Monday, July 20, 2009

Lulu, meet Chloe (another tale of shoe redux)

A shoe DIY like I've never done before. I bought a pair of Lulu Guinness wedges second-hand without trying them on (when will I learn?) and with my narrow feet, of COURSE they were too wide (again, when will I learn?). Swapping didn't work, so I faced the unpleasant prospect of donating them and just losing the cash I'd dropped (only $45, but still, that's a lot for me) or trying to sell them.

OR. I could try and fix 'em up so they WOULD stay on. Does anyone else remember those super-cute black Chloe wedges from a few years back, with the big leather ties at the ankles? I sure did. And so I DIY'ed my Lulus to make 'em more like Chloes. And it seems to have worked!

Here's how I did it (illustrated - click photos to enlarge and see detail):

Materials: wedge pumps, leather ties, studs, exacto knife, shoe goo.

1.) align your leather tie where you want it to sit on the shoe. Press a stud into the strap near the bottom edge (but not quite AT the edge, you need something to cut into!) so that its pointy ends mark where it will go.

2.) still holding your strap in place (fyi, I made little pen marks on my shoe to use as a guideline for where the strap went), now press a stud in near the top edge. You want it to be close enough that it will help hold the strap near the top of the shoe, but not so far that the prongs overshoot the edge of the shoe itself.

3.) lay your strap down flat. Press another stud roughly halfway between the marks for the top and bottom studs. Set all studs aside.

4.) Using a fresh exacto blade, gently cut through the leather strap to the backside. My straps were made of nice kidskin leather left over from when I cut a pair of $5 thrifted elbow-length gloves into tiny little gloves that just covered my palms. (a la SJP in that SITC movie - or was it just SITC? I've seen very little of either, really, but I loved those tiny black gloves!) Anyways, I cut a kind of balloon shape with the longest tails my leather scraps would allow, and sewed them into these straps (the bottom of the long thin tube was still open at this point; I didn't bother to sew them shut).

5.) see? Just gently poking the exacto blade through the leather on the back. THe hardest thing was keeping those two layers from shifting (hence the tension as I hold it), and not punching the exacto blade through too far, which I did at least once on every strap.

6.) Once you have all your cuts made (I had twelve per strap: each of the 3 studs had 4 prongs), work your stud through from the front to the back of the strap.

7.) The hardest part is getting the tips worked through the back. I suppose if you were using a single strip of thicker leather, you would have an easier time of this. Work them all through once, just to make sure everything lines up and works. THen take them out (I know, it's sisyphean).

8.) Open those windows! Now, uncork your shoe goo and gently press a little INTO the tube. Wrap the end in paper towels (to absorb and wipe away the excess) and gently press the ends of these tubes shut, sealing them together with the shoe goo.

9.) Add just a dab of shoe goo to the TOP of the strap, where each stud goes in - one little dab where the center of each stud will be.

10.) Prepare to get that shoe goo on your fingers (which you are NOT supposed to do, according to the instructions). Press the studs back through the strap again, pressing tightly from the back so that the top of the strap is adhering to the underside of the stud. Wipe away any excess shoe goo that may have squelched out the sides of the studs with paper towels.

11.) Here's what it looks like on the reverse. Make sure those points are all exposed - press them through if they aren't. This is also a time to make a little shoe goo repair to any large cuts where your exacto blade slipped and cut a huge slit in the leather - apply shoe goo, wiping away excess, over each of these on the underside of the strap. Let the straps dry at least 24 hours, and up to 72, before applying them to the shoe.

12.) Step 12: shoe torture. When I applied the straps to the shoe, I first placed them against the shoe and pressed, so the points of the studs' prongs pressed a little mark into the side of the shoe. I then took my exacto blade and made little cuts into the shoe for the prongs to go into (note: if your prongs can go THROUGH the shoe, so much the better. Cut through the shoe, push those prongs through, and use needle-nosed pliers to press the prongs down tightly against the inside of your shoe.) My studs' prongs were too short, so I just made little knicks in the leather to help each prong find its proper place.

13.) Open those windows again. Slather the back of the strap with shoe goo, and place, feeling the prongs kind of click into the places you've cut for them in the shoe. Secure the strap to the shoe - I used two clothespins per strap, and a rubber band to hold the bottom of the strap against the curving underside of the shoe. Yes, I am slightly damaging the leather with the rubber band and I feel bad about that. But at least I am salvaging the shoe to wear again!.

14.) Let these cure - again, 24 min before removing pins, and up to 72 before donning the lovelies.

17.) Don the lovelies and giggle at your own cleverness. I haven't worn these OUT yet, so I'll keep you posted as to how well this crazy DIY holds up. FOr now, it's looking good!

1 comment:

LegacyOfPearl said...

Looks like a brilliant idea! Love the DIY shoe better than the originals.