How to Make Ecological One-piece Moccashoes




Introduction: How to Make Ecological One-piece Moccashoes

This might be the easiest way ever to make a great-looking shoe! This “moccashoe” is composed of one piece, with a flap that folds over the foot. Stitch a bottom sole on (optional), stitch the heel, stitch the body of the moccasin to the flap, and. You’re done! A lace or a leather thong around the topline can gather the moccashoe close to your foot if you like.

This shoe is totally ecological if you make it from leather items from thrift stores, and if you use non-toxic cements. And, they will be locally made, with your good energy.

These would make great “earthing” shoes if you add a leather sole – or none.

Even though this is a moccasin design, it’s not just for wearing to shuffle around the house. When you add a street-sturdy sole to it, you have a “moccashoe” that’s wearable as you go out the door. Compare it to “minimalist” shoes that are advertised as being great to have on cruises when you want to change out of your painful stilettos – and they cost $175.00 – these could be made for free!

Step 1: Materials


leather or felt – Moccashoes can be made from thrift store goods, 3-4 ounce/square foot purchased leather, 2 mm commercial wool felt, felted wool coats or blankets, or hand-made felt. Leather ones might need to be lined with the same or similar leather.

soling – A bottom sole is not necessary, but of course having an additional layer of protection under foot will result in a longer-lasting shoe. Car tire inner tubes or motorcycle inner tubes, which are thin but wide enough for adult shoes, are available at no charge from most shops. Thin natural rubber (available in my store), or an additional piece of leather can be used as soling.

thong – If you want to gather in the topline, you can use a thin strip of leather or other material to thread through holes you can make along the topline. You can tie it over the instep or at the heel – or insert an elastic band or shock-cord so they are easy to slip on and off.

thread – 1 mm waxed braided nylon cord from leather stores or is easy to work with and, being inorganic, won’t deteriorate. Stitching awl thread or artificial sinew also works, as will many more types of thread that you may already have.

contact cement – I recommend Aqualim 315 non-toxic cement from or Ecoweld contact cement from to hold the bottom sole in place before you stitch it on, and for adhering lining. You can also use rubber cement, spray adhesive – here’s one without flurocarbons –

or double-sided tape. White glue might work, put a weight on the pieces, until the bond is dry.

rivets and a buckle (or velcro) if you want a strap on your shoe

felt for the body and Peltex heavy interfacing or other materials for the sole to make a preliminary “mock-up” shoe

Step 2: Tools

leather-cutting scissors

two tapestry or harness needles

00 spring punch or...

00 drive punch

maul or rubber mallet for striking the drive punch

pounding board – to be placed under the leather when you use a drive punch. It can be the sanded surface of a log, a thick plastic cutting board, or a pounding board purchased from a leather store.

Step 3: Make a Felt Mock-up of Your Moccashoe

Print the pattern. Stand on a piece of paper with your heels against a wall, and make a mark at the end of the longest toe. Measure the pattern, the inner sole pattern should be as long as the distance you measured from the wall to the end of your toe. Enlarge or reduce the pattern’s size on a copy machine until the length of the sole equals the measured length of your foot.

Make a sample shoe out of felt, with Peltex interfacing or another piece of felt (doubled) for the sole, to check the fit before cutting into your leather. Mark stitch locations with a permanent marker. You don’t have to punch out the stitching holes in felt or Peltex, just use a sharp needle for stitching.

Step 4: Cut Your Moccashoes Out of Leather or Wool Felt

Place the pattern on your leather or felt and draw around it with chalk or a silver gel pen, then cut the moccashoes out. Cut the sole pattern out of the moccashoe pattern, then draw the sole outline on the leather with a silver gel pen or chalk, so you'll know where to place the sole - this is important!

Step 5: Add a Lining If Needed

If your leather is thin, you might want to add a lining. To add it, apply contact cement to the back side of your moccashoe. Next, draw around the moccashoe pattern on your lining, and apply contact cement to it, as I am doing in the photo. When the cement on both pieces has dried, carefully lay your moc on top of the lining. Cut out the lining to match the moc.

Step 6: Punch Stitching Holes

Punch out all the holes on your pattern, transfer them to your leather, and punch them out. To punch with a drive punch, which is shown in the materials section above, place a pounding board beneath your leather, and hit the drive punch with a maul or a rubber mallet. Or, use a 00 or hand spring punch, as also shown above. Place a piece of leather under the piece you are punching holes in, so the tube passes all the way through the leather into the leather scrap below it.

For gathering the topline, mark the holes along the topline with a gel pen and punch them out with a 5/32″ punch – or you could make slits using a screwdriver pounded with a mallet. You might want to wait to do this until you try on the shoe to see if the topline needs to be gathered.

Step 7: Stitch the Topline If Needed

If you line your moccashoe, depending on the cement you use (Aqualim forms a tight bond), you may need to stitch the two layers together along the topline. If you stitch it, punch holes every 1/4″, then use the two-needle running stitch .

To stitch the topline, cut a piece of heavy thread about four times the distance around the topline. Put a blunt needle on each end of the thread.

Poke the needle through your thread about 1/2″ from the end, then pull it through –
this will keep your needle from coming off.

Poke one of the threaded needles through the first stitching hole on the topline at the heel of the shoe. Even out the lengths of the threads, then bring one threaded needle through the next hole along the topline. Once it has been pulled through, bring the other length of needle and thread through the SAME hole, but in the opposite direction. Pull on both threads to seat the stitch, then continue this process all around the topline.

Step 8: Position Your Sole on the Moccashoe Body

Cut the sole out of your pattern along the outer sole outline. The cut-out acts as a frame to show you where to correctly place the sole, which is important for the appearance and comfort of these shoes. Make several positioning lines with a gel pen around the sole area onto the leather; then you know exactly where to place the sole.

Use the sole pattern to cut out your bottom soling material. Spread contact cement on the area where the sole will be placed, and on the sole. When it dries, Adhere the two together.

Step 9: Stitch the Sole to the Moccashoe Body

Punch stitch holes through both the sole and the body about every centimeter. Place your stitch holes as close to the edge as is workable, so they will be situated at the edge of your feet, instead of under them.

Stitch the sole to the moccasin, using the two-needle running stitch. Cut a piece of cord about eight times the length of your sole. Put a needle on both ends of the cord.

Try not to split a thread that is in the hole with the second needle you bring through that same hole – pull the first thread to the side. When you have stitched all around the sole, tie a square knot with the thread on the outside of the shoe between the sole and the body of the moccashoe. Run the ends of the thread under a couple of stitches, and clip them off.

Step 10: Stitch the Heel Seam

Stitch the heel seam starting at the top, using the cross-stitch. To make this stitch, cut a piece of thread about two yards long and put a needle on each end. Pull the thread through the first stitch hole at the top of the heel seam, then whip one thread around a time or two.

Take one of the needles and pass it through the next hole down the seam on the opposite side of the seam. Immediately bring it back up through the stitch hole opposite this one, then drop it.

Do the same with the other thread, crossing over the first thread to make an X, then bringing the needle back up through the opposite stitch hole.

Tug on both threads to firmly set the X-stitch, then continue making the X’s down the heel seam.

Step 11: Stitching the Horizontal Heel Seam

To stitch the horizontal seam, stitch one side of the seam in one direction to the end of the slit. Start by stitching in the bottom hole of the heel seam, and make a simple stitch straight across, pulling the sole edge up to be stitched to the body of the moc. Whip-stitch (that's the first half of the cross-stitch) with only one thread to the end of the slitake another straight-across stitch, then turn around and stitch back to the heel seam, which completes the three “X’s”. Use the other end of the thread to do the same stitching on the opposite horizontal seam.

Tie a square knot at the end, on the inside of the moc, and weave the ends of the thread under a few stitches.

Step 12: Stitch the Flap to the Body Using the Whip Stitch

To stitch the flap to the body, you can use either the two-needle running stitch or the whip-stitch.

To use the whip-stitch, start at the inside of the foot with a thread about 30″ long. Pull the thread through the first stitching hole on the flap up to the knot. After you make a few stitches, thread the thread “tail” under them and clip the rest of the tail off.

Pass the needle over the top edge, then through the first hole in the moccasin body. Pull the thread tight, then through the inside of the next hole along the flap.

Continue stitching through the holes along both edges, pulling out and shaping the gathers that form along the flap so they are neat.

The last stitching “hole” will be a bigger hole that the thong also passes through. Turn around and make a few stitches that create “cross-stitches” in this area. When you have passed through your last stitching hole, tie a knot in the thread and bury the end under a few stitches before clipping it off.

Step 13: Stitch the Flap to the Body Using the Two Needle Running Stitch

The flap can stitched to the body with the two-needle running stitch, as shown here. To make it, cut a piece of cord or thread about four times the distance that you will be stitching, and put an anchored needle on both ends of it. Start stitching where the flap meets the body, and follow directions above.

Pull the cord snugly at each hole. Continue stitching around the flap, forming each gather as you go.

Once you have completed stitching, tie the two ends of the cord together with a square knot between the flap and body, weave the ends under a couple of threads, and clip them.

Step 14: Adding a Thong Along the Topline and a Buckle and Strap

There are four stitch holes across the flap topline, and an additional one at each end, on the body.

The brown shoe shown in the photo above has a strap and buckle attached, to keep the shoe snugly on the foot. I cut a strip of leather for the strap, which in this case was 1/2″ wide. I attached the buckle with an orange-color strip just for fun, used an oblong punch to make a slot for the buckle tongue to pass through (make sure you turn the tongue in the correct direction), and fasten both the strip and the strap to the shoe with stitching or rivets.

Thread a leather or nylon cord through the punched holes along the topline, tying the ends at the heel or the flap.

Here is the pattern for the moccashoe in woman's size 8, tape the two pieces together.

Be the First to Share


    • Lighting Challenge

      Lighting Challenge
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Puzzles Speed Challenge

      Puzzles Speed Challenge

    3 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I love these, if I happen to come across a discarded later garment at a thrift store I will pick it up, with this in mind :)

    Pale Rider X
    Pale Rider X

    2 years ago

    The patterns you provided are gold! Great instructable and a huge thank you.


    2 years ago

    It seems to be a perfect instructable to make one's own shoes. One day I'll make them.

    Thank you.