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1  CLOTHING / Shoes: Completed Projects / Re: Sandals to Fashion Boots on: April 07, 2014 11:54:51 AM
Thank you, Alexus. I've been doing a few others I know you'd like, too. I think they wanted to see a greater percentage of stuff that came from Goodwill, or you could be right. Maybe next time I'll take apart a pair of leather pants and use those, as long as I have the receipts! But I have several new pairs in the works. And I have to upgrade the tutorial on how to make them before the next class. I have these on display at Jo-Ann now, along with three others.
2  CLOTHING / Shoes: Completed Projects / Sandals to Fashion Boots on: April 06, 2014 07:03:57 PM
It's been a while since I posted a new pair of boots, so I thought I'd share these with you. I made them for the Goodwill Re-Design Competition, but since I didn't make the cut I decided to post them here for the rest of the world to see.

They started out life as a pair of cork-soled Seychelles sandals, which I purchased at Goodwill for $10. (I usually go for the $4.97 shoes, but these were a special project.)

They're made from upholstery vinyl purchased at Jo-Ann fabrics, which I fell in love with and thought they would make super boots. The vinyl is a bit hard to sew, due to all the raised bumps, but I feel the overall effect was worth it. The boots have an outside zipper, which was a fairly hot item this season. They come up slightly above the knee, and have a contrasting brown leather-look strap and top snap across the zipper, as well as the welt around the sole. (Also out of upholstery vinyl.) The circular buckle also was from the original sandals, just reused on the boots. The seams are topstitched in brown, and the zipper tape is dark brown to match. Here is another view, showing better where the knee bend is:

The addition of the brass upholstery tacks to the welt was a last-minute addition, a touch suggested by a fashion designer friend.

I'll probably post a few more pair I've worked on during the past year or so. I've been teaching a class on how to make them at our local Jo-Ann store, so perhaps I can share some boots that my students have made.
3  CLOTHING / Shoes: Discussion and Questions / Re: High heels to moderate heels on: December 07, 2012 06:11:57 PM
Simply put: no. Most shoes and boots are designed around the heel height, so the rest of the shoe has to follow. Check out how your foot conforms to the shoe when you wear a higher heel. That's because your foot is animate - you can change its shape. You can't do that with a boot or shoe that's already been made. Oh sure, you can put a lower heel on in place of a higher one, but it won't look good and it would probably be impossible to wear. Darned uncomfortable, since the shoe is shaped for the higher heel. That's the physics of the issue.
4  CLOTHING / Shoes: Discussion and Questions / Re: Has anyone ever used RESIN to make a heel, sole, or wedge for a shoe? on: November 20, 2012 06:06:15 PM
I agree with the comment about the strength of the resin material. As an engineer who has worked with commercial plastic castings in the past, most resin casting plastic that you would pick up in a craft store probably wouldn't hold up to walking, or even putting your weight on the heels, depending on how thick and high they are. The two-part casting resin (resin + hardener) also has a critical point, where if the amount of hardener isn't exactly what it is supposed to be, and I mean exactly, the temperature of the hardening is affected, which can fracture the heel when you first step on it, or somewhere down the road. Try to get a casting resin that's made for biological specimens. That takes much more stress, is usually clearer, but also a lot more expensive. But where do you get that? Try Carolina, or other biological supply houses; perhaps they can give you some technical details. Personally, I'd like to do this, too. I've made many molds for railroad models out of latex and silicone rubber. Check out Micro Mark for casting supplies, as you'll need a lot of rubber to do heels or whole soles. The stuff they have is great. It takes a lot of punishment. I've made replacement heel tips out of delrin and other engineering plastics, but never whole heels. Let me know if you're successful.
5  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Sewing with Leather on: September 25, 2012 05:29:58 PM
Just a note about the thread. I've been using extra-strong hand-quilting thread in my machines to sew leather and vinyl for many years now with no problems. I've never had a seam rip out, even under the toughest use with that thread, although I will say that I agree with using a longer stitch. If the holes are too close, even the best thread will not prevent the leather from tearing.
6  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: Avant garde dress made from electrical and speaker wires on: March 04, 2012 04:14:39 PM
As an electrical/mechanical engineer, I am impressed! That's more wire than I've used in the past year! And I love shopping for the used stuff at Habitat's stores, too. That's recycled to the max. Can't wait to see what you come up with next. I've been recycling fashion for years, but this is the most creative I've seen. Where do you plug it in?
7  CLOTHING / Shoes: Discussion and Questions / Re: Flexible Boot Friendly Sealant on: February 20, 2012 04:31:00 PM
Yes, I've used PlastiDip before, both in the brush-on (dip) and in the spray. And, in fact, I've used it on boots. It works, but only if it has a good surface to bond to. This is the stuff made for dipping tool handles into, and it works best if it's a real thick coating. I've used it to waterproof boots that I made. The surface has to be totally clean, and it's much better if it's rough, like with sandpaper, as it gives the sealant something to bond to. It forms another complete layer, in effect, but beware, it will pull apart from the rest of the boot in time, especially places where it flexes a lot. When you spray the clear on, it won't be totally clear, either. It's sort of a frosty color, since it doesn't get very shiny, at least not the spray. The dip stuff does. I take it that these are rubber boots you are spraying. Depending on the height of your boots, it may take a couple of cans. The ones I did (yellow) looked pretty good and lasted maybe two years before the separation of the PlastiDip from the rest of the boot started occurring. But that wasn't in heavy wear. If it rains a lot, good luck. Let me know how the experiment worked.
8  CLOTHING / Shoes: Completed Projects / Re: Check out these high-fashion boots - from scratch! on: February 11, 2012 04:30:34 PM
It's been a little over three years since I posted this, and I've sent out over three hundred tutorials. But so far I've only seen one pair of boots that someone made and I've only had two other questions about making them. Has anyone tried it? I'm sure interested to know, especially how they can be improved, and I'm still willing to help out anyone who is doing them.

High black boots made from a pair of used sandals purchased at a local thrift store and upholstery vinyl.
9  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Sewing with Vinyl on: November 25, 2010 01:52:33 PM
I have been sewing with vinyl for more than twenty years now, everything from lightweight clothing to car upholstery, and believe me, it isn't hard. You're right when you say you should use leather needles and heavy thread. I find that extra-strong quilting thread is really good for vinyl, even the thick stuff. If your needles are good, they'll puncture the vinyl cleanly and the thread won't break.

Use a stitch length of about 8 or less per inch. Too close together and the vinyl can rip. I'm not familiar with Daytona vinyl. Does it have a backing? If not, use a long stitch length. Also, make sure you pin within the stitch margins and pull the pins out as you go to prevent them getting jammed in the machine. Pin holes never come out as in regular fabric.

If you are topstitching, which I recommend, since you can't very well press seams on vinyl, use a medium pressure on your presser foot, and lubricate the vinyl with a silicone lubricant, like Sewer's Ease. Others say tape or put paper on the top and rip it out later, but use the silicone.  It's so much easier and neater. It also eases the thread through the vinyl and doesn't snag as much.

Sometimes I glue the seams down, like for hems, and good old rubber cement for paper works wonderful for this. Plus, if you get any on the vinyl it just rubs right off.

Remember, just like pinholes, if you make a mistake on sewing, the holes will be there permanently after you rip out the thread. Just be careful and take it slow and easy for heavy fabrics, hand feed the needle through the first few stitches at the beginning, and pay attention to the stitching in case you drop any. Have fun.
10  CLOTHING / Shoes: Discussion and Questions / Re: need help working with barge cement on: September 06, 2010 05:55:04 AM
I've never tried this for your application, but here's something that has worked for me in my career 'on stage' for costumes/scenery stuff. What you said about using a rubber sheet is fine, but here is something that works. Use your rubber not as an inner part, but as a transfer medium. Spread the glue onto a sheet of rubber, especially a silicone rubber, if you have it. Then quickly press the glued rubber onto your fabric and remove the rubber. Hopefully, the glue will now be transferred onto the fabric, and very evenly. The reason I said silicone rubber is that virtually nothing, including Barge cement, will stick to it permanently. Maybe it will work with other rubber, too, I'm not sure. Try this with a small piece. If I can't use spray adhesive this has method has worked quite well. I used an old piece of rubber roofing material on felt. I needed two extra hands, but it's still there and holding.
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