When I start a new pair of shoes or boots, I begin with either a color I love or an embellishment I love. The boots I am going to show you today started when I came across some amazing feather trim at M & J Trim.
This multicolor 4″-long trim really caught my eye, and I thought it would look great around the top of a pair of boots. I mean, why not?? Faint heart ne’er won a look of admiration for her shoes, after all.
I went hunting for inexpensive boots and I ended up with some booties with a foldover cuff — perfect for hiding the satin ribbon to which the feathers are stitched. They were on sale, I think because they were white, not the most popular color for booties. Also, they were flat-soled and sort of Peter-Pan looking (until I got my hands on them).
I figured that the best backdrop, color-wise, for those flaming feathers would be black. Now, painting black over white is just about the most tedious paint job you can do. It takes LOTS of coats, three at least. I used Neopaque Black paint, then sealed it with Future (known now as “Pledge Premium Floor Finisher with Future Shine.”
Once that was done, I used The Ultimate to glue the feather trim up under the edge of the cuff. Then I sat back and said to myself, “This needs something else!” I dug around in my stash of beads and miscellaneous embellishments and came up with a beaded necklace that had been my mother’s. (I don’t come from a family that passes on legacies of gold and pearls — beads, peasant shawls and Japanese iron teapots are more our style.)
It seemed to me that these handily strung beads would look great draped around the cuffs. And the necklace was just long enough. I put a generous squeeze of E6000 on the beads adjacent to where I would cut the necklace in half, and when it was dry, I snipped.
Then I used dark FireLine thread and a leather needle to stitch the necklace just to the cuff (not all the way through to the inside of the boot). Had I planned better, I could have sewed the necklace down before I glued the feathers on. Then the #*$^#*% feathers wouldn’t have kept catching the thread when I stitched.
But that’s not my creative process. I rarely know what the finished shoes or boots will look like when I start on them. Even if I do know beforehand, I usually end up changing the design en route. Ya just gotta trust the creative process.
The result was quite satisfying! Frivolous and ethnic. But I wanted to try one more thing: a metal embellishment bent so it would fit around the heel, the way you see on some cowboy boots. I went to one of my favorite sites for embellishments, B’Sue Boutiques, and browsed through the brass stampings. I also looked at the brass filigree. I needed something that could bend, and if I’m not sure if something I like is too heavy to bend, I email B’Sue and ask her. These I bent using pliers.
These stampings are raw brass, which means you need to clean and put some finish on them. What I did was wash the stampings with warm water and dish soap, then dry them. I colored them using two shades of Staz-On ink, applied with cotton swabs. Staz-On is permanent on metal, but I am something of a skeptic, so I sprayed on Krylon “Crystal Clear” acrylic spray sealant from the hardware store afterwards.
To glue on the embellishments, I used E6000 and one of my secret weapons — a giant racheting clamp from my local hardware store. (E6000 really works if you clamp the item you’re gluing and let it dry for 24 hours.) Here’s what the clamp looks like. It’s an Irwin 4″ Handi Clamp, and they sell them at Home Depot and some hardware stores. They are perfect for clamping embellishments onto the backs of heels.
Whenever I wear my fine feathered boots, people (women) stop and remark (positively) on them. Even teenagers, which makes me feel really good. Most of my wardrobe is quite unremarkable from a teenage point of view!