Thursday, December 13, 2007

Reversible Fabric Baby Shoes Tutorial

Finally! So many of you have been asking for this tutorial. I was actually quite shocked. I've been spending so much time fussing over the pictures and technique because I wanted it to be perfect, but I've finally accepted the limitations of my dark apartment and my cheapo camera. So, the pictures aren't very pretty and you can see that the fabric isn't ironed, but hopefully the pics are enough to explain the process. Keep in mind that I am by no means sure if this is the best way to do this. It can get quite tricky at times. But if you have any questions, I'll certainly answer them the best I can. And if you think of a better way, let us know.

To start - the pattern/template is available at .

And similarly a pdf copy of this tutorial is available at .

OK, enough blabber.

Cut out your pieces. For each piece you want two pieces of each colour (4 in total). Shown here I have just one piece of each colour. This is what you need to make one shoe. The pieces are such that you don't have to worry about flipping them over or anything. They're symmetrical. So just cut the shapes out and they'll work.

Not shown, you'll also need two pieces of elastic about 3/8" wide and about 3.5" long.

All seams are 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Place one of fabric A and one of fabric B right sides together. Sew them together along the longer straight edge.

Fold the heel pieces over the seam so that they are now wrong sides together.

Now you sew a seam to make a casing for the elastic. My elastic was 3/8" wide so I sewed my seam about half an inch away from the edge.
Your seam will depend on the width of your elastic. Try not to use an elastic that is very thin as this might cut into the baby's feet. Too wide and the elastic won't hold the shoe snugly above the heel.

Attach a small safety pin the the edge of the elastic to help you push it through the tunnel.

Push the safety pin through until the other end of the elastic is just poking out. Do not push the elastic the whole way through. At the pictured stage, the safety pin is hidden inside the fabric.

Now we make a sandwich.
It goes:
Fabric A toe, right side up
Heel piece , fabric A down, fabric B up, elastic towards the middle, elastic poking out the side
Fabric B toe, right side down

Start sewing a seam along the flat edge of the toe pieces, catching the heel piece (including the elastic) as you sew.

Stop after you've sewn over the heel piece, a little less that halfway down the toe piece.

Here's where it starts to get tricky.

While everything is still in the sewing machine, pull the elastic and scrunch up the heel piece so that the free end of the elastic pokes out the other end of the heel piece.

Pull the heel piece around so that it's edge is lining up against the edge of the toe pieces.

I like to put a little pin at the end, hold the pieces together with my left hand and pull on the safety pin with my right hand.

Finish the seam.

This is how it should look when the seam is done.

Fold the two toe pieces over.
Now it should look like this.

Ooooh, it's starting to take shape.
Now we make another sandwich.

The shoe top is going to get squished in between the two sole pieces.
It goes:
Fabric A sole, right side up
Shoe top, fabric A down, fabric B up
Fabric B sole, right side down

Pin often, attempting to keep the fabric distribution relatively even. I like to start with pins at the mid point of the toe and the mid point of the heel and then go from there.
Also I find it works better with smaller pins. Here I'm using mini quilt appliqué pins. They work great.

Sew around the shoe leaving an opening. I like to leave about an inch at the side of the shoe because that's where it's straightest and going to give you the least amount of trouble.

Fold back one of the sole pieces away from the opening. Sew the remaining pieces along the seam line.

Now, through that little opening, you turn the shoe right side out.

We're almost there!

Slip stitch that opening closed.

You're done! Yay!

Find a little tootsie to show off your new creations.


Unknown said...

WOW!! You are amazing. I was just one step away from making mine reversible. YOU ROCK!!!
Thanks for being so generous with your time and patterns.

HomeMadeOriginals said...

These are adorable!

Felicia said...

They're cute as cake :(

Circe said...

Thanks so much for this amazing tutorial - you're brilliant!

Colargolet said...

Great tutorial! I've been searching for something like that for a while.
Going to try it today!

Hawk and Weasel said...

Hi! I think the shoes look just great!

I just made something similar but I was kind of concerned that the kid would kick them off. (I don't have kids, I just make presents.) What do you think? Do they stay on? Have you tried them?

Amy said...

Hi, thanks for the free tut~ I am going to list a link to it on my blog so everyone can make some. I made some and tweaked the pattern just a bit but I am not doing a tutorial so I thought I'd share yours. Thank you

Kristy said...

Thanks for the tutorial it's great!
Sorry to let you know but someone is actually selling your pattern on Etsy
I have reported it but you might like to also.

Jessica said...

I was just commenting to tell you the same thing about your wonderful tutorial. I am glad that I did discover your blog and fabulous pattern, though. Thanks for kindly providing the pattern!

shorty said...

Thanks so much for putting this tutorial up. I whipped up a pair for my little man who's anti-shoes and they actually didn't come off his feet. Hooray!

Unknown said...

I asked a person about this shoes's pattern and tutorial on flickr, and she said me "noooo".
I felt so sad...and keeping looking at net and found here, your blog.
I'm so happy and thanks deep of my heart, because your good heart to share it with us.

Susan said...

This great. I'm putting together a diaper bag, changing pad and pacifier. This is great to go with the whole gift for a up coming baby shower at the end of July.

jschia said...

I'm very new at sewing. How would you scale up the pattern for the shoes for a 12-18 month size range?

Lisa said...

Hi jschia,

To scale up in size, the key is to make the booties longer, but not much wider. I'm not sure what size would be best for 12-18 month size but I'll wager the internet knows, so the info is probably just a google search away!

Once you know the length you need, you can try photocopying the printed pattern & scaling it that way, then modifying the photocopy to be less wide, or you can try freehand drawing the pattern shape at the new size.

Hope that helps!