Make your own soft soled leather shoes. Tutorial.


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.

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. If someone wonder if they can get a copy of this tutorial, please direct them to to get their own copy. My handdrawn pattern (pdf file) inkluding this tutorial can be bought at my shop.

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 seam/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

EDIT: 12.08.14: I have decided to stop sharing the pattern for free for now. You can purchase the pattern by following this link.

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.

14 thoughts on “Make your own soft soled leather shoes. Tutorial.

  1. I’m so excited to try these. Thank you for your website! I will let you know how I do and send a picture if they are beautiful!

  2. hi ohelene,

    thank you for the shoe pattern. what width of seam allowance is included (5mm, 10mm)?

    many thanks, Amelia

  3. Your leather shoes are absolutely beautiful! Not sure if I’m up to trying to sew with leather yet, but they are inspirational. Bravo!

  4. YAY! this is just what I was looking for! Can’t wait to make some for my children.

  5. Pingback: Sew,Mama,Sew! Blog » » Create & Celebrate (some more!)

  6. Thank you very much for sharing your gift of these lovely shoes. Every child deserves someone to love them enough to make their own shoes. A true talent that is nearly lost in our ready-made world. I can’t wait to make these for my precious grandchild, Amara Mae.

  7. Thank you so much for this, i will be making a pair for my daughter!

    Dolly Donations: Sending Love, 1 Dolly at a Time!

  8. Very cute! My husband makes moccasins, I’ll show this to him. Our boys are not babies anymore but they still love wearing leather on their feet.

  9. I don’t understand metric and to old to learn. HeeHee! There are strange hierogliphics thru out your message. I can’t figure out what they are. PS= I wish to make indian mocassins with heavy leather soles. Thanks, great site. Ron

  10. Will be trying to make these in faux sheepskin! Let you know how they turn out.

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