Tutorial: how to make a one-piece moccashoe

This might be the easiest way ever to make a great-looking shoe! This “moccashoe” is composed of one piece, with a flap that folds over the foot. Stitch a bottom sole on, stitch the body of the moccasin to the flap, and stitch the heel. You’re done! A lace or a leather thong around the topline can  gather the moccashoe close to your foot.

These would make great “earthing” shoes if you add a leather sole – or none.

Even though this is a moccasin design, it’s not just for wearing to shuffle around the house. When you add a street-sturdy sole to it, you have a “moccashoe” that’s wearable as you go out the door. Compare it to “minimalist” shoes that are advertised as being great to have on cruises when you want to change out of your painful stilettos – and they cost $175.00 – these could be made for free!

This shoe is totally ecological if you make it from leather items from thrift stores, and if you use non-toxic cements.  And, they will be locally made, with your good energy.

Materials:

leather or felt – These can be made from thrift store goods, 3-4 ounce/square foot purchased leather, 2 mm commercial wool felt, felted wool coats or blankets, or hand-made felt. They might need to be lined with the same or similar leather.

soling – A bottom sole is not necessary, but of course having an additional layer of protection under foot will result in a longer-lasting shoe. Motorcycle inner tubes, which are thin but wide enough for adult shoes, and are available at no charge from most shops,  thin natural rubber (available in my store), or an additional piece of leather can be used as soling.

thong – You will need a thin strip of leather or other material to thread through openings along the topline. You can tie it over the instep or at the heel – or insert an elastic band or shock-cord so they are easy to slip on and off.

thread – waxed braided nylon cord from leather stores is easy to work with and, being inorganic, won’t deteriorate. Stitching awl thread or artificial sinew also works, as will many more types of thread that you may already have.

contact cement – I recommend Aqualim 315 non-toxic cement from:  http://sorrellnotionsandfindings.com/product/aquilim-315/ or Ecoweld contact cement from www.tandyleatherfactory.com  to hold the bottom sole in place before you stitch it on, and for adhering lining. You can also use rubber cement, spray adhesive – here’s one without flurocarbons – http://www.joann.com/dritz-repositionable-spray-adhesive-5.62-oz/5087184.html or double-sided tape. White glue might work, put a weight on the pieces, until the bond is dry.

felt and peltex or other materials  for making a preliminary “mock-up” shoe

Tools:

leather-cutting scissors

two tapestry or harness needles

maul or rubber mallet for striking the drive punch, see photo below

pounding board – to be placed under the leather when you use a drive punch. It can be the sanded surface of a log, a thick plastic cutting board, or a pounding board purchased from a leather store.

00 drive punch and 00 hand spring punch

silver gel pen – erases off of most leathers with water and liquid soap on cloth or with a “magic sponge”

The above tools are available from leather stores such as www.springfieldleather.com and www.tandyleatherfactory.com.

Assembly:

1. Print the pattern. Stand on a piece of paper with your heels against a wall, and make a mark at the end of the longest toe.  Measure the pattern, the inner sole pattern should be as long as the distance you measured from the wall to the end of your toe. Enlarge or reduce the pattern’s size on a copy machine until the length of the sole equals the measured length of your foot.

I recommend that you make a sample shoe out of felt, with Peltex or another piece of felt for the sole, to check the fit before cutting into your leather. Mark stitch locations with a permanent marker. You don’t have to punch out the stitching holes in felt, just use a sharp needle for stitching.

 

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2. Place the pattern on your leather or felt and draw around it with a silver gel pen, then cut the moccashoes out.

3. If your leather is thin, you might want to add a lining. To add it, apply contact cement to the back side of your moccashoe. Next, draw around the moccashoe pattern on your lining, and apply contact cement to it – as I am doing in the photo. When the cement on both pieces has dried, carefully lay your moc on top of the lining. Cut out the lining to match the moc.

If you line your moccashoe, depending on the cement you use, you may need to stitch the two layers together along the topline, above the holes made for the thong that will gather the topline. Punch holes every 1/4″, then use the two-needle running stitch .

4. Punch out all the holes on your pattern, transfer them to your leather, and punch them out. To punch with a drive punch, which is shown in the materials section above, place a pounding board beneath your leather, and hit the drive punch with a maul or a rubber mallet. Or, use a 00 or hand spring punch, as also shown above. Place a piece of leather under the piece you are punching holes in, so the tube passes all the way through the leather into the leather scrap below it.

For gathering the topline, mark the holes along the topline with a gel pen and punch them out with a 5/32″ punch – or you could make slits using a screwdriver pounded with a mallet.

5. Cut the sole out of your pattern along the outer sole outline, beginning at the heel. The cut-out acts as a frame to show you where to correctly place the sole, which is important for the appearance and comfort of these shoes. Make several positioning lines with a gel pen around the sole area onto the leather; then you know exactly where to place the sole.

6. Use the sole pattern to cut out your bottom soling material. Place your stitches as close to the edge as is workable, so they will be placed at the edge of your feet, instead of under them.

Adhere the bottom sole to your moccasin with contact cement. When using contact cement, spread it on both the sole and the location for the sole on the moccasin. When the cement has dried, adhere the sole to the moccasin.

Punch holes through the moccasin and the sole as shown on the pattern.

7. Stitch the sole to the moccasin, using the two-needle running stitch. Cut a piece of cord about eight times the length of your sole. Put a needle on both ends of the cord. Poke the needle through your cord about 1/2″ from the end, then pull it through – this will keep your needle from coming off the cord.

With you first stitch, which I usually place in the arch area, pass one end of one needle through a stitching hole. Even out the length of the threads between the two needles, then proceed to the next stitching hole.

 

Bring one needle and the thread attached to it into the next stitching hole, then bring the other needle and the thread attached to it through the same hole but in the opposite direction, as shown in this drawing.

Try not to split a thread that is in the hole with the second needle you bring through that same hole – pull the first thread to the side. When you have stitched all around the sole, tie a square knot with the thread on the outside of the shoe between the sole and the body of the moc, run the ends of the thread under a couple of stitches, and clip them off.

8. Stitch the heel seam starting at the top, using the cross-stitch. To make this stitch, put a piece of thread about 30″ long, or seven times the length of the area you will be stitching, and put a needle on each end. Pull the thread through the first stitch hole at the top of the heel seam, then whip one thread around a time or two.

Take one of the needles and pass it through the next hole down the seam on the opposite side of the seam. Immediately bring it back up through the stitch hole opposite this one, then drop it.

Do the same with the other thread, crossing over the first thread to make an X, then bringing the needle back up through the opposite stitch hole.

Tug on both threads to firmly set the X-stitch, then continue making the X’s  down the heel seam.

To stitch the horizontal seam, use one piece of cord about 30″ long to stitch one side of the seam in one direction to the end of the slit. Start by stitching in the bottom hole of the heel seam, and make a simple stitch straight across, pulling the sole edge up to be stitched to the body of the moc. Once you have stitched to the end of the slit, make another straight-across stitch, then turn around and stitch back to the heel seam, which completes the three “X’s”. Use the other end of the thread to do the same stitching on the opposite horizontal seam.

Tie a square knot at the end and, on the inside of the moc, weave the ends of the thread under a few stitches.

11. To stitch the flap to the body, you can use either the two-needle running stitch or the whip-stitch.

To use  the whip-stitch, start at the inside of the foot with a thread about 30″ long.  Pull the thread through the first stitching hole on the flap up to the knot. After you make a few stitches, thread that “tail” under them and clip the rest of the tail off.

12. Pass the needle over the top edge, then through the first hole in the moccasin body. Pull the thread tight, then through the inside of the next hole along the flap.

13. Continue stitching through the holes along both edges, pulling out and shaping the gathers that form along the flap so they are neat.

14. The last stitching “hole” will be a bigger hole that the thong also passes through. Turn around and make a few stitches that create “cross-stitches” in this area. When you have passed through your last stitching hole, tie a knot in the thread and bury the end under a few stitches before clipping it off.

The flap can stitched to the body with the “two-needle running stitch”, as shown here. To make it, cut a piece of cord or thread about four times the distance that you will be stitching, and put an anchored needle on both ends of it. Start stitching where the flap meets the body, and follow directions above.

Pull the cord snugly at each hole. Continue stitching around the flap, forming each gather as you go.

Once you have completed stitching, tie the two ends of the cord together with a square knot between the flap and body, weave the ends under a couple of threads, and clip them.

15. You can see that I’ve punched holes along the topline of this shoe: there are four across the flap topline, and an additional one at each end, on the body.

The brown shoe shown in the second photo has a strap and buckle attached, to keep the shoe snugly on the foot. I cut a strip of leather for the strap, which in this case was 1/2″ wide – since most of the buckles I have are 1/2″ wide. I attached the buckle with an orange-color strip just for fun, used an oblong punch to make a slot for the buckle tongue to pass through (make sure you turn the tongue in the correct direction), and fasten both the strip and the strap to the shoe with rivets.

Thread a leather or nylon cord through the punched holes along the topline, tying the ends at the heel or the flap.

What variations can you create? – I would love to see photos.

Here is the pattern for the moccashoe, tape the two pieces together.

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