A couple of months ago I bought some cheap vintage carved shoes on etsy. I don't think they're 1950s, maybe 70s? Anyway, despite being deadstock the leatherette uppers weren't in the best condition, they looked like they'd been stored somewhere damp. Then, to top it off, they were so tight I couldn't even get my feet in! So I decided to revamp them... here's what I did!
First I removed the uppers using pliers, and put the decorative tacks aside. I made a new paper pattern for the uppers, measuring against my foot as I went.
I cut out new uppers from tropical barkcloth, adding a quarter inch seam allowance. I also cut linings from red fake leather, with no seam allowance.
Next I used these Miss L Fire shoes to make an ankle strap pattern from paper, but as I knew the ends would not be sewn in I made them rounded, and big enough to acommodate a metal eyelet.
I used fabric adhesive to stick the seam allowances in on the uppers and ankle straps, then stitched together the barkcloth outer pieces and fake leather linings.
Next I used small nails to attach the uppers to the wooden soles, and added the decorative tacks to cover the small nail heads and make the uppers more secure.
The wooden soles already had holes drilled through them, so I used nylon cord to thread the ankle straps onto them, after hammering metal eyelets into the strap ends. I knotted the cord and melted it a little.
Next I threaded small buckles onto flat elastic, and firmly machine stitched them in place between the ankle strap outer and lining.
Holes were punched in the straps using a large needle...
...ta daaaa! Finished!