Baby Girl Flower Sandals: a Simpler Version (made with re-purposed faux leather)
Whew, did you think our new home (rental) sucked me right into its mess of boxes and random homeless piles of stuff? Uh, well, it did. Haha. But I’m mostly back. And wanted to share with you a little something that I made before we moved. I can’t keep it to myself any longer. :)
Remember how I made these little baby sandals last summer? A boy and a girl version?
(click on either image to visit tutorials)
Those were seriously so fun to make. But I know, things in small sizes can sometimes be a little tricky. And from the comments, a few of you struggled with the binding around the edges of the sandals. So, I made a new pair of little girl sandals that are even easier. Without the strip of binding. (But if the binding doesn’t bother you, try either of the sandal tutorials above……they are a lot of fun to make too!)
And yep, you got it, made from an old faux leather pouch. I love a good “something outta nothing” project.
And yeah, these sandals don’t have sturdy thick manufactured soles, so this would be best for babies or small toddlers who only walk outside minimally. They’re not really intended for walking miles on hiking trails. However, the soles are fine for indoor and just a little bit of dry outside use. (I let my little one walk in them on the sidewalk out to the car, on the grass, etc.) I even added some canvas material inside the sole to sturdy them up. (More on that below.) It worked great.
This was one of those, “wow, this turned out even better than I thought it would” type of projects. I love a good surprise!
And really, they were a lot easier to make than they may look. (Or, I don’t know…..maybe they look easy?) And would be even more simple if you skipped on adding those soft little flowers on the strap. But hey, don’t go doing that. Those soft little flowers make the sandals POP! :)
They are especially interesting to little fingers. But don’t worry, they are sewed on nice and secure.
And remember, if you are recycling from old stuff……..making these sandals won’t cost much. So even if you mess them up terribly on your first try, you’re not out much. Try again. And just think, you may surprise yourself like I did. So give it a try. Dare ya. ;)
I have said this before and I may say it a thousand more times…….but little feet in teeny tiny little shoes may be one of my most favorite things to gush over. Yeah, impractical. But dang it, so cute!
Want to make your own little flower sandals?
To begin with, you’ll need to find a small amount of faux leather. You can sometimes find faux leather for sale by the yard at the fabric store but they generally don’t have a very good variety. That’s why I head to the thrift store. And look at all of the old purses and pouches. There are always great colors and textures that you can cut up and use for other projects.
Next, trace around a pair of shoes (or sandals) that fit your subject. Then let the child stand on top of that traced drawing to see if that will be a good fit for the foot. Adjust as necessary. Remember, you’ll want a little extra room around all of the edges for the little seam all the way around. Then, for one sandal, you’ll use that pattern piece to cut out a top piece and a bottom piece of vinyl that are cut opposite each other so that they can be placed with wrong sides together. Then cut another pattern piece that is an 1/8 of an inch smaller around all the edges than your fist pattern piece. Then cut 2 pieces of felt, and 2 pieces of fusible adhesive/web (what’s this? go here). You make these smaller so that when the sandal sole is sewn together, you are only sewing through the 2 layers of vinyl…….not the felt and adhesive.
Next, turn one of the sole places face down, then place a layer of fusible adhesive/web down, and then a piece of felt. Iron the felt down until it’s securely attached to the vinyl. (Be careful how hot your iron is so that you don’t melt or shrivel up your vinyl.)
Do the same thing to the other vinyl piece.
Next, you’ll cut some strips of vinyl that will be used for the straps of the sandals. And because vinyl usually only has the pretty color on one side, ach strip is made with two strips of vinyl, placed together with wrong sides together, then sewn along each side to attach them together. Everyone’s measurements will be different, depending on the size foot your subject has. But I will tell you what my dimensions are for my size 4 sandal for my 13 month old daughter. (Remember, you will need added length for each strap so that they can be tucked/folded under/etc. If you read on, you will understand better.)
The strip all the way to the left is the one that goes over the toes. It is about 5/8 inch wide and 6 inches long. The second strip from the left is the one that goes under the heel and reaches up to each side of the ankle. It is 3/8 inch wide and 6 1/2 inches long. The strip on the right is used around the ankle and is 3/8 inch wide and 8 inches wide. And one end of this ankle strap, I curved the end just for looks. But you don’t have to. That will be the end that wraps around and velcros the strap in place.
Then, I cut slits into the top layer of vinyl/felt that will be directly under the foot. The bottom layer of vinyl/felt (the part that will touch the ground) doesn’t need slits in it. Make the top slits right where you want the wider strap to cross the toes. You may need your subject to stand on this sole piece, to get a better idea of where you should place the slits. Then place another set of slits toward the back of the vinyl piece, right where the ankle is.
Then, place your top toe strap through the slits from the front………and then the other strip through from the bottom. Make sure they fit nicely and are positioned how you want them.
Now, time for the flowers. I cut up old jersey knits scraps from my knit scrap box to make them. I cut 10 circles for each circle (mine are about an inch in diameter). And remember, the circles don’t have to be perfect at all. Just eyeball it and then cut. Then, I cut one piece of felt that was slightly smaller than my knit circles, that I would use as the backing to each flower. Then I stacked all of the circles on top of each other and then sewed them together right in the middle, with the felt circle centered on the very back. (To sew them together, I lowered my stitch length really low, lowered my feed dogs, and then sewed a little circle right in the very middle. But I realized that’s not the easiest way for everyone. So another option is to just turn your machine stitch to zig-zag, decrease your stitch length all the way to zero, and then stitch several stitches. That will tack all the circles together.)
Then fluff up all those layers of circles……and those center stitches will be hidden anyway.
Then, flatten those layers back down again, remove the toe strap from the sole, and then stitch the flower down to the strap the same way you did in the previous step. Add two more flowers the same way.
Then place the strap back through the top sole of the sandal and then pin it down in place.
Then add plenty of glue. I used Amazing Goop (purchased at Michael’s) that works awesome! I used clothes pins to pinch each end in place, until the glue dried.
Then, to make each sole even more stiff, I cut out little sole shapes out of plastic canvas to add between the two sole layers. This is optional but it really helps to stiffen up the sole. Maybe there are other ideas out there……..but I had extra of this from another project and it worked great! However, be sure to make the canvas piece 1/4 inch smaller (not just an 1/8 of an inch like the felt) around all of the edges of the vinyl sole shape. You don’t want it in the way when sewing around the sole of the sandal.
Then, make sure the bottom strap is centered in place…………..and then put a generous amount of glue on the bottom of the sole, then place the canvas layer on top, add another layer of glue, and then place the bottom layer of vinyl on and sandwich it all together. Just be sure that the right sides of your vinyl is facing outward on both sides of the sole. (When applying the glue, try to keep it about a 1/4 inch away from the edges of the sole. You don’t want it to gum up your needle when sewing in later steps.)
Then use more clothespins to sandwich your layers together tightly…….or throw a heavy book on top to press all of the layers together. My husband was done studying this dang book, so it came in handy. I’m just trying to get our money’s worth out of all his pricey P.A. books. ;)
After the glue has completely dried, put your zipper foot on your machine and then sew all the way around the sole, an 1/8 inch from the edge.
Then, fold over each end of this strap towards the inside of the shoe, about 3/4 of an inch. The loop that it makes at each end needs to be big enough for the ankle strap to fit through.
Next, slide the straight end of the ankle strap (if you made one straight and one curved) through the OUTSIDE strap loop. Pull it through about a 1/2 inch and then sew it in place with a few stitches.
Then place the other end of the strap through the other loop. Then add about 1 1/2 inch strip of velcro to each end.
Lastly, inspect your sole. If you see any gaping holes, use a toothpick to place a bit of glue in that opening…….
……….then pinch it closed and hold until it dries. Repeat with any other gaping sections.
And that is it.
Now, try on for size. And adore your teeny tiny little sandals.
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