I’ll just let the pictures do the talking here…
The little velcro strap keeps baby’s foot snug inside.
I am obsessed with those little tags. Characteristic of those cute little TOMS, yet personal to the little toes inside.
Want to make a pair for an itty baby? Add a little elastic to the back, sew the middle strap down – easy peasy.
And, best of all – they are made by you. (Or me.)
FREE General Baby Pattern (PDF)
Instant Download Baby Pattern – $4.50
includes: newborn, 0-3, 3-6, 6-12, 12-18, 18-24 month sizes & sizing chart
FREE General Toddler Pattern (PDF)
Instant Download Toddler Pattern – $4.50
includes: US children’s size 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & sizing chart
If you choose to download a generic pattern, make sure you scale it to the size you need. You will want the sole piece of the pattern to be approximately 1 inch longer than the feet you are making them for. This will allow room for seam allowance, plus a little wiggle room for comfort and growth.
Also, one more suggestion: make both of your shoes at the same time, assembly-line style. Because these shoes are so tiny, it’s important that your seam allowance is exactly the same for both shoes. If you make one shoe, and then the other – you risk slight differences, which could add up and result in a difference in size.
Here we go!
1. Cut out the pattern.
First, cut out all of your pieces, as listed on the pattern.
This photo shows the pieces needed for the toddler pattern. If you are making the baby pattern, the center strap is made of one folded piece, not two separate pieces.
Also, the back is slightly different. The toddler pattern has a curved piece, with a rectangle-shaped lining (to be trimmed later). The baby pattern is made of two curved pieces.
For the soles of these shoes, I like to use two layers. (I use a rubber-dotted grippy fabric for shoes made for walkers.) But, you could use only one layer, or even three if you wanted. I find it easiest to fuse them together with wonder under – that way I am only essentially dealing with one layer of fabric.
Also, I would definitely suggest fusing the center pieces with interfacing. It will help keep the fabric in place, and prevent fraying when you cut the slit that will be folded out to encase the elastic. For the toddler shoes, I also like to use interfacing on the outside back, and heel pieces – just to give the heel a very clean look. Do NOT use interfacing on the toe pieces. They need to be very flexible!
You will also need your tags & elastic.
I use 3/4″ to 1″ elastic cut in a similar shape to the heel piece – edges cut at a slight angle. I usually use a piece about 1 1/4″ on the longest side for the toddler shoe, and 1″ for the baby shoe.
I make these tags with a printable iron-on transfer paper and 5/8″ ribbon. If you have the supplies to make these, its fairly cheap to make them yourself. If not, the transfer paper, ribbon, and elastic is going to put you upwards of $20.
Or, I have this set of customized tags available in my Etsy shop. It includes a set of three tags (one extra set, just in case) and 4-inches of 1″ elastic.
2. Sew the back of the shoe.
One of the main differences between the toddler and baby shoe is the back. The toddler shoe has a flat back, and the baby shoe has an elastic back. The toddler shoes are shown in the grey/floral photos, baby in mustard/grey dots. You can click on any of the photos to enlarge.
Iron, pressing the lining fabric flat, the outside fabric creased.
Fold the outside fabric over the lining, and press again.
Sew along the top edge.
Iron seam open.
Fold in half, press.
3. Sew on back tag. (Same for toddler and baby)
Press the sides of the heel fabric under. Place it upside-down (long side up) with right sides together so that the tag is placed in the center and about 1/3 of the way down the back curved piece.
Sew along the top of the tag piece, about 1/4-inch in. Separate the lining from the outside fabric so that you are only sewing through the outside layer. (Enlarge the picture, it will make better sense.)
Then, press the tag down, and sew along the sides and top (still only on the outside layer).
Next, either trim your tag to size and treat with fray check, or fold the sides under. Center over the heel piece and sew in place. (I like to use a longer stitch length on the tag to give it more of a “hand-sewn” look.
Remember you are going to loose about 1/4-inch in seam allowance from the bottom, so place the tag high on the heel.
4. Sew encasing for elastic. (Baby shoe only)
Sew along the top of the back piece, just over 1/4” in. Pull 1/4″ elastic through, enough so that the ends stick out when flat.
5. Sew the center strap.
Cut along the line as indicated by the pattern, and fold toward the wrong side of the fabric to create a triangle shape. Press well.
Turn right-side-out and press all edges very well. Use a seam ripper to open the stitches as shown.
Insert in elastic and the small tag near the edge of the short side (fold in half & trim). I totally forgot to add the little tag as I was making these. Hopefully these make-shift illustrations will explain how to put it in.
Sew along the top, small side and bottom edges. I like to do a double stitch on the top.
6. Baste the toe. (Same for toddler and baby)
Following the guides (the dotted lines) on the pattern, baste the toe pleats as shown. The little notches at the end of the toe should line up so that the resulting piece is a smooth curve.
The pleats should point toward each other on the back side of the piece, but they do not touch. Make sure that the pleats run parallel to each other, and do not angle outward. (This is the same for the baby shoe, it has just already been attached to the toe.)
Trim the back pieces along the curved edge, so that all of the edges align.
The pattern allows for the back pieces to be trimmed to fit the shoe perfectly. I did not create these to be exact – because any deviation in seam allowance could result in an incorrect fitting.
To size the back piece, place the top piece on the sole, pleats aligning to the pattern. Pin the center in place.
Then, carefully pin the pieces to the sole, aligning edges.
Now, unpin the front from the sole, so that the front and back are still attached.
Trim the sides of back piece so that they overlap the front by 1/4-1/2″.
For the baby shoe, trim the edges very carefully, making sure that the elastic lays flat inside. Zig-zag stitch one side, and straight stitch over the elastic just for reinforcement.
Then stitch in place.
8. Attach the back to the front. (Same for toddler and baby)
First, on the large end of the center strap, stitch the back to the front, along the same two lines already sewn.
Now, attach the back to the other side with two straight lines.
**Sew back of the toddler shoe to the TOE piece. Sew the back of the baby shoe to the CENTER piece.**
9. Attach the velcro. (Toddler shoe only)
Then, attach the other to the side of the shoe, trimming the velcro to align with the seam.
10. Attach the top to the sole. (Same for toddler and baby)
With the right side of the top of the shoe facing the outside of the sole, carefully pin together, matching the pleats with the pattern and centering the tag in the back.
Sew around the entire edge, reinforcing the seams and pleats. If you are working with a small shoe, you may need to sew around in 3-4 segments, replacing and repinning each time.
If you would like, cut out a lining to the shoe out of a thick material. Use the sole pattern as your guide, cutting in about 1/4-inch. (I used a fuzzy/pleather here.) This will add a little more padding to the bottom, and also allow room to grown
That’s it! Turn your shoes right-side out and put them on some cute little feet!