Tutorial: nesting doll baby booties

22 Oct

My dear, wonderful friend (Rachel, if you’ve stumbled upon this post, stop reading now!) has a bun in the oven and is a huge fan of all things Russia/Eastern European (she studied abroad and also volunteered at an orphanage)- so of course, in planning her shower, we just HAD to go with Matryoshkas (a.k.a. nesting dolls or babushkas) as the theme.

Here’s a sweet little number I made for her – first to be used as shower decor, then as baby booties!

I used this pattern to build them, then tweaked them slightly.

I started out with wool felt (make sure it’s wool and not 100% synthetic).

Iron double-sided interfacing to wool felt.

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Remove adhesive backing.

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Iron to (pre-washed) cotton fabric to interfacing (that is already attached to wool). Follow manufacturer details (mine said to cover second fabric with a cotton cloth – I used a clean t-shirt).

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Cut out the shape of the top (twice – flip the pattern to make a more distinct left and right shoe) and bottom (ditto).

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The trickiest part for me was to stitch the matryoshka onto the top of the shoes. The eyes were especially difficult – I had to redo them 3x because they kept looking evil. No baby’s first pair of shoes should have evil eyes 🙂

So I cut out the main body shape, a face shape, and a dress detail shape. Stitch the face and dress detail pieces to the main body shape using a contrasting-colored embroidery floss. Then carefully add eyes and cheeks. There’s not much room to work with, so practice a little first if you haven’t played with embroidery floss in a while.

Stitch the matryoshka to the shoe top with broad, hand stitches in a contrasting color of embroidery floss.

Repeat with other shoe top.

Next, stitch the back of the shoe shut. I stitched this by hand, but you could easily do this part on a machine. Make sure to pin in a few spots before you start. If you hand stitch, start the stitch at the bottom of the shoe, so your tie-off doesn’t show. Repeat with other shoe.

Pin each shoe top to a shoe bottom with the wool fabric out.

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Sew each top to a bottom. I used my machine for this, but you could just as easily stitch it by hand.

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Finally, cut a small slice on each side of each shoe (2 slices in each shoe) into the shoe where indicated, and thread ribbon through for tying shoe.

Voila! Cute baby shoes for decor or wear!

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xoxo McKenzie

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