How to Make a Shoe for a School Project

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Shoe making is a great project to display one's creative talent.
Shoe making is a great project to display one's creative talent. (Image: Martin Poole/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Making a pair of shoes is a great school project idea for a home-economics or fashion-manufacturing class. This craft requires a bit of patience, but you can walk away with a new pair of shoes made to your exact specifications. Both cost-effective and creative, this project calls for just a few basic materials and a sewing machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Leather
  • Canvas or similar material
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Sewing machine
  • Piping or ribbon
  • Decorative details (optional)
  • Store-bought insoles (optional)

Start with a simple shoe design such as a ballet flat. Draw a basic sketch of what the finished shoe should look like. Take into consideration what personal alterations and embellishments will be added. Make or purchase a pattern depending on the school-project instructions. While buying a pattern may be the simplest route, a handmade pattern can work just as well.

Making shoes can be both a fashion statement and a great project.
Making shoes can be both a fashion statement and a great project. (Image: Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

To make the pattern, trace the outline of an existing shoe sole. Ensure that a pattern is traced for both the left and right foot. Place this pattern on a piece of medium-weight leather or rubber and cut accordingly. Use this cut piece as the sole of the shoe.

Trace the outline of a shoe to create the pattern.
Trace the outline of a shoe to create the pattern. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Create a pattern for the body of the shoe using canvas or a comparable fabric that will provide sturdy coverage across the foot. Use an existing pair of ballet flats to better understand the outline. Model the pattern after a side image of the shoe extending from toe to heel. The pattern should appear to be a rectangle with a curved edge that will serve as the toe of the shoe. Fold the canvas in half, creating a double layer of fabric. Lay the heel of the pattern at the fold. Cut the pattern into the fabric, allowing the fabric to unfold. When placed in a circular shape, the pattern will look like the makings of a shoe.

Make the pattern to your exact specifications.
Make the pattern to your exact specifications. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Sew the shoe body pattern to the leather sole from toe to heel, curving the fabric slightly at the heel to conform to the foot. Perform this task with a sewing machine, using a needle thick enough to penetrate the leather. Once the base of the shoe pattern has been machine-sewn to the sole, hand-sew the toe for accuracy and fit. Use either piping or ribbon trim on the inner open edge of the shoe to ensure that it will not fray.

Leather shoe soles can provide support and comfort.
Leather shoe soles can provide support and comfort. (Image: Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images)

Finish the shoe by embellishing the toe with bows, buttons, or stones that can be applied with a hot-glue gun. Place insoles in the shoe using either another cut piece of leather or a store-bought comfort insole.

Apply bows or fabric to the toe of the shoe for further embellishment.
Apply bows or fabric to the toe of the shoe for further embellishment. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)
(Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Tips & Warnings

  • Reference an online pattern for a better understanding of the shoe body pattern.

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