I need doll shoes, and I have wanted to make them for ages--but I wanted to start out with something easy, that didn't have a heel. Partly because I wasn't sure how well my Granado guys would stand in heels; they have small feet. So I found an old dead purse and cut it up for the pleather. If you are making doll shoes, regular leather is too thick--craft leather is better, but pleather is stiff enough to look right and soft enough to go through the sewing machine. I'm thinking even craft felt and polymer gloss medium might work,(for a little shine and less fuzz) though you would want to do the polymer last after they were sewed up.
These shoes with flaps are based on a pair of kid's shoes that are in the Williamsburg museum collection--I was having trouble fitting the sides of the shoes and the flaps make the sides more adjustable, so that was an easy fix. You can see why buckles were so common on shoes--not as decorations only, but as a way to keep the flaps together and make the shoe adjustable. I might cheat and stick some velcro under the flap and apply the "buckle" on top. I am also going to recut the right shoe so the gator pattern matches better; I wasn't paying attention when I cut the first shoe out. Though the pattern works pretty well, it needs some tweaking still.
Those are Lieutenant Coppersmith's feet in the shoes--it's going to be strange to have him with a head when it comes; I am getting used to him sitting around headless while I sew things.
Here is the final look of these shoes--it ended up being late and I just wanted to finish them, rather than try to attach a strap and a buckle, so I sewed on two eyes from a box of hooks and eyes, and laced them together with craft cording.