Shoe Biz5: A Leg Up In Style!

At last, we return to our dressmaking skills! Stocking boots are super simple way to create near flawless footwear for the doll. It involves combining the stocking pattern with a shoe element and sole. But it is only for use with STRETCH fabrics! (The next project will address boots made with non-stretch materials.) If you don't want to buy lots of fabric, consider buying socks or knee length stockings! This tutorial is shorter than the others because, other than the length or the shape of the toe, there aren't any real modifications you can make. The design is as simple or complex as the choice of color, pattern or the material you use. But the possibilities are still limitless. You can create a multitude of looks from edgy vinyl to glamorous sequins so long as the fabric you choose stretches!

When I first started out with this project, I began by making soles for my existing stocking boots (made to be worn over existing Barbie shoes). My first thoughts were to simply glue soles onto the bottoms of these jersey stockings. Having owned this type footwear in my own wardrobe, I should have known better. With nothing to control their feet, the dolls feet slipped off the soles underneath the jersey. With my own boots, there was a vinyl structure, not only to maintain the shape of the toe, but also to hold the foot to the shoe! It's the same for the doll..

Begin by making a stocking pattern specifically modified for this project. Before you get started, be sure to prepare your insoles (2 sets) and an outer sole. 
1. Using cotton jersey (from an old T-shirt, for example), stretch a portion over and around the doll's leg, pinning it together along the center of the back.
2. Take a soft lead pencil and mark where the pins are on both sides.
3. Mark the front center line of the leg as well.
4. Remove this from the doll. Refine the lines then create your pattern. Fold it in half along the center line then refine the side edges so that your pattern is symmetrical.
5. Using the pattern from the previous post, place it over the toe of your pattern to change the toe to a point. You are not obliged to do this. You can leave this step out and opt for a more natural toe.
6. Add seam allowance to finish the pattern.
7. Be sure to make notes on the finished pattern as to what the pattern is and which type of doll it is for.

8. For this boot, I have used the material from a knee-length stocking (I bought at the Dollar Store). Cut out your pattern. Also cut out the interfacing we used in the last (backless shoe) project. (It's that tiny white triangle you see near the toes of my stockings. I have placed it at the same point I did on the shoe. Glue in place. Note: as long as your fabric is opaque, it doesn't matter what color the interfacing is. However, if you are using lace or a sheer, we have another suggestion further down in this post.
9. Curl the part of the toe with the interfacing around a sharpened pencil.
10. Sew the stocking down the back seam
11. Turn each stocking right side up and place them on the doll's legs.
12. You do not need to line the insoles for your boots. Put a layer of rubber cement on the bottom of of one set of insoles. Gently place the insole on the doll's foot with the glued side facing up.
13. Put a little rubber cement around the edges of the stockings. Try to keep from getting it onto the doll's feet. But don't worry if you do because rubber cement rolls off quite easily!
14. Get as much of the stocking onto the bottom of the sole. Gluing the uppers to the sole is simply to help keep the stocking in place while you secure it with the next step.
15. With needle and thread, gently pull the two sides together and sew. You want to adjust the fabric on the top of the foot so that everything is smooth and well fitting and the toe looks good.
16. Now take your super strong glue and add a generous amount to the bottom of the stocking and to one side of mid-sole. (Do not use rubber cement for this step because it will come apart later on!)
17. Glued edge to glued edge, place the mid-sole onto the bottom of the stocking. Press well and use your "rolling pin" to ensure the two sides are firmly glued in place
18. Set aside, and if you haven't made them yet, prepare your soles.
19. Voila, the finished shoe!
Here they are in stretch velvet. For this fabric, you don't have to turn down the edge at the top.
 And again, the same pattern in a silver metallic stretch fabric.
This pair of light silver stretch lurex was made early on, using the polymer clay for the soles. I created platform soles and because it is difficult to get the heels nice and smooth, I added a coat of silver glitter! If you are using polymer clay and not happy with the results, remember this....Glitter Is Your Friend!!!!
Here is the most recent version of the same boot I made in dark gold lurex using the epoxy clay for the soles. (I glittered the toes with a contrasting tone of gold.) With the epoxy clay I am able to get much finer results than those with the polymer clay.

Awhile back, I saw these stocking boots in an Italian fashion show. How pretty are these!!! I made them using a wide stretch lace trim. It is especially important to use interfacing around the toes because not only will the feet slip, the doll's toes will peak out in between the stitches. So you will have to decide whether you want the toe to be solid or sheer.

 If you want to maintain the sheerness of the stocking straight through to the toes, I recommend using clear vinyl. Instead of the triangle we have been using, I use the pattern we created in the previous post. This is because I don't want to glue this down. On the other hand, you can sew this in place with the same color thread as the stocking.

You can make any length boot you desire. I made knee-highs. Here, I used stretch sequins. I made the decision to glitter the soles and heels. (Again, these were made using polymer clay for the soles.)
 These dark silver stretch lurex knee high boots are a great compliment for both daywear and eveningwear.
I also glittered these soles and heels. Since the lurex is dark silver, I painted the heels and soles black then added silver glitter.

I wanted to do end this post with a spectacular pair of boots, but each piece of fabric I picked up was something other than stretch! You cannot use your stocking pattern for non-stretch fabrics because 1) it won't fit and 2) the doll wouldn't be able to get in and out of her footwear. So instead of dedicating the next tutorial to creating one-piece pumps, I decided we would make boots using non-stretch materials.

Coming up next: Shoe Biz 6-Giving Her the Boot! This begins with the pattern I made several years ago for spats and, instead of slipping it over an existing shoe, turning it into a real boot. Again, it is a simple pattern with a couple of options. While we work on getting the next tutorial up, have a good time making stocking boots. See you back here real soon!

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