Archive for the ‘Completed shoes’ Category

My very own Cinderella shoes

Saturday, November 20th, 2010
My magical wedding shoes

My magical wedding shoes

No, they are not glass slippers but they certainly are magical.  :)

The story begins in a Llorraine Neithardt’s ShoeFineArt high heel workshop in NYC in mid-August.  My original vision for these shoes was more of an extension of my custom-made wedding dress.  The vamp was to be a key-hole design that mimicked the beadwork on my gown (which was inspired by the filigree on my engagement ring) and the heel counter was to be a bustled design that matched the skirt of my gown.  The class met first at Leather, Suede and Skins to pick out our outer and liner leathers.  At Shindo, a Japanese ribbon shop, I was drawn to a pleated white satin ribbon that was partially over-layed with a sheer champagne fabric.  At that point, I had no idea what I was going to do with it but I knew it belonged on these shoes in some fashion.  Then, at MJ Trimming, Lorraine helped me find the perfect pre-beaded trim for the vamp.  Back at the workshop, I changed my original vamp design to incorporate the beaded trim and we finished most of the original construction of the shoe.

Back home, I immediately started working on the trim-work design.  I still had visions of bustling the heel counter with the extra dress fabric that I had received from my dressmaker, but kept feeling drawn to figuring out how to incorporate more of the ribbon into my design.  I had also originally intended to only have the beadwork on the vamp and then decided to wrap the heel as well.  The heel that I had chosen was slightly too high for my last, so I made a 1/4 inch platform out of veg-tan, wrapped it with the mesh fabric from the beaded trim, and hand-beaded it.

The beadwork was finally completed but I was still struggling with my final decision on what to do for the d’orsay heels.  I wanted to layer the pleated ribbon but only had 1 yard of it and I also knew it was the last of the spool so I couldn’t order more.  I also did not want the bottom white layer to show as I felt it was too much of a stark contrast to the rest of the gold and champagne hues.  After working through several different designs, I decided to stretch the second and third layers over the first in order to diminish the bulkiness.

The end result far exceeded my expectations.  Part of me wants to preserve these shoes in a glass case . . . but another part wants to dance the soles off . . .

*Click on the pictures in the gallery to see additional commentary and double click to view a larger image.

The most adorable shoes ever

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Finished UGA Baby Booties

A really good co-worker friend of mine is having a baby … her first baby … and they have chosen not to learn the sex of the baby until it is born – because let’s face it, with modern technology there really are not many pleasant surprises in life anymore.  I wanted to surprise her with a pair of baby booties at her baby shower  (before the baby was born) so I was limited with what I could do not knowing the gender.

Thankfully, they are ridiculously loyal UGA fans, therefore I knew without a doubt that baby would be wearing red and black this football season.  (Real sacrifice too considering we are a Tech family – Go Jackets!)  ;)

Like every other endeavor I seem to take in my shoe-making journey, baby shoes were a first for me.  I went to Target and bought a pair of size 0-3 month  oxfords that I wanted to use as a pattern/measurement guide … then I destroyed them (all in the name of research so it’s justifiable).

Teeny Tiny Baby Shoe Pieces

Look at all of those teeny tiny pieces.  So adorable.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the entire construction of the shoes was sewn.  There were no harsh chemical glues used.  I was really worried about this for babies put EVERYTHING in their mouth, including their feet – no, especially their feet.

As with anything new I try there were several obstacles to overcome and unforeseen hiccups along the way, but regardless, I had so much fun making these.  All I request from the parents is one uber adorable picture of their bundle of joy in all it’s bulldog glory.

Click on the individual photos in the gallery to read more commentary on the entire process.

Ocean blue leather flip flops

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Ocean blue leather flip flops

I love flip flops!  I probably have more than a dozen pair in my closet right now.  If I’m not in heels, I’m either in flip flops or barefoot.  So it’s no surprise that as soon as I started dreaming of warm weather, I started the design concept for a custom pair of flip flops for myself.

I used the soles of my Havaianas for the sole pattern and toe thong placement as they fit my feet best.  I really like the look of a sole stitch on sandals, so since I do not have a post sewing machine as of yet I had to pound the holes and hand stitch these.  I also wanted to test out using a rough edge instead of lasting the leather to an inner sole.  I really like the look of the rough edge with this material.

Flip flop soles

The toe thong piece was trickier than I anticipated (imagine that).  For extra durability and longevity, I wanted the upper to be one solid piece instead of separate pieces sewn together.  I went through several different designs but this one worked and looked best.

One piece toe thong

I was a slacker this time and did not take any pictures of these sandals in progress, but as always you can click on the gallery photos for additional commentary.

EZM

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Modeling the sandals in the kitchen1

I technically started these shoes around the time that I finished the *beading* for the gladiator sandals that I posted about here.  At the time, my future sister-in-law was talking about creating an Etsy shop for her pottery and using EZM as her signature (funny story, but you’ll have to ask her about it), hence the ‘EZM’ detail on the beading.  Unfortunately, I didn’t want to spill the beans on the shoes before they were completed because let’s face it, there’s no telling how long it was going to take me to finish any pair at this stage in the game, and I was slack about being sneaky and stealing a pair of her shoes one night during family dinner night at her place to use for measurement.  It all worked out in the end though for I completed the pair of flats for her sister and posted them to my blog here and she saw my post and called me out on not making her a pair, therefore it was all out in the open and I could *ask* for a pair of shoes to use as a measurement guide for these.

I knew that I wanted to make wedges for her, but I went through several different patterns for the straps before I settled on the final design.  Then at the last minute, I decided to incorporate the varying layers into the wedge and to make more of a chunky wedge heel than a full-fledged wedge shoe.

Close-up of chunky wedge heel

In doing so, I made the wedge slightly smaller than it should have been.  One of these days I will learn to stop trying to add more and more complexity to every pair of shoes I make.

I presented them to her as an “Unbirthday” gift at family dinner night this past week.  We had a shoe modeling photo shoot in the kitchen afterwards. Modeling the sandals in the kitchen4

Modeling the sandals in the kitchen3

I like the strap design of these so much that I have decided to make myself a pair. . . .but obviously with a different beadwork design.  :)

As usual,  see below for more pictures in progress and click on each one for additional commentary.

Exotic Kaleidoscope Heels

Saturday, April 17th, 2010
Exotic Kaleidoscope Heels

Exotic Kaleidoscope Heels

Not sure that I can top the raising of the bar of these heels. . .not sure that I ever want to even try.

To say this design was a lofty and ambitious undertaking is the UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR!

. . . but so totally WORTH IT!

Santa stuffed my stocking last Christmas with two bags of exotic scraps.  The second I saw the brilliant pink/yellow/blue/etc. dyed exotic skins in those packages I knew that I wanted to make a pair of kaleidoscope heels (to match my kaleidoscope eyes – thanks RC).

The pattern alone was tricky to sketch.  Then I got the brilliant idea that I wanted the left and the right to be mirror images of one another so instead of cutting out two pieces of the same pattern on the same side, I had to remember to flip the pattern over for the opposite side.  I literally made my very own shoe pattern puzzle.

Shoe pattern puzzle

Shoe pattern puzzle

I did this for both the vamp (picture shown above) and the heel of the shoe.  From there I had to trace and cut out the patterns for each of the pieces from my selection of exotic scraps.  I ended up having to modify some of the placement of the pieces, as a few of my scraps were not large enough to accomodate the puzzle pieces that I had selected.

Once all of the pieces were cut, I barged each piece onto liner leather and hand-stitched each piece together and onto the liner leather.  Needless to say all that took me a while to complete.

Left vamp barged and prior to sewing

Left vamp barged and prior to sewing

I realize that these shoes are a bit out there for most but I think they’re pretty freakin’ cool.  I’ve never seen anything like them before and cannot wait to wear them to see the reactions that I get from strangers.  The complexity of the design and the act of piecing all of the different puzzle pieces together has given me many more ideas for designs yet to come.

*Click on the pictures for additional postings.

Purple People Eaters

Monday, January 25th, 2010
Purple People Eaters

Purple People Eaters

This design I created with my future sister-in-law in mind.  I wanted to do something cool and edgy for her.  I had originally intended on making her some sandals, but as she’s from the Great White North, I figured she’d get more wear out of a pair of shoes that actually covered her toes.

I purchased this fabulous purple suede leather a while back and knew that I wanted to use that for the liner.  I spent crazy amounts of time lining up the eyelets on the leather trying to decide what pattern I wanted to use.

Pattern design of eyelets

Pattern design of eyelets

This pair was the first time I made an attempt at sewing a smooth edge to the top line.  On the first one I had a little trouble piecing the two ends together but I figured it out for the other side.

Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect

It was also the first time I used a different pattern for the liner than I did for the upper.  I did not want the heel portion of the liner to have the stitching down the back.

Inside view

Inside view

The sides are a little looser than I would have liked.  I was afraid to pull too tightly while lasting for fear of this resulting in the top line of the shoes too low on the foot for comfort.

Wide sides

Wide sides

These Purple People Eaters are the first pair of shoes that I have completed for someone other than myself or my fiance.  I’m excited to receive feedback from the recipient (both good and constructive).  I just hope she enjoys them half as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Blue Suede Shoes (take 2)

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
Completed shoes

Completed shoes

After I had completed the first pair of practice shoes for my bf fiance (a lot has happened since I last posted), I was really excited to get started on the real thing.

As mentioned in my previous post, the top cap of the practice pair got smooshed in while sanding and it rubbed the tops of his toes when he wore them.  For this pair, I decided to test out my super strong ‘military grade” toe caps. . .not quite steel toe but close enough. . .on the real thing.

As usual, there were lessons learned in trying something new.  The ‘military grade’ toe caps are soaked in acetone to soften the material and activate the bonding agent therefore they must be nailed in place and left to harden overnight.  (The regular toe cap material is heat activated and hardens quickly as it cools).  I made the unfortunate mistake of keeping the shoes on the lasting jack overnight as it hardened which caused the toe cap to somewhat take the shape of the cushion of the lasting jack.

Another lesson learned from this pair (and practically all others before it) is the importance of making sure your pattern remains centered on the Last when lasting the liner leather to the inner sole.  Otherwise, you will end up with a slightly off-centered shoe.

Top view of completed shoes

Top view of completed shoes

A first for me on this shoe was the “sole stitch” piece around the base of the shoe.  As I do not have a sole stitcher, I did not actually stitch the material to the sole.  It is barged on.  I really like the look of it though.

Inside view

Inside view

I’m so glad my fiance has a pair of my shoes that he can wear out, are comfortable, and that he loves.  I look forward to starting my next pair for him. . .I already have a new design picked out.  :)

Click on the pictures for additional descriptions.

Beaded Gladiator Glory

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
Beaded Gladiator Glory

Beaded Gladiator Glory

I REALLY need a skiving machine.  No seriously, the beadwork should have been the most time-consuming portion of making these sandals (thanks again Deb for all of your help with the beading).  Instead, I labored for several weekends hand skiving the straps. . . .only to accidentally slice the leather and have to start all over again with another piece of material.  Afterwards, I realized that the tops straps were STILL too thick to use the buckles that I had selected so a good majority of my previous work was all in vain.  <sigh>

Below were the remnants from just one strap. . . .ONE tiny strap!

Leather remnants from skiving straps

Leather remnants from skiving straps

My initial attempt at making straps: not so good.

In the end, I decided that rough edges were the only way to maintain my sanity.  I used a really thin liner leather as the inside lining so that the straps would not end up being too thick.  They are still almost too thick for the buckles but thankfully work.

These sandals are so comfortable (not to mention super cute).  I have worn them several times without any rubbing.  All my hard work has really paid off.  I LOVE these beaded gladiator sandals!!!

Click on the pictures in the gallery for additional descriptions.

Red croco ballet flats

Monday, September 14th, 2009

As my previous posts have outlined, I have not yet mastered the art of making the ballet flat. . . . .so why not try new materials and add new layers of complexity on to this new pair?

All of my previous pairs have had rough edges. . . .ones where the edges of the materials are just cut and barged/sewn together.  For this pair I wanted to try my hand at a smooth edge.

Red croco ballet flats ready for lasting

Red croco ballet flats ready for lasting

Another first for me on this pair was the toe cap.  I originally had no intention of putting a toe cap on this design, but the red croco leather did not play nice when I lasted the toe.  It looked too stretched and gathered so at the last minute I decided to add the toe cap.

Toe caps on red croco leather ballet flats

Toe caps on red croco leather ballet flats

The right shoe is not as centered as I would have liked for it to be.  It’s so hard to keep the pattern from moving on the Last before you barge the liner firmly in place.

Top view of red croco leather ballet flats

Top view of red croco leather ballet flats

All in all I am pretty pleased with this pair. . . .especially because they fit so I can actually wear them and show them off!

Finished red croco ballet flats (top view)

Finished red croco ballet flats (top view)

Gladiator glory – Red Croco style

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

There’s a story behind pair #6. One day at my day job (I work in Accounting), a co-worker of mine was showing us a pair of Jeffrey Campbell beaded gladiator sandals that Kate Hudson was photographed wearing in her “People Style” magazine. We immediately Googled them and to our dismay learned that they are no longer available for purchase. Although she jokingly said I could make them for her, her comment stayed in the back of my mind all day. I printed out a copy of the shoes that I found online and decided why not, I’ll try it. If nothing else it would be a new style to attempt with lots more lessons learned along the way (can you see a recurring theme here?). Without going into all of the details, I quickly learned that beading is quite complicated.

Therefore, I decided that for my first attempt I would use the super fabulous red croco leather I purchased a while back and make just a standard pair of gladiator sandals using a similar design but without the beading. What I thought was going to be my simplest pair of shoes thus far, once again turns out to have all kinds of new complexities that I had not yet encountered.

I did not want the layers of straps to look bulky so I decided wherever the straps crossed one another I would layer them within each other (ex. the strap underneath would be placed between the top strap’s upper and liner layers, thereby giving the look that they are woven together vs on top of one another). This is not so easy to do. It requires careful measuring and attention to detail. Plus, it’s fine and dandy if you are affixing the layers together permanently but not so easy as pie if you need the straps to be adjustable.

I am happy to report that I have actually worn these shoes to work and received numerous compliments on them and even a request for a custom made pair. They are super comfortable, except for where the layering in the back is a tad too thick and slightly rubs against the back of my ankle. Next time I will do a better job of skiving the straps thinner.