Introduction: The Sun Sandals, Soft-sole Leather Sandals for KIDS
Here are the “Sun Sandals” made for KIDS !
Making shoes for kids is a challenge in a way as their feet grow so fast and can be so widely different is size and proportion. This is why this design with laces is fairly interesting as it allows more adjustments to evolve with the growing feet and accommodate socks or not. If you don’t like laces or if you would like a more closed shoe, you can have a look at my other video tutorial for baby moccasins here.
Instead of making standard sizes like you would have in shoes-shops, I have designed the patterns for them to be easily customized to the individual proportion of each child. So don't be put off by the first steps which is to adjust that pattern to the right size for your child, once it is made in paper, translating it to leather will be the "easy" part!
Before you start,download the patterns by following this link. You will receive an email with the files so that you can simply print them out. Make sure that you print them in full scale (100%).
I hope you will appreciate this tutorial and make good use of it.
Note : I apologize that the videos are without sound, and not reaching my usual standard in quality, it is due to the fact that at the time of creating this tutorial we did not have a place to record so I recorded outside under the trees... To avoid wind sounds in the microphone, I have preferred making soundless videos. I trust that all the content is there and quite self-explanatory.
Please keep in mind that I stay available to answer your questions at any time, simply write to firstname.lastname@example.org with pictures of your work if you need support.
So! How about we get started?!
These are the tools that you will need:
For the pattern:
- A printer
- Paper scissors
- A colored pen or pencil
- A tailor’s tape measure or a piece of thread and a ruler
For the shoes:
- Thin, soft (supple) leather. Can be from 1mm to 2mm in thickness. Recommended 1.2mm-1.6mm
- A permanent marker
- A leather hole punch about 3mm in diameter (maybe a board and a hammer for that)
- A pair of sharp scissors
- Universal contact cement glue for soles (optional) and a piece of plastic bottle to apply it.
Step 1: How to Choose the Right Pattern and to Custom It?
First of all, if you haven't download the patterns yet, follow this link to receive them by email. You will receive an email with the files so that you can simply print them out. Make sure that you print them in full scale (100%).
To choose the right pattern, we will focus on the width of the foot and not on the length. So first, measure the size of the foot by wrapping around the front. Add 1cm + a little extra as we want them to be rather large so that the feet can grow in them. Compare this width with the maximum width of the pattern. Choose the pattern that is closest in size. I suggest you choose it rather a little large than too small.
NOTE #1: pattern 5 and 6 are the same width but one has 4 top petals (over the instep) and the other 6. If the child's foot is rather large but short use pattern 5 but if the foot is long and thin, best would be to use pattern 6.
NOTE #2: pattern 1 was made for young toddlers but if you want to make them for new-born babies, you might need to downsize it. Try printing it in a smaller scale by changing the printing parameters to 90% for example.
Secondly, take a piece of paper and draw the outline of one foot. If you are doing it for babies, you might want to do it when he/she is sleeping or it can be quite a challenge...
Again, I suggest you draw it a little longer so that the child can grow into them.
When this is done, cut the footprint out and also cut the heel tab of the corresponding size.
NOTE #3: The patterns are in 3 pieces : The pattern itself, the heel tab and the sole part.
Always match the pattern, the heel tab and the sole of the same size (1,2,3,4,5,6) together.
Now place the footprint on top of the pattern with the toes against the toes and copy it on top by tracing around it. It could be smaller or longer than the outline that is already drawn on the pattern, don’t worry about it, we will adjust that. To do so, cut out the heel tab and use it to adjust the drawing of the heel to the right length. For that, simply draw around it to copy the heel where you want it to be.
To finish adjusting your pattern, improve the drawing of the curve around the ankle.
If you are planning to add a sole to the sandals, do the same thing to adjust the size and shape of the sole part.
You can now cut both the sole part and the pattern.
Cut also the "petals" at the front on the black lines and using your leather punch or a paper punch if you have one, make holes on every dot.
Well done! You have done the hardest part already!
Step 2: Cutting the Leather :
Now that you have your pattern ready, we just need to copy it on the leather and cut it out.
To do so, take your piece of leather and place the hairy side (inside) towards you so that no pen marks will appear on the outside of the shoe.
Place your pattern on top of the leather and trace around it with a permanent marker.
Flip the pattern over to have a left and a right foot.
Mark all the holes that you will need to make and folding each "petal" you can also prepare the cutting lines for the front part of the shoes. Instead of drawing the whole line, I suggest you just make a dot where the line ends like you can see on the picture above.
Now you can cut it out. Cut inside the line so that it doesn't leave any mark on the shoe.
Don't cut the front petals yet. It is best to do it after poking holes so that if any holes are off-centered you can compensate.
Step 3: Making Holes :
Placing yourself on a hard wooden board, a craft set (you know these kind of plastic boards where you can use a cutter blade), or a wooden block, poke holes.
Note: I do not speak in the following videos, don't worry if there is no sound...
Step 4: Cutting Petals at the Front
Once you have made your holes, cut straight in between each hole according to the lines that you can see on the pattern. Help yourself with the dots that you have prepared earlier.
Step 5: Making a Sole Now or Later (optional)
You can already add a sole on the baby/kids moccasins. The technique will differ if you make it before walking with them or after.
If your kids are VERY active, you might need to renew the sole later on with the second technique.
Let’s have an overview of how to do this:
- If you do it now:
Trace the outline of the foot on the leather you will use for soles using the sole template.
Flip your pattern over to have left and right foot.
Than use the sole pattern to trace where the sole will be placed on the bottom of the shoe.
Before gluing, place your sole on the shoe and draw a reference line in the middle of the heel and at the front. This will help you being more precise when gluing.
Cut a piece of plastic bottle like in the picture above and spread a thin layer of glue on both sides. Wait that it is dry to the finger. Finally, as precisely as you can, place the sole on the shoe using the reference marks to help you.
- If you do it after:
You can wait a few weeks before making a sole. In this case, you will see appearing the shape of the foot under the shoe. Before gluing the sole, remove all dirt and dust. You can use a wet wipe, a wet sponge or even wash the shoe completely under running water.
Visualize the shape of the footprint and scratch the surface of the leather with a sharp point. Spread glue carefully in the shape of the sole that you want to make. It is the precision of your work here that will determine the shape of the sole.
On the other side, take a larger piece of leather than the sole you want to make and put glue all over that piece. DO NOT cut the shape or the sole yet.
When both sides are dry to the finger, glue them together and ONLY AFTER THIS, cut all around the edge to create the sole. Be careful not to cut the shoe while doing this… (yes it happened to me before…)
Press firmly, especially on the edges.
Step 6: Cutting Laces
We are almost done already! Before you lace it all up together, we need to make lace of course!
For this, take a piece of off-cut and cut it in the shape of a “potato”, meaning round up the corners.
Then, holding like in the picture, cut in a spiraling manner. Try making a lace of about 3mm wide.
Here are a few tips to make good lace more easily:
- Your scissors must be sharp at the tip, and the blades not too long like tailor scissors would be. It might be easier to use smaller scissors in this case.
- If you are right handed, turn clock-wise and if you are left-handed do the opposite.
- The width of the lace should never be smaller than the thickness of the leather.
- Always keep an eye on the distance between the edge and your scissor blade so that the width of your lace stays regular.
- CUT SLOWLY
- Keeping tension on the lace by holding it in a pinch with your thumb and your little finger will help.
- When the angles become too narrow, round them up again until you can’t go on anymore.
- When you finished cutting it, pull on the whole lace to stretch the leather and test if it is strong. If it breaks somewhere, at least you know it before being in the middle of lacing your shoes…
Now that you have prepared your laces, we reach the most exciting part: when the shoes come in shape!
Step 7: Lacing It Up! the Front Part, 2 Options
For size 1 to 3, I suggest you make a permanent lace for the front and use the lace from the heel to hold the shoe around the ankle.
For sizes 4 and above, since there are more than 1 petal holding on the instep, we will do the opposite meaning that the lace from the heel will not move while the lace from the front part of the shoe will be used to be tied-up around the ankle.
Wow, it sound a bit complicated in words but it’s actually very simple, let’s see it in video to be clearer.
So take a piece of lace and starting from one side of the front part of the shoe, go through every hole always in the same direction; for example from under towards outside. You can choose in which direction the petals will overlap each other…
Once you finished, pull tight on both ends and make a knot to hold the front together tightly.
Step 8: Lacing the Heel & Making the Heel More Adjustable in Size
Lace the heel like in the video here (5/7). Start from the bottom of the heel and work your way toward the top in a cross pattern. Fold the tab and go through the last holes before making a simple knot to hold it in place. Cut tassels.
To make the size a little more adjustable, you can add 2 to 4 holes on each side around the ankle.
For size 1 to 3, I recommend you use the lace coming from the heel to close the shoe around the ankle. this will allow to open the shoe to the maximum so that it will be easier to put them on for babies and toddlers.
So make it long enough to be able to tie it at the front.
To make the shoe more adjustable in size, add holes around the ankle so that it holds well even if the shoe is too big. When preparing the holes around the ankle, think that it is best if the lace comes from the inside towards the outside of the last hole. In my case, I had to add 3 holes. Watch the short video (6/7).
From size 4 to 6, it is best to lace the shoe from the front because of the 4 to 6 petals on the top of the foot. To still have an adjustable heel, make only 1 or 2 extra holes on the sides and finish with an outside knot that you can slide when the feet grow. See video (7/7).
Step 9: You've Made It!
You've made it!
If you are still struggling though, you can contact me by email to get some extra help: email@example.com
I hope you have appreciated this tutorial, if you find value to my work, you can support me by purchasing this tutorial and leaving a review on my Etsy shop : https://www.etsy.com/shop/earthingmoccasins. It would be like a donation that supports my little family to live and to continue sharing my passion for the art of moccasin making.
Another way to give back is to like my facebook page and to send me an email with a picture of your creations so that I may share it with my crafting community.
Thank you in advance :-)