A couple weeks ago I was cleaning out my closet and came across an old reddish orange suede skirt I used to wear in high school. I kept onto this skirt for so long because it’s such a classic piece and had a hard time getting rid of it. I couldn’t remember the last time I wore it and tried it on. I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t fit. I was thinking of all of the things I could do with the skirt. Make a pillow, leather bows for Amelia, and then it came to me! I could make Amelia some suede moccasins. Check out how they turned out!
Over a month ago when Melanie, aka “Grits” came into town we threw her a baby shower. It was so fun to have close family and friends celebrate this joyous time in her life. Caitlin and I was so excited for Melanie to open up her gift from us because we got her a pair of Freshly Picked Moccasins for her baby! They’re so adorable. When I got them in the mail, I took them out, had Amelia try them on, and immediately fell in love with them! I wanted Amelia to have a pair so bad, but at a whopping $60 a pair, that wasn’t going to fit my tight budget. Here are the ones we got for Melanie. I can’t describe how beautiful and so well made they are.
I was obsessed and would do anything to get Amelia a pair of these shoes! Well, not anything, I wouldn’t steal, lie, or cheat. I decided I was going to see if I could make them. I spent a couple hours doing research on Pinterest and found this awesome tutorial on how to make these adorable moccasins. This post was a great starting point. I modified the pattern and how I constructed the shoes a bit. I’m going to share with you how I made them and things to consider when making a pair for your little darling.
Here is the supplies you’ll need:
-1/4 yard of 2mm thick leather or suede (found some great leather from Springfield Leather Company’s 10LB Assorted Upholstery Scrap)
-fabric scissors, I really like the Gingher 8-Inch Knife Edge Dressmaker’s Shears
-100% polyester thread like this Gutterman Extra Strong Jeans Thread Gold (love this color!)
-package of Dritz 7-Piece Repair Needles, they’re cheap and worked great!
–Micro Size Binder Clips
–Dritz White, 8-Yard by 1/4-Inch elastic
-your favorite TV series to watch while you’re working on this
The first step you’re going to need to do is find your leather or suede. Like I mentioned above, I made my moccs from a suede skirt. The suede I used isn’t very thick, it’s approximately 1mm thick. I knew going into this that my moccs weren’t going to hold up as long with a walking toddler wearing them. If you have thin suede or leather like I used, I’d recommend making newborn up to size 3 moccasins because most likely your babe won’t be walking by the time they wear a size three and therefore they’ll last longer. I’d recommend a 2mm thick leather or suede for walking toddlers.
You can use the pattern from here. I altered the pattern to make it fit Amelia. In this tutorial she shows you how to change the size of the pattern on a Mac, well I don’t have a Mac. I have a good ole PC, so I’m going to show you how to change the size of the pattern by using Microsoft Word.
Before I begin I need to discuss sizing. This can get complicated, but I’ve broken it down for you so it won’t be a headache. Amelia is currently wearing a size 4 in shoes. If you saved the pattern and uploaded it onto a word document and not change the sizing, the sole would measure 3 3/4″ which is a size 1. A size 1 would fit a newborn to 3 months. Below I added some baby and toddler shoe conversion charts so you have a good idea as to what size you need for your babe. I would measure your baby’s foot and make sure the sole size in the pattern is a little bigger than that measurement.
What I did to get the correct size shoe for Amelia, I saved the pattern image to my computer and inserted the image onto a Word document. I right clicked the image and clicked on the “size” option. I changed the Height of 76% to 100%. This automatically changed the width to 100% too.
To get it to fit on the page after you change the size, head to the Page Layout option on the menu and click on margins. Click on the narrow option and that will make the pattern fit better on the page.
This is what the pattern looks like after fitting it to the page. You can tell the right side of the sole is almost off the page, but that’s OK! Print the pattern.
The next step I did was took a shoe that fits Amelia right now (I would recommend you making your moccs a little big so your little darling will fit into them a longer. That would be sad if you spent all of this time making these and they didn’t fit very long!) and traced her shoe around the sole piece. The reason why I did this is because I wanted to make sure the sole piece was going to be big enough. Her shoe was about 1/8 inch bigger than the pattern piece. So I added a 1/8 inch around the three pieces. One other alteration I made to the pattern was I didn’t want my moccs to have scalloped edges, I wanted to have a cute row of fringe instead. I drew a horizontal line across the edges of the scallops and made the corners of the scallops into a square, therefore making the bottom square instead of a curvy scalloped edge.
Cut out your pattern, make sure to use paper scissors and not your fabric scissors!
Place the pattern on the WRONG side of the leather. There will be two different textures to leather, there’s a rough and a smooth side. I wanted the rough side to be showing so I traced the pattern on the smooth side of the suede. Make sure to trace two of each piece, so you’ll have six pieces. Cut out the pieces.
You could totally machine sew these, I did a pair by using my machine and did another pair hand sewn. The verdict. The hand sewn ones turned out better. My sewing machine had some issues with the thickness of the thread, and a lot of times would jam. Even though it took me a lot less time to make them on the machine, they didn’t look as nice.
If you do decide to do it by hand, have something hard on your lap that you don’t mind poking holes into so you can have a strong base for puncturing the leather with your needle. I used an old Martha Stewart Living magazine. The thicker the sewing needle you use the easier it is to work through the leather. Don’t do what I did at first by using a wood table as a surface, you’ll leave little holes all over the top, oops! If you use a machine, make sure to use the appropriate sewing needle. I used a 16 size leather needle.
Start by folding over the fold line of the vamp pieces and securing it with a mini binder clip and sew across a line right against the bottom of the clips, do this twice. So I had the smooth part showing over the rough side. Make sure you leave enough space for the elastic that will go through the channel. Do this to both pieces. Then you’ll want to make vertical cuts into the leather below the seam to make the fringe, do this to both pieces.