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Leather Boot Tutorial by HarmonicCosplay Leather Boot Tutorial by HarmonicCosplay
There are enough words up there, I'll leave the description in the tutorial.

Sorry for the size, it's my first one and I tried to make it not super long... but I'm super wordy. -_-

The story behind these boots starts with Avatar cosplay. We tried to find real shoes that looked like the characters, but there was nothing to be done for Sokka and Zuko, who both have incredibly unique boot styles. "Okay," I think to myself. "Someone out there has got to have a pattern for this."

Cue days long internet search.

All I could find were moccasin style boots. Those might be okay for a Water Tribe-esque boot, but they didn't look right. Finally, fed up with life, I thought about everything I've learned while sewing and remembered corset/bodice tape casts, and this boot was born. The curl in the toe didn't happen, but this was boot 1 and curls are hard.

Pic of this boot in action: [link]

If you have any questions, comment or send me a message and I'll get back to you.

Edit: Guys, this is awesome! Thank you so much to `shelldevil for the feature. I'm responding to what I can, but to everyone else, thank you so much for the favs! I'm glad this experiment of mine is useful to so many people. I was just being stubborn and wanted a boot, not a boot cover (which have their place, but I was being picky) and went at it. If you'd like rubber soles for your boot but don't want to buy and dissect a shoe to do it, check out the first comment below for a super-handy link with a pretty good selection of soles for shoe repair.

Edit the second: More pictures of this method in action for Korra cosplay (slouchy, slip on style): [link]
Those were made by tape-casting while I was wearing thick socks and some other leather boots (ones I didn't make, but have a similar profile to Zuko's), which added enough bulk and shape for the slouchier fit. Sorry to everyone who may get a notice for this change, I don't know how the notification system works but I wanted to link to other boots made with this (I'll probably be adding other people's links later, once I ask).
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Daily Deviation

Given 2011-12-31
:iconbear48:
bear48 Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2015  Professional
thank you

this should help 
Reply
:iconcandy-trickster:
Candy-Trickster Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Student Digital Artist
wow i never thought of it that way. I was going to make boot covers for my AOT cosplay but  I might try this instead so i dont have to worry about the material rubbing to much on the bottom 
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:iconsairalindetasartir:
SairalindeTasartir Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wooow I wish I'd seen this about a month ago when I first started making my Zuko and Azula patterns! It's too late now-- I have made my patterns, (with a curly toe- lmk if you'd like pics on how to do that :D) but I appreciate the extra tips I learned here, like sewing the vertical yellow stripe on first. What material did you end up using for these? Is this leather?
Reply
:iconscreamingsnake:
screamingsnake Featured By Owner May 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Really helpful! Thanks! :heart:
Reply
:iconblueaegiswriting:
blueaegiswriting Featured By Owner May 21, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Great idea for not too expensive boots! I remember paying about $100 for sturdy leather boots for my cosplay.

How long do the boots last? I can imagine that they won't last long if you use them very often.
Reply
:iconalternitiveuniverse:
AlternitiveUniverse Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Would You ever do a commission on these boots?
Reply
:iconamorphe-hexe:
Amorphe-Hexe Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
You are a hero and a deity amongst mortals. As soon as I have my boots done, I will link you.
Reply
:iconarluanna:
Arluanna Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I'll definitely be using this when I start my cosplay for Linwe's armor from Skyrim. Though buckles seem to be in fashion now, I want to make my own to make sure it's done right XD
Reply
:iconhaute1:
Haute1 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Cool... Great information. I've started making leather footwear but have put off making my  more complicated high-stylin designs. This is a great help to get me moving past moccasins.
My man here thanks you a heap!
Reply
:iconzeldagalz:
zeldagalz Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you SO MUCH for this. I have huge calf muscles and the boots I'm making for a cosplay go all the way up to my thighs, and the only boots I found for retail that fit are over $250 USD. With this tutorial though, I spent under $40 USD on supplies because the fabric store had a sale. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!
Reply
:iconpecah-darah:
pecah-darah Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013
OH My GOD! THank you very much for this pattern! You are a life saver! I hate looking for boots usually as they do no have any in my calf size. This will save me a ton of money and time! Thanks very much again!
Reply
:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013
I'm glad I was able to help. ^_^
Reply
:iconskell131:
Skell131 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
This is a really brilliant tutorial! I'm using this method to make boot covers. But, I was wondering where you got your leather and how much you paid for it.
Reply
:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013
I buy my leather from Tandy Leather. I prefer to go into their stores, but their online store is fantastic for when that's not possible (and has more things, I just like to look through before I choose a leather). The prices vary, since they have a lot of sales and I try to stock up during sales if I know I'll need leather for an upcoming project. Overall, their prices are good, it's just an expensive material.
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:iconskell131:
Skell131 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013
Thank you!
Reply
:iconunisis5285:
unisis5285 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Damn, this tutorial is amazing! I can't wait to try it out.
Reply
:iconschizophallic:
Schizophallic Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013  Student General Artist
Do you have to have to cut it in the front and the back, or would just 1 cut in the back be sufficient? Im doing thigh highs for my cosplay. And mens boots don't come that high.
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:iconkirisosha:
KiriSosha Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
very handy thanks :D
Reply
:iconectoquest:
ectoquest Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
love it!
Reply
:iconsherlockian:
Sherlockian Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012  Student General Artist
the canvas cloth, do you use it on the inside of the shoes?
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:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012
You just use it as a pattern and then you can get rid of it. However, if you wanted a lining, it could be used inside. I'd probably still put something softer, but I like shoes that are soft inside. ^_^
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:iconsherlockian:
Sherlockian Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks for this tutorial, really helps me in my Assassins creed cosplay! XD
Reply
:iconkairukerokero:
KairuKeroKero Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I haven't used it yet, but I am planning to for a Pit (Kid Icarus) cosplay. Do you have any ideas on how to make the puffy tops to be... um... puffy. And Any further ideas on how to make the sandals be seperated from the rest of the boot.
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:iconkairukerokero:
KairuKeroKero Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my gosh! I completely forgot to say that this tutorial is so simple to follow. It is so wonderful.
Reply
:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012
I did a search, since I'm not familiar with the character, so there are for sure other options that I may be missing since I don't know the detail as much.

For the sandals, I'm not entirely sure what you mean. If you just want it to be detachable for later, then I'd use some sort of snap, I think. For the puffy part, I'd probably use a few layers of batting in between white fabric to make the volume, and just shape the top part of this to be the white bit that shows at the top of the boot.

Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll do my best to answer. I'm glad that the tutorial is proving so helpful. ^_^
Reply
:iconkairukerokero:
KairuKeroKero Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my Palutena, Thank you! I didn't want to buy an expensive boot, so I shall use this to my advantage. Thank you for your help.
Reply
:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012
You're very welcome! I'm glad I could help. ^_^
Reply
:iconfenen:
Fenen Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012
Thank you for this tutorial! I'll be referencing it when I make my own boots for cosplay.
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:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012
You're very welcome! Let me know if you've got any questions, and if you remember, I'd love to see a link to the finished product.
Reply
:iconcaptmac:
CaptMac Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012
I don't fully understand the third option do you have any refurance images or web sites that could help?
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:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012
I do not have any references, unfortunately, we've been sticking with the first options. The site that I was looking at for soles is linked in the first comment on here, but they are down right now (I'm really hoping it's temporary, because no other site had the collection of soles that they did).

The second part of that option is just explaining how you can harvest the sole from an existing shoe. Either take a pair of shoes that is still relatively new and comfortable, but one where you don't like the uppers and won't wear, or go to a shoe store and scour the clearance area for a comfy pair of shoes with a sole that will match your project, but don't even care what the uppers look like.

Using a pair of sturdy scissors, cut off the upper of the shoes, leaving just a thin strip of fabric/leather sticking out of the sole. Once you make your shoe, use a curved needle and strong thread to sew the shoe you've made to the fabric attached to the sole, making sure to keep your shoe on the outside. If you would like more detail than that, just send me a note and I'll reply there (to keep this less cluttered with long explanations), or I'll add it as an edit in my comments below the tutorial. I hope this helped a little, though.
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:iconcaptmac:
CaptMac Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012
it did. I'm very visual so I might just have to go out and do this on my own but I have a better mental image now.
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:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
Good! I'm glad I was able to clear it up. Good luck on your book making and remember, if you have questions, ask me. As soon as I can, I want to put soles onto my Korra boots and do an addendum to this, so I may have more pictures by the time you get to it.
Reply
:iconskymone:
Skymone Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
This looks very interesting! I'll try it later :)
Reply
:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012
Let me know when you do! ^_^
Reply
:iconginozacostuming:
GinozaCostuming Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
i think i will be trying this out for my pointy mae boots. Wish me luck!
Reply
:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012
I remember your Suki from Otakon! You were the one with real leather armor, right? Beautifully done costume. I was the Korra dumb enough to use real suede and fur in Baltimore summer.

Let me know if you have any questions about the boot-making. I made Korra's, so I ran through another set, complete with it's own set of problems. Also, for the pointy boots, look up Mongolian boot patterns for a shape reference at the toe.
Reply
:iconginozacostuming:
GinozaCostuming Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
I dont care how hot you were. I was so glad to see that you used suede and rabbit fur. :D
Thanks for the heads up on the boots. Need some pointy ones soon.
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:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
Heh, you sound like my friends. The discomfort was worth it, though, and it will make the inevitable winter shoots pretty comfortable, which will be fantastic. I was glad to see a leather-armored Suki at Otakon! The vinyl and foam methods can be really beautiful, but I just love real leather.
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:iconginozacostuming:
GinozaCostuming Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
winter shoots, no matter how cold it is, are always better with these types of costumes.
Reply
:icontaymrs:
Taymrs Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks, you saved me lots of frustration in making the pattern. I never thought of taping a stocking for measurements!
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:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012
You're welcome! The tape-casting was a last-ditch method that I learned from bodice/corsetry. I'm still a bit surprised at how well it worked out. ^_^;;
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:iconamaguard:
amaguard Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Student General Artist
this is great! do you have any idea of what the yardage was for one pair? i'm getting started on aang and sokka boots soon and planning on using your style!
Reply
:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012
Sorry this is late. If you haven't started, you won't need too much. It's hard to estimate, but I used... probably 2/3 of a side of leather per pair. Maybe only a half. In fabric, I'd say only a yard of 45"? Maybe a yard and a half. Definitely only a yard of 60" wide.

I'd love to see pictures of how it turns out!
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:iconamaguard:
amaguard Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012  Student General Artist
hah i finished them a few weeks ago, thank you for your input though! i'll say that mine did not end up nearly as nicely as yours did, but they are done and full boots.
i don't have any good pictures of the boots really but here's a cheesy group photo (i made the aang and sokka boots as a reminder) [link] and our full cosplay pis are in my featured section!
thank you very much for the tutorial! it was really useful although in the end it was a lot of deviation and guessing but i'm glad to have had a baseline. yours look wonderful ahhh. hopefully the boots i make in the future will be better. i plan on sticking to boot covers and mods from now on though since i had to use vinyl -- couldn't afford leather -- and vinyl gets all crinkled.
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:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012
You make a ridiculously fantastic Aang! And both sets of boots look pretty fantastic. You don't want to know how much I had to deviate from what I ended up writing just to make Sokka's. Those knee guards confused the crap out of me! I can understand not being able to afford leather; we got lucky and caught Tandy on a sale, and my dad usually has a membership with them that I can leech off, further bringing down the price.
Reply
:iconamaguard:
amaguard Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student General Artist
ah that's neat! my sokka is planning on doing zuko sometime but honestly I'm thinking of just sticking to boot covers. that's pretty cool that you've got access to leather! i wish i did. yeah sokka's knee things we just did as inserts with fuseable stiffener?
anyway thanks!
Reply
:iconsquare-orange:
Square-Orange Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Student General Artist
Whoa..... I need to try this! Looks awesome :D
Reply
:iconharmoniccosplay:
HarmonicCosplay Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012
Thanks! Let me know if you make anything with it! I'd love to see what other people can do.
Reply
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