One Year One Outfit – Part 4

I’m nearly there with my One Year One Outfit project! Episode 4 is my shoes and bag, so I shall no longer be barefoot in the photos.


The shoes have been a bit of a epic journey so this post is pretty media heavy – sorry!

It all started with a log. This is part of a Sheoak* tree that my son, Archie, felled. It was already dead, so no harm was done to the environment.


Said log then had to be planed flat.


I think we can tell by the look on my face that this is not a process I was especially happy with. Then the massive chain saw came out and I ran away. The end product was a couple of little blocks roughly my foot size.


That was the easy bit! The shoe shape was worked out and drawn onto the two pieces of wood, remembering to do a left and a right…


I needed a bit of a hand from Archie, who guided the process, but it required considerable effort with the spokeshave


and a chisel


and a whole lot of elbow greaseIMG_4556

and I had a pair of shoes – well soles anyway!


I then sanded them smooth and thought about glueing felt on the top (with my Frangipani glue) but then loved the look of the wood, so left well enough alone.

I did, however, wax them with West Australian beeswax that I usually use on my furniture.


I sat and looked at them for a week or two whilst I tossed ideas around for the straps. I had a notion of how I thought it would work, but wanted to think it through before drilling holes in the sides.


I had double washed my felt in the washing machine to make it extra thick and very strong and to eliminate as much of the stretch as I could. I then had to get it through the quite small holes drilled in the side of the shoes. I bound the tops with wool to make them as small as possible and then pushed and tugged them through. I used the wool left over from my top so that if it got left inside I wouldn’t have any non-One Year One Outfit objects in there.


Got it through eventually and I was on my way


I had designed the shape so that I could punch holes in the curved pieces and use i-cord to lace them up, but they were too big, so I simply overlapped the two sides and blanket stitched them together. I then threaded i-cord through the holes in the back of the soles to make ankle straps. I suspect that the shoes won’t be seen at all when I am wearing the whole outfit.


A bit of a grainy view of the back – no, I don’t have freckly legs!DSC05275

So there you have it, and I am amazed at how comfortable they are and how easy they are to walk in, although I do need to scuff the bottoms up a bit.  The only thing I didn’t use was the lining which I had made right back at the beginning, but which I am going to use to line some boots.


The bag is exactly the same as my original bag, but scaled down considerably. I did change the construction somewhat by sewing the i-cord right round the bag whilst it was flat and then sewing the bag together which gave a double layer of cord. I think that this is a much more elegant solution.


And the pièce de résistance (for me anyway)? All my really good shoes come with their own little bag, and as these shoes are so precious to me I made them a bag from some of my leftovers


I used the felt that I had dyed with Nicki’s wattle, and supplemented it with this rather interesting looking leftover piece of white. The whole thing is sewn together with my sour grass dyed yarn. The button is one of the sheoak buttons that Archie made me and I reinforced the buttonhole with thick felt and blanket stitched around it.

My underwear is getting close but I am now away for a couple of weeks, so you won’t get to see it for a while.


35 thoughts on “One Year One Outfit – Part 4

  1. Wow, I don’t know about this challenge or contest you are doing but you so should win! I am amazed at every piece you have made!

    1. Thank you Diane, it’s not a competition, but a worldwide challenge to make a whole outfit from only locally produced and processed materials. Difficult where I live – we only have wool and wood!

  2. Just “wool and wood” seem to have worked out quite well for you Sue, this whole outfit is fantastic! The shoes are very clever in their construction, the bag too. All evoke WA’s natural beauty, tranquillity and charm. Such a fun and rewarding adventure that has clearly taken time and creativity to complete 🙂

      1. Oh my gosh! I only know how to sew with thread and fabric. You made the fabric and everything else!! Like they say “way above my pay grade”! But I intend on watching intently. I just might learn about all the possibilities out there! (and our neighbourhood is full of trees and rocks, the ocean, deer and the odd cougar and bear… now what could I possibly make with that!!) 🙂

      2. I have never made felt before this year, and I have never dyed anything with plants. I think this challenge is about the possibilities and then learning how to do it. I’ll bet you have locally tanned deerhide which would be lovely as an outfit. Bearskin??

      3. That’s true, about the deer hide. I’m sure someone must do it. I do hear of butchers that deal with deer meat only, so the same must apply to the deer skin. When I was small I remember my older sister sewing a deer skin coat for her boyfriend from a deer that he had hunted. The coat was beautiful. They broke up. He walked away with the coat! 🙁 I don’t know about the bear skin though… that might take some work. (not a popular topic up here right now, with all the poachers that aren’t following the rules.). I’d probably rather learn how to felt! Not as dangerous!

  3. Wow! What an epic project. Your wooden shoes are something to cherish! The ever so-popular Swedish has-been shoes (you might be the only sewing blogger not to sport them) now have competition! But tell me about the bee wax for furniture, do you mean that you just use it as a treatment for your leather furniture? Because I have a nice old italian leather chair and I’m looking for a way to “moisturize” the leather with a natural product. Now, have a great time away from home! You certainly deserve a break.

    1. Thanks Hélène, yes, I don’t have a single pair of Swedish wooden shoes in my arsenal. I use beeswax on my wood furniture (the non French polished stuff), but it is a great way to moisturise leather as well, just rub it off really well before you sit in it!

  4. That’s so cool Sue! Your solution is absolutely brilliant and they look so stylish and beautifully made too. I may have to get some of that bees wax for mine, and make a bag for them too :).

  5. Wow. I am really impressed with the shoes. I have been toying with the idea making my own shoes but the wood soles directly from nature are really over the top. Well done. 🙂

      1. You’ve done a great job Sue. I’ve heard Funkis shoes take some getting used to wearing and I’ve been thinking about investing in a pair too.

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