Leather Sandal Patterns

Well, after much needed research and conversations with some very knowledgeable friends, we are taking another whack at making leather footwear. If you recall from my previous post, “He’s Crafty, and He’s Just My Type,” my boyfriend and I made a pair of leather Caligae. We had many issues with the process and the finished pair were too large, the hobnails were horrible, and we lacked the proper tools to do the job.

The primary problem was not knowing how to make the sandal pattern. Out of the two of us, I’m more artistic so we decided, I’d work on developing the pattern. We found a caligae pattern online, but it was much narrower than Ryan’s foot. So we traced out his feet and then I did my best to modify the pattern to stretch to the size of his foot. It wasn’t the worst way of doing it, I just have no experience making shoes so I didn’t know that it’s better to have the pattern fit snug rather than leaving it loose. I’m used to working with apparel and needing to leave a bit of wiggle room for getting clothes on and off and for being able to…ya know… breathe.


Pattern for Roman Caligae hobnail sandalsWe learned a new technique from our friends Dean and Tricia for a doing shoe patterns. Essentially, you wrap your foot in duct tape, cut it off your foot, draw the design onto the duct tape, cut that out, and finally trace the duct tape pattern onto a piece of  card stock. It seems to be a much more efficient and accurate way to make a pattern and I’m hoping ours have a better fit this time.

Here are photos of the two styles we’re making, in the duct tape phase. . .

Roman Military Boots:

Roman men's military boots duct tape pattern.Roman men's military boots duct tape pattern.

Woman’s Roman Sandals:

Roman woman's duct tape pattern

Roman woman's sandal duct tape pattern

I’ll post an update once we get them cut out of leather. 😀

***UPDATE*** Click here to read about the calcei pattern making process.

4 Responses

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