I saw these adorable shoes online for the little lady and totally fell in love. Shoes are one of the few things that I don’t mind spending a little bit of extra money on, since the kids get so much use of them. Okay, so maybe Alice doesn’t need shoes yet, but they were soooo cute. I personally only have a couple pairs nowadays; so someone has to pick up the slack.
One problem with these super cute little sandals; they are not for sale. The company is on hiatus, and the only rouge pair I could find were pink. I wanted white. The wheels in my head started to turn, and then there was no stopping me. I would make them myself. Sounds simple enough, yes? That was not the case. And it is always a bit of a bummer when you decide to make something you really love, you spend so much time on it, and it doesn’t quite turn out right. Methinks shoes should be one of those things you leave to the professionals.
They turned out alright; I think it helps that I have a crazy little soft spot for chubby baby feet trussed up like two Christmas rib roasts.
But, I embarked into the strange, crazy world of cobbling anyway. If you care to see how I did it, follow along. Let’s begin now… (And I’ve edited out the bajillion missteps along the way, and I won’t mention why I ended up with three shoes at the end of all this.)
A note about the leather; it’s normally really expensive. I managed to hit the jackpot when I picked up a scrap bag at Hobby Lobby for $6.00 that had everything I needed and more. SCORE!!
I traced one of Alice’s little flip-flops, then plotted out the holes I would drill for the lacing. Ideally, I would use I leather punch, but I’m no leather worker. I work with what I’ve got, and that happens to be a power drill. Drilling all the holes (on top of a block of wood) before I cut them out (with kitchen shears, baby!) seemed to be the best way to do it. I also drilled four little holes before cutting out the oval slide at the back of the shoe.
I cut out the two white soles and the white, oval slides. For the lacing, I cut 1.5″ strips off the bottom of an old, white t-shirt of Nathan’s and then stretched it to get it to curl up. I trimmed some of the width off where I threaded the needle to cut down on the bulk that would go through my holes.
I started by lacing into the #1 hole on my pattern and then followed along, making sure to thread the bottom of the oval slide at the back of the shoe.
I crossed the two ends and threaded them through the top two holes of the slide. I tucked the ends under the loop in the bottom of the slide.
I knotted the ends and then ran a dry run on Alice, adjusting the straps so they fit just right. The bottom of the sole should look like this:
I coated the bottom of the sole and the back of another piece of leather in leather glue and allowed them to dry for an hour. Then I covered each piece in another coat of glue, placed them between two pieces of scrap wood and clamped them together overnight.
Then I trimmed the bottom of the second piece of leather and they were done!
I’m thinking I’m going to try to make another pair when Alice starts to walking in warm weather, but I won’t use a smooth leather sole (maybe suede or rubber), and I think I’ll sandwich a layer of cork in the middle, trimming out where the lacing is on the bottom for a perfectly flat sole.
I’m glad I tried it, but I’m thinking that I need a little more practice. I’ll hand it to Manolo; that guy must’ve made A LOT of crappy shoes out of old t-shirts and Hobby Lobby leather scraps to get where he is today.