Create your own adorable leather lace-up baby boots to treasure for years – Karolina Radomska-Nishii shows us how.
This World Craft Week we’re bringing you a free tutorial to make leather baby boots. It’s surprisingly easy to play shoemaker and create a gorgeous pair of leather baby booties. Shoes this sweet can be kept and treasured for years as a family heirloom, and they make wonderful gifts for new parents. Plus they’re practical too, as they’re easy to slip on and off. We used a hole punch, as piercing leather with a needle can look scruffy. Pull the thread firmly at each stitch to keep things even.
- Soft natural leather, approx. 50 x 30cm (19¾ x 117/8“)
- Rubber sheet, 1-2mm thick, 14 x 10cm (5½ x 4″)
- Two needles
- Thick thread, 0.8mm
- Measuring tape
- Leather punch (for punching holes 1 and 3mm diameter)
- Pair of shoelaces
How to make the boots
Cut out all the different shoe part templates. Trace two vampers, two heel parts and two shoe soles onto the leather. Trace two soles (labelled rubber) onto the rubber. Cut out all the parts.
Punch six 0.3cm (1/8“) holes on the upper part of the heel (three holes on each side). Keep the holes close to the edge, approximately 0.4cm (1/4“). These will be used for threading shoelaces later.
Punch 1mm holes along the grey lines marked on the templates. Be sure to keep the same distance between the holes. Remember that the number of holes on the leather shoe sole (outside line) must be equal to the number of holes on the heel and vamper counted together. Count only the holes in the line that will be stitched to the sole – do not count the holes on the sides of the vamper and heel.
Punch 1mm holes on the rubber soles as well. The number of holes and their position must exactly match those on the inside line of the leather shoe sole.
Cut a piece of thread to 120cm (47″). Thread a needle on each end (there’s no need to tie a knot). Stitch the rubber sole to the leather sole using saddle stitch.
Prepare another piece of 30cm (11 7/8″) long thread. Place the heel on the vamper and pass one needle up from the bottom through the vamper and then the heel, to the top side, through the first two corresponding holes on the top. Then sew the little square and continue sewing down.
Prepare a third piece of 140cm (55″) long thread. Sew the heel and vamper to the leather shoe sole. Locate the starting point and place the shoe sole on top of the heel, then sew in the direction where the vamper is already stitched to the heel. Remember to tighten each stitch as you go.
Continue sewing around the toe of the shoe until you reach the other side where the vamper needs to be stitched to the heel. Stop sewing four to five holes from where the vamper will be stitched to the heel. Take the needles off and leave the threads dangling. Prepare a piece of 30cm (117/8“) long thread. Sew the vamper to the heel in the same way as earlier.
Thread the needles back onto the dangling ends of thread you left and continue sewing the shoe sole to the heel until you arrive back where you started. To finish, pass both needles to the inside of the shoe and tie off the thread using an overhand knot. Cut the thread as close as you can to the inside edge.
Push the shoelace through the holes on the heel and tie. Repeat these steps to sew the other shoe.
About Karolina Radomska-Nishii
By day, Karolina reads and translates children’s books while drinking copious amounts of tea (both green and black). By night, she co-runs Polish handmade brand First Baby Shoes, creating baby shoe-making kits as well as ready-to-wear baby moccasins and soft sole shoes.