Category Archives: shoes

Shoes: third attempt – so close, yet so far!

handmade shoes

After my first and second practice pairs (aka slippers), I thought I was ready for the real deal. Everything was going so well. I spent lots of time adjusting the fit and making sure everything was right, and I was really happy with this pair until I tried to glue the soles on. I don’t know if it was the rubber soles I used or the “eco” low-VOC contact cement, but the soles just refused to stick to the shoes – so disappointing!

I followed all the instructions for the contact cement: the temperature was above 18 degrees C (it was a gorgeous 28 degree day!), the humidity was low, and I waited 60 minutes for it to dry, but it just wouldn’t dry. So I tried sticking one shoe on, and it peeled right off of the rubber! So I left the other one to dry overnight and tried again, and the same thing happened. The glue just peels right off the rubber even though the bottle says that it sticks to rubber. If you have any experience with contact cement, or any ideas on how I can fix these, please share!

handmade shoes

handmade shoes

You can see where the rubber sole is peeling off the shoe 😦

20140502_201706 (800x600)20140502_201718 (600x800)  handmade shoes

Pattern: Round toe strapless slippers by uku2
Fabric: outer 100% organic cotton twill, waxed with Otter Wax lining 100% organic quilting cotton (Passing Clouds by Cloud9)
Soles: 3/8″ Rubber Soling Material  and LePage Low VOC Contact Cement (I followed this tutorial for applying the soles)
Size: 9
Fit Modifications: Rounded the toe to accommodate my square feet, pinched out 1 cm from top of heel, removed 0.5 cm from bottom of side heel to compensate for removed heel padding
Construction Modifications: Used canvas interfacing, omitted glue and heel interfacing, added removable insoles
Style Modifications: Cut out more of the upper near the toes, added straps to the toe, added a tab to the back heel with a loop

The upside is that these are by far the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn, so as long as the soles don’t completely fall off, I will actually wear them!

I decided to try waxing them since it’s spring (photo below shows the shoes after waxing). The waxing process was surprisingly easy, but I haven’t had a chance to test them out in wet grass or puddles yet, so I’ll report back later on how effective it is.

handmade shoes

For my next pair, I ordered some different soling material (from here) that gets sewn in instead of glued on, so I’ll give shoes another try when the new soles arrive. Unfortunately, this pattern is designed with part of the uppers wrapping around to the bottom, which means I need to make some major modifications to the pattern, or draft my own, to use the sew-in soling. It’s quite a process, but I’m not giving up yet!

 

Shoes: second attempt

After my first attempt at making shoes, I wanted to try a different pattern to see what else I could learn.

Shoeology Everyday Loafers

Pattern: Everyday Loafers by Shoeology
Size: 9
Fabric:
outer: 100% organic cotton canvas, lining: some kind of quilting cotton, buttons: coconut, inserts: 100% wool felt
Modifications: none

This time I followed the instructions and sewed up one practice shoe without interfacing, and I liked it, so I made another. The square toe fits my weirdly square feet perfectly, so I didn’t need to do any modifications this time.

The construction of this one is different than my last pair. Instead of a full lining, the lining and the outer are both sewn to the sole, and then a removable insert is used to cover the bottom. The instructions say to buy an insert and then spray glue fabric to it, but I made my inserts out of two layers of wool felt and stitched a layer of lining fabric on top to match. I don’t like how the unfinished edges are slightly visible with this method, but I like the removable inserts, so I think I’ll combine the two methods for my next pair.

Shoeology Everyday Loafers

Shoeology Everyday Loafers

These are super comfy, and I’ve been wearing them around the house non-stop, so I think I’ll consider these a successful pair of slippers, and a solid step towards wearable shoes!

Shoeology Everyday Loafers

And now a review and comparison/contrast of the two patterns for anyone who might be considering making shoes (or even just slippers):

Shoeology Everyday Loafers: The instructions on this pattern are not as detailed as the uku2 pattern (especially in terms of fit), but if you’re looking for a quick slipper pattern, the lack of extra detail could be a good thing. If you have square toes like me, they will probably fit without any modifications, so that’s a plus for some people. These fit a bit larger than the uku2 ones, so the fit is better with socks. Great pattern for a first pair.

uku2 Round Toe Slippers: The instructions are amazing and detailed. You can really tell she did her research, and if you want to get into the finer details of fitting, this pattern is great. She talks about the importance of accurate stitching, and it was a bit overwhelming at first because I thought any small mistake would wreck my slippers, but that’s really not the case. This pattern is great for taking slipper-making to the next level, and really perfecting it.

Overall, I’m glad I bought both patterns since I will be combining techniques from both, and maybe even using both patterns for future pairs. I think I’m ready to try making a real pair with outdoor soles next!

Shoeology Everyday Loafers

 

Shoes: first attempt

I made shoes! Well, slippers. And barely wearable ones at that. But it’s a first step, and I’m hoping to have a pair of wearable (outdoor) shoes figured out by spring.

uku2 shoes

Pattern: Round toe strapless slippers by uku2
Fabric: outer 100% organic cotton twill, lining 100% organic quilting cotton
Size:
9
Modifications: Rounded the toe to accommodate my square feet

The instructions on this pattern are amazing. Super-detailed, with lots of photos explaining how to measure your feet properly, and how to do modifications for oddly-shaped feet (which I have!) and you can tell she did a ton of research into shoe-making. I would definitely recommend this pattern for anyone considering making shoes.

The reason these didn’t turn out quite right is completely user error. I ignored the instructions to interface because I wanted breathable shoes (I hate sweaty feet), so they’re really floppy and don’t stay on. Next time, I’ll interface with self fabric, or maybe cotton canvas, to get a bit of stability without sacrificing breathability.

The other bit of instructions I ignored was doing layers of felt in the sole, stacking from the heel and tapering to the toe. I just did one layer of wool felt all the way across because I wanted more of a barefoot/minimalist shoe. I’m happy with how it feels, but I didn’t take into account the heel depth, so the back of the heel goes up too high. An easy fix for next time.

uku2 shoes

uku2 shoes

uku2 shoes

Measuring feet is really hard! I thought I needed to adjust the left foot based on my measurements, but it turns out I didn’t need to, so one slipper is bigger than the other at the heel. I attached some elastic straps to keep these things on my feet. I’m happy with them for a first attempt, though. At least now I can wear my hand-knit socks around the house without worrying about them getting snagged on the sharp screws on the stairs. Yay!

I have one more shoe pattern I want to try before deciding which one to work on and perfect. Anyone else thinking of getting into shoe-making, or am I the only crazy one?