Learn how to make shoes

ShoemakingAtelier Louise

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make your own shoes, but didn’t know where to start? Or perhaps you thought it would be too difficult or require lots of industrial machinery. Well the great news is that you can learn to make your own shoes at home, without needing lots of specialised equipment.

A great place to start with shoemaking is learning to make your own sandals. They are the most simple form of footwear and making them will give you a chance to work with shoemaking materials like leather and soling, and you’ll only need a few basic tools that you possibly already have around your home. Using the method described in my patterns, you won’t even need a last (the mould that helps to shape shoes - something you will need when you move on to making closed shoes).

Silver Sands Sandals

Silver Sands Sandals

To help you get started, I have created two sandal patterns. The Silver Sands Sandals are the most simple pair, with only 3 straps (one across your big toe and two across your foot). The lining and upper leather of the straps are just glued together so it’s a really simple process, with no sewing involved. These also happen to be my favourite style of sandal to wear and I live in them in the summer!

Brighton Sandals

Brighton Sandals

The second pattern is for the Brighton Sandals. These are also beginner friendly, but add a few new skills including learning how to sew the lining and upper leather of the straps together (on a regular home sewing machine), and how to add a button stud. They’re also a great classic style sandal that can be dressed up or down so they’re sure to become a wardrobe staple for you - especially because you can make them to fit you perfectly both in terms of size and colour!

Both patterns are available for purchase as downloadable PDFs from my Etsy store. Each pattern booklet contains the pattern pieces you’ll need to make a pair of sandals (in women’s sizes 6-10, Australian sizing) as well as fully photographed step-by-step instructions that guide you through the process of measuring your feet, selecting your pattern size and which pattern pages to print, cutting out your leather and soling, and assembling your sandals. You’ll also find a list of the tools and materials that you’ll need at the beginning of the pattern booklet. And if you’re looking for tips on choosing the right leather, finding where to get your supplies, or adjusting the pattern to fit your feet perfectly, I have written blog posts here to help you (either click on the highlighted text in this sentence, or see the links in the sidebar of this blog page).

Happy shoemaking! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!