We have so much inspiration and stimulation of enthusiasm out there in sewing blogland. and like a lot of things, it can be a blessing and/or a curse, depending on  your own personality.

With a mind that darts about like a mosquito [with a brain size to match sometimes!] it can be a bit much for me not to be led astray,  but the best bit is when someone out there crystalises what you have been thinking about and wanting to do for absolutely yonks.

Carolyn Smith of has just such an effect on me. She made it feasible to me that it is not only perfectly acceptable to make your own clothes but to wear every day only those clothes you have made yourself. True, others have made pledges to go on a Ready To Wear fast, sometimes for a year or maybe two, but then they yen for the buzz shopping for RTW gives them and their wardrobes share both once again. In my case it wasn’t a crusade or a pledge of any kind, it just gradually crept in and RTW items phased out and now three years on I don’t even give it a thought, wearing my own handmades every day is perfectly natural and I find I really don’t own more than one or two RTW items other than shoes! So here we come to it, my Everest.

Now be patient, in Everest terms I am barely at base-camp. I have a long, long way to go. I’m enthused for the journey by Carolyn’s own productions, especially her paprika suede boots. [  -you must go and look] but painfully aware that I am such a novice, but hey, one that is willing and eager to learn. The rest here is in picture form of my first attempts with just captions. Be kind!

First you make a pattern by taping over a shoe or a boot as in my case. Carolyn explains the process very clearly on her blog. Then the design is drawn and the taped pattern is cut off the shoe.

IMG_20160326_1019484_rewind IMG_20160326_1020120_rewindIMG_20160326_1049566_rewind

From the cut out pieces of the pattern you can make a paper pattern, which I omitted to photograph. Then cut out your fabric. I used an old pair of denim jeans bought at a charity shop for £1,

I used fabric glue to first glue the pieces together in my prototype shoe before stitching.

IMG_20160326_1508024_rewindI then decided that I wanted a more finished look and decided to line and edge the trainer shoe [for that is what it is supposed to be just so you know] with blue/white polka dot cotton and used the same for bias binding the edges. I cut new pieces from the same pattern.

These are still only the ‘tops’ or uppers and have yet to be put on a solefirst denim trainerfirst denim trainer side view

4.  I used a foam play mat for the soles, glued an inner sole of denim onto a piece of cardboard and glued them to the foam sole. I used a craft knife to carefully cut the foam on a cutting mat and was surprised how easy it was. I then sanded down the sides smoothly into shape.

5. I inserted metal lace holes with a punch tool, then cut and applied a foam heel, shaping it first with a craft knife and then finishing with sanding.

outside right foot with heel prototype 1inside right foot with heel prototype 1DSC_0181

This was my prototype and it fits snuggly and with a bit of finessing and with a left shoe to match – will prove to be a perfectly wearable and comfortable pair of trainers. But already I have drafted an improved version, and plan to use some suede leather and faux suede and pleather I have in my stash for some more shoes. I plan to make Summer shoes and sandals, but I am already running ahead of myself with ideas. So, as ever, I am having to rein myself in, calm down and learn, learn, learn, then practice, etc. I learned long ago that there is no substitute for hard slog if you really want to do something, but this is enjoyable slog I have to say. Oh, yes, and tools. You quickly learn that as in sewing, you can’t get very far without some tools for the job to make the work easier. Oh joy, I love tools.




I love all things creative and an eternal enthusiast. I am enduringly interested in absolutely everything remotely creative and never happier than when being shown 'how to'.
This entry was posted in FIBRE CRAFTS, handmade, Life a Work In Progress, me-made wardrobe, Works in Progress. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Lyric Joy says:

    Well you go girl!!! And I thought I was crafty (or whatever the PC terminology is). Years ago I purchased a book on how to make shoes. I have read it, re-read it, and kindly placed it on the bookshelf. It has survived several cuts of book thrift store donations over the years. I swear it’ll come in handy for new system living! 🙂



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