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Making Baby Shoes from Thrifted Purses


Baby feet are the sweetest kind of feet there are.  You know what I mean, I’m sure of it.  If you’ve ever held a little baby foot in your hand and have had the sudden urge to munch on it or smother it with kisses…….you’re totally normal.  Toddler feet?  Well, um, only sweet after a bath.  Adult feet?  No thank you.


And almost as cute as those little baby feet……..are those itty bitty shoes that cover them.  I just gush when I hold a pair of baby shoes in my hands.  They’re as sweet as sweet gets.  I know babies don’t really need shoes, but good golly, I can hardly stand how adorable they look in them.  But wait, I guess I have these same emotions when I hold a little pair of pants, or bloomers, or onesies, or……..oh help!


Anyway, babies grow so fast so it’s hard for me to justify buying new shoes for babies every few months.  So I thoroughly enjoy making my own.  And since my 11 month old is growing like a weed, she continually needs new shoes.  (Especially in the winter…… keep her tootsies nice and warm.)  So while at the thrift store a few weeks ago, I found some old purses that I knew I could use to make new shoes. 


(I used part of the same thrifted purses to embellish my 5 year old’s shoes last week.  Remember that?)



So, I turned those old purses into new baby shoes for my littlest lady.  (Using the Abigail Bootie pattern from my shop, here.)





So, keep an eye out at the thrift store (or you probably have an old purse or two in the closet). 

And turn an old cast-off……into some great little low budget shoes.





It’s the perfect way to gussy up those feet.  For cheap.




You can use real leather or faux leather (aka vinyl) purses.  Both work great.   (You could also look for shoulder bags, pouches, leather jackets, etc.  There are some great/inexpensive resources out there.)




Making your own shoes can save you some money…….but can also be really satisfying.  Especially after you try them on for size.




Using old purses keeps the shoes soft and flexible…………making them perfect for babies.   And yep, great for crawling.




So, hurry and find an old purse to cut up and think about how you want to fancy up some shoes for baby. 


Bows? Darling. Ruffles? Scrumptious.  Or go with something completely different.  Have fun with it.







Like I mentioned above…….I used my Abigail Bootie Pattern (for sale in my shop) as my base shoe construction and then I added on the extras.  I used the same sort of cozy lining that’s explained in the pattern and then used the purse scraps as the outer shoe fabric. So if you already have the pattern, dig it out of your computer files and print it off again.  Or if you have a different pattern that you like, you can probably make this work the same way.  Or go and purchase one and get started.


To add the ruffles, stop before attaching the main shoe part to the sole.  Then add little strips of ruffled purse vinyl to the toe section of the shoe.  (Need help with gathering/ruffling?  Go here.)  Also, there’s no need to hem under the little strips because leather/vinyl won’t fray.  So keep them simple.  And I sewed the ruffles right onto the shoe through the black fabric and the lining together (and sewed right over the basting stitch where I gathered it) .  Then I finished putting the shoe together, like explained in the pattern.


To add the bow, just make the shoes like normal, make a bow out of the some of your purse leather/vinyl, then hand-stitch the bow right onto the toe section of each shoe.  (As for the elastic strap, I added that on instead of a velcro strap, but that is not included in the pattern.  But it’s pretty easy to figure out and add on.  Sorry, no pictures of that.)


***I just use my regular needle and my regular sewing foot when sewing with faux leather and soft real leather.  There are leather needles out there that may be better for real leather (especially if it’s thicker) but I have never had a problem using a regular needle with faux leather (vinyl).

***Also, if you’re having problems with your vinyl sticking a little bit to your sewing machine while sewing, visit this post for some tips.




Another way to turn old into new.  Remember how invigorating that is?  Have fun with it!




**P.S. If you have a baby boy……don’t feel left out.  You can turn purses into boy shoes too.  Just choose boyish colors and cool textures.  There are many boy bootie patterns out there, including one that I have for sale, here.




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This post is sponsored by:



Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. swieto pomidora przytoczna says:

    I do believe all of the ideas you have offered for your post. They’re really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very quick for newbies. May just you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  2. Danni says:

    Love these shoes very cute. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Lindsey says:

    I do believe this just made you my hero. Lol I really cannot tell you how much I am in love with these. Along with all your other wonderful ideas!

  4. Donna Peterson Neff says:

    These are SO cute! Very Clever!

  5. SewDelish says:

    Thanks. These are gorgeous I have pinned them.

  6. Sara says:

    seriously!! This is amaaaaazing! I need to be this talented. LIke… “no big deal…. I just turned a purse into shoes…. no biggie”…. LOOOOOVE! (…and love your site!)

  7. Julia says:

    I LOVE this and can’t wait to make some for my baby. BUT, I am wondering, if I enlarge the pattern, do you think it will work for my 2 year old. I know the bottoms don’t have much support/padding, but curious if you have any recommendations to help them stand up to the rigors of a toddler? Thanks! LOVE your blog and have enough projects to last me at least a year – so fun!

  8. Irice CLifft says:

    I love this idea! This post makes me wish that I hadn’t traded in all my old purses for diaper bags lol. If I ever can find the time for some new crafting I think I will be hitting up the local goodwill and making some shoes for my babies. Love your blog!

  9. Iryna says:

    love the recycling ideas, especially when a finished product looks so chic!

  10. Julie says:

    YOu never cease to amaze me – thank you for inspiring me today.

  11. Angie Turner says:

    That is the most adorable idea I have ever seen! Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Nikki says:

    These are really cute. I went to buy your Bradley pattern but it only goes to 12m. Can you upsize it/ make me a bigger one through ages 4 or 5 or more?
    Thanks! LMK if you do it so I can get it- thanks.

  13. Cara says:

    So adorable! I can’t wait to find out what I am having so I know if I need to buy a girl or boy pattern!!

  14. Debra says:

    Sorry I also meant to ask if you need a special foot for your sewing machine to sew through leather and vinyl as well. Thanks for your help!

  15. Debra says:

    Do you need a special needle for your sewing machine to work with leather and vinyl?

  16. Laura says:

    These are incredible and look very comfortable ! I’m almost jealous ;)

  17. Kathryn says:

    I LOVE this idea. I already purchased your girl and boy shoe patterns and LOVE them. Thank you so much for sharing all your creative ideas with the rest of us!

  18. Angela says:

    You re a genius!!! I’m from Holland and i check your blog every single day!!
    I made the fishbag for my son
    I only need to put the eyes on. Keep going!
    Greetings from Hoogeveen, Holland

  19. RobyGiup says:

    How cute they are?!?!?!
    Love the idea of recycling purses in this way!

  20. Kim N. says:

    Ok, seriously…could you be any more creative?? Where was I when they were handing out the genes for coming up with amazing ideas (and the ability to actually make those ideas a reality)??!

  21. Heather from A Couple of Craft Addicts says:

    Incredible! I just shared your post!

  22. Daisy says:

    Love the look, but do they stay on? That is the real problem I find with cute shoes. In the winter, I want to be sure they won’t be coming off. Can they be lines a bit for warmth? Ashley, here’s your chance to brag on your pattern ;)

  23. Natty says:

    Absolutely adorable! What a clever idea… Great job!

  24. cassie says:

    I love this! I would love to make some but I have one question. Can I sew on leather with my regualr sewing machine. I don’t have a fancy one. I am broke needles sewing on demin before so I am worried about this.

  25. Jennifer says:

    Brilliant, Ashley! My BABY girl is six now….boo hoo or I would totally run to the thrift store to find a purse to cut up. Hmm…maybe I’ll just make her some little house shoes or something. Or maybe I’ll have to make some baby shoes and find someone I know who’s having a baby girl soon. :)

  26. Kristy says:

    I was wondering, since my little one is a toddler that loves running around outside. Would your pattern work with creating an actual sole good for keeping feet safe outside? I’d love to do this and make hard soles for outdoors and maybe a pair for inside dress up since she loves to just put shoes on all the time.

  27. brandy says:

    Thank you Ashley! I purchased a pattern from you for my little gal, Ruby. She is 4 months old. I had a pattern that I used for my other daughter, but it didn’t re-size well. It was prefect when she was 3 months old, but as she grew, the pattern didn’t adjust well. So I am excited that this one came with all of the sizes for me. Thanks so much! I can sew, but I’m not that great with altering patterns! I can’t wait to get started on these for Miss Ruby :)

  28. Robin ;) says:

    That is freakin’ amazing! What a great idea. You always have something up your sleeve, don’t you? I’m inspired!

  29. Katie says:

    Such a great idea! I love the way these little shoes look on your daughter. :)

  30. {autie} says:

    wow! that’s all I can say. they’re amazing!

  31. British American says:

    These are *so* adorable! My daughter is way too big for these and my almost-11-month old is a boy. I liked your boy P.S. though. :)

  32. Irene says:

    LOVE IT! I never would have thought of this, but I think I may need to make a trip to the thrift store tomorrow. My little girl is going to have lots of adorable shoes (and she isn’t even born yet :)

  33. jamie @ the pinterest project says:

    i love these! i wish my daughter would keep them on – she tears her shoes off about 2 minutes after i put them on her!

  34. Jackie says:

    I love your shoes! Pity I just took a load of stuff (including old bags) to the op shop. My little one’s called Abigail, so I guess that could be a sign that I need to turn my hand to some of your shoes in the coming months (she’s a bit small just yet…)

  35. Michelle says:

    Can I just say, you are an absolute genius! I have four little girls to sew for, and every one of your ideas seems perfect for us. Thanks for the inspiration.

  36. Jennifer says:

    Ashley – you are amazing!! This is so cute! I would have never thought you could make shoes from purses!! I really wish I could fly to Denver to meet you!!!

    – jen

  37. Steph R says:

    Oh how I wish my daughter was little again. Seriously, this is so awesome! and a really great way to use those old purses with too much wear.

  38. Brittany {Tip Top Nest} says:

    Wow. Another awesome thing to pin to my Must Learn to Sew board and another reason to give my husband for needing a 4th baby. These are precious!

  39. Brittany says:

    I love these!! are you coming down this way any time soon?!

  40. Vivian says:

    Oh, love, love, LOVE!! Wish I had a baby girl to put them on, but mine’s a couple of years’ beyond this stage. Any chance you have an “upsized” pattern version for say, ballet shoes for a three-year old?

    1. Ashley says:

      Ooooh, good idea. I should start drafting an older girls shoe. Ballet shoes or slippers. Perfect!

  41. Lynette says:

    Those are adorable. And thanks for letting us know about the boy pattern. I somehow didn’t realize you had one. I will have to save my allowance so I can work on some boy booties. Thanks!

  42. Kelly says:

    Too cute!

  43. Sarah says:

    Wow! Amazing! I love the stuff you make but some of it (including these) is a little advanced for me.

  44. Sarah says:

    I cant wait to pull our this pattern and use it in a new way!!! You are such a fabulous Mama!!! THANK YOU!

  45. Patty says:

    Brilliant idea!! I love those!!!!

  46. Kati says:

    Oh my gosh! Those are SO cute!!!! Great job!

  47. Shary says:

    This is so freaking amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!

  48. Jordan says:

    These are adorable! Makes me wish I had a girl!

    1. Anonymous says:

      i know, right!

  49. says:

    Wow! These are amazing.

    I am sure my Pinterest followers love that basically every thing I pin is from you!

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha! :)

    2. Anonymous says:

      Same here!!!

  50. Megan @ The Crafty Conundrum says:

    They are ADORABLE!! I never would have thought of doing that -I guess that’s why I keep coming back for inspiration. Love your blog!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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