Update on simple shoemaking

little felt velcro shoes

I have let go of blogging commitments in a frenzy of new product and new website creation. In the spring a marketer suggested that I have children’s shoemaking kits to sell, so a busy mother (or someone else who loves the little person) could more easily make the first pair of shoes for her child – and hopefully go on to make many more!

Well, those kits have occupied me “big time”! Now that I have a one-year-old (enchanting) granddaughter and have miraculously found some small children’s lasts on etsy (they were sold as “lovely decorations for a children’s room, but I had more practical uses for them!) I have a much better sense of what styles and shapes of shoes would actually work well for children’s feet.

They have to be easy to get on! Then they have to stay on! They have to be healthy – flat flexible soles, wide toe box – and be made of healthy and earth-friendly materials. And easy to make, with opportunity for the maker’s creative input. And they have to be adorable!

Somewhere along the way I became enamored with using 3mm (quite thick) felt for the shoes in the shoemaking kits. Children commonly wear felt shoes in European countries, and I believe they would be popular here. I’m using the most basic pattern for the kit – it’s the same one my Italian grandmother used to make my baby shoes from black velvet, with a little ankle strap that closed with a tiny pearl button.

This pattern is so versatile – it can become a shoe with a tie, or a velcro band across the instep. It can be a “Mary Jane” or a “Millie” (that’s my granddaughter’s name! – I’m using her name for the style with the ankle strap.)

And, this led me to realize that I could make similar kits to get “grown-ups” started in making their own shoes as well. I’ll tell you more about that project in my next blog…but if you’d like to have a pair of shoes similar to these little ones, please check back!

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