A while back, I discovered Heather Bailey's Baby Booties pattern online: http://www.heatherbailey.typepad.com/heather_bailey/2006/06/bitty_booties.html
I thought they were absolutely adorable, so I had to try my hand at them. In this post I'd like to share with you the journey I took, tweaking the pattern, trying my hand at different techniques, and learning about lining, embroidery, shaping, appliques, hand stitching, machine stitching, and fabrics.
At first, of course, I thought I was all that
. So I decided to drastically tweak the pattern for my very first pair of baby booties. I had seen another pair somewhere on flickr that used a lime green/cream color scheme and I loved it. So I whipped out a pair and used two holographic buttons as closures. Boy did they come out badly.
I knew they didn't look right, and it was the first time I'd ever tried a Blanket stitch. I'm pretty hard on myself when it comes to my crafts, and it was hard for me to even show you those. Surprisingly, it didn't take long for me to try again. I decided one of the major problems was the way I stitched the top and the bottom together - so I decided to do the next one so that you stitch the outside of the top to the outside of the bottom - And I decided to line both the top piece and the bottom piece. Unfortunately, I decided to use a particularly pretty brocade and cotton fabric for the top, and it ended up fraying a bunch while I was trying to hand stitch it.
You can see the fraying around the top edges. Also, because the brocade was unruly, it didn't come out nicely shaped - it was all wonky. These pictures look okay because I stuffed them hard with tissue paper to make them a little more stretched out/normal shaped.
I was disappointed with my work again, but learned that if I'm going to be sewing a brocade fabric, I should either machine stitch it, or I should interface it first. At the time I was still a little wary of my sewing machine, and I hadn't ever interfaced something, so I decided to go back to felt as my fabric.
The next pair I attempted I decided to really buckle down and do everything absolutely perfectly. I heard about a Michael Miller baby bootie contest, and I got really excited. So I first designed a pair of baby booties and then went about doing all the things that needed to be done for them. These are pink felt with hand embroidered watermelon seeds. The bottom rind is made of two shades of green felt, machine stitched together. The bottom of the booties are micro suede with machine stitching. The bottom inside of the booties is lined with super soft fleece. The inside of the booties is lined with watermelon fabric. The bow is pink satin. Almost everything was hand stitched together.
Unfortunately, despite these taking MANY hours to make, they didn't even come close to winning.
Regardless, they're probably my favorites and I'll be holding on to them for possible future baby girls.
While I was making those booties, I decided to do double the work and make a second pair in a slightly different style, so instead of putting the "rind" at the bottom of the booties, I lined the top edge with it and set it up "kimono style".
Another view: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftyintentions/2530258301/in/set-72157606310779498/
Encouraged by my success, I decided to try out another design idea I'd been toying with, a bootie made to look like a pea pod. Unfortunately, I didn't line it, and in order to get the effect I wanted I had to alter the Bootie design in such a way that I'm pretty sure these babies would NEVER stay on wiggly toes. It's a good concept, but I am disappointed in the execution.
Another photo of these: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftyintentions/3215360306/in/set-72157606310779498/
A friend of mine at work was having a baby girl and I decided to try to make a really girly pair of baby booties as part of her gift. I did pink felt with plenty of lace, lined with felt and cotton (with a butterfly print). I masked any top fraying with a little extra lace and finished it off with a tiny little bow. They are very sweet looking and she was very excited to get them.
Another photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftyintentions/2692713788/in/set-72157606310779498/
Next, because I LOVE rainbows, I decided to do bright blue rainbow baby booties. This time I machine stitched the edges together, and I hand stitched to the top and the bottom of each bootie together. I also hand stitched all of the decoration except for the soles - that is machine stitching.
Another View: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftyintentions/3214539623/in/set-72157606310779498/
The only thing I regret with those was not originally cutting the micro suede for the soles a little bit larger. This microsuede was softer and more pliable than the stuff I had used before, and consequently it stretched in funny ways and made the booties' shape a little less regular than I desired. Overall, I'm happy with the way they turned out.
The next pair I tried were based on a lady bug inspiration - I wanted to try to convey little black polka lady bugs. I lined it with a flannel and the bottoms are a very dark brown micro suede.
Top view: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftyintentions/2531074624/in/set-72157606310779498/
I wish I had been able to find a real black micro suede before embarking on those - but I couldn't. And now they're adorable and everything, but I think I may leave them as a "One-of-a-kind".
Then I languished in my baby bootie making for a while. I wasn't inspired because the only ones that came out perfect took me weeks to finish. However, my sister-in-law (My husband's brother's wife) is pregnant with her 3rd boy and I hadn't been making baby booties when her other two were born, and she had told me that she admired the booties I made. I got to work making these:
Another view: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftyintentions/3193316321/in/set-72157606310779498/
This time I tried to hand embroider on the micro suede sole, but other than that, they were fairly simple. I made an accompanying baby onesy, with little gold wings on the back. They remind me of that Greek God... the messenger dude with the wings on his sandals.
Then, because those were so much fun to make, I decided to start trying again recreationally. I lined this next pair with fleece on the bottom and flannel on the top. The outside fabrics are micro suede and felt. The bears are vintage patches that I found at a Pennsylvania treasure trove of craftiness, and the balloons are also felt. Everything was hand stitched together.
Another View: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftyintentions/3181330071/in/set-72157606310779498/
Because THOSE were so much fun to make, I decided to keep going and try my hand a little baby wing tips. I felt like I'd spent a lot of energy making booties that were appropriate for girls or were unisex - I wanted to make a pair that was pretty much all-boy.
That was the first time I'd ever really used a French Knot. It turned out to be pretty easy, and definitely worked. The little bows were made from puff shapes that I got for Christmas - so I'm not exactly sure of their particular company origin, but I didn't make them myself, i just scrunched them in the middle to make them look more like bow ties.
Because THOSE were successful, and I really loved using the puff shapes and I have a bunch of trim floating around that I don't use enough of - I decided to go for a Dutch baby look with Heart trim and Heart puffs. The embroidery stitch I used on the bottom was a little more complex than the blanket stitch and I basically just did what looked right and then repeated it a million times along the bottom:
I don't think I'll ever be able to part with those, but I have a few more puff hearts so I will probably be making another pair.
I loved using applique's and patches so much, that I decided to do a polka dot version. Here's a rare in process photo:
They turned out a bit more "royal" looking than I intended... probably something to do with the purple and the gold. My husband really likes them.
Another view: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftyintentions/3201480404/in/set-72157606310779498/
I used Gold embroidery thread to stitch on the patches and I used a blue embroidery thread to stitch the edges. The top edge of the bootie has gold ric rac and a crazy purple ribbon trim.
The next (and most recent/last) pair I tried, I decided to use these little metal studs, and woven ric rac, and patches, and a pink and green color scheme (similar to the watermelon booties). I decided that rather than making them identical, I would go for abstract. I'm still not quite sure how I feel about them.
And that's where I'm at. I can feel my inspiration languishing, so it'll probably be a while before I work on more baby booties, but we'll see. I wanted to share these with you and I hope you enjoyed! Here is a link to my flickr baby booties set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftyintentions/sets/72157606310779498/
Have a crafty day!