Baby DIY: Scallop Trim Suede Moccasins

*This pattern is free for personal use ONLY! Please don’t use my pattern to make products to sell.

I’ve been debating for a while whether or not to put up a DIY of this, because really, who other than me is crazy enough to hand-sew a pair of baby shoes (or multiple pairs…), but in the end I decided WHAT THE HECK since I was making a new pair anyway.

When I was first researching how to make my own baby shoes the biggest problem I had was that most of the instructions were for machine-sewed shoes (and my beanbag recovering debacle the other weekend proves I’m NOT READY for machine sewing) and the patterns I found were super complicated, with lining and separate elastic channel pieces and buttonholes and just no. I’ve made a few different patterns and this one is the simplest- it’s only three pieces per shoe!

This pattern is for making suede shoes only; it won’t work with leather since both sides of the fabric are visible. Suede shoes are suitable for babies of all ages- tiny ones who just lay there, crawlers and scootchers, and even walkers- the suede soles are less slippery than leather would be.
A note about what suede to use: You’ll want to use a piece that looks the same on both sides since you’ll be folding the scalloped edge over. Mine was a little scruffy on the back in one area so I used that part for the soles since it wouldn’t show. You’ll also want to use a suede that is soft and flexible so it’s comfortable on baby’s feet, and thick enough that it’ll hold the shape and not get worn out but not so thick it’s impossible to sew. Mine is about 2mm or 3/32″ thick, and very soft.

You’ll need…

pattern PLEASE NOTE: Due to some people not understanding what “FREE FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY” means I have had to remove the pattern, please email me if you’d like a copy // cardstock // suede // 1/4″ elastic // heavy gauge & regular thread // small needle, leather needle and friggin’ huge needle // mini binder clips // pliers (optional)

My suede is a coral pink and I used cream thread and white elastic, because that’s what I had on hand, but you might want to use darker thread or black elastic for a darker colour of suede. You could match the thread to the suede or use a contrasting colour (ie orange thread on blue suede) to get the look you want for these shoes.

Measure the length of the sole of your baby’s foot.
Add one-half inch to the length of your baby’s foot for the seam allowance. Then take that measurement (your child’s foot length + .5″), figure out what percentage it is of the pattern’s sole length (4.75″) and print the pattern at that percentage.. FOR EXAMPLE:

for a child with a larger foot:
a child has a foot 5″ long
5″ + .5″ = 5.5″
5.5 /4.75 = 1.16
1.16 x 100 = 116
print the pattern at 116%

for a child with a smaller foot:
a child has a foot 3″ long
3″ + .5″ = 3.5″
3.5 /4.75 = 0.74
0.74 x 100 = 74
print the pattern at 74%

This will scale all the pattern piece sizes up or down, not just the sole, but be aware that if you scale the pattern up too large you’ll end up with a bag-like shoe. The largest size I’ve made is a toddler 8 and I wouldn’t go above a toddler 10 (a 6.5″ foot).

You’ll want to make the shoes a little big so your baby can grow into them, otherwise you’re doing a lot of work for something she/he will only fit into for a week.

Print the pattern on cardstock at the percentage determined above and cut out the pieces. Printed at 100% on US Letter Borderless (the borderless is very important here!!) the pattern has a sole 4 3/4″ long. This is the size I used for Gwen’s tan shoes, which at 9 months she’s almost outgrown, so I printed the pattern at 105%.
Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 1.35.45 PM
This increased the sole length to 5 1/4″, only half an inch longer, but as you can see, this small increase made a HUGE difference!

Trace the pattern pieces onto the back of the suede and cut out. You need to trace two of each of the three pieces.
Make sure to flip the pattern for the sole over to trace the second one as it’s not symmetrical; there will be a distinct left and right sole. When cutting the scallops, trim INSIDE the line you’ve traced so no marks will show once they are folded over.

Fold over the scalloped edge on the heel and vamp pieces at the fold line and clip down with binder clips.
Using heavy-gauge thread and a leather needle, stitch straight across the scallops 1/4″ down from the fold, and then stitch back across the opposite way. This will form the channel for the elastic.

Next, you need to clip your heels and vamps to the soles.
It will take a little adjusting to place them correctly, you want the ends of the vamp and heel pieces to line up evenly on either side of the sole. Clip them right sides facing, with the vamp on the outside of the heel.
The vamp and heel pieces will overlap, so try to make sure they overlap the same amount on both sides.

Leaving a 1/8″ seam allowance at the edge, sew your heel and vamp pieces to the soles. Sew all the way around the sole twice. I usually start on the side where the heel and vamp pieces overlap because sewing through 3 layers of suede is the worst and I like to get it over with.
Once you’ve sewn both shoes, turn them right side out.

Thread the friggin’ huge needle with the elastic.
I think this one is meant for like… sackcloth or something? idk, you just want a needle that is thick, blunt and with an eye large enough for the elastic. Feed the needle through the channel on the heel piece.
Use the pliers if you have trouble getting it through. Once it’s through the heel channel, feed it through the vamp channel.

Using the regular needle and a matching thread, sew the ends of the elastic together.
You need to make sure it’s tight enough to keep the shoe on baby’s foot, but not so tight that you can’t even get it on in the first place. This is actually the part I have the most trouble with! I’ve tried measuring the ankle circumference and using specific lengths of elastic but it never works out for me, so I just try to ~guesstimate how big I need it to be. If your elastic is too loose or tight just cut it out and try again! Once you’ve got them sewn at the right tightness, pull the elastic through the channel so the seam is inside.

That’s it! You’re done! Good job! If you’ve sewn them well these shoes will last longer than your baby will fit into them. If anyone actually uses this I would be THRILLED to see your finished shoes so please leave me a comment with a pic or a link, tweet/instagram me with the hashtag #unicornparade, email me or post a pic on the facebook page.

*This pattern is free for personal use ONLY! Please don’t use my pattern to make products to sell.

If you would like me to make a pair of these (or another style of baby/toddler shoe) for you, please check out my Kickstarter campaign!

180 Replies to “Baby DIY: Scallop Trim Suede Moccasins”

    1. I’m going to paste my email here as well in case anyone else has this question:

      Most of the suede I use for my baby shoes I buy at Michael’s craft store. The have pieces you can buy in specific colours (tan, brown, black) but they also have bags of scraps, either 8oz or 1lb, and that is what I usually got. If you have a 40% off coupon (and they almost always have a 40% off coupon) they are pretty cheap. you just kind of have to guestimate whether there is enough of one colour in the scrap bag to make 2 shoes.

      Some other sources:
      -etsy! I’ve bought both new and reclaimed (from old clothing) leather and suede from etsy, some people way overcharge for shipping but if you search a lot you can find some good deals. I once got an entire hide of gold goatskin leather from Italy for $40 including shipping to Canada.
      -thrift stores! you can take apart old suede clothing yourself. Suede skirts in particular are usually pretty cheap, but bear in mind the suede will be very thin. This makes it easier to sew but if your little one is walking you’ll want to get a thicker suede for the soles or it’ll wear right through.
      -leather stores! tragically the only leather store here moved way out in the suburbs but obviously they would have a good selection of suedes in the different thicknesses and colours.

  1. Thanks for the tutoral on your little moccassins! My 5 year old granddaughter wants to be Pocahantas for Halloween and we have an Indian dress started. I found a long suede skirt at Goodwill today for $4, so now I’m ready to try and enlarge the moccasin pattern! Going to do fringe instead of scallops….thanks again!

  2. So so cute. I can’t wait it make some for my baby. This is probably a silly question but did you hand sew these or use a sewing machine? Thanks for a great tutorial.

    1. I hand sewed them! If you have a sewing machine that can handle leather & the know-how required you could sew them by machine but I am like… sewing machine incapable so I do pretty much everything by hand.

    1. You’re very welcome! If you have any questions or problems please don’t hesitate to comment or email me about it, I’m happy to help πŸ™‚

  3. Wow you are so awesome! I have looked EVERYWHERE for petal moccs because the only shop I found that made them isn’t making them anymore πŸ™ Now I MUST learn how to sew lol.
    Does the printed pattern fit on one sheet of paper? I’m wondering if two 8×12 pieces of suede would be enough for a pair?


    1. As-is the pattern will fit on one sheet of paper, and 2 8×12 pieces of suede should be plenty, one piece for each shoe. If you have to resize the pattern to make it larger for an older baby or toddler then it might not be.

  4. Hi! Just wondering if you used microsuede or regular suede? I can’t seem to find suede anywhere, online or in stores but I see micro suede everywhere ! Thank you

    1. I used regular suede, you can find pieces of it at Michael’s- there is usually a small leather section that has 8×12″ pieces of suede, as well as bags of scraps that sometimes have suede it them (although you can’t really tell how much is in the bag). Microsuede would work as well but it’s thinner so it wouldn’t be as durable (especially for a mobile baby or toddler) but it would be easier to sew.

    1. I did hand sew them, if you go to a craft store that has leather they should also have needles that will go through it- I know the Michael’s store by my house has them. If you can’t find leather needles you could also get a leather awl, which you can use to make the holes and then sew through your pre-made holes with a needle.

  5. Do you use an awl? I’m also using the suede from Michael’s and I’m finding it incredibly difficult to stitch by hand. I’ve already broken two leather needles πŸ™ You must have super-human strength. Also, how long does it normally take to sew a pair?

    1. I don’t use an awl, just because I’ve been to cheap/lazy to get one. I’ve snapped a few needles my