yellow shoes

yellow shoes1Some crazy yellow-tape shoes!

I was inspired by Melanie, and I always find that lady inspiring!… she commented how she thought the taped mummy shoes in my shoe pattern making post could be called finished, and I just kinda though “aha!” And  “why not?”  Thanks for the fab idea, Melanie!

I have an actual proper pair of shoe lasts now, but I’m so fired up with enthusiasm I just couldn’t wait and made these yellow shoes before they arrived.  MAKE SHOES!!  I’m SO into this right now  🙂    I sort-of did use sort-of lasts, if you can call a pair of shoes, lasts.  I used some favourite shoes for the toe region, the same pair I used to for my tutorial on how to make your own shoe pattern here, and for the rest of the shoe used my own foot in a thickish sock, for some “ease”.  I’m not sure if “ease is the right word though, if applied to shoes?  is shoemaking like dressmaking…?  Anyway.

Materials: Bear cloth tape, originally from Bunnings, old yellow Tshirt for lining.  Rubber matting for soles and heels, contact adhesive from Bunnings.  Eyelets from Spotlight, insole and shoelaces from Coles.


I started out by making rough “socks” using an old Tshirt from my refashioning bag.  I put them on over the shoe and got taping!!  whimsically going on to cut a tongue, to firmly tape on some Derby style flaps with an eyelet closure, add a sole, and make them into actual shoes.   The cloth masking tape was in our garage, no doubt originally from Bunnings.  It’s an all-purpose tape, sometimes as a masking tape for painting purposes, although it can also be used in plumbing and insulative repairs, and I know from bitter experience that if not removed fairly promptly after a room-painting stint, that the adhesive on this stuff gets SUPER strong over time and is capable of tearing off parts of the thing you put it on, like varnish from your skirtings and architraves, and even sometimes little strips of actual wood from your skirtings and artchitraves too.  So I figured, it could be strong enough for an actual pair of shoes too?


Time will tell, time will tell.  They might fall apart straight away, but if so, no biggie; they only cost me the glue for the soles.  Which would be re-used in the event anyway.  By the way, after perusing online video tutorials, I’ve switched to using contact adhesive for glueing together my stacked heels, and for glueing the shoe to the sole.  It’s super strong, permanent, waterproof, and seems like it’s the adhesive of choice for shoe-makers.

I put an insole inside, for comfort.  I covered this with some of the yellow Tshirt fabric, so it all looks nice and cohesive inside.

yellow shoesThey’re a bit dorky and in retrospect could have used a toe puff, but you know what? they actually feel great on, and I think they could be perfectly fine for walking, even in the rain.  They are waterproof, and feel very comfortable too!, the tape makes them firm bodied, yet they’re still soft, with that cotton jersey lining.  I’m just a bit nervous of the bright colour… hmmm  I think we might actually have a roll of black cloth tape in the shed somewhere, and maybe an old black Tshirt too… must go and rummage sometime.  I fancy a black pair now!!


I’ve got to be honest, I held off on posting this and almost didn’t.  I recently received some well-intentioned words about my shoe-making which was actually a little disheartening.  So, I want to just reiterate; I am just a beginner here.  I’m trying my hand at a new thing and learning as I go along.  Obviously I am going to make some horrible shoes, make mistakes, learning is a process, and sometimes a long one; particularly when it comes to making shoes.  Shoes are difficult, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

I do NOT have real-life shoe-making classes nearby, where I can just march in and sign up, and get supplied with everything I need.  There are scant supplies around these parts and I’ve had to be resourceful and hunt things down, have to make do with what I can find; learn as best as I can from online videos and tutorials, and by doing.

I know my shoes look homemade, and I think I always look at the things I make with healthy attitude of self-improvement with regard to how I approach things next time…  This is a new journey, and one I want to document here.  If I’d just lain silent for a year and then suddenly come out with a fabulous pair of expertly made shoes, well where’s the journey in that?

Anyway, *deep breathe* enough of that.  These are just silly shoes of course, albeit potentially useful too! but I’ve actually nearly finished my first, well REAL shoes, that I’m actually quite proud of!!! Just a few little finishing touches and they will appear here.. soon.  Verysoon.  Excited!

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46 Thoughts on “yellow shoes

  1. I cannot believe you managed to make wearable shoes out of tape! Please do keep posting – it’s fascinating & encouraging to see what can be achieved without a lot of expensive equipment / tuition (nice as that would be to have), & – as you say – to see the development of your shoes as you try different approaches

    • Carolyn on 22/03/2016 at 3:03 pm said:

      thank you Charlotte! yes, you actually don’t “need” loads of expensive equipment to make wearable shoes, just time and commitment! 🙂

  2. JacqC on 21/03/2016 at 2:56 pm said:

    I am finding your shoe making journey absolutely fascinating – please keep sharing.
    You are so very creative in all your makes, finding solutions and inventive ways to use what you have and thinking outside of the box. I am cheering you on from the sidelines, can’t wait to see your next pair

  3. Like the other commenters, I am also really enjoying your shoe making, i think its amazing that you have managed so much without fancy equipment and lessons. It’s fantastic to see your skills improve. Like you said, you’re not an expert and you’re not pretending to be either. Your posts are encouraging me to consider projects that I might have previously dismissed as out of my league

  4. They are such fun shoes! Its brilliant the way you ‘give it a go’. Its often far easier not to – when I was in school, I taught myself how to draft a pattern by guessing and figuring it out. I learned proper pattern drafting 2 years later, and it turns out that my make-y up way was not too far off the mark – its great to have fun making things – its what its all about really. have book marked the post as definitely will try this for house shoes (unsure how they would stand up to irish rain!)

    • Carolyn on 22/03/2016 at 3:08 pm said:

      thank so much eimar! It is fun, and yes, I don’t think they would stand up to really heavy rain, probably not! Another method of waterproofing I’ve been investigated is beeswax on fabric; you rub it on and then “melt” it into the fabric with candle flame, then kind of polish it. I’m planning to do this with a future pair of shoes for wet weather walking… maybe this method could work for you? 🙂

  5. These are TOTALLY AWESOME. Happy shoes!! I had to comment because I love how your shoe making story is unfolding… Trial and error and trying new things and improvising where necessary. It reminds me of how I cook! Isn’t there are saying like “it’s not about the destination, but it’s the journey you go on to get there?”.

    • Carolyn on 22/03/2016 at 3:14 pm said:

      thank you so much Rebecca! In the case of cooking, of course the destination is a pretty fun part too, when you get to eat it! 🙂

  6. Defo keep posting – the journey is what encourages the rest of us to have a go. The first ANYTHING we try is never perfect – play an musical instrument, draw, knit, sew, cake bake etc etc etc – but without the first attempts and a lot of practise on the way…we never get to the best we can be. Thanks for inspiring me (your underwear posts got me started on making my own – so thank you!)……next hurdle for me is jeans. I recently lost enough weight to be comfortable wearing jeans – so now I want to make some “perfect” ones – but I know that my first pair will be far from perfect- but it will be a step in the right direction

    I love the shoes you have made so far!

    • Carolyn on 22/03/2016 at 3:15 pm said:

      thanks so much Catherine! and I’m so glad you’ve been inspired to make your own too! It’s incredibly rewarding, isn’t it? 🙂

  7. You should not give up on blogging this and keep creating your shoes because this a really interesting and inspiring blog to read. You are sharing your quest and finding your way to making “proper”shoes. Never be put off. Just keep making it happen. I think what you are creating is fantastic.

  8. I can’t believe these are made from tape. Amazing!
    Please don’t be put off by people’s comments – what you have done so far is wonderful, and I for one, am enjoying the posts very much. x

  9. You are on a roll! Love the colour. What clever way to make your pattern. Keep going!

  10. Your shoe journey is totally inspiring, please keep posting. Shoes are really hard to make, so it’s okay if they look home-made. You are so creative and your shoes always look so cute. I can’t believe you used tape! That is so amazing.

  11. birdmommy on 21/03/2016 at 9:06 pm said:

    Now I feel bad that I haven’t commented on any of the previous shoe posts! Even if making my own shoes (or bras, or swimmers, or whatever) isn’t something I’m planning to do, it’s interesting to see someone else try it. And it’s fun to see your joy in the process – regardless of how the finished product compares to RTW.

    I think some of us may be setting the bar really high on your shoemaking adventures because your sewing work is always so amazingly done. Because we weren’t around when you were just learning to sew, it seems like you are just super perfect at everything you do. That’s a tough role to have! 🙂

    • Carolyn on 22/03/2016 at 1:41 pm said:

      aw, thanks so much bird mommy! 🙂 that’s so nice of you to say! I’ve been sewing for a long long time, and you are right, learning a new skill brings it home to you how much your hands and brain “learn” to do something so it seems easy once you’ve been doing it for ages, compared to when it was new to you.

  12. Erica on 21/03/2016 at 9:31 pm said:

    I love reading about your journey as a shoemaker! Have you thought of making some felted shoes (clogs, boots, etc…)? I can’t wait to see what you make next.

  13. Keep posting about your shoemaking! I love reading about it. It’s fun to watch your progression. I can’t believe these are made from tape! How fun!

  14. It doesn’t matter what anybody says, you made shoes! And you are having fun learning to make shoes and you have something you wear that makes you happy! Hooray! I will enjoy your shoe making journey along with you!

  15. So kewl! We call that duct tape and it is practically indestructible! Girl, you’ve just started a craze!

    PS ignore the haters. Haters pop up everywhere I just delete their comments because had it been constructive criticism, it would have also been tactful and offered help.

    • Carolyn on 01/04/2016 at 4:31 pm said:

      thanks so much sdBev! duct tape is crazy, I know but it’s such tough and amazing stuff I just had to give it a try at least! 🙂 xx

  16. LinB on 22/03/2016 at 1:30 am said:

    Throw a shoe at them! … but try not to hit them somewhere that will leave an obvious wound.

    I am not serious in this advice. Although it might be tempting to indulge one’s temper and violent impulses, it is not the right thing to do. Still it is cathartic to think about, tossing that metaphorical shoe into someone’s metaphorical breadbasket.

  17. Erica on 22/03/2016 at 2:01 am said:

    I visit your blog everyday and am always so inspired! We make things in our family but you are on another level as in “what I want to be when I grow up” level! Please keep sharing – I am in awe!

  18. Somehow it is relieving that you get this kind of mails/comments too. I couldn’t have imagined that people write those “well-intentioned” mails to YOU! I mean look at what you make! I love posts like this! I love how you write them, how you wrap your information and they motivate me so much. BTW I just finished my first pair of shoes 😉 It was sooo much fun I had only because of your posts. When you show off your imperfect pieces it motivates me to just try and fail myself, because making mistakes and doing thinks wrong is part of learning and progressing and inventing and creating. I do not understand why people think making mistakes is something bad and why they need other people to think so too.
    With writing and publishing these post you make yourself vulnerable and that is so courageous. And I hope it inspires a lot of people to let go of their perfectionism and go out and live life! That’s what that is about. Thanks for teaching that lesson and showing us this wonderful perfect imperfect shoes, they are so creative and awesome! You’re the best! xo

  19. Kathryn on 22/03/2016 at 4:39 am said:

    Longtime reader, first time commenter.

    I have been really enjpying your shoes posts as well, and was very worried that someone might say something disheartening that wouod discourage you. You are an AMAZING seamstress who does brilliant work. And you’re completely new at shoes. I am loving the journey, loving that you’re trying something new and putting your process out there, loving that you are sharing what you learn with us.

    Now. I actually AM lucky enough to work in a career (theatre costuming) where I have had some opportunity and access to (very expensive, hard-to-source) shoemaking supplies, machinery and the tutelage of a brilliant professional shoemaker who has been working for the top theatre in the country for over ten years. I say to your critics: it’s STILL hard. Really hard. I am a great seamstress, and a so-so shoemaker. After a six-week intensive practicum with one of the best in my country, and a couple years of on-and-off job training, my shoes are still pretty average. I have five times the resources Carolyn does to explore shoemaking, and yet her progress is as good as mine. Please consider that.

    And Carolyn, don’t ever stop posting about this! I love your problem-solving, your exploration of ideas and materials and the total open-mindedness with which you make these shoes. Cobble on!

    • Kathryn on 22/03/2016 at 4:42 am said:

      Also, I think you’ll find that once you last, you never go back. A worthy investment!

      • Carolyn on 22/03/2016 at 12:04 pm said:

        Aw, thank you so very much for those lovely kind and supportive words Kathryn! I really appreciate that, as well as your valuable feedback. Also, can I say you have one of my dream jobs?! I know it may not be as fun when you HAVE to make clothing and shoes day in day out, but it’s always been a fancy of mine to be able to do just that!
        Thank you for the suggestion of Barge Glue too; I haven’t come across it yet, but shall investigate further… thank you so much! xx 🙂

        • Kathryn on 23/03/2016 at 6:34 am said:

          No word of a lie, it’s my dream job, too. After seven years, it hasn’t gotten any less fun yet! Well, except for anything underwear-related. I do not understand all you people who sew bras and undies for fun! Not me, not in this lifetime. Lol

  20. Kathryn on 22/03/2016 at 4:44 am said:

    Also also, do they sell Barge Glue in Australia? A tin of Barge would be another great investment-it’s a good, strong, flexible glue that works on many surfaces.

  21. Denise on 22/03/2016 at 5:55 am said:

    I think all your shoes have been amazing. Carry on! 🙂

  22. Mel on 22/03/2016 at 6:10 am said:

    So I wonder if this well-intentioned person, when their kids took their first steps, said to them ‘your walking isn’t perfect – you stumble and trip over a lot and it’s going to take a lot of practice before you can run’. As they say, perfect is the enemy of good.
    And your shoes are already pretty damn good. If these are just a run-up I can’t wait to see the ‘real’ ones!

  23. Your yellow shoes bought a smile to my face and I’m sure they do for you when you wear them.

    I am thoroughly enjoying your shoe making journey, seeing what you do and how you do it is fascinating. Please continue to share your journey.

  24. Meagan on 22/03/2016 at 11:39 am said:

    I love shoe making, I started doing also cause I wanted a challenge and to further explore. I can send you photos and my diy supply list if you want. It’s a tough but fun journey and be darned anyone that turns that into a negative.

  25. Judy on 22/03/2016 at 12:16 pm said:

    Your trials in making your own shoes is incredible. I enjoy reading each post, learning from your experiences. Love the yellow shoes! Love the explanation of making your own model foot using heavy socks! Genius!
    Keep up the experimenting and sharing. It is a delightful exploration of an area I may some time venture
    into — mostly in the sandal area for sunny California weather!

  26. I’m loving these shoe posts. It’s fantastic that you are showing us how you are practicing and learning without having spent a fortune on special tools. It never would have occurred to me that my own shoes would be achievable prior to seeing your posts! Look forward to seeing more

  27. I can’t belive it !!!! I love it !

  28. I ‘m loving your posts on shoemaking and it’s amazing how far you can get with a healthy DIY spirit and household goods! Don’t let anyone rain on your parade. 🙂

  29. These are great! I wonder if you could make some little pull on booties, like little ankle gumboots out of this stuff?

  30. Totally amazing! I really love the cheerful yellow with the black laces – how perfect that they are waterproof – they would be just the thing to brighten up a grey and rainy day! I am so impressed!

  31. Feistylady on 25/03/2016 at 9:46 pm said:

    I find your shoemaking fascinating.! I have only thought about trying this. With only minium equipment, your shoes are wonderful. Who knows? Soon every one of us will get inspired enough to try our own soemaking. Look at what you started

  32. Holy jamoly. These are fantastic and I am thrilled that I inspired you! Hahaha! People pay bazillions of dollars for things that look hand-made, so I don’t how that would even be an issue. I bet if you wore these to a swanky store, people would want some for themselves. Handmade is $$$. Not kidding.

    Sorry to hear also that you were disheartened. Don’t let them get to you!! You are a creative genius and the process is a huge reward along with the product. Rules can stymie. I love your adventures and am so thankful that you share them!! Walk on.

  33. I also wanted to thank you for sharing your shoe making experiences. While making shoes is obviously complicated, your posts have simplified the process and made it easier to understand. I have wanted to make even simple sandals (but haven’t yet) and your posts have helped me see how it could be done. Thank you for posting your lovely clothes and shoes, I really enjoy reading about them!

  34. Bryony Olney on 02/04/2016 at 2:27 am said:

    I’m so pleased you’re blogging, don’t stop! It’s like I’ve found someone blogging what I’m doing right now but you’re a few steps ahead. I’ve just bought some lasts to make my first pair of shoes; I can’t access shoemaking courses either and gave spent the best part of a day trying to find counter and toe puff supplies without luck, so WITHOUT your blog, I might have given up already, but BECAUSE of your blog I think anything is possible, and you’ve already given me some ideas for making my own reinforcements. You go girl!

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