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leather doll shoes made by hand Liv fashion doll Barbie Blythe

I make shoes. With no cobblering tools or training other than what I’ve been able to find in a few obscure books. That probably qualifies me as insane right there. In the past I have made several pairs of shoes for myself on homemade lasts, and lots of baby shoes. Now I’ve made doll shoes. Actually these aren’t the first doll shoes but these are the first that are actually made of leather and made with fairly traditional shoemaking techniques. I won’t bore you with the details. Alexia, is my daughter’s Liv fashion doll. Along with her rather garish outfit, she arrived with plastic boots. So although I have yet to make her any new clothes, I suddenly decided to make her new shoes today. Her feet are about an inch long, I don’t know exactly because I didn’t measure anything. These were a very simple pair of slip-ons made of thin suede and leather scraps leftover from baby shoes and a tiny scrap of floral cotton for the insole. I actually did not do any sewing, I used fusible web to construct these. My intention was to sew after but it doesn’t seem necessary. We’ll see how they hold up.

slip on leather doll shoes handmade

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Look! I sewed something! The girl saw a pair of baby slippers that have been hanging around and asked again for slippers of her own. (Even though she doesn’t wear the ones she has.) So I dug through the drawer that has my baby slipper supplies. I used to make quite a few of them, even drafted my own patterns in sizes from newborn to 4/5. I found this colorful butterfly print all cut out and ready to sew. I cut out the suede soles, (normally I would use leather for toddlers with bare floors) and sewed the uppers together. I had to rip and resew about three times because I’ve forgotten how to assemble these, as simple as they are. But she’s happy with them and has actually been wearing them yesterday and today. Usually I make these in heavier fabrics for winter use or line them in fleece but since it’s summer I decided to leave the extra layer out.

handmade butterfly slippers

suede bottom butterfly slippers for toddler


I haven’t posted any of my children’s funny words and phrases in a while so here are a few that I keep forgetting to share.

zazoo: looks like a whistle but makes buzzing noises, courtesy of the girl

egg noggin: you know, eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, yummy stuff. It’s good for your brain according to the boy.

dracamole: an imaginary creature that likes Mexican food (think avocados), as used by the girl

pig, pig, turkey: an answer to what kind of meat are you? or a game similar to that old waterfowl favorite. This was a coordinated sibling effort at Thanksgiving dinner, far funnier than the original.

And one of my favorites from the girl:
clap shoes: as worn by Gene Kelly or Shirley Temple. They sure do make a racket on our wood floors!

tap shoes with covered button elastic closure

The idea for the covered button closures on the tap shoes came from a post on the forum at Sew, Mama, Sew! from this blog:

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This faux suede/sherpa coat came to us in a bag of hand-me-downs from a friend. The shoes used to belong to the boy but were now the right size for the girl. Unfortunately Miss Picky only likes girly shoes. In an effort to get her to wear something that would be safe for running around in I decided to embellish the shoes and jacket to match with some autumn colored leaves. Since I really can’t draw I looked online for some inspiration and came up with a few pictures of leaves on branches that I could use to make my own design. I used my Tsukineko fabric inks in empty markers from Dharma Trading. These are absolutely great for someone like me who is not so handy with a paint brush. Pencil didn’t work so well on the suede so I took a deep breath and my chosen colors and worked freehand. I love the way this project turned out and the girl wears this coat every chance she gets. She even wears the shoes!

The front of the jacket and details of the pocket, the shoulder and the shoes:

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Usually you buy the shoes to match the outfit right? Well…in this case I had picked up a pair of white mary jane style tennis shoes on sale with the idea of decorating them in some way for the girl. I had in mind to do something with red to go with several red outfits in her wardrobe. For several years I have had an image of a graphic flower in my head but didn’t know what to do with it. It came to mind and after quite a few pencil sketches, I got out the fabric dyes (Tsukineko all-purpose) and went to work on the shoes freehand. Even though I’m a graphic designer by training, I really can’t draw so this was quite an accomplishment for me.

After I finished the shoes I realized that they were not going to look right with any of the cute red outfits she already had so then I had to make a dress to match the shoes. I drafted a simple A-line shift pattern and used fusible web and a zigzag stitch to apply the variegated red and black border on the white dress. The poppy-like flowers are set off-center. While I’ve used fusible web to applique before, this was a much more complicated process and I did go a bit crazy cutting out all the right pieces! Not pictured is the very cool elastic keyhole neck in the back. My independent girl prefers to dress herself so rather than use a button or snap closure, I made a small casing at the top of both sides of the keyhole opening and inserted elastic. When worn, the elastic does not show at all. I should have a picture of that huh?

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