How to make a Roman and a Roman Mary Jane sandal

 


romanmoctoe
This pattern was given to me at a Renaissance Faire years ago. The directions accompanying it were written in German, so I imagine this pattern has been out in the world for a long time. But in case it hasn’t come to your doorstep yet, here it is.

I call this a Roman moccasin because it was a common style of footwear during the Empire, and, since the wearer’s foot stands on a piece of leather (body) that curves up to enclose the foot, it is a moccasin. Moccasins usually have a “plug” piece over the top of the foot that the edges of the “body” get stitched to, but this one has no plug. Which is great, because it is so adjustable, just get your length right and the width should be no problem, just loosen or tighten the tabs.

Note that you can make this moccasin with either a closed or an open-toe, as shown on the pattern. And you can make it with a smaller heel piece, also shown on the pattern (or make your own). When making the Roman Mary Jane, rivet or stitch on an ankle strap and buckle.

Materials needed:

leather, heavy suede or felt

soling material – If you don’t want to buy something, use flip-flop soles that the straps have ripped out of. Of course another layer of leather could be used. I like to use natural rubber, because it’s perfect for walking on the earth; you can feel whatever’s underfoot. It’s compressible so when you stitch the sole on, the stitches are pulled up off of the ground, so they’ll last longer. I sell natural rubber soling in my etsy shop.

thread – 1.0mm waxed braided cord (www.etsy.com/shop/LeatherWurx)  is easy to work with and won’t deteriorate.

thong – to thread through the “toe tabs”; a strip of deerhide or elk is nice, although many leathers would work

double-sided duct or other width tape, or cement (I like Ecoweld from Tandy Leathe) to hold the sole in place while you punch stitching holes through it and the moccasin.

Tools:

leather-cutting scissors

3/8″ wide screwdriver or chisel to punch slits in tabs – or you can punch holes with a hand or a rotary punch – you need a pounding surface, such as a plastic cutting board under the material you are cutting, and a rubber mallet or similar tool to pound the screwdriver or chisel with.

Hand or rotary punch to make stitching holes with

Stitching awl – I like to use an Osborne handle (www.springfieldleather.com) with a Speedy Stitcher needle inserted into it.

Stitching needles – harness needles, or tapestry needles will work, use blunt needles that won’t split thread that’s already in a stitching hole. Also use them for stitching up the back of the heel and stitching on the sole if you don’t want to use a stitching awl.

silver gel pen

Process:

1. Photocopy the pattern on card stock and alter it until the sole length is the same as the length of the sole of your foot, and cut it out, along with all holes and slits in the pattern.

2. Place it on your material and draw around it with a pen or silver gel pen (which erases off of most leathers).

3. Cut out all holes and slits on your pattern, transfer them to your moccasin, and punch them out.

4. Cut the sole out of your pattern without destroying the pattern; with the sole cut out, you can put the pattern in place and draw around the sole space; this way you know exactly where to place the sole.

5. Use the sole pattern to cut out your soling material.

6. Attach the sole with either contact cement or double-sided duct tape.

7. Punch holes around the edge of the sole every 3/8″.

8. Stitch the sole to the moccasin, using a stitching awl or two needles. Tandy Leather has a video How to Use the Speedy Stitcher, and there’s a video on my site: How to do the two-needle running stitch.

9. Stitch up the heel, using the X and bar stitch, following directions in the video on my site.

10. Use the two-needle running stitch to stitch the heel tab in place. Tie a square knot at the end and hide the ends of the thread.

11. Thread your thong through the tabs! Start at the underside of the inside tab, and keep repeating this pattern until all “toe” tabs are threaded. Even out the length of your thong, try on your moccasin, and make a square knot to secure the toe tabs. Lace up the other two tabs on each side, and your moccasin is complete! Go fight some barbarians!

Note that you can make this moccasin with an open-toe, as shown on the pattern, and you can make it with the small heel piece, also shown on the pattern. When making the “skimpier” moccasin, you can: use a thong for the toe tabs and another one for the heel piece, or  extend a long thong from the toe tabs all the way back to the heel piece and tie it around your ankle, or rivet or stitch an ankle strap on the inside and a buckle on the outside for a Roman Mary Jane.

 

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