Make Soft Soled Leather Shoes - Free Sewing Pattern

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Preview This Free Sewing Pattern: Make Soft Soled Leather Shoes

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Make your own soft soled leather shoes. – ohelene syr +
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Make your own soft soled leather shoes.

You’ll need some pieces of soft leather; scraps will do. I buy my leather from hobby suppliers and a Norwegian leather dealer called Skinnlåven. Leather from used jackets or bags may also be used. Thin leather is soft but will also wear out sooner than thicker leather.

Thick leather may on the other hand be hard on your sewing machine and not as comfortable to wear. You’ll have to figure out for yourself how much your machine can do.

I recommend a special presser foot for leather and similar materials, as well as needles for leather. I use both poly and cotton threads. The special presserfoot may be replaced by stitch&tear or similar paper between the leather and the presser foot. I use straight stitches, length about 3,2mm. Seamallowance of ca 5mm is included in the pattern.

The elastics I use are 10mm wide. I find this better than regular narrow elastic in that it doesn’t make wrinkles all the way around the childs ankle. Hence more comfortable to wear. You’ll need about 40 cm of elastics for small shoes. You actually need less, but a bit longer elastics make it a whole lot easier to work with. The shoes can be made out of other materials as well. Feel free to alter the pattern and play with materials in any way. Make shoes for your entire family, your friends and neighbours, but please don’t sell products as a direct result of using my tutorial or patterns. If someone wonder if they can get a copy of this tutorial, please direct them to to find their own copy.

Let’s get going! Cut two of each pattern piece. My shoes are the same for the left and right. which is great for children who aren’t able to put the right shoe on the right foot, and they are also easier to make.

You’ll also need a casing for the elastic both around the heel and on top of the shoe. The decoration on top of the shoe is where you can let loose the artist in yourself. I’ve chosen an simple flower for this particular shoe.

Cut or punch holes or slots in the upper part. This is where the elastics go later on. You can use scissors, a knife or a hole puncher.

Sew the casing on to the heel part. One side first. Put the elastics in place and sew the other side. Be careful not to sew into the elastics on this step. I usually place the chasing about 75-100mm from the top of the heel part because this helps prevents the shoe from wrincling up.

Make a mark where you want yours to get it even or align it with the top. The casing is 1cm wider than the elastics itself.

Second you’ll need to prepare the upper part. Decorate it in any way you like. Be careful not to sew in between the slots/holes for the elastics or else you will not be able to thread the elastics through later on. The upper part and the sole are sewn first. Right side facing each other. Mark the middle of both pieces and trace the starting point of the seam from this. Feel free to use clips or something elce to keep it all in place if you find it hard to do it with just your hands. Leather doesn’t allow much faults. You might rip the seam once or twice, but no more. Any needle holes will not go away and may make the shoe weaker.

Sew the heel on to the shoe right sides together starting slightly overlapping the upper part. This is where your sewingmachine might give up or start spitting needles. Sew slowly or manually if needed. Do NOT pull the leather Especially not if the leather is very soft. Make sure you don’t sew the ends of the elastics by accident.

The shoes is now almost finished; you just need to fasten the elastics. You’ll need to do this before turning the shoe outside out. Pull one end through the holes using safety pins like I do, a tweezer or whatever suits you. I like using safety pins on both ends since it prevents the other end from running off. Adjust the elastics to fit your child. If the child has high ankles or is on the heavy side the elastics need to be longer than for a smaller foot. Sew the elastic closed by hand and cut off any excess. Rotate the elastics to hide the seam between the holes in the upper part.

Turn the shoe outside out and repeat the process to make its partner. Study your excellent work and please; try not to wake your child straight away to try on the shoes even though you want to. :D

Good luck! Feel free to contact me with any questions.

EDIT: 18.04.11 I have been experiencing several sites hotlinking my english pdf-pattern and are therefore closing down on free download on this pattern (the Norwegian verion too). I will still share – but only to those who ask for a pattern in a comment or by mail.

Important notice: You are not allowed to use my pattern for making shoes to sell or to sell the pattern itself!

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  1. Hope says:

    I wondered how much the seam allowance was as you say its included in the pattern. Thanks.

  2. Hope says:

    Me again! I measured the size shoes I had already cut out last night to find that they are smaller than my children’s feet and thats without a seam allowance (whatever it is). I enlarged the pattern pieces 144% to get a 2cm by 2cm square. Is it supposed to be 2.5cm square perhaps or something quite different?

  3. susan says:

    Thanks much for your tutorial – so excited to find leather and try this out for my little guy!

  4. Linda says:

    fantastic tutorial. Your English is EXCELLENT.

  5. Amy says:

    Thanks so much for the free pattern! I made a pair in soft buttery leather and found they fit my baby now, but won’t for much longer. I went back to download the pattern again, to make a size or two larger, but was unable. The message says “File damaged and cannot be repaired.” Oh NO! Can you load it again and I’ll make enough copies for larger sizes?
    Thanks again! (Michael Levine Fabrics in LA has wonderful soft leather scraps, enough to make more than one pair of shoes, for $3 each! A goldmine!)

  6. Akhila says:

    Thank you ever so much for this tutorial. Just what I was looking for – Christmas coming up – and the normal panic what to give family and friends. As not all relatives is so easy to please…
    I will try to download it straight away.
    Will post a link to your site on my blog so that I and others easily will find your lovely and very inspirational site.
    As I’m Swedish but living in London since years, it is so lovely to see your Norwegian photos.
    Thanks again for all inspiration.

  7. Thank you so much for the amazing pattern. I’ve had the desire to make some baby shoes and the only thing stopping me was the lack of a good pattern. I even have a leather sewing machine (my husband likes ebay =) I appreciate your generosity in sharing your talents!

  8. Kathy says:

    I love these shoes. I just bought some leather scraps and am planning to make them. But I tried to download your pattern and it said the file was damaged and so I could not download it. Can you please reload the pattern? Thank you.

  9. Janet says:

    Tried to download, but it is saying file damaged. could you please reload your pattern. Thanks so much.

  10. Moushka26 says:

    What adorable shoes! Please re-do the file as I get the corrupted message, too. I’m convinced Norskis are the cleverest people in the world – (well, I’m prejudiced as my grandparents came to Canada from Bergen ;-) Thank you for sharing your terrific creations.

  11. Angie says:

    I was so happy to find the free patterns and instructions you have posted here since i have been thinking of making such soft leather shoes for my 9 month old son now that the floor is colder in winter. Like Hope did, i have enlarged the patterns 144% and noticed that the problem for the sole lengths. I can’t find your responses to the questions posted here so i hope you could clarify it for me. Thanks alot.

  12. ohelene says:

    It shouldn’t be neccesary to enlarge the latest version of the pattern.

  13. Cheri says:

    Hi from New Zealand. Wow, I love your pretty baby shoes and those are great instructions. I hope to have fun with this soon. Many thanks!

  14. Priska Sait says:

    Vielen Dank für das tolle Muster.
    Bin begeistert, sind super diese Lederschuhe.
    Liebe Grüsse aus der Schweiz.

    Priska Sait

  15. [...] baby shoes, there are lots of online tutorials.  Some are HERE (the one I used) HERE and HERE and HERE.         [...]

  16. Lesley says:

    Thank you from Autralia I wish I could read the rest of your site

  17. [...] ones, but she has the pattern already drawn for many different sizes… including adult sizes! Here is her blog entry that has a link to the pattern and [...]

  18. Lilly says:

    What size seam allowance did you use?

  19. [...] Detta inlägg gjordes 1 januari 2010 kl 12:32 och är arkiverat under Sy, Syteknik. Du kan följa kommentarerna via RSS 2.0. Du kan lämna en kommentar, eller lämna en trackback från din egen blogg. Cancel Reply [...]

  20. Eva Mari says:

    Du er en perle, kjære du!
    Har lenket hit i nok et Sykroken-innlegg. ;)

    Stor klem fra meg :D

  21. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for this cool pattern and tutorial. I played around with it a little bit and made denim shoes with leather soles. Fun, fun.

  22. Alisna says:


    thank you for this tutorial and pattern, I like it! Could you tell me the amount of the seam allowance? I expected 1 cm, but I think that was too much. I would be very happy about an answer.

    Tank you and greetings from Germany

  23. [...] shoe is based on the free shoe pattern from Ohelene. Except I made some modifications. Like cutting a freehand weird shape to put on the top front of [...]

  24. A very nice step by step procedure. I will enjoy making my own baby shoes. And i can customize it on my own.