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An old song says, "These shoes are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do…" and around here the next line could be, "Thanks Grandpa, these shoes are gonna walk all over your living room."

My leather-working hobby has included belts, wallets, gun-leather, and many other things, but this is the first time I've made shoes. Now, i'll never really be a shoe-maker, a very specialized and high-skilled trade. But, simple baby shoes are fun and fast. And, at this age, the "customers" are all smiles.

To make some you'll need some light leather. I used 4-6 oz veg tanned tooling leather from Tandy Leather. It allowed the wet-forming technique needed here. First, trace around the baby's foot, or even another baby shoe to get an outline of the shoe. My advice is always to make them just slightly bigger than needed, as babies grow surprisingly fast. You won't want to make these and find that they were the size needed a month earlier. Cut the outline from light card stock or heavy paper.

A pair of "lasts" will be needed. I made mine from a soft 2 x 4. Trace a right and left, by flipping the pattern you have made, and saw them out. Then using a saw, chisels, rasps, belt sander or carving knives, shape the lasts to match, and to a contour which looks like the other shoes you might see on store shelves. Also make some outline cauls as shown. These will be used to hold the leather in shape wile it dries.

Step 1:

Affix the lasts to a scrap of plywood as shown.

Step 2:

Make a pattern for the toe/uppers with a proper tongue and cut out two of these, leaving enough extra to allow for clamping to the wooden forms.

Step 3:

When dry, assemble the toe and heel portions on the sole material. I use the same leather for the bottoms as the tops as stiffness is not as important in a baby shoe as it is for adult shoes. Using a pencil mark the INSIDE outline of the shoe. Then, with good contact cement, coat the mating surfaces and allow to dry according to the package directions. When it's time, assemble the shoe uppers to the soles.

Step 4:

Begin sewing. I use a standard saddle stitch with two needles and threads.Then, trim as you wish. Thin cuts may be best to allow proper overhang all the way around. Use edgers and burnishes to round the edges. Oil, stain and seal your work and install eyelets if you have them, or just punch holes for the lacings. Voila! Shoes!!Then, trim as you wish. Thin cuts may be best to allow proper overhang all the way around. Use edgers and burnishes to round the edges. Oil, stain and seal your work and install eyelets if you have them, or just punch holes for the lacings. These shoes also have a very light suede leather sole, to add a bit more grip for beginning walkers, glued on over the sewn sole. Voila! Shoes!!

I figured it needed to be wet. I once made a saddle lamp (kit) and thought the leather had to be wet to form to the tree. Thanks for your help !
<p>I want to make a pair for me !</p>
<p>That's probably quite possible, but you'd need lots heavier material than i used for baby. This is 3-4 oz leather. For an adult i'm betting that 9-10 oz might be a better choice. I also put the &quot;hinge&quot; point where it allows Mom to put them on little feet which sometimes do not cooperate to the max. For an adult, some overlap between the fronts and backs might be a good idea to keep gravel, etc from working in. </p>
Thanks for the tips. By the way, you do dampen the leather to form it to the last, correct ?<br><br>
<p>I used tooling leather and SATURATED it. Otherwise, it just will not wet-form. Then, it must be formed with finger pressure, manipulated to form around the &quot;last&quot;, then restrained, and dried in place. </p>
<p>Sheer art!!! The most beautiful baby shoes I have ever seen in my life (and I am old) Thank you for posting</p>
<p>Thank you! I appreciate that more than you'll ever know. I'm old too and have been waiting a long long time to make grandchildren-shoes. </p>
<p>Great ible! Beautiful work!</p>
<p>Thank you!</p>
<p>beautiful.</p>
it's sad shoe makers or shoe repairman are on extinction, really nice to see something from &quot;scratch&quot;<br><br>I would love to make it but for American Doll shoes ? start really small !

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