I have a ‘thing’ for making things in miniature size.
For some reason, it excites me to make something in itty bitty baby (not barbie) sizes.
So sweet. So fun. So enjoyable.
I like making little baby shoes (like the bootie patterns in my shop, here) but today, I gave little sandals a try.
Using some of my most leather-looking faux leather.
And gosh, again, that mini size made me swoon.
These tiny bow strap sandals are so sweet on these chubby baby feetsies.
Sweet little thing. You’re so fun to sew for.
These little sandals have a strap around the heel with a bit of elastic to keep them snug.
And no, sandals on babies have no purpose. They just make me smile.
Would you like to make your own?
These directions and specific measurements are for my size 3-6 month size sandals that I made. Adjust accordingly.
Begin by finding come faux leather (vinyl) at your local fabric shop. (Read this post here.) Be sure that it isn’t super stiff and is semi-soft. You will be folding and stretching it just a bit as you construct the sandals.
Once you have your vinyl, you will need to cut out your sole shape. I just traced around a little shoe that already fit my little girl and used that as a pattern piece. Then cut out a top and bottom piece out of the vinyl. (Cut one with your pattern piece, then flip the pattern piece over and cut again. This will give you the 2 pieces you need.) Also, cut a piece of felt with the same shape. All 3 pieces are for the sole of one sandal.
Next, place the piece of felt in between the two vinyl pieces, making sure that the “right side” of the vinyl is facing outward on the top and on the bottom. Then sew a few lines of stitches across the sole of the sandal, to help keep all 3 layers in place. (Be careful that your layers don’t shift as you sew. It helps to start with the center line and move your way outward.)
Next, cut 2 strips of fabric for the bow strap that goes across the toes. (Mine were 1 3/4 x 6 inches.) Sew them together along both long edges.
Making sure that the right sides of the vinyl are facing out.
Then, cut another small strip that will be used for the center of the bow strap. (Mine is 1/2 x 2 inches.) Stitch down each long side, nice and close to the outer edge.
Then, grab your bow strap piece and fold in in half upwards…….
Then fold each outer edge down in half…….creating an accordion fold.
Now, wrap the narrow strip around the middle and hold it tightly in the back.
Trim off the excess length and hand-stitch it in place on the back side of the bow.
Now, curve your bow a bit so that it will round over the foot.
Next, cut four strips to use for the side/back strap of the sandal. (Mine were 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches.) Also cut a piece of 1/2 inch wide elastic. (Mine was 1 3/4 inches long.) Place one end of the elastic between 2 of the long strips, overlapping the elastic into the inside of the 2 layers, about a 1/4 inch. Sew the elastic in place with 2 seams. Do the same thing with the other end of the elastic and the other 2 strips. (Make sure that the vinyl strips are facing outward, with the wrong side of the vinyl strips facing each other.)
Then sew the front and back pieces of the vinyl strips together along the sides.
Now, placement of the straps is important. So place the bow strap across the child’s foot and measure the back strap around the heel of their foot. You want the back strap to fit snugly, to help keep the sandal on. But you don’t want it too tight, or it will be uncomfortable. And may force the foot out the front of the sandal. So place pins where the strap should go. Now, you’ll need to unpick the two layers of the bow strap right where the heel strap should go and slide the ends between the two layers. You may need to trim off a bit of your ends before sliding in. Re-sew the edges of the bow strap, which will secure the heel strap ends in place. (You can try measuring the heel strap and such before sewing the main bow strap together but I just found it was easier to get an actual measurement after the bow center was cinched off and the pieces were sewn together, and then un-pick and re-sew. But switch these steps around if you’d like.)
Now place the strap on top of the shoe just a bit down from the top of the sole. (Trying the sandal on the child’s foot is important for this step too.) Sew in place, nice and close to the outer edge of the sole. The top of the bow strap will be pulled tighter than the bottom edge of the bow strap because the foot gets more narrow and doesn’t need as much room. Without making it more narrow, the strap will look too bulky at the top and won’t form around the foot like it needs to.
Then trim off the excess material of the bow strap, making it nice and even with the edge of the sole.
Now, you’re going to sew a sort of binding around the outer edge of the sandal. Kind of like sewing binding on a blanket, like here.
So, cut a long strip of your faux leather that is cut on the bias. (Learn more about bias here.) Cutting it on the bias will help it stretch and contour around the sole. My strip was about 5/8 inch wide about about 12 inches long. Just be sure that it is wide enough to fold around the edges of the sole, with enough on the front and the back to catch under the needle while sewing the edging in place.
Start sewing the strip on the straight side of the sandal and fold the strip around the edge of the sole, encasing all of the raw edges in between.
Then sew all the way around the sole, sewing very slowly. Be sure to check every few inches that the strip is far enough underneath and is being caught by the needle. And pull the strip up and over the top, nice and snug as you go.
At the end, allow the end to overlap by about a 1/2 ich……and cut the end off at an angle (just so there’s not so much bulk to sew through once it’s folded over).
Now, trim off any extra threads and any excess faux leather around the edging that looks uneven.
Now, repeat all of those steps to create the 2nd sandal.
But be sure that the sole of the sandal contours in the opposite direction.
Here’s a view from the bottom. They’re not perfect. And yes, making the binding look as good on the bottom as it does on the top can be tricky. But give it a try. And be willing to pick it out a few times if needed.
And that’s it.
Your little sandals are ready to be worn.