Thursday, February 25, 2010

Old-fashioned boots

I've been planning on making some kind of old-fashioned boots for some doll. As Miss Piggy has so large feet, she was ideal for this.

First, here are the soles made of two layers of cardboard glued together to form the correct shape. The small pieces are made of air-drying modeling clay and are to be glued to the soles to get the correct form for the toe part.

I decided to use thick fabric for these boots. The edges of the fabric are again treated with Fray Stop. The part shown in the middle is actually same shape and size as I used for the red boots.

The heels are plaster castings. This is the shape of heel found in many old shoes. It probably has something to do with the structure of the heel as old shoes often have stacked heels and those tend to be quite thick. Of course in this case, the shape could be anything, although plaster isn't practical for very thin parts. As these heels will be covered in fabric, plaster is fine for them.

Here you can see one part of the upper glued in place and the back seam of the two other parts glued as well. The heel is covered using same fabric, glued in place using PVA glue.

Just testing how the heel will look once in place.

The hardest part is done now. When using the same fabric on the heels, make sure the parts of the upper turned under the sole cover the edges properly as the outer sole won't extend all the way back, but will stop in front of the heel.

This time I didn't use eyelets for the laces, but pieces of trimming that double as decorations.

Here are a couple of pictures of the finished boots.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Red boots

These are soles for boots for a doll with flat feet. The soles are made of balsa wood, which is very easy to carve, and painted black on the sides, which will remain visible. You can paint them all black, but it isn't necessary.

Here are the upper parts for the boots. The edges of the fabric were treated with Fray Stop to keep them neat, although this fabric wasn't fraying much anyway (I guess that's because it seems to be in two layers, which are attached to each other probably with some sort of glue).

Here are the toe parts glued in place to cardboard and leather insoles.

The fabric felt a bit too thin for the eyelets, so I glued strips of leather on the reverse side for added strength before making the holes and attaching the eyelets.

Then it was just gluing these parts in place, gluing the balsa outer soles, and adding cotton yarn for laces.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Silver sandals for Sybarite

These sandals started with two small pieces of balsa wood cut into shape and painted black.

Then I made the insoles of cardboard and glued them into the balsa pieces. I took the picture before painting the other one, so you can see the shape of the cardboard and how it was glued in place.

Next, I glued silver colored leather to the insole. Usually it would have come later, but as I wasn't going to glue the edges of the uppers under the insole, this could be done at this point.

The next picture shows the rest of the leather parts in place.

Here is a closeup of the mechanism used for the ankle straps. The other end of the strap only needs a loop into which you insert the hook. The hook is bent slightly outwards to prevent it from scratching the doll's foot. This is a simple, but effective mechanism. The only difficulty is determining exactly the correct length for the strap, so that it will be possible to insert the hook, but the strap isn't left too loose.

Finally, here is a photo of the shoes on the doll's feet. The heels are made of balsa wood and covered with the same silver colored leather.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blue sandals for Miss Piggy

Here are pieces for another pair of sandals for Miss Piggy. The straps are cardwoven bands cut to suitable lengths and glued to a piece that goes around the bundle. The white pieces consist of a few layers of cardboard glued together in correct shape and they go in between the insole and outer sole. The beige pieces are insoles made of leather and glued to one layer of cardboard to keep the desired shape.

Next stage was gluing the straps in place and painting the edges of the in-between soles.

Longer straps were glued under the heel and these straps were to have buckles. As the cardwoven band is quite thick, I used small strips of leather to glue the buckles in place. A strip goes around the middle part of a buckle and the ends of the strip are glued in place so that the end of the strap is between them.

Here are the finished shoes. The outer soles are made of thick blue leather and the heels are made of wood and painted to match the color of the shoes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Manolo Blahnik copy

As I was thinking of making copies of Manolo Blahnik shoes for a doll, I was thinking about high heels, but I ended up making something else instead.

The original shoe looks like this:

I used brown leather for the doll shoes as there was enough of it and I also had matching satin for the inside.

The pattern for the upper was easy to make by modifying a previous pattern.

After I had glued the upper in place, I glued satin to the inside parts that would remain visible and fixed them into the correct shape with adhesive tape while the glue hadn't dried yet.

When the glue was dry, I removed the tape and cut off extra fabric. The parts remained in the desired shape well enough.

Here are the finished shoes in plaster castings of the doll's feet.

For the Finnish post, see here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I am psychic

A little while ago, I bought a magazine called "Vogue Collections numéro 9 - Spring-Summer 2010" to get all 110 pages of shoe pictures included in it. As I was going through the pictures, I found something interesting on page 302, which had photos of Roberto Cavalli's shoes.

Here is one of the shoes shown on that page. Take a good look at the sole...

and then compare it to this:

Finished shoes for Sybarite

I made these shoes in July 2007. (For the English description published later, see here.) The basic structure of the sole is similar, although not quite the same.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I made these shoes with the same pattern as the white pumps. I treated the fabric with sealer and cut the pieces. The sequins and beads are sewn in place.

The next step was to cut the pieces some more. The fabric was too thick for rounded parts at the heel and toes, so I made both open to help gluing the uppers in place. Then it was time to sew in some more sequins and beads.

Here you can see the process of gluing the uppers to the soles. As you can see, there are only straight lines in the parts that are turned under the sole, so it is easy to get a good result.

The finished shoes look like this. The heels are made of polymer clay and I mixed the color myself. This is probably the easiest design to make, but with some decorations, you get nice looking shoes.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sandals for Miss Piggy

The straps on these shoes are made of narrow card woven band. I used cotton yarn for that, so it is a bit thick, but as Piggy isn't as realistic as fashion dolls, deviation from the correct scale doesn't matter.

I used modeling clay for the outer soles, because the straps were so thick that this was the best way to deal with them. This clay is the sort that dries on its own and doesn't need to be baked. The reason for using that kind of clay is that the other parts of the shoes probably wouldn't like the heat and the soles need to be in place while drying to keep the correct shape.

The clay soles won't stick to the inner soles as you can see. Still, it is important to have them in place while shaping and drying them, so you get the indentations for the straps in correct places.

When the clay soles are entirely dry, you just glue them in place (PVA glue works well) and maybe sand them a little, if the surface isn't smooth enough. In this picture, you can also see the purpose of those flowers in the back straps. They cover the ends of the straps which have been glued together.

Finally, I painted the clay parts and the sides of the inner soles and applied a coat of sealer. The heels are made of polymer clay and I mixed the color myself. It's a bit lighter than the soles, but close enough.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

First pair of shoes for Miss Piggy

I have been making shoes for Miss Piggy for the whole weekend, but some of them need time for the paint or glue to dry, so this simple pair was the first one I could finish.

Usually I don't glue the back seam this way, but the sealer made the fabric really stiff and this was the only way to apply enough pressure to the seam.

The sole is made of one layer of cardboard and the leather inner sole. When the upper is glued in place, the sole will hold its shape without any additional strengthening.

The heel is made of polymer clay and the outer sole is made of leather. Red decorative trim is glued in place on the edge and on the seam between leather sole and polymer clay heel.