My friend, Elaine, asked for some pointers for machine sewing felt baby shoes. Here is how I do it.
I only use wool-blend felt. My favorite is the 35% wool blend here: http://www.nationalnonwovens.com/Applications/craft/woolfelt.htm#TOY002%20-%2035% If you need a supplier, check the list to the left.
My pattern is made of cardstock. It's sturdier than paper and holds up better to repeated pinnings. It also helps the felt keep it's shape when cutting. I start off cutting the back and toe of the shoe. Two of each. Then I cut 2 pieces of sole for each shoe. I pin the pattern to 2 layers of felt and cut.
After cutting the outside pieces, I pin them to a piece of felt in the color I want for the lining of the shoe. I always use three pins for the back and three pins for the toe. Here I used some scraps of purple. I usually pin all the pieces to one large piece of felt. Don't cut yet!
After pinning all the outside pieces to the lining, it's time to sew. I set my machine to 3.0 straight stitch.
I sew with about an 1/8-inch allowance. For me that's just to the inside edge of my presser foot. I sew around 3 "sides" of the back pieces. Don't sew the straight bottom edge.
This is a toe piece. Can you see the stitching? It's along the top edge of the toe. Don't sew the bottom curved edge.
Leave the pins in (I always poke myself, ugh) and cut out using the top piece as your pattern. Cut along all edges.
Now it's time to start sewing the toe to the sole. I first added a tag to what will be the inside layer of the sole.
Then pin 2 sole pieces together at the heel. Line up the pieces the best you can.
Here I'm ready to pin the toe to the sole. I center the toe on the sole and line up the top edge the best I can.
Ok, start on what is the ride side of the shoe when you are looking at it from the front. Ease the toe around the curve of the toe, lining up the toe and the sole as you go. Now you're read to sew. I use the same seam allowance as I did to sew the toe pieces and heel pieces. Love my packing tape rulers. We're classy over here ;)
Sew until you reach the 2nd pin and stop, needle down. Take out the 2nd pin. Sew slowly as you ease the felt where you want it. It helps to kind of pull on the top piece to get it to line up with the sole. Keep sewing as you go around the curve and to the end of the top piece. If you have to stop to realign your layers, make sure the needle is down.
Now it's time for the heel/back piece. Fold down the "flaps" of the toe piece and center the heel/back piece on the shoe.
I use 1 pin. If you want to use more than 1, start with 1 pin in the middle and go out from there.
Now I start with the toe facing away and the heel facing me. I ease the heel piece around the curve, lining up the layers.
Continue to ease the top layers around the curve to align with the bottom sole layers.
Sew to the end of the heel piece.
Guess what! You just sewed a baby shoe on your sewing machine!
The last step here for me is to clean up the edges. Any place the top and bottom layers aren't quite lined up, I trim.
Here are 2 shoes using the same method. Not exactly perfectly matched, but pretty darn close.
I'm working on getting my baby shoe pattern ready to sell, so check back in the next few days.
Let me know if something doesn't seem clear and I will try to explain better. Thanks!