Wednesday, October 10, 2012

KCWC Day 2: Owl Shoes (with a tutorial for altering a soft shoes pattern for use with braces)

I did sew on Day 1 (Monday), but it's a gift and the mama of the recipient is a reader, so I'm waiting to blog until she gets it.

Yesterday E got her new braces, so she also needed new shoes to fit them.  I was going to just make a quick plain pair, but then I got sidetracked by the idea of an owl applique.  You know how these things go.  The applique took longer than the shoe construction.  Ha.

I took a few pictures along the way, thinking there may be someone else out there who might need to make something similar. E doesn't wear them outside, so she really just needs a lightweight non-skid covering for her braces. A soft-soled shoe is perfect, but the braces add considerable bulk, necessitating some pattern alterations.

You will need a basic soft-soled shoe pattern.  I use the Darling Diapers Minimoc pattern (scroll to the bottom left of this page). You will also need some sort of non-slip sole material.  I like Toughtek, which is a rubberized material that is durable but easy to sew. I found some on Etsy when E got her first pair of braces.

Trace one of the braces and add a 1/4" seam allowance or whatever your pattern requires. If the braces are different lengths, you will need to trace each one; otherwise just remember to flip the pattern piece over when you are cutting the soles so you'll have a left and a right piece. Soft shoe patterns are often the same for both feet, but I like the snugger fit that you get from making a left and a right shoe.

Compare your new sole piece to the sole pieces provided.  E's was close to the size 2 (she has tiny feet!). Trace the comparable toe piece pattern onto Easy Pattern or some other material that is easy to manipulate. You will need to adjust the toe piece for the added bulk of the braces, creating additional volume in the toe box.  Cut directly down the center of the piece to the tip of the toe.  Now drape this over one of the braces.  One  of E's has a 1 cm lift, so that was the brace that I used. Making sure to take the seam allowance into consideration, measure how far apart the middle cut edges are. I needed 2.5" of additional room.

My measurement was across the strap with the bees.

Retrace a new pattern piece with your old piece spread as much as your measurement.  You may also need to smooth out the curve on toe edge a bit (not pictured). Transfer any markings.

You can see how much wider my new pattern piece is compared to the original.

If one has a lift, you may want to add some additional height to the heel piece also.  I just sized up one size.

Now that you have your pieces, you can add any embellishments and follow the sewing instructions as normal.

The brace on the right is the one with the lift.

There is hidden elastic on this pair, but on her old ones, I used elastic cord and a toggle.  This was handy both for getting them on easily and for tightening up the one that was less bulky, since I made the both to fit the larger brace. If these don't say on as well, I will switch out the elastic for some cord and a toggle also.

The originals

Trying them out in her walker this morning.


  1. oh, me parecen una preciosidad... y muchas gracias por el tutorial, me será muy útil.

  2. The owls are adorable! Worth the extra effort.

  3. Oh goodness, those are aDORable! I sure would love it if you would share here if you get a minute:

  4. So fantastic! I hope lots of people find this tutorial who have kids in braces!

  5. This is wonderful! I've just been working on adapting a pair of this pattern for an adult with braces and contracted feet and toes. I've made some funky slippers out of felted wool sweaters, but the leather shoes are great. I wish I'd found this article before I started!



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