I’ve wanted to try weaving with leather strips for some time and finally decided to make my son’s new sandals this way. Most of the leather for the sandal tops is from my leather scrap box, so I used up some oddly shaped pieces that I couldn’t make anything with anymore.
I started by cutting strips out of the pieces I found in the box, then dyed them and wove them loosely together. There are thinner and wider strips, I wanted an irregular look.
Next, I sandwiched the edges between two leather straps to hold everything together and then constructed the sandals.
You don’t need shoe lasts to make sandals but I like using them when making sandals for my son, he just doesn’t like all the adjusting and standing still. I do try them on his feet before stitching though just to make sure.
Here you see the underside of the soles after stitching. The heel is an extra piece of thick leather, you could add more pieces of leather to build the heel higher still.
And this is another photo of the finished sandals.
I will experiment more with weaving leather, I really like the texture it creates. Also try to knit, crochet or macramé leather lacing, endless possibilities for play…
I used water based leather stains from Identity Leather Craft, the colours I chose are brick red, ochre and cranberry.
For how to make any sandals you can dream of see my eBook How to make unique leather sandals. It’s a practical guide describing all the basic techniques involved in sandal making with step-by-step projects and lots of photos.
I love the look of leather and fabric together, this is the first time that I’ve made something combining these two materials. As I’ve wanted to make a rucksack for ages it was a good opportunity to try it out.
Winter is nearly over (happiness) and I’ve started to make new clothes for my children. For spring clothes I usually make something from knit jerseys, often taking old dresses apart to make new t-shirts or mixing up new and older fabrics.
This dress I made for my teenage daughter from organic cotton jersey.
The dress is a little challenging to make because of the 3 panels front and back, you have to attach them to the right places but other than that it comes together easily. I really like its shape and swing.
I can’t wait to get out of socks and boots and into sandals! Here I made tooled one-strap sandals for my children’s grandmother who lives on the other side of the world in Chile, they are in the middle of summer now…
Tooling leather straps is one way of adding sparkle to your leather projects. It’s taken me so long to find out about all the different ways to decorate leather that I thought I document whatever new I learn with each project I undertake.
Here is one way to tool leather to get the look you see on the sandals above.
This wool coat I made for my six-year-old son, he loves fun and colourful clothes. Green is his favourite colour and if I always listened to him everything he wears would be green jumpers, trousers, socks, shoes, you get the picture….
I used a fabric called boiled wool, it’s 100% wool and available in many colours. The lining is of the same fabric, but a different colour, so it’s really cosy and warm.
Boiled wool is a woven fabric that has been felted and thickened, it’s warm, durable, windproof and water-resistant, which makes it a great fabric for winter kids clothes.
I cut the appliqué from handmade wool felt, it’s much thicker than the usual felt you can buy and a beautiful quality. The owl and fox I hand stitched onto the fabric. For the drawings inside the figures, I used chain stitch.
I’m always looking for unusual ways to decorate leather. This leather wrap bracelet I decorated by cutting into the leather resulting in an interesting texture. I will definitely experiment more with this technique.
Ever since I made a bag out of cardboard I’m captivated by the possibilities of this versatile material. You can fold, roll , sew and sculpt it and transform it into stunning furniture. Here I made a cardboard coffee table, you can also make chairs, sofas, tables, shelves, cupboards, even beds I’ve seen.
This table is easy to make, because of its simple design. I saw a similar table many years ago, I wanted one then, but found it too expensive (although it was probably made out of paper too).
The one I’ve built now out of cardboard wasn’t expensive, just the cost of paint and varnish, how awesome is that.
I love hand embroidery on denim, because it transforms the rather plain fabric into something beautiful that you don’t see every day and many colours look bright and shiny on the dark blue background. Here I embroidered denim fabric which I then sewed into a pair of jeans.
I used very basic embroidery stitches like running stitch and lazy daisy stitch (also known as detached chain stitch). The thread I chose is a silk and rayon mix, it’s very shiny and special looking. I used five different colours and added tiny beads for extra sparkle.
Yes, you can become the maker of beautiful and unique leather sandals. My eBook How To Make Unique Leather Sandals will show you everything you need to know about creating your own sandals.
Sandal making is a wonderful craft to pursue. I love how it combines creativity and craftsmanship with fashion and functionality.
Wearing shoes you created yourself is deeply satisfying and once you started making your own footwear you will not want to wear anything else.
It’s thrilling to be able to craft the sandals you’ve always wanted but could never find. With a bit of practice, so much is possible.
This is the book I wish I’d had when I started making shoes (more than 10 years ago). It has taken me a long time to get where I’m now, as there are so few resources out there teaching this still undiscovered craft.