Friday, April 22, 2016

Leather Jacket To Toddler Moccasins

A few weeks ago I posted about the first pair of moccasins I sewed, you can find it here. For my next step in learning how to make my son’s moccasins, I wanted to make another muslin using an old leather jacket. From the first pair I learned a few things that I wanted to change with the second pair. I redrafted two of the pattern pieces - the toe elastic piece (length 1 ½”  x width 1 ¼”) and the fringe piece (length 7” x width 1 ¾”). My goal is to get a similar design as our purchased moccasins. I also compared the two leathers. The purchased moccasins are ¼” thick while the jacket is less than ⅛” thick. Not sure how that is going to affect the shoes, however as this is another trial run I am glad I have this leather to experiment with.

To get started I had to remove the lining from the leather jacket, this was the most tedious part of making the shoes.

Cutting out leather is different from fabric. I traced the pattern pieces onto the wrong side of the leather with chalk, then cut out the pieces. I also didn’t use pins as these can leave holes, instead I used Clover Clips.
Sewing with leather is also different. The leather can stick to the foot. I purchased a special teflon foot which worked great and had no problems while sewing. I used black topstitching thread in my needle and regular thread in the bobbin. I had purchased a special leather needle (#90), however this didn’t work as well as a denim needle (#110). If I can find a larger leather needle I will try that next time. I stitched all of the seams twice, except the visible top stitching lines.

Here’s how the sewing went:

Step 1 - I sewed the newly drafted toe elastic piece onto the toe piece, making sure that the top and bottom row of topstitching on the toe elastic piece were wide enough apart to allow the elastic to pass through. As before mark the middle of the pattern pieces to help center everything.

Step 2: I did two rows of top stitching 1 mm apart when I attached the fringe to the heel piece. I did this for looks and to ensure the strength of the stitching line. This can be seen in the picture above.

Step 3: To ensure the fringe was even, I marked out the cutting lines.

Step 4 and 5 I did the same as my flannel pair. After I turned the shoes right sides out I trimmed the toe elastic piece to create the triangle fringe. Though next time I will do this when I do the fringe piece. Next, I fed the elastic through and tested the moccasins on my little guy. Lastly, I sewed the ends of the elastic together - that’s it. From cut to finish it took about 90 minutes.

From this pair of shoes I learned that I still need to modify the pattern some more.
  • Reduce length of fringe piece more
  • Fix gap between heel piece and toe piece where they attach sole piece. My son has fat wide feet and there is a lot of baby fat on the top of his feet too. I think by extending the length of the toe (on the straight side) and heel piece will solve the issue. I don’t think this is a pattern issue, but instead my son’s feet.
  • Create left and right feet. The excess fabric by my son’s little toes keep getting caught up when he walks, nothing serious but since I am modifying this pattern anyways may as well!

My son wore the moccasins outside and as I suspected the leather isn’t meant for walking on concrete and such. However they are great indoors. He wears them to walk around the mall and such. The leather was super easy to sew with and this project was very quick and easy! The leather from this jacket would be great for crib shoes or children just taking their first steps.

Up next in my adventure is making another pair of shoes from the leather coat with my next set modifications. Hopefully this will be my last muslin before I move onto a thicker leather!

Written by: Shawna

Update: My son has been wearing these shoes for over a month with no issues. The little guy hasn’t been wearing them outside. Here is what they look like now!

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