These directions and patterns will show you how to make warm boots for little cold feet from all reused materials. If you purchase an old wool coat at a thrift shop (think of how many pairs of boots you can make from one coat), along with an XX-large polar-fleece pullover to use for lining - then use mountain bike tire inner tube for soling - these boots are practically free. So, make a bunch, and donate some to other children with cold feet.
I sell shoemaking kits and books with simple shoemaking directions and patterns on my website: www.simpleshoemaking.com
Boots like these are common all over the world. They are relatively easy to make because the bottom edge of the upper part of the boot is the same distance around as is the edge of the sole - no gathering or easing is needed. And, the bellows aspect allows plenty of space to maneuver those little toes all the way into where they belong. Make it wider if your child needs extra space - or narrower if she or he doesn't need it.
I've tried to give these shoes for Solomon, my grandson, a contemporary look with a toggle closure, but they could be embroidered and the seams bound with patterned cloth tape, and they would look like a pair from one of Jan Brett's Scandinavian-influenced children's books.
If you have a serger, the seams of this boot were made for it. However, I'm making these totally by hand so someone without machinery can see how it's done.
A cool thing about this pattern is that you can also use it to make little shoes, note the "shoe" toplines on the patterns. Directions can be found in step 9.
This pattern is for a size 4 boot; it can be enlarged and/or decreased on a photocopy machine, perhaps 8% or so larger or smaller - beyond that it gets distorted.
This boot and shoe can be made of leather. The stitch holes on the pattern at the toe of the body, and the stitch holes where the body and tongue are stitched together, need to be punched out before stitching. If you would like stitching along the topline, the holes need to be punched out there too. For a felt boot or shoe, these holes do not need to be punched out, as a sturdy needle and thread will pass through the felt.
-a wool coat from a thrift store or a wool blanket that has been washed in the hottest water with a little detergent, then dried in the dryer, until it is well-felted
-warm and comfortable lining; use polar fleece, flannel, soft felted sweater, etc.
mountain bicycle tire inner tubes, bike shops may give them away
-thread - for hand-stitching the uppers, use buttonhole thread, embroidery floss, waxed linen or any sturdy thread. For attaching the upper to the sole, ideally use artificial sinew, available at craft and leather stores. However, any heavy nylon/polyester thread would work. You want something that won't rot when exposed to the elements.
-some sort of cinch cord - I used paracord, but a felted roving cord tied in the front could be beautiful, or a shoelace or leather thong could be used. You could make a flap that pulls the boot together and secure it with velcro. Or, lace these boots up! Just as the shoes have one pair of holes for the tie to pass through, you can add maybe four pairs of holes up the boot and pull a paracord or other lace through.
I purchased the paracord from www.theparacordstore.com
-white glue thinned with a little water, fabric glue, or spray adhesive (Dritz has one with no fluorocarbons) for adhering layers together.
-silver gel pen, chalk, permanent marker
-1/4" masking tape (or wider tape cut into strips)
-scissors and chalk, preferably tailor's, and/or a rotary cutter with a mat
sharp hand sewing needles with big eyes, and/or a sewing machine or serger
If you have a sturdy sharp, big-eyed needle, you may not need to punch holes in the inner tube before stitching, although you do need to mark stitch locations with a gel pen or silver permanent marker. However, do have a pair of pliers handy to help pull the thread through. If you'd like to pre-punch holes, use a 00 spring punch or drive punch, from www.tandyleather.com or from Michael's craft store - or, make stitch holes with a hammer and a nail, with the end of a log underneath.
-pliers to pull the needle through thick spots
I'll call the big upper piece the "body" and the smaller upper piece the "tongue".
Cut out the body pattern and tongue pattern, and punch out the stitching holes in the sole pattern and the stitching holes along the bottom edge of the body pattern.The holes along the toplines and the seam where the body and tongue are stitched together are only needed if you are making a boot out of leather.
Find a good place on the felted coat for placing the three patterns. Use a rotary cutter or scissors to cut out the felt pieces. Use chalk to outline the patterns if you're using scissors. The patterns for the upper pieces of the shoe are symmetrical, so you don't need to flip them over when cutting out pieces for the second shoe. However, the soles are different, so you do need to flip the sole pattern over when making the second shoe.