Adding an elastic gusset to tall boots

A few years ago I bought a pair of Enzo Angiolini tall black leather boots on clearance at Nordstrom. They are my go-to boots when I need something dressier than snow or hiking boots yet still weather-proof enough for Michigan cold weather slop. I can wear them with a thick pair of wool socks and still look stylish.

Recently I tried them on and found out I could no longer zip them up over a pair of leggings or jeans – oh oh, must have been all those wasabi ginger potato chips I discovered over the summer. I thought I’d bring them to the shoe repair to see what they could do for them. Then I re-thunk it and decided to just fix them myself with some elastic gussets.


I tried the boots on and decided where and how much I needed to cut out for the gusset. The piece I removed was 1.5″ at the top and extends down the boot 8.5″, narrowing to a point. The boot is leather with a man made lining, and was very easy to cut with my regular scissors. For marking the boot I used a pink Frixion pen. You may see some markings left over on the photos, but the actually washes off from the sealed leather quite nicely.

I bought the elastic from JoAnn’s. The widest black elastic they had was only 3″, so I pieced it to make the gusset fit in the opening. I was lucky that the boot has a horizontal seam that lines up with the top piece (and most visible) seam. I really don’t mind the elastic seams, I don’t think anyone will notice them.

I pulled the lining and leather apart enough that I could sandwich the elastic between the two layers, starting on the side closest to the zipper. sandwich

I held the sandwich together at the top with a binder clip.sewing2

Then I carefully sewed the sandwich, starting just below the horizontal seam, so I could still have the sandwich held together with the clip. I sewed all the way down, then I sewed from the top down to the horizontal seam, meeting up with my previous line of sewing.


sewingI used a leather needle, upholstery thread in the upper w/regular poly thread in the lower, 3.5mm stitch length. My machine is a Pfaff 7570 and it can sew through very thick layers. In a previous life I did a lot of heavy home dec items with it so I had full confidence in sewing through the soft leather. It did not disappoint. When sewing, I had the boot unzipped so I could put the rest of the boot top under the free arm of the machine. I know it sounds awkward to sew boots on a sewing machine, but it really wasn’t.


Inside view

After sewing each side, I went up to the top edge and re-stitched where I had pulled the layers apart. Done!



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  1. Super Job. They look like they came this way. And you have a bit of bravery in you to make that first cut, right?!

  2. Great job! I noticed that you did not use a Teflon foot. I guess the leather was not all that “sticky”? Maybe it’s because of its pebbled finish…

    • No, the leather wasn’t sticky at all, and I think you’re right about the pebble finish. If it started sticking I planned on putting some Scotch Tape on the bottom of the foot (it’s tip I heard about in case you don’t have a teflon foot).

  3. That is so fantastic! I have boots that need this; maybe I’ll get brave & give it a try.

  4. I did this to a pair of my boots today & they turned out great. Thanks so much for posting yours; I never would have thought to try it.

  5. Karen HARDGROVE

    I kinda stumble on to your pin.. (Sewing Angel was keeping her eyes open) lol
    This past fall, I bought a pair of boots on-line thinking they would be awesome
    and they are, except I can’t get them zipped all the way up with jeans on… Big bummer!
    I never thought of adding wide elastic… As luck would have it, I have some on hand from a poodle skirt I made. Yeah! Now I can fix them, no sweat!
    I also have a Pfaff, awesome machine.
    Thank you for your inspiration.

  6. There is 6 inch and 8 inch elastic available on Amazon and Ebay if you don’t want to piece together 3 inch elastic.

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