Friday, September 21, 2007

Making Little Doll Shoes

So, EFA dolls get handmade shoes made of fine leather. I must be truthful and say that it is probably my least favorite part of making these sweet dolls. Now, having said that, I must also say that an EFA is not an EFA until she has her shoes. If you are at all interested in making Edith Flack Ackley dolls, I have some tips for you!
  1. Start searching out those odd lot bins at your local thrift store. You are looking for leather gloves that don't look too worn out. You will be happiest when you find a single because, trust me, it's very painful to cut into a pair of beautiful gloves! If it's a single, it won't matter anyway!
  2. You will notice in the first photo below that this leather is natural colored on the inside and only dyed on the outside. You can find gloves that are dyed straight through and those will be the ones you want because you get a nicer finish on the edges of the shoes. However, since this is not a perfect world (darn!), you will take what you can get!
  3. Use a regular sewing needle. In fact, the finer, the better. The finer the needle, the easier it will pull through the leather. Also, use a single strand of regular sewing thread. This is hard enough work already without trying to keep a doubled length of thread under control.
  4. Start in the center front of the shoe, burying your knot on the inside. When you get to the back of the shoe, tie off and start a new thread in the center front. You can see in the photos that I've finished with one side and I am now working the second side. IMPORTANT: Remember, you are sewing for a doll, not a human! I used to make lots of stitches before realizing that, hey, no one is going to be actually wearing these shoes! Duh! Talk about a free-ing realization!
Last, but definitely not least, get yourself a nice leather thimble! You can see mine in the second photo. I think it's from Clover, but someday I would like to try Princess Nimble-Thimble's thimble which is actually called the nimble thimble and looks very comfortable! I use mine a lot, but especially when I am sewing these little shoes. First, it allows you to push the needle through and second, it helps you get a good grip when pulling the needle. I wear mine on my right index finger, but I have in the past worn it on the second finger to give me more dexterity from the index finger.
Okay, so there you go- everything you wanted to know about sewing EFA shoes! Actually, I might be missing something so if there is anything else you want to know, leave your questions in the comments and I will edit this post to address it.

Have a good weekend everyone! I'll be working on Linnea who is looking forward to having her shoes! I just finished a darling item that I wish I could show, but it's for an October birthday girl who checks in here occasionally! I will say this- I have caught the doll quilt bug! I resisted as long as I could, but now that I've done one, I'm hooked and want to make more, more, more!

Hugs to all!



10 friends said....:

  1. Oh my goodness, what a cute little shoe! I can't wait to see it on the doll. :)

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  2. ahh, so that's the secret . . . gloves! Why didn't I ever think of that? Now, pinkie will have new shoes. She says a big thank you to Bettsi . . . LOL

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  3. What patience you must have. Those little shoes are worth all the work, though because they are too precious.

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  4. What cute shoes Bettsi. I love the patchwork part of quilts but not the quilting on a big quilt- I've only got a normal machine. Love to see the birthday pressie pics after the event.

    Hope you're having a good w/e.

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  5. I can't believe you managed to not get bitten by the doll quilt bug 'til now!

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  6. Great tutorial; thanks! Your leather thimble looks like a giant's beside that tiny shoe, LOL. Josephine

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  8. I need help in learning how to shape the dolls feet...do you have a tutorial on this?

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  9. Hi Mimi, turn up the doll's foot. To know where to make the bend, hold up the sole of the shoe to the doll's foot to see about how long it should be. Use a tool like the edge of a needle to make the fold nice and neat. If you know how to make a ladder stitch, you're on your way! You just run the ladder stitch from foot to ankle to hold the fold. I usually go over the fold twice. Good luck!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!