Foot Loose!

The country fresh looks of the past few posts have been quite popular. But after the dresses, blouses and straw hats, there was still something missing......ESPADRILLES!!!

Now admittedly, shoes are a challenge for me. My Barbies' itty bitty, teeny weeny feet present quite a challenge for me. Still, what prompted me to push on was the Poppy Parker bodies I used to rebody two of my dolls. The have the swivel feet that wear both flats and heels.....and they are wider than Barbie's narrow feet. Practice makes perfect, so by the fourth pair, I got the hang of things. With a bit of oven bake clay, a little kitchen string and a tiny width of the same crochet lace I used for my Country Fresh post...... I set out to create espadrilles for my beloved dollies. (Applause, cheers in the background.)

Making the standard canvas type shoe was VERY difficult for me. So, instead I began by making a more abbreviated style with the lace which is where I will start here.

 For this project you will need some oven bake clay to make a wedge heel, Bristol or lightweight cardboard for the inner sole, a bit of lace for the upper and some ordinary kitchen string.
1. Start with a small bead of clay. A little goes a long way. Roll it between your hands to create a small ball.
2. Place it under the arch of the doll's foot.
3. Then shape it into a wedge that extends from underneath the toes to under the heel. Make sure the doll is standing straight while you are shaping the heel.
4. Repeat for the other foot. One of the most difficult things is to create a symmetrical pair of shoes. Inasmuch as we are making these by hand, there will be some differences between the two shoes. However, these are espadrilles which are rustic shoes...far from perfection!
5. While you do want to leave an imprint in the clay, you don't want too much of a crater. So smooth this out without changing too much the shape.
6. You can use a single edge razor blade to cut away or smooth out this part of the heel.
7. Work towards getting the shoe the same width as the doll's foot. Remember, we still have to apply the string which will add more width later!
8. Again, you can use a blade to help you shape the wedge heel. Take time to look at both and work towards getting them as equal as possible. When you are happy with the heels, bake your form according to instructions on the package. (230 F degrees (110C) for about 20 minutes is usually the norm.)
9. You need to make an insole. Do this by tracing the doll's foot onto a piece tracing paper. The transfer that tracing onto of Bristol (heavy weight paper or lightweight cardboard). Extend the toe a tiny bit. Flip to create a sole that corresponds to the other foot.
10. Trace the foot print onto a piece of fabric. One for each shoe.
11. Glue the fabric to the cardboard sole and shape as shown. Put that aside for the moment.
12. Remove the wedge heels from the oven and let cool. Then coat one heel with rubber cement.
13. Take the string and place one end on the back of the heel as shown.
14.Run the string along the edge of the heel as shown.
15. Continue to wrap around the heel.
16. As you arrive near the sole, you can simply make loops and continue on to cover the wedge until everything is covered.
17. Now you can come back and clip the loops and flatten them over the bottom of the heel.

 18. Make a sole out of a little bit of a leather or felt. You can trace the bottom of the heel to get this shape. Brush on rubber cement onto the sole. Then brush on the bottom of the wedgie. Allow to dry until tacky.
19. Then press the two together.
20. If there are gaps, you can always work in more string. To finish, I like to brush on a little Modge Podge (matte finish) to keep the string from moving.
 21. Place the doll's foot on the inner sole. Take a bit of the crochet lace and wrap around the top of the foot and under the inner sole.
22. Put a little glue on the backside of the inner sole to hold in place. Then make a few stitches to secure the upper in place.
23-24. Brush a strong glue onto the bottom of the upper as well as the top of the wedgie heel
25. Press together. (I put the doll's foot in the shoe and press down hard and hold until well adhered!)
The problem with wedgies, is that the doll's foot will slip. So we need something to help hold the shoe to the foot. Therefore, I had straps.
1. Place the shoes on the doll's foot. Cut enough string to wrap around the ankles.
2. Tip: in order to thread the string through the lace, I use a dental floss threader.
3. Slip the threader through the lace, then slip the string through the loop of the threader and pull through. For one style, I threaded a single string through the top of the upper. For this style, I slide the string through each side of the upper and pull through. I single or double know the side of the string that stays inside of the shoe, to block it from coming out.
4. Simply wrap around the ankles twice and tie into a knot!
 They're not perfect....but neither are espadrilles!

But what I really wanted to make was a pair of classic "canvas" espadrilles. Imagine, you could make them in any color or fabric!!! For my first pair, I used linen.

Create the wedge heel and the insole as shown in the previous tutorial.
1. Cut (on the bias) a strip of fabric 1-1/4" long (33mm)  (by about 7-8" (18-20 cm) wide--enough for both shoes). Turn one edge under, glue and press down.
2. Wrap around the doll's foot (which has been placed on the insole). Allow about 1/4" (6mm) and cut. The folded edge should be fall over the foot; the raw edged over the toes.
3. Take the remaining strip and overlap so that it falls underneath the top piece. Pin
4. Stitch this down.
5. Place back on the doll's foot and wrap the strip around to the other side of the foot.

7. Pin.
8. Stitch in place, then pinch the fabric around the foot.
9. Cut off the excess, leaving just enough fabric to turn under the foot (about 1/8" (3mm).
10. At this point, your shoe will look like this. At this point, place the insole on the doll's foot. Put a bit of glue on the bottom of the insole (to keep things from shifting). Fold the edges over the bottom of the insole. Hand stitch the edges together.
11. Put rubber cement over the bottom of the shoe upper that you've just created as well as on the top of the wedge heel. Allow both surfaces to dry until tacky to the touch.
12. Put the doll's foot in the shoe and press down.
13. Apply the string as shown in the previous tutorial.
14. Then coat with a little Modge Podge to set.
15. Again, create a sole for the bottom of the shoe. Apply a strong glue on the top of the sole and the bottom of the wedge. Press together. If you have gaps between the upper and the wedge heel, glue in another bit of string.
16. The finished shoe.

And here is the result. I made my first pair in white for versatility of use. But my dolls already have put orders in for espadrilles to match their summer outfits!

Even though these shoes are typically associated with a more youthful look, there's no reason to deprive your more sophisticated dollies. Here, Shakira's shows off her new shoes that match her favorite skirt!!!

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