Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How real shoes are sewn

As I was making the loafers for Agnes Dreary, I was thinking about this video I first saw a couple of months ago. I really had no idea how shoes are sewn for real. I'm thinking of trying two needles next time. The reason for that is that I need to figure out how to make a strong enough pair of shoes for a play doll. The ones I usually do are for display only, but these will need to be robust enough to give to a 9-year-old.

White leather shoes for American Model

I had a piece of thick white leather, which I had not even tried to use, because it was so stiff. I decided to try something very simple in which the parts folded below the insole would be as straight as possible. The result was the following structure:

White shoes for Tonner American Model
Because the leather was very thick, I had to glue filler pieces to the underside of the insole. This way, the outer sole will be smooth even if it is not made of very thick leather.

I painted the cut edges of the leather with white acrylic paint to make them neat. The decorations are stickers, the heels are made of polymer clay and the outer soles are made of brown leather.

White shoes for Tonner American Model

Original Finnish post: March 6, 2007

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Barbie shoes made of polymer clay

I once decided to try if I could make doll shoes using polymer clay. I was using Cernit, because I like it better than Fimo, which tends to get too soft in my hands.

First I formed the clay into a fairly thin sheet and then used a paper pattern and hobby knife to cut out the soles of the shoes. I used the heel part of the same pattern to cut two pieces for each heel. If the clay is difficult to cut neatly, place it in the fridge for a couple of hours to harden. Then it should be easier to cut. Also, the knife needs to be sharp.

Polymer clay soles for Barbie shoes
I smoothed the edges of the soles, placed the heel pieces in place, and used the doll's feet to check that the form of the soles was correct. Then I baked the soles in the oven. When the soles had been baked and cooled, I added the insole, strap and small decoration.

Barbie shoes made of polymer clay
The insole is probably more important here than when using other materials. Polymer clays have bright colors, so if they stain the doll's feet, it will certainly show. I'm not sure whether they stain or not, but I prefer caution and use an insole that insulates the doll's feet from the clay.

Barbie shoes made of polymer clay
This experiment gave me an idea to try to make an entire shoe out of polymer clay. It should be fine, if you bake the sole first, so you don't need to be too careful with it. Then you could build basically anything on top of that, provided that you take care to check that the shoe will go on and off easily as this kind of shoes won't stretch at all.

It's been a while and I still haven't got into trying that, but maybe I will at some point.

Original Finnish post: January 25, 2006

Monday, April 27, 2009

Really small shoes

The earlier posting reminded me of the boots I once made for Pullip. Pullips are approximately Barbie-sized, but they have a huge head and small feet. Fortunately, there is a joint in the ankle, so flat soles are fine. Heels would be a bit too much in this scale. Also, the doll's proportions are so unrealistic anyway that it does not matter, if the shoes have a bit strange proportions or scale.

These boots are made of leather and the insole is cardboard. Usually I cover the insole with leather, but in these, it is not visible and it was easier to make these using thin insoles. The outer sole is again made of different colored leather. The holes for laces are fairly big as 2 mm was the smallest eyelet I could find. The laces are made of cotton yarn. The 1 euro coin is in the picture to show the scale.

Handmade ankle boots for Pullip

Another doll with small feet for which I have made shoes is California Girl Barbie. For a Barbie, she has sensible size of feet and it is possible to make shoes for her. The next picture shows some of the pairs I have made. The pink ones are made of polymer clay and I will post the instructions for those as soon as I have translated them.

Shoes for California Girl Barbie

Original posts: March 15, 2006 and August 19, 2007.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New blog

I started a new blog for my other craft projects as I want to keep this one just for doll shoes. The new blog is called Tarja's Crafts.

Original Finnish post is here.

Loafers for Agnes Dreary

I have made a couple of pairs of loafers for Agnes Dreary. The first one is made of silver colored leather.

The picture below shows the insoles and upper parts, The sides are straight pieces and in the picture, they are much wider than needed. I prefer to leave some extra just to be sure (it is easy to cut it off when attaching the uppers.

Parts for Agnes Dreary's shoes
I used silver colored thread to sew the pieces together. The thread was a bit slippery, so I glued the ends inside just to be sure.

Parts for Agnes Dreary's shoes
Finally, I glued the uppers in place and used brown leather for the outer soles. The heels are made of one layer of that same leather. The strap is glued in place.

Finished shoes for Agnes Dreary

The other pair is made of dark brown suede. The first picture shows the uppers sewn together.

Assembling Agnes Dreary's shoes
The pictures for silver loafers do not show how the uppers are glued in place, so here it is.

Assembling Agnes Dreary's shoes
When making the heels, it is a good idea to glue a larger part in place and then trim it when the glue is dry. This way, the heel is just the right size.

Assembling Agnes Dreary's shoes
Here is the finished pair.

Finished shoes for Agnes Dreary

Original Finnish posts: January 26, 2008 and April 26, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Shoes for Pullip

Stine pointed out in her comment to my post about Tiny Betsy that the pattern for Tiny Betsy shoes will work for Pullip as well. I haven't tried that as I hadn't even thought about it, but those shoes are so simple that even if the pattern doesn't fit directly, it will be easy to modify it.

Original Finnish post is here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Just a little note

I have made some changes in the blog layout. The most notable change is that there are advertisements between posts. I'm trying to keep the "annoyance factor" low, so it's only going to be text ads, no huge pictures or banners. Another addition is the PayPal donation button in the sidebar. If you find the instructions useful and feel like making a small donation, it would be much appreciated.

Original Finnish post is here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Part III of the video

This was originally supposed to be a three-part video, but as I haven't finished the shoes yet, I decided to post the progress so far after the second part.

Original Finnish post is here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I put for sale into Etsy some things I have made earlier. There are also a couple of card woven bands made of sewing thread, which are suitable for miniature projects, and a couple of Barbie sized belts made of card woven band.

There will probably be more miniature card woven bands, because I'm experimenting with different colors and patterns. It's just so slow with thin sewing thread. On the other hand, a Barbie belt isn't very long, so it is easy to use the same colors for different patterns as there is no point setting everything up just for one short piece.

Original Finnish post is here.