Posts Tagged ‘Completed shoes’

Wholecut loafers

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

My husband hates taking the time to bend over and tie his shoes in the morning, so he practically lives in his Kenneth Cole Black loafers during the week.  Now that I have taken a pattern-making course, I decided to test my skills on a pair of wholecut loafers for my husband.

My husband has a strange aversion to brown shoes for some reason, so he wasn’t super happy about the tobacco color I had picked.  Of course he didn’t know that I had picked that light color for these shoes as I had purchased some antiquing stains and were going to try my hand on a darker patina for the finished product.

On the first fit test, my design came up too high on the sides and he was not even able to fit his foot through the opening to test the fit; the second fit test was a tad too loose (in full disclosure I also changed Lasts between the first and the second fit test and had to start the taping of the Last and the design all over again).

The final result fit him well, and even though there were some nicks and cuts along the way, I am fairly happy with the outcome of this pair.


Skulls are for girls too

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

I stumbled across these strands of colorful turquoise skulls beads at my local bead shop one day and immediately scooped up all they had.

I could easily design an entire collection around these beads.  I even made myself a necklace with them that I am always getting compliments on when I wear it.

First prototype

These sandals have been through many different designs and failed prototypes.  The first finished prototypes would slide off my feet as I wore them; the second, the wiring holding the beading together broke and skulls went everywhere in a parking lot on the way to a party (good thing I always carry a spare pair of flip flops in my car); the third had strap placement issues; the fourth are finally wearable but still need a little tweaking.


What about you?  Would you wear skulls on your feet?

Not your ordinary everyday espadrilles

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Finished Navy/Silver Espadrilles

I’ve had the material for these navy espadrilles for a long time and have wanted to make a pair of wedges since the day I got it.

My first thought was to build up a wedge with veg-tan, but the weight of the multiple layers was heavier than I had envisioned for this shoe.

Then I tried to build up a wedge with some rubber pieces that were left over from an exercise mat that my husband had purchased.  It was much lighter, but the structure was not firm and/or sturdy enough.

I also thought about using cork but in the end decided to experiment a different way.

The interior of the wedge is a standard plastic high heel with the steel rod reinforcement.  I cemented and screwed the plastic heel to the pre-fab inner sole as I normally would with a regular high heel model.  I then molded a thin piece of veg-tan around the heel to create the wedge shape I desired and cemented that piece around a pre-cut sole piece from cork that I designed.  Finally, I wrapped the wedge with the navy espadrille material.

I was originally just going to use a black rubber sole but felt that the design needed a little something more so I wrapped a piece of veg-tan in the metallic silver and then cemented a thin piece of black Vibram rubber to the bottom.

There are definitely some improvements that need to be made to this design, including the choice of the liner (it rubs a little more than expected) and the placements of the straps for a more comfortable fit.  It was also a little tricky getting the braided espadrille layers to fit perfectly without the veg-tan peeking through anywhere and to line up the braids themselves.  My cushioned inner sole piece ended up being slightly bigger than I anticipated after I wrapped the thick gray liner around it so the finished product is slightly too big for me.  Good thing I have enough material for another pair!


Handmade Colorful Sandals

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Handmade colorful sandals just in time for summer!

Handmade Colorful Sandals

I love flip flops and sandals in general so it is only natural that I have all kinds of ideas for different designs.  Many of my designs feature braids of some description.

The 5-braid strap on the yellow and black sandals was fun to construct and the wider strap provides additional comfort. The toe piece is also a narrow traditional 3-braid.

The natural-looking sandals are a leather that was stamped with a basket weave pattern. Initially, I was worried that the pattern would feel uncomfortable on a person’s foot but it’s actually quite nice. There are no sharp indentations on the leather so even though you can feel the basket weave pattern, it is very smooth.  The stamped pattern did provide difficulties when sewing the upper sandal vamp piece as the material was not smooth on the underside.  This caused the material to have a tendency to bunch up and curl when I would attempt to sew the varying groove thicknesses in a straight line.  I am still working on ideas to correct this going forward without adding unnecessary thickness to the piece.

The blue and brown braided flip flops are the same pattern from my previous post about the first flip flops that I made seen here (and still wear ALL the time) but with slight variations to the pattern and the placement of the straps.

These are just a few of my simpler designs.  I am working on many more that include beading, jewels, and/or other fun accessories that add just the right amount of flair.

Little Miss Sunshine

Friday, May 13th, 2011
Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine

Yes, it’s more baby shoes!!!

One of my best childhood friends is having a little girl and she has been so encouraging to me about my shoe empire aspirations so of course I had to show my appreciation for her support.  At first I was a little bummed that I did not have any pink material to use, but then again mommy is not much of a girly girl, yellow *is* my favorite color, and it’s just so bright and cheery.  The shimmery yellow ribbon that I found was the icing on the cake.

No, I’m not a very good shoemaker … yet

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

I went to Budapest in March for an intensive shoemaking course with Marcell Mrsan, master shoemaker.  In that time I made two pairs of mens dress shoes.  The first one was a standard cemented construction and the second one I learned a new technique:  welt stitch construction.

Budapest was amazing; the course and the instructor were intense.  I bled, blistered, and bruised; I laughed, smiled, and yes, I also cried.  But most importantly, I took a giant leap forward in the pursuit of my dreams.

It takes me time to gain confidence and develop a comfort for new tools (especially really sharp knives and machinery of any sort), I rarely learn something well after only one or even a couple of examples – I learn best after I’ve made all the mistakes one could possibly make, I ask a lot of questions, and I’m really slow.  No, I’m not a very good shoemaker … yet.

*click on each of the pictures in the gallery for additional commentary

Yellow platforms

Thursday, April 21st, 2011
Yellow platforms

Yellow platforms

This was my first attempt at building up my high heel last to incorporate a new toe shape and adding a platform for a higher heel.  My original intent was to have these shoes completed for New Year’s Eve.  That unfortunately did not happen.

Lessons Learned:

I skived the upper too thin, which is what I think caused the wrinkling in the lasting that I could not correct.  I must have re-lasted these shoes half a dozen times trying to solve the wrinkling problem.

The original design of the eyelets with the snakeskin showing through was supposed to be centered on the top of the vamp.  I did not calculate enough stretch into my design so when I lasted the upper, the design stretched more than I anticipated.  This also happened on the heel.  Next time I will use fiberglass tape to ensure the design does not stretch.

I currently only have one high heel last, which is a pointy toe shape. I wanted more of a round toe for these shoes, so I built up the last with veg-tan around the toe area.  I did not anticipate that with a more rounded toe, my foot would slide more forward therefore causing the shoe to be a half size too big.

I used my sewing machine for these uppers and just need to spend more time practicing on it.

When making dorsays, I need to figure out what method I want to use for blending the vamp and heel to the inner sole so that there is not a dip or a gap when I attach the finished sole.

I really struggle with the finishing touches, especially attaching the sole.  I have tried to pre-cut and finish the sole before cementing to the shoe and I have tried forming the sole to the shoe and cutting it down, then finishing the edges.  It’s just something that I know I need to work on.

*No, the mouse is not real.  :)

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.