In the age-old debate on shoes versus bags, I am completely and utterly a shoe lady. I do love a good bag (I’ve just swapped my christmas Next vouchers for Mr B’s Topman ones and bought a wicked little satchel) but shoes have a strangely emotional pull on me. In fact, my relationship with shoes is not unlike the serial monogamy that I’ve known friends to have towards romantic partners:
They catch my eye across a crowded room (aka the shop) . They’re perfect, beautiful, original. They will complete me (or at least my outfit). I feel so good when I’m with them, so attractive and cool… And then, after a few weeks, the feeling wears off. They rub on the sides, or the heel’s a dodgy height, or they don’t actually go with the rest of my wardrobe. But it’s ok, because by then I’ve seen the next pair…
(Of course, the beauty of being a serial monogamist with shoes is that, when you get tired of them, you can keep them all in a wardrobe in case you fancy them again one day. Which would get you arrested if you did it with people.)
So, after admiring Roisin’s gorgeous collection of shoes, I checked out some more Irregular Choice designs – these are my new pin-ups, ‘Lucite Lovely’:
But, the problem is the heel. I’m 5’7″, and even in kitten heels I’m taller than a lot of my friends, family and colleagues. These 9cm beauties are just out of my league.
But then I thought: if I can make clothes, can it be that difficult to make (or at least adapt) beautiful shoes? I had the perfect contender sitting on my shelf:
These shoes were an eBay find over a year ago, but I can’t remember ever wearing them. Nothing’s actually wrong with them, they’re just a bit boring. On the occasions that I get dressed up enough to justify a pair of heels, I want them to be exciting and gorgeous, so these always got shuffled to the back of the queue. But it’s all about to change!
First of all, I got hold of this rather lovely stuff. The Lucite Lovelies prompted me on a search for polka dots, and this grosgrain got two thumbs up:
And I was also in the mood for pretty bows. Bows are, on one hand, easy enough – most of us learned to tie them when we were little (I learned at Rainbows when I was 7… does that sound a bit late?). On the other hand, making a nice presentable artistic bow can take time and thought, especially with a ribbon that is different on the front and back – i.e. my polka dots. This is what I worked out after lots of trial and error:
(1) Cut a piece of ribbon (I used the length of an A3 piece of paper, which was actually more than I needed). Fold in half to find the centre.
(2) Then, fold the top half back on itself to form a loop, keeping the centre marked with your finger.
Carefully flip the whole thing over and do the same on the other side, so that you have:
(3) two loops, like a little heart. These will be the loopy bits of the bow
(4) Still holding on to the centre, slide the top loop towards the right across the other one.
It should end up bow-like, like picture 5, with the lower loop pointing left and the upper loop pointing right. All good, apart from that pesky bottom-right bit! To sort that out, keep the left-hand loop still, and bend the right-hand loop over and away from you. From the back, it should now look like (6).
From the front it should look like this (7). Wahey!
(8) Secure by sewing up the middle – just 3 or 4 stitches will do.
(9) Then, just pleat the middle slightly, slidingthe top part down over the bottom part just a little. Sew a few more stitches through the middle to secure.
Finally, cut another small piece of ribbon to go round the middle. I folded mine in half, as it would’ve been too wide otherwise:
Wrap the tie around the middle, and put a few stitches in at the back to secure. I’ve left the tie long at the back (it’s the bit I’m holding between my thumb and finger) so that it’s easier to attach to the shoe. Then just trim the ends of the bow to a length you like, and ta-daa!