Sunday, 23 April 2017

Ruff guide: Prototype doll shoe

(From Part 1: Making a Mold from a doll's leg)

Finally, I had the day off to sit and faff again.    Last week, I made the plaster lasts from my doll leg mold (Using Kaye Wiggs MSD.)    The whole process was a bit messy and I cocked it up at one point which got even messier, so I didn't want my digital camera anywhere near the work area, so I apologise for not photographing the process a little more.

But.  Here are my plaster casts, taken from the silicone molds.

When you buy packets of plaster from Ebay, they should come with instructions on how to mix.  I always add a bit more plaster to my mix than it says.   Here I've used stone cast plaster,  it's much tougher than standard plaster of Paris.

You can see where I had my doll's leg taped up with masking tape, over the clingfilm.   This means the lasts are a layer of tape larger than the doll's actual leg.  This is fine.  I sanded mine down a bit, which took some of the thickness away - you shouldn't over-sand though, or the last will be too small. All I did was take the most obvious lines and rough bits off mine.

It doesn't have to be perfect.  You can see little air bubbles in the picture below.  These can be filled in with some white Milliput or Sugru, but it won't make a whole heap of difference.

To get the shape of a shoe, I made a template using my last, and added a curve to the toe, to get a nicer shoe shape, rather than just the toes.

Then I used white Sugru to add to the toes of the last, and made a nice shape, so I can form my shoe around the last.  Sugru is expensive for what it is, but I like it because it air dries, and it's quick and easy to use.

Take a bit of time to make sure both your lasts are identical.

I left my lasts for a few days, because of sewing like mad to try and get all those Kaye Wiggs outfits done.   I took today off, in the name of R&D.  I like R&D days (Research and Development)  It's just a posh name for finnicking about and having fun.

Or in other words... playing with my dolls.

I embarked upon a prototype shoe pattern, and to my amazement it went right first time.  These lasts make it SO much easier to wrap bits of fabric around and form patterns that the dolls leg itself.   For one thing, there's no unweildy doll attached that you must keep clean and damaged.  For another, the plaster is less slippery than resin, so my fabric stayed where I wanted it, as I wrapped my last and made markings for the pattern.

Here's my first little shoe. Felt is great for making doll shoes. I may try Ultrasuede and even real leather later, but felt is an inexpensive practice fabric.

Once I'd taken the shoe off the last, I couldn't get it back on, so I was worried it wouldn't fit the doll. But because resin is slippery, it went on nice and easily.  Hence, note to self. Don't remove the shoe from the last until it's ready to be put on the doll.

I've surfed around looking at baby shoes and doll shoes, it's easy to find inspiration.  I kept these pretty simple with just the eyelets and the ribbon shoelace.   I fancy trying some Mary Janes at some point though.  I'll need to sort out some handmade buckles and figure out how to do it.

I also cant decide if I want to go further and line these shoes.  They have an insole and an outer sole, but I'll see how much time I have to play with ideas over the next couple of days.    Suffice it to say, I'm very happy with the prototype.  Now I need to buy some felt that actually matches the outfits I have lying around.

Any excuse to buy fabric!  :D



  1. Yes... but your excuse to buy fabric (ie to make shoes to match outfits) is slightly better than mine .... 'it was too pretty to resist'..... I have a box full of Liberty fabric but still I want to go and look for more!! The shoes look fab well done on making the last. I think felt is a great fabric - it's where I started out making dolls clothes and now it comes in so many more fab colours!! Happy stash building!!

    1. This is true. But I've just bought some felt on the basis of 'ooh pretty colour'. Luckily, I bought ten pieces, but didn't realise they were offering ten pieces for the price of six! Yay. :)

    2. Yay for bargins (and pretty colours)!!!

  2. Aww, those are cute! I really like the bow, such a small detail but adds a lot of charm.

    Here's a great blog with various tutorials and patterns, and lots of information about making doll shoes
    I think I saw Mary Janes pattern on Antique Lilac. And some tutorials too. There's also Mary Janes pattern here
    There are also ancient books with doll shoe patterns, two parts. I'm talking about these: and You can also search for baby shoe patterns, there are some adorable free ones out there.
    PixieFaire has amazing doll shoes pattern, though those are for AG dolls and need to be resized.
    ...yeah, I like shoe patterns xD;

    1. I've learned a lot from that blog, Anj! Tarja's stuff is so lovely. I use a couple of different techniques, but trust me, I've devoured that blog all the way back to early posts. :)

      Those other links are interesting too, thanks for those! I think my housemate has a doll shoes book knocking around somewhere.

      Haha! You shoe fiend. ;)

    2. I'm stalking this blog for more than a few years, and most I've learned about making doll shoes comes from there. It's a perfect resource =]

      Speaking of Mary Janes I finally found the pattern I wanted to link: Those are on my to-do list which is only getting longer. If only days had 48 hours... xD

    3. It's great isn't it! She has a book out, I think. Tarja. She does a lot of casting for wedge soles now I think.

      Those look a fun make. I could do with more hours in the day too.... :p


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