The little bean is officially a toddler, and that means walking (or running) everywhere. She wore out her old faux leather moccasins, and outgrew them, so I wanted to make her some new ones. They really are the easiest things to slip on and off a wiggling baby, and she can walk really well in them. In hard soled shoes, not so much yet.
One of the new pairs is made of thick suede. They're so soft they're almost cuddly, but I think these will be much more durable than the faux leather, and also more breathable. One downside to the faux leather is that baby's feet would sweat in her shoes. On the other hand, suede bottoms are not ideal for walking on grass or other moist surfaces, because they aren't waterproof. For running around a gym or indoors these are perfect. I didn't want to treat them with suede protector just in case baby decides to chew on them.
I also made a pair from suede, and red nappa leather. The red leather is half as thin as the suede, so I'm not sure how it will hold up. It was also a lot harder to sew with, and tended to slide even with a Teflon foot and leather needle on my sewing machine. The suede was no trouble at all, so maybe something a little thicker would be easier to sew with. However, the nappa leather is a little bit more water and dirt resistant than the suede. I glued some suede into the bottom of the finished shoes to make a thicker insole and I'm glad for the extra padding. Regular white glue bonded the suede really well.
The old free pattern I used was only good for 6-12 months. This time I bought the Lil' Papoose Moccasins pattern, which was straightforward to use and good up to 4T sizes so I won't have to buy another. Bonus, it's only 5$ and a download that prints on regular sized paper. I'm totally happy with it.
Check out the wear and tear on these old mocs! A sure sign these were well loved and used.
TIP: Since these are shoes, and the seams are tucked in, using some hot glue along the seam helps prevent slipping between leather layers. You can peel it off if any is visible afterwards as well.