20 aug

Make your own soft soled leather shoes.


The pattern (with finished shoe sizes from 11,5 cm to 30,5 cm (pattern pieces from 12,5 to 31,5 cm included 0,5 cm seam allovance) can be bought here).

You’ll need some pieces of soft leather; scraps will do. I buy my leather from hobby suppliers and a Norwegian leather dealer called Skinnlåven. Leather from used jackets or bags may also be used. Thin leather is soft but will also wear out sooner than thicker leather.

Thick leather may on the other hand be hard on your sewing machine and not as comfortable to wear. You’ll have to figure out for yourself how much your machine can do.

I recommend a special presser foot for leather and similar materials, as well as needles for leather. I use both poly and cotton threads. The special presserfoot may be replaced by stitch&tear or similar paper between the leather and the presser foot. I use straight stitches, length about 3,2mm. Seamallowance of ca 5mm is included in the pattern.

The elastics I use are 10mm wide. I find this better than regular narrow elastic in that it doesn’t make wrinkles all the way around the childs ankle. Hence more comfortable to wear. You’ll need about 40 cm of elastics for small shoes. You actually need less, but a bit longer elastics make it a whole lot easier to work with. The shoes can be made out of other materials as well. Feel free to alter the pattern and play with materials in any way. Make shoes for your entire family, your friends and neighbours, but please don’t sell products as a direct result of using my tutorial or patterns. You can buy the pattern here. Please do not share the pattern.

Let’s get going! Cut two of each pattern piece. My shoes are the same for the left and right. which is great for children who aren’t able to put the right shoe on the right foot, and they are also easier to make.

You’ll also need a casing for the elastic both around the heel and on top of the shoe. The decoration on top of the shoe is where you can let loose the artist in yourself. I’ve chosen an simple flower for this particular shoe.

Cut or punch holes or slots in the upper part. This is where the elastics go later on. You can use scissors, a knife or a hole puncher.

Sew the casing on to the heel part. One side first. Put the elastics in place and sew the other side. Be careful not to sew into the elastics on this step. I usually place the chasing about 75-100mm from the top of the heel part because this helps prevents the shoe from wrincling up.

Make a mark where you want yours to get it even or align it with the top. The casing is 1cm wider than the elastics itself.

Second you’ll need to prepare the upper part. Decorate it in any way you like. Be careful not to sew in between the slots/holes for the elastics or else you will not be able to thread the elastics through later on. The upper part and the sole are sewn first. Right side facing each other. Mark the middle of both pieces and trace the starting point of the seam from this. Feel free to use clips or something elce to keep it all in place if you find it hard to do it with just your hands. Leather doesn’t allow much faults. You might rip the seam once or twice, but no more. Any needle holes will not go away and may make the shoe weaker.

Sew the heel on to the shoe right sides together starting slightly overlapping the upper part. This is where your sewingmachine might give up or start spitting needles. Sew slowly or manually if needed. Do NOT pull the leather Especially not if the leather is very soft. Make sure you don’t sew the ends of the elastics by accident.

The shoes is now almost finished; you just need to fasten the elastics. You’ll need to do this before turning the shoe outside out. Pull one end through the holes using safety pins like I do, a tweezer or whatever suits you. I like using safety pins on both ends since it prevents the other end from running off. Adjust the elastics to fit your child. If the child has high ankles or is on the heavy side the elastics need to be longer than for a smaller foot. Sew the elastic closed by hand and cut off any excess. Rotate the elastics to hide the seam between the holes in the upper part.

Turn the shoe outside out and repeat the process to make its partner. Study your excellent work and please; try not to wake your child straight away to try on the shoes even though you want to. :D

Good luck! Feel free to contact me with any questions.

EDIT: 12.08.14 You can now purcase the pattern here.

Important notice: You are not allowed to copy or resell my pattern. If you want to make shoes to sell in a small scale, please contact me.
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63 thoughts on “Make your own soft soled leather shoes.

  1. Me again! I measured the size shoes I had already cut out last night to find that they are smaller than my children’s feet and thats without a seam allowance (whatever it is). I enlarged the pattern pieces 144% to get a 2cm by 2cm square. Is it supposed to be 2.5cm square perhaps or something quite different?

  2. Thanks so much for the free pattern! I made a pair in soft buttery leather and found they fit my baby now, but won’t for much longer. I went back to download the pattern again, to make a size or two larger, but was unable. The message says «File damaged and cannot be repaired.» Oh NO! Can you load it again and I’ll make enough copies for larger sizes?
    Thanks again! (Michael Levine Fabrics in LA has wonderful soft leather scraps, enough to make more than one pair of shoes, for $3 each! A goldmine!)

  3. Thank you ever so much for this tutorial. Just what I was looking for – Christmas coming up – and the normal panic what to give family and friends. As not all relatives is so easy to please…
    I will try to download it straight away.
    Will post a link to your site on my blog so that I and others easily will find your lovely and very inspirational site.
    As I’m Swedish but living in London since years, it is so lovely to see your Norwegian photos.
    Thanks again for all inspiration.

  4. Thank you so much for the amazing pattern. I’ve had the desire to make some baby shoes and the only thing stopping me was the lack of a good pattern. I even have a leather sewing machine (my husband likes ebay =) I appreciate your generosity in sharing your talents!

  5. Hi,
    I love these shoes. I just bought some leather scraps and am planning to make them. But I tried to download your pattern and it said the file was damaged and so I could not download it. Can you please reload the pattern? Thank you.

  6. What adorable shoes! Please re-do the file as I get the corrupted message, too. I’m convinced Norskis are the cleverest people in the world – (well, I’m prejudiced as my grandparents came to Canada from Bergen ;-) Thank you for sharing your terrific creations.

  7. I was so happy to find the free patterns and instructions you have posted here since i have been thinking of making such soft leather shoes for my 9 month old son now that the floor is colder in winter. Like Hope did, i have enlarged the patterns 144% and noticed that the problem for the sole lengths. I can’t find your responses to the questions posted here so i hope you could clarify it for me. Thanks alot.

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  11. Hi,

    thank you for this tutorial and pattern, I like it! Could you tell me the amount of the seam allowance? I expected 1 cm, but I think that was too much. I would be very happy about an answer.

    Tank you and greetings from Germany

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  13. I’m just learning to make these little shoes but I can’t find the right pattern and I was wondering If you could please email me the pattern.

  14. I am a Grandma now and would like to make my granddaughter who is one some little shoes as we are missionaries and would like to use material that I have on hand. Would it be possible to get your pattern? If not, I understand and will keep looking. God bless.

  15. Hi, since 2 weeks i try making shoes for my little nephew (9months), but they never fit….
    I would like to start a last trial with your pattern, could you please email me a copy of it? Thank you very much and best wishes from Germany.

  16. Hi,
    i try to make shoes for my little daughter by myself, but the pattern fits not perfekt. I would love to try your Pattern. Could you please email me a copy?
    Thank you so much an greetings vom Germany.

  17. Hello Could you please email me with your pattern as I cannot find a pattern big enough (13.5 cms feet) for my 8 month old boy :(
    Many thanks

  18. These booties are super cute! Could you please mail me the pattern? …I would love to make a pair for my 7month old son. (South Africa)

  19. Hi,

    I would be very thankful if you would email me your pattern. The shoes are really cute and I want to make a pair for my daughter who is just starting to learn how to stand up :) Greetings from a dane in Estonia

  20. Hello! Your booties are so cute! I´d like to sew some for my little daughter- she´s growing so fast and needs new ones, but this time selfmade! The leather is already waiting ;-) I´d be very, very happy if yo could send me the pattern for the wonderful shoes!
    Many thanks and greetings from germany

  21. May I please have the pattern as well? This is exactly what I’ve been looking for and can’t wait to give it a try! Thank you, thank you!

  22. Can I please have a copy of your pattern, my partner is expecting her first grandchild and I would like to surprise her with this pattern to make a pair for the new addition to our family.

  23. Can you tell me if your pattern is just for baby shoes or for adult shoes also. The sample you show is adorable. Thank you. Suzette

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