Monday, August 17, 2009

Recycled Leather Shoes - Tutorial

I don't know if I should call this a tutorial or a "This is What I Did - Learn From My Mistakes/Successes".

A couple of months ago I had an idea. I wanted shoes for the twins to be able to wear and not wear out quickly. I had purchased some patterns on Etsy and I knew if I could just get leather, they would be more durable and good for extended use. But I didn't want to pay for leather. So I went to my nearest thrift shop and bought some leather handbags for $.75 to $1.50 a piece and "Wha La!" Here is the result:

What I learned:
  1. Soft subtle leather works the best.
  2. If your leather is more rigid, you can use this for soles on fabric shoes...simply glue (or stitch) it on the bottom of your finished shoe.
  3. You NEED a leather needle. This project is impossible (at least with my machine) without one.
  4. These make up pretty quickly because you don't have to line them (you can if you want but there really is no need).
  5. When cutting your bags apart, try to get as much in one piece as possible (as you are searching for bags at your local thrift shop, look for bags with large pieces of leather and maybe bring your pattern with you to get an idea of how big your pieces need to be).
There are a lot of great shoe patterns on Etsy for pretty reasonable prices. Most can be emailed to you almost instantly (which is nice for a not-so-patient, home-with-babies all day person like me). There are also some great FREE patterns available online. Here is a list:

Stardust Shoes

Kimono Shoes

Baby Lace Ups

Heather Bailey's Bitty Booty's

Three Seam Baby Shoes

On Pins and Needles

Mary Jane Tutorial

Have fun ladies! And if you end up doing this project will you let me know and show me pictures? I am working on finding a big enough bag to make some for myself. How cool would THAT be?