will be a little bit wider than the doll’s feet and this will help to take off the shoes and put them on easily. I make the line smooth.
Next I cut out the soles and glue them to the shoe pads.
I’ve bought a wall putty and I’m going to apply a thin layer of it to fill all the gaps and holes in the shoe pads, also making the pads’ surface smooth.
I wet the fingers with water and smooth the surface of the shoe pads, then let the shoe pads dry.
This is a result after a couple of days.
I think, it is necessary to put another layer of the putty, and after that, I think, all my works for preparing shoe pads will be finished. I don’t need them to be completely smooth, so I won’t to sand them also.
How to make shoe pattern
To make a shoe pattern I need a cling wrap, scissors, a masking tape and, surely, shoe pads.
I cut off a narrow piece of the cling wrap and wrap it around the shoe pad. I do this to prevent a mud on the pads, because I’m going to use them not only once 🙂
Then I cut off small pieces of the masking tape and glue them to the wrapped pads.
After that I draw modeling lines of shoes I need on the masking tape.
Because I’m going to make moccasins and loafers, I’ve already made a search of their images on Internet. So I just draw modelling lines on the wrapped pads using these images as a reference.
Then I cut the masking tape by lines, flatten the masking tape and, because the masking tape still has glue, I glue the masking tape detail to a piece of heavy weight paper and trace the shoe pattern.
After that I remove the detail from masking tape and carefully draw all decorative stitches on the shoe pattern, all holes for eyelets and all holes for a needle and mark all details connections.
The more carefully I do this, the easier it will be to use the pattern.
Because I’m going to sew moccasins and loafers from thick leather, I do not need seam allowances. Don’t forget about seam allowances as well if you need them.
The shoe pattern is ready for use.
How to make doll shoes
I’ve made the moccasin pattern, so I show how to make them. But anyway, when you’ll make your own shoe pattern, you’ll do the same steps to make shoes. Any shoes.
I transfer the shoe pattern to a piece of leather.
I mark all future stitches, eyelet holes on the leather.
I was about to sew the moccasins on my sewing machine first but then I thought that leather is too thick and it’s better to sew the loafers by hand.
Then I make the holes for the future stitches using my thick needle for leather. It would later help in sewing and making decorative stitches.
Skip this step if you’re sewing on a sewing machine.
First I make decorative stitches.
After that I start to sew moccasin’s top detail and side detail together.
After finishing sewing, I make eyelets.
As I’ve said before my leather is too thick for doll’s shoes. And I think that it would be hard to make a tidy toecap. So I decide to remove thickness of the leather using a knife. It’s really dirty and hard work.
Skip this and the next steps if you have thin leather.
But then I guess to use sandpaper, and my work goes faster.
I trace the shoe soles to a cardboard and the leather, cut them out and then glue together. Also, I glue the back side of the shoes. Because I made leather thinner I get very tidy back seam.
Next I wet the shoes details, except soles, with water because I read before that the water makes leather softer and easier to form the toecap.
After that I put the leather soles to the shoe pads and wrap them together with cling wrap to prevent pads from damaging and soaking and soles from moving. Then I put on the shoes details to the wrapped pads and begin to pull the seam allowances using a needle with a thread. Then I leave this construction to dry.
When the leather dried I remove the thread and cut off seam allowances to make the shoes bottom more tidy and flat.
Then I remove the pads from the shoes and glue the inner soles of the shoes. I fill up the gap between the seam allowances at the bottom with small pieces of the leather. Next I cut out two outer soles from a foam and glue them to the shoes. Then I weave a cord braid to decorate shoes and hide place of outer sole gluing. After that I slip the cord in eyelets and voila – shoes are ready.
I do like the result, so I cut out three pairs of shoes extra 🙂