If you are like me and love to rescue dolls from church bazaars
and garage sales, below is a doll shoe pattern that you will find easy to make and very
versatile. The pattern fits most 18" vinyl dolls, but I have given directions to
adjust the pattern to fit any doll you might have. You can also use this pattern for dolls
you make yourself.
The only thing you need to know is the length of your dolls
foot, the size of the toe area (the widest part) and the size of the heel area (the
narrowest part). After printing, the sole pattern should measure 3 1/2 inches long,
the toe area is 2 inches and the heel is 1 1/2 inches, including the seam allowance.
18" Doll Shoe Pattern
To make the shoes to fit the 18" vinyl doll, you will need to
cut out 4 upper pieces and 4 soles (2 of each piece are for lining and can be cut out of
different material than the shoe if you wish). I like to use denim, fleece, fake fur
or other heavy material. I also use satin, flannel, or other lighter weight
materials, but I like to use iron-on interfacing on the back of each piece so the finished
shoes are not flimsy. There is no right or wrong, just decide how you want the
finished shoe to look
Right sides together and using a small machine stitch, sew two upper shoe pieces (one of
shoe material and one of lining) together in a scant ¼" seam around the top of shoe.
Carefully trim close to stitching. Open out and sew the back of the shoe and lining in one
continuous seam, making sure to match the seams at the top of the shoe. Turn right sides
out and carefully press.
Baste the shoe and lining pieces together around the bottom edges of the upper shoe.
Right sides together baste the two sole pieces together within the seam allowance so it
doesnt show when the shoe is finished. Fold upper shoe in half and cut a small notch
at the toe to mark the center front. Fold the sole in half and cut a notch to mark the
center front and center back. Pin sole to the upper shoe, matching notches at toe and
notch to seam line at back of shoe. With a small machine stitch, sew around the sole using
a scant ¼" seam. Zigzag the seam to finish and turn right sides out.
Now you can embellish with a small silk flower, or a bow or button, etc. Or you can cut
a length of ribbon long enough to go around the dolls leg and attach the middle of
the ribbon at the back of the shoe. Make it long enough for ballerina shoes if you wish.
If you make the shoe out of fur, you will have a pair of furry slippers. For the sole, you
can use the non-slip material sold for childrens pajama feet.
To alter the pattern to fit any doll
When altering the size of the pattern, be sure to cut off the seam
allowance before increasing or decreasing the pattern because re-sizing will affect the
seam allowance and you will not get as good a fit. You can easily add the seam allowance
back after you have re-sized the pattern.
I have found that the easiest method to adjust the pattern size is to first measure the
length of the dolls foot. Since my pattern is for a doll with a foot that is 3"
long use the following equation to determine what percent to enlarge or decrease the size
of the sole pattern.
(Size of your dolls foot) divided by 3 (the size of my pattern) = the % of
increase or decrease.
So if your dolls foot is 2" long divided by 3" (the length of the sole
pattern I have given you) you would get .666 or you would need to decrease the size of the
sole pattern by 66%.
Note: Remember, if your dolls foot is longer
than 3", you would need to increase and your % would be great than 100%. If you
dolls foot is smaller than 3", you would have to decrease and your % would be
less than 100%.
Sole pattern @ 66% of original
The new sole measures 2" long so now you have the
correct length. Next, you need to determine the crosswise fit.
Cut out the new pattern and tape to a larger piece of paper. Measure the toe area and
the heel area of your dolls foot and compare to your new pattern. Add or subject the
necessary width remembering to divide the difference by two and add or subtract an equal
amount to each side of the foot. It may be necessary to add a little bit of extra room.
The doll I used had toes that were spread apart slightly and the big toe was curled up. I
decided to add an 1/8 " extra at the toes and I used fleece which has some stretch.
I decided that I needed 1 ¼" across the toes and ¾" at the heel.
After you determine what you need, redraw the foot piece taking into account the new
measurements and then add your seam allowance as illustrated below:
The red is the width that I added to the pattern and the blue is the
seam allowance that I added back in.
Now take a piece of string and measure around the new sole pattern by taping the string
on the sewing line as illustrated below (a). My sole pattern which I decreased--at 66%--
measures 5 ½" around the sole. With the extra width I added, my new sole pattern
measures 6" around, so the difference I need to add to my upper shoe pattern in order
for it to fit the sole is ½". Once again, remember to divide the difference in half
and add an equal amount to each side of the shoe at the back seam as illustrated below in
(b) (red equals the extra added and blue is the new seam allowance):
Now you can follow the directions as for the 18" vinyl
doll shoe pattern.
Variation in upper shoe pattern
Below is a different upper shoe pattern for you to use. For this
pattern you would need to sew a ribbon on either side as marked on the pattern and tie
with a bow at the front of the shoe. Directions for the shoe would be the same except you
would stitch the ribbon at the dots on the upper shoe pattern before putting the shoe
together. I like to turn the ribbon under about 3/8" before I sew the lining to the
shoe so that the ribbon cant pull out. Make sure to have the ribbon between the shoe
and lining with the ribbon toward the back as in the picture below. For the embellishment
on the shoe I have pictured, I made a yo-yo. To make a yo-yo, cut out a 2" circle and
hand-baste, turning the material to the wrong side in a narrow hem as you sew. Pull thread
and flatten to make a circle and tack to the front of the shoe.
Upper shoe variation
Be sure to place your ribbon between the
layers of material (right sides together) with the ribbon extending out the back of shoe
as pictured below.
You may use this pattern to make dolls for your personal use or to
sell at local craft shows and in limited quantities. However, we do require that you
credit Cloth Dolls by Stitch 'N Stuff for the design on your hangtag or in any advertising
that you do. You may not reproduce this pattern for sale or mass-produce dolls made
from this pattern.
If you have any questions with this
project, please email