How to Make a Shoe for a School Project


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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Tips & Warnings

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

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  • Photo Credit Martin Poole/Lifesize/Getty Images Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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