How to Make Shoe Covers for a Costume

By Michelle Bell

  • Overview

    Costuming, even at the professional level, is often a lot about how well a look can be faked. Actors wear fake hairpieces, jewelry and even clothes are not necessarily what they appear to be. Costumers make choices about whether to create the real deal or to simply approximate parts of the costume, particularly shoes. One of the most common ways to fake the look of a shoe or boot in costuming is to make a shoe cover, which gives the impression of what otherwise might be an expensive custom shoe. Money is not the only reason to fake a costume shoe, however. Sometimes these shoes simply look and feel better than the real thing. For example, Dorothy's ruby slippers in "The Wizard of Oz" are not decorated in real rubies, but sequins, because sequins sparkle under lights (and are much more practical to dance in.) To make your own convincing shoes and boots, follow these shoe cover instructions.
  • Making the Pattern

  • Step 1

    Put the shoes you wish to cover on your feet. Make sure that they fit comfortably and that you do not mind ruining them for this project.
  • Step 2

    Create a mock-up from the muslin. Take four pieces of muslin long enough for the style of shoe cover you want to make and drape them on each side of each foot.
  • Step 3

    Pin the muslin together at the center front and center back of each leg, creating two straight seams per shoe. The muslin should fit closely on your legs and not slip down.
  • Step 4

    Mark the muslin with a fabric pen, detailing where each seam is, where you would like the top of the shoes to end, and where the bottom of the shoes should meet the soles of your real shoes. Make sure the shape is exactly how you want the final product to look. Mark which pieces of muslin are for the left and right feet, and which side of the shoe they go on.

  • Step 5

    Unpin the muslin and trim away any excess fabric, leaving enough at the top, bottom and seam sides for 1/2-inch seam allowances.
  • Step 6

    Use the four pieces of marked muslin as pattern pieces for the final shoe cover fabric.
  • Making the Shoe Cover

    • Step 1

      Choose a heavy, good-quality fabric that suits the type of shoe you would like to end up with. Vinyl, PVC and fake suede are popular choices for costume shoe covers due to their sturdiness and ability to mimic real shoe materials.
    • Step 2

      Lay the muslin pattern pieces on the final fabric, pin and cut carefully. Transfer all markings to the wrong side of the fabric.
    • Step 3

      Sew the center front seam of each shoe cover. Press the seam allowance open and trim.
    • Step 4

      Finish the top of each shoe cover by turning the seam allowance under and top stitching in place.
    • Step 5

      Sew the bottom of the center back seams, then insert a zipper all the way to the top of the shoe cover.
    • Step 6

      Attach the shoe covers to the shoes by turning the bottom seam allowances under and either hand stitching or gluing the fabric to the edges of the real shoes' soles.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Ingredients:
    • Pair of shoes with the desired heel and sole style
    • Muslin
    • Fabric pen
    • Sewing machine
    • Sewing supplies
    • Shoe cover fabric
    • Zipper
    • Hot glue or shoemaker's cement
    • Curved sewing needle
    • Tip: If the fabric alone is not sturdy enough, lining and boning can provide extra support.
    • Tip: If you would like the shoe cover to be temporary, create your own shoe sole and stitch the shoe cover to that. Then place the real shoe inside.
    • Tip: You can also attach shoe covers using elastic, which is strapped around the instep.
    • Tip: Eyelets, shoelaces and trim can add to the realism of the shoe cover.
    • Tip: If you do not want a center front seam, shoe covers can be made in three parts with two side seams instead.
    • Tip: When using stretch material, eliminate the zipper.
    • Warning:
    • Do not cover the sole or heel of the shoe, especially if you are using high-heeled shoes as a base.

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