Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shoe fetish

I realized the other day that Lilah was kinda/sorta going to need some shoes to wear with her little flower girl dress - unless she wanted to look like some sort of hippie at the wedding -  so I set off on a little online window shopping adventure that left me feeling quite depressed about the cost of children's shoes.  This wasn't a surprise to me, I just try to avoid it all by buying shoes either at consignment sales or on a supersale at the store.  I just can't get behind paying as much or MORE for a pair of shoes for a child who is going to outgrow the shoe within 6 weeks of buying it than a shoe I would buy for myself, when I can wear them for YEARS.  And in seeking the perfect little ivory colored shoe for Lilah, all I could find was shoes that cost $20 - $50 which is definitely NOT in our budget, not even for a wedding.

I even thought of trying to get little ivory ballet slippers, because the bride herself is wearing ballet flats and I thought it would be cute if Lilah mimicked that aspect of the bride's attire.  But the "perfect" shoes - in both price and look - didn't happen to come in Lilah's size.

Not ready to be defeated by the children's shoe racket, I decided that maybe I could score a pair of cheapie shoes at the thrift store and cover them with some of the remaining fabric from the dress I was making.  But looking online for directions, none of the shoes had a really pretty finished look to them, and so I quickly decided that covering wouldn't really work for me.

Then I thought, hey - maybe I would just make the whole shoe myself.

I admit that I've always been a big fan of Robeez shoes.  The "slip on/slip off" type of shoe fits right in with my lazy nature, making it the perfect shoe to throw into your purse last second as you are running out the door to get wherever it was that you were supposed to be 10 minutes ago.

But I've always seen them as a casual shoe, something that is fun and cute with shorts or jeans but not something you can wear to a more formal occasion - even if you're under 2 (since we know the true etiquette of fashion doesn't actually kick in until at least age 4).

Cute, but not very formal!

But when I found a great tutorial online at the Tacky Living blog for how to make the shoes, I knew that this would be the answer to my problems.

I present to you:  Dupioni silk baby shoes!

Aren't they awesome???  They fit and look just like a little pair of Robeez, but these shoes cost me only $1.99 to make, because except for a leather needle, I had everything else I needed at home already.

These are going to look perfect with her little dress, and if she never wears them again, I'm only out the two dollars and a few hours of my time.

The bottoms are a white/ivory leather that Ben had in his crafting supplies from when he used to make his Native American dancing costumes for Scouts.  It was so soft and easy to to work with!  I did deviate from the directions a little; I ended up putting the elastic channel on the inside of the shoe instead of the outside, and I basted the leather sole to the felt liner instead of heat bonding the two.  But I think that the final result is just fabulous, and I can see all types of uses for this pattern in the future - Can you imagine if you did a little monogram on the shoe upper and used them as baby christening shoes?  What about an embroidered cross with the christening date beneath?  So sweet, so easy!  And for babies who don't walk, you can make the whole thing out of fabric, saving yourself the need to buy a leather needle at all.

I lined these with ivory colored canvas, so they are sturdy and though I doubt Lilah will ever wear them again, I don't think I have to worry about them falling apart!

This definitely turned out to be a much easier project than I expected, and I know I'm going to want to make these in the future - probably to match the little pillowcase dresses and things I make as baby gifts! 

Oh, the ideas...I need to put them on a shelf so I can get finished with the projects at hand!  Next up:  The flower girl dress.  Wish me luck!


Tiana said...

They could be Lilah's house slippers after the wedding!

-k said...

You are something else.

I'm glad I picked you up in that wretched Education class all those years ago.