Shortly before Christmas, I spotted some REALLY COLORFUL flats in a magazine and was totally taken with the colors. They were satin snub-nose flats called Fiona by Kate Spade, and they cost $95. They also looked to me like they’d be really easy to duplicate as a DIY shoe project. So I started looking through all my books on making bows and… ZILCH!
It turns out that this type of bow can’t actually be tied, so it gets excluded from all those books. Luckily, a very talented graphic designer named Jessica Jones figured out how to do it and posted instructions on her great blog, How About Orange. Jessica’s bows were made from a page out of a magazine and were nice and BIG for decorating a package. After some trial and error (error being my specialty…), I figured out how to adapt her excellent directions to create bows in a size that that would look only slightly oversize on shoes (as do the ones on Kate Spade’s shoes).
For two bows, you’ll need 2 yards plus 2 inches. (From here on, I’ll give the directions for making one bow.) You’ll also need a marking pen, a long straight pin, scissors, and fabric glue like Fabri-Tac.
Start by cutting six strips of ribbon: Three strips 7.25″ long Two strips 6.5″ long One strip 2″ long
Now get out your marking pen and your glue. Fold each strip in half (except for the little 2-incher) and put a dot in the center of the ribbon at the halfway point. Do this on both sides of the ribbon.
Next you are going to twist each end of the ribbon and glue the ends down over the dot you’ve made. You’re going to allow about a 1/4″ overlap of the ribbon ends. The tiny strip gets glued into a circle, again with a 1/4″ overlap. They should look like this when you get done. The stickiness of the glue should hold the ribbon in place until the glue dries, but if the ribbon wants to slip around, use a mini spring clamp to hold it still.
Now you need to arrange these little loops to form the gift bow. I found the easiest way to do that was to use a long straight pin, the kind with a little ball at one end. By piercing all the loops with the straight pin, I created a spindle on which they could revolve so I could arrange them before gluing them to each other. (Photo at lower right.)
I began by sliding a pin through the inside of the circular ribbon (which will form the center of the blow). Then, using the center dot I marked on the back side of the ribbon as a guide, I pressed the pin through the center point of each of the ribbon loops.
Next I spun the loops until I had a nicely balanced bow. At this point, I squeezed a little glue between each loop, right near where the pin pierced it. I let the glue dry before removing the pin.
At this point your bow is going to look pretty good, but it will look really good once you stitch it to the toe of your shoe. I recommend using FireLine and a leather needle for doing that. Be careful just to catch the bottom couple layers of the bow with your needle.
I also tried this with red grosgrain ribbon and was very happy with the results. If you decide to make some bows like this for yourself, I’d recommend making some in paper first and holding them up to your shoes to see if you like the size. If not, reduce (or increase) the longest three strips by 1/4″ and try again. The size bow I give directions for here is shown on a size 6 shoe and if your feet — like mine — are much larger, you might want a larger bow.
And, of course, there is something missing, compared to Kate Spade’s Fiona flat. I didn’t paint the lining and the insole of the shoe to match the bow, since I might want to use these flats to demonstrate a different embellishment sometime. But I could have! You can use Lumiere on these parts of your shoe too, and it will wear well. Just prepare the surfaces as you would for the outside of the shoe, and paint away!
Last tip? I found some snub-nose flats online at an astonishing price: $29.00. So I wanted to give you the link for them. They come in sizes 7-12 in Medium, Wide and Extra-Wide. Check ’em out at Silhouettes.
And if anyone is wondering, NO, I don’t get anything for mentioning certain sites or products. (Ironically, I don’t think the folks who make Lumiere even know I exist.) I just have a thing about sharing information: I love to do it!