Finally Hujoo Berry has a nice pair of leather boots! And I’m pretty sure she loves them just as much as I do 😉
I basically followed the instructions from the Ryo Yoshida book (in so far as my non-existent understanding of the Japanese language would allow!).
First I carefully drew around her feet in pencil on some thin card, adding a bit extra for the shape of the front of the boot. In the book it shows the feet removed, but I didn’t do this (because I was feeling too lazy to!). Although it probably would have been slightly less fiddly if I had, it didn’t really make too much of a difference. This is what it looked like:
Then I wrapped the feet in clingfilm to protect them, because the next part was to create a moulded toe-cap using a small quantity of air-dry clay.
I sewed the two side panels together at the back, forming the heel and rear ankle part of the shoe.
Then the seams were sewn omitting the bottom part which was going to be glued to the sole.
The eyelets were punched into the curved front part. I marked with a pencil through the holes of the eyelets where the holes were to be punched on the other side, so that they would be equal.
Next I glued the pre-cut leather tongue to the underside of the toe part of leather. (Although I think in future what a better way would have been that rather than cutting out the tongue part separately and gluing it to the underside of the toe leather, I would cut the toe and tongue part out of one continuous piece of leather, so that there’s no join.)
Then this is glued onto the clay toe cap (so that it wouldn’t fall out when removing the shoe, because you want the cap to maintain the shoe shape).
I didn’t sew a seam for the leather tongue because I didn’t want it to be too bulky, but I think at larger scale I would. Being so small a neatly cut edge to the tongue seems to be sufficient. The leather side panels will overlap the toe part and be glued to it, so a seam wasn’t needed for this either.
Then I carefully cut out small triangle ‘darts’ into the leather overlap which was going to be glued to the thin card sole. (Use very sharp scissors for this, otherwise it could end up being a bit messy!) The leather does have to be stretched and held into position while gluing so that you don’t get visible folds at the join between the leather and the sole, when it gets glued on.
Then the leather sides can be placed on, putting a little bit of glue at the front where the sides join the toe part. As before, I carefully cut little darts into the overlap of the leather, where it is glued to the internal sole (thin card). This was to prevent big lumpy folds of leather from making a messy join between the leather and the sole.
The fun part was lacing up the boot – lets you know you’re almost done!
So then the sole is glued to the underside of the leather and internal sole. This has to be pressed very firmly to get a neat join, so there has to be enough glue to secure it, but not so much that it squishes out all over the place! If I were making boots for a larger scale and I wanted them to be more secure than using glue alone, I would probably try to sew the upper leathers to a thicker inner sole and then nail some tiny, short pins through the lower outer sole to this, a bit like how shoes were traditionally made. That is if I were using a wooden sole, or even cast rubber. And tiny, short pins can be acquired by simply clipping some dressmaker’s pins down to size (the ones with the tiny heads of course, :p not the bobble head ones) But as I say, not tried this yet, so there may be better ways still, I’m learning as I go!
And here they are!
Next up: Getting closer and closer to completion, so she’ll definitely be needing a hat! And where would a girl be without some accessories!